The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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One wrong move...

Speaking of simplicity and flexibility... How many people
actually use all these nice dockable movable toolbars
and subwindows of a program - vs those who make one
wrong move with a mouse and now the UI is screwed up
beyond recognition. Argh! (

(BTW, Eclipse, I think, does a good
job of it - one, it actually is a case where moving things
around is useful, and two, it has a "Reset perspective"
option).
DEBEDb Send private email
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
I used to be great at photoshop but the toolbars get in my way now. It's out of control. The toolbars in Word are also très annoying, hoping the newfangled system in the reworked version will be better.

I'm sure there's a way to make toolbars work, I just haven't seen it. Corel Painter's toolbars were an interesting design.

The worst design of all is OS X, where the stupid tool icons all have to be a minimum of 64x64 or whatever so you can only fit a few at the top of the window and they take up a huge amount of space.
Meghraj Reddy
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
"...so you can only fit a few at the top of the window and they take up a huge amount of space."

Heh.

Ironically, this is a deliberate attempt to solve the problem of having too many toolbars. Basically, Apple would rather you re-think how work gets done and use dialogs trigged by a handful of buttons and the target, than to simply make every option available. Err... if you're working with an image, you only see options relevant to the image. If you commonly do multiple steps, combine those steps or use a wizard.

Microsoft is taking this same approach with Office. If you're working with a list, you'll only see the formatting options relevant to lists in the new ribbon - you won't see icons for right justification and "create table" for example.

Incidently Meghraj, did you know that every properly coded Carbon and Cocoa application allows you to drag and drop task icons onto the toolbar, just like Windows allows you to modify the toolbars in Office?
TheDavid
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
Do you mean do I know they are configurable by right-clicking and selecting 'customize toolbar'? Yes, I know that. Some programs only need a few tools. Some programs need more. Some users need more because they are doing complex things. I don't believe that Apple made them bigger to force simplicity, I believe they made them big to show everybody how purdy their OS is with its big flashy color icons.
Meghraj Reddy
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
I've always wondered why it should be possible to move toolbars and menus around without having to go into "customize" mode. It feels like a design flaw. Oh how many times I've gone for the File menu and missed by a few pixels...

The basic design principle should be to optimize the cases that are used most often, at the expense of those done rarely or never.
Mark Ransom Send private email
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
> If you're working with a list, you'll only see the formatting options relevant to lists in the new ribbon - you won't see icons for right justification and "create table" for example.

And that, naturally, means that if I'm thinking "I'm done with that list, now I want to put a table over there" then I have to first remember how to make Word realise that my caret is on the list but my mind is already on the next thing I want to do.

Not a criticism of Microsoft there as such - no company can make a modal UI (aka context sensitive UI, where "context" is a synonym for "what mode am I in now?") without having that problem.


> I believe they made them big to show everybody how purdy their OS is with its big flashy color icons.

Which, of course, is totaly different to Vista's amazing feature of "256x256 24-bit color icon" feature.  ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
 
Great example of where choice becomes a burden.  I can't tell you how many times I've lost a toolbar in Visual Studio, or Eclipse, or Xcode, or whatever, and spent the next 5 minutes getting it back.  The worst are dockable tabs that pull out and can then be closed.
John Cromartie Send private email
Thursday, December 28, 2006
 
 

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