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Jorg
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Fighting with a collegue over [...]

Post by Jorg » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:15 am

Hi All,

Just a mere light subject regarding GUI standards. My collegue is turning into a GUI purist, and adheres to the standards a tad bit too much sometimes (IMHO).. We are now fighting over the use of a button next to a text box to indicate a directory / path needs to be selected.

I usually do;
[ c:\some path ] [...]
And he insists it should be;
[ c:\some path ] [Browse...]
Which in my eyes is overkill. The three dots to indicate a path select is standard enough, but I could not find any info to defend my story or to defend his.

Does anybody know any standard that strongly favors my or his solution? And just for fun, who uses the long version v.s. te short one?

My defense is;
1. It is short, so more space for the path
2. It does not require localisation

His defense is;
1. You can't use keyboard shortcuts easily
2. It is not clear enough

So what are the votes on this one? He already told me he will fight me over this unless I change it, but I am not going to. He tried to get ammo from the net to discourage me, but could not find it ;-)
- Jorgen
Forensic Software Engineer
Netherlands Forensic Insitute
http://english.forensischinstituut.nl/
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upCASE
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Post by upCASE » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:42 am

Hi Jorg!

Well, this reminds me of some discussions we had here (redesigning an existing interface). I am glad that we have somebody here now who cares about enforcing GUI guidelines and standards. And I'm especially lucky that it's not me :)

To be honest, three dots is IMHO not a good solution. The dots hint that some action is to be carried out which involves input in another dialog that is to be opened. While I suppose it is true that most users would assume that clicking the button next to a text filed with a path might lead to a selection dialog, new users might not. I look this up in the Apple Human Interface Guidelines and there it says that the label should be as descriptive as possible (followed by the three dots). In your case that would mean that "Browse.." might not be enough as well. "Browse directory..." might be better :)
Anyway, here's the link to Apple (tm) knowledge: http://developer.apple.com/documentatio ... 00359-SW80

Maybe take another approach: Use an icon. A simple folder icon should speak for itself and mostly likely be recognized by users. Plus it is small. There are two drawbacks though: shortcuts and accessibility. If somebody is visually impaired this button might be out of reach if you don't implement proper support for accessibility.

I doubt this was helpful...
Funny though how much time one can spend thinking about how something should look like, so that even a chimpanzee could understand it :)

EDIT: I forgot: please let us know how you settled this :)
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ilovasz
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Post by ilovasz » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:15 pm

Hi.

I would go with [...] and an informative tooltip assigned to it. This way you will have more space for the relevant data (the path) but still provide information for the lost.

LI

illnatured
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Post by illnatured » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:28 pm

I always use [...]. What about less experienced users who might get confused seeing the "three dot button" for the first time? Well, I think that they would discover its meaning in about 5 seconds, so it's not a real problem. Of course, you can always find a person who will keep saying "Oh, that Browse button is so short and ambiguous, it would be much better to replace it with Display a dialog box allowing to select a file from your local hard disk drive and perform some action on that file" ;).
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DavidHart
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Post by DavidHart » Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:25 pm

Hi,

Just to even the score ;), my vote is for a folder icon.

Regards,

David

Jorg
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Post by Jorg » Thu May 07, 2009 11:03 am

I won :-)

I pointed out some commonly used applications, which use the [...] standard too, and he had to consede. Although he is partially right, whenever the user base would be computer users who are not too specialized, I would go for an icon like DavidHart says, or type browse but that would make it language specific again.

A pictogram says more then three dots, but I am too lazy to fix it now... hehe

With regards,
- Jorgen
Forensic Software Engineer
Netherlands Forensic Insitute
http://english.forensischinstituut.nl/
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