Re: [Usability] Better look Re: (no subject)

On 13 Dec, 2005, at 8:41 PM, GSR - FR wrote:

Hi, jnoreiko yahoo com (2005-12-13 at 1104.40 +0000):
To be usable, controls do need to be clear, simple to understand, and easy to read. I think that the current default on my distro (Ubuntu's 'Human' theme) and the GNOME default 'Clearlooks' both do this very well.

Both Human and Clearlooks, though, like Luna, Platinum, and Windows 3.x before them, are very cartoonish. They look like pen drawings of controls, rather than actual controls.

Sadly, from looking briefly through the gtk2 themes on, they all either have that pixelly cartoon appearance, or they have a light-on-dark color scheme (great for an alternative theme, poor for a default), or they have sunken checkboxes and radiobuttons (which looks wrong when embedded in listboxes, which is why Windows 98 and 2000 often used an inconsistent flat style for checkboxes and radiobuttons inside listboxes), or they're ripoffs of Aqua.

My take is that sometimes there would be less confusion if things were
shown in a more pleasing way. And yes, I know the HIG puts examples to
demostrate how the proposed style is better (vs a crappy old one, no
idea if real or faked for the occassion, but so bad that anything has
to look better). It also covers nice ways to put text in dialogs and
so on. That does not mean it could not be changed to make it better.
The unbalance to the left side and the expansion of things to edges
always looked strange to me in dialogs, sometimes even disturbing.

Yes, currently the HIG says: "Left-align components and labels, unless all the labels in a group have very different lengths. If they do, right-align the labels instead, to ensure that no controls end up too far away from their corresponding labels." < labels.html#layout-label-position> < window.html#improved-layout-figure>

This encourages internal inconsistency, leftward imbalance, and columns of colons that almost line up but not quite. It's also an impractical guideline to follow, since you can't reasonably know how different the label lengths are going to be in every language your software is translated into, and translators can't specify the alignment themselves.

Calum, can this be changed? I'd suggest: "When a group of controls is arranged vertically, line up the left edges of the controls (or of the first control in each horizontal subgroup), and right-align labels that are placed to the left of the controls."

Matthew Paul Thomas

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