Re: changing properties dialogue

On 17 Oct 2002 08:38:57 -0500, Lars Clausen <lrclause cs uiuc edu> wrote:
You probably dont want hitting return anywhere in a dialog to be
equivalent to okay.  for example in a password dialog hitting return
after typing in the username it does not make sense to hit ok, it
should bring you to the next box to enter your password first.  

We had a long discussion about this on the Dillo list.  I checked a
number of browsers, and several have Return be submit, even when there
are more input fields.  Tab is what is used to navigate.  'Return', by
its very name, returns you to where you were before (and 'enter' says to
enter the data you've typed in into the system). 

The answer is simple and consistent.  Every dialog has a default button,
and <Return> presses it.  Most dialogs set "OK" as the default, but
occasionally not, for something that can do a lot of damage, like a GUI
version of fdisk(8).  GTK provides clear visual feedback showing which
button is the default.  

The error many dialog designers make is to enable "OK" before it should
be.  Until the requisite data are provided, it should be disabled.  Taking
your password dialog example, if "OK" is disabled until a username and
long-enough password are provided, pressing <Return> does nothing, because
the default button is disabled.  (<Esc> would still invoke "Cancel", of
course.  I can't think of a reason ever to disable "Cancel".)   

Reminds me of a story I saw in the New York Times about Slashdot the other
day.  (That's right, not the other way around; you read that improbable
sentence correctly.)  It seems on the front door to the office they have a
little <Enter> key stolen from a keyboard, inviting you in.  On your way
out, you'll see on the back of that same front door its older cousin: 


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