[HIG] Feedback on HIG


I was very happy to see the HIG released, congratulations! While I've
not written any GNOME software, in my former life I used to write
desktop applications, and can certainly appreciate the importance of
good user interface standards, and even more so, readable guidelines and
references to those!

I'm currently reading through the HIG, primarily out of curiosity
regarding the standards being set for the future of my preferred desktop

Now, I do have some questions, suggestions and criticism to offer, as
well, so I might just as well get on with it, right? ;) My apologies if
these are repeats or rejected ideas, since I can't go through all

Chapter 2, menu items and tooltips

I think it would be useful to repeat the recommended menu item texts (in
examples 2.2, 2.3, 2.5) in the tooltip example 2.7, simply to drive the
point home. For example, since you recommend that "Gnome Batalla Naval
Client" should be called "Batalla Naval" in the menu, the 2.7 example
should say

menu item	tooltip
Batalla Naval	Find and sink enemy ships in this networked...

Chapter 3, alerts

Recommending no titles in alerts means that the user has no clues to see
what application is giving the alert. The alert example 3.11 might be
coming from Evolution Calendar, but how do I know that? This is even
more critical in situations where the alert requires the user to make a
decision or otherwise perform an action with a possibly running
application (consider that Evolution might not even be running (have a
window open), since the alert might come from the background
evolution-alarm-notify). Of course, for example 3.15 you point out the
possibility of a convenience button for further action, but that is not
necessarily always enough.

spacing and positioning

The guideline states spacing requirements in pixels. I'm disappointed to
see this mistake repeated in yet one more guideline! This design method
has been invalid for at least the past 10 years, and it is even more so
now. Display resolutions can vary greatly, and UI sizes need to adapt.
One user might be using a font size of 10 pixels, while another needs 24
to keep the text comfortably readable (I wish _I_ had a 200 dpi screen
so that I could require 24 point fonts - and I intend to, in not very
many years from now). Gnome has supported resizable icons and mostly
resizable UIs beautifully for a long time. The spacing guidelines
should, as well, by stating distances relative to font size instead of
pixels. In fact, the more I look at the example, the more it seems to be

For example, the guideline says that the space between the buttons is 6
pixels, when it clearly is 11 in the example picture!

In the that picture, the alert window spacings could clearly be restated
in terms of font height (apparently Verdana 12?) or "em" size (average
glyph width (around 8 pixels for this font), using 1, 1.5 or 2 times the
height or em size.

Well, it's getting late, so I guess I'll be continuing later. Again,
thanks for your work!


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