Meaning of "Close" in non-modal dialogs (was: Re: gnome-stock pixmaps)

Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> Right: target audience is people who not only can, but do use a computer
> already.  And therefore, people who already see Close as (Close+Apply) [The
> damage is done; the word is already redefined]  If we are going to un-redefine
> the word to mean (Close) then we are going to have to give the user visual
> clues so they don't do something they don't expect; disable Close unless the
> changes have been synced (either Applied or Undone).

No. In fact, using (Close) as "Apply+Close" is redefiniton of the usual
meaning of (Close). You're probably confusing (Close) with (OK), but
doesn't really make much sense in a non-modal (=persistent) dialog,
is why (Close) is used:

(OK) means "Apply+Close".
(Apply) means "Apply".
(Undo) means "Undo last step".
(Cancel) means "Undo all+Close".
(Close) means "Close".

A modal dialog (i.e. the dominant type of dialog in MS Windows, Mac
should use (OK) and (Cancel). It might also have a (Preview) button to
show a preview of the effect of the operation, but the operation would
not "really" take effect until the user hits (OK).

A non-modal (=persistens) dialog (which seems to be more common in UNIX
Motif, and is used in MS Windows et al mainly for "tool options"
should instead use (Apply), (Undo) and (Close). All of these buttons
should do *only* what they say and *not* have any side effects.

GIMP has a tendency towards non-modal dialogs, because these are often
more powerful and convenient for the user, provided that their screen
is large enough to hold all the dialogs. But there are still times
when modal dialogs are needed, e.g. for things that cannot be undone
and would seem out-of-context as non-modal dialogs (e.g. a "delete file"
confirmation dialog box in a file manager application).


   Markus B Fleck - University of Bonn - CS Department IV -
         UNIX Administrator - comp.lang.python.announce Moderator

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