[HIG] 1 Administrivia, 5 Layout questions/comments

Looking at the HIG from a greater distance now, I've spotted some
sore technical points.

  Are you using this list for questions/comments such as those which

1) Generally, should spacing controlled by the toolkit be mentioned here?
   The case I'm looking at now is from Table 8.2 for radio button* and
   checkbox labels which are to be 6px right of the indicator. There is
   no API to change this, and I don't even recall looking at what it
   is fixed at. I think I've seen some other points where, were I not
   familiar with Gtk+ internals, I'd be hopelessly searching for a way
   to change something.

   * Not all radio buttons have indicators. This has been a sore point
     many, many times. The name describes the function (mutual exclusivity)
     and has nothing at all to do with the circle which has a radius.
     There has been and probably continues to be bad code because of this
     misunderstanding. That bad code takes memory and time and that makes
     the user experience less pleasant than it could be. Don't help to
     perpetuate that. (Damn long note here . . . or short rant. ;-)

2) Why is a 6px distance recommended between a label and an entry? Is an
   entry not a control?  For labelled controls the recommendation is 12px,
   and because of grouping, label lengths, and mixing of controls (as in
   some of the graphics) the distance between a label and an entry will
   very often be 12px or more.

3) A comment on the left side of figure 8.3:
   Come on! That's hardly a fair comparison and yet it takes up a lot of
   space. Someone who would produce something like it probably wouldn't
   even consider reading the HIG or anything on the subject at all.
   This reeks of straw. There was once an issue of left- vs. right-alignment
   of labels and making such a large comparison between unaligned and
   left-aligned is either a straw man argument or begging to be accused of
   making one. (And I'll ignore the other obvious differences.)
   I recommend not showing an unaligned dialog. Instead show an example of
   when left-alignment is good and an example of when right-alignment is
   good. The text will, of course, need to be redone.

4) Something icky from technical details:
     "In the left column, place a label containing four space characters.
      This will serve to indent the category contents."
   I can think of a few ways in which this is wrong, but one should make
   the point. What will a screenreader do with this?

5) Whether this section is written to UI designers or programmers, I fear
   it serves the product poorly. As a programmer, I find myself jumping
   back and forth in the document to check and recheck spacing. I don't
   know what a UI designer would be doing. Nonetheless, I suspect that
   a programmer working from a design based on this will not be able to
   just complete code. My first question touches on the main reason -
   incongruity between requirements and possibilities. Beyond that I
   really have no more than a nagging suspicion. I admit it is highly
   probable that this is just because I've never seen just what sort of
   document a career UI designer would hand to a career programmer using
   Gtk+. (And the Gtk+ aspect is really important -  this isn't like
   NeXT's dpi-perfect UI.)

This turned out to be a bit longer than I originally intended.

Greg Merchan

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