Re: [Usability] Play/Pause or Play and Pause buttons in Jokosher

On Fri, 2007-01-05 at 08:01 +0000, Stuart Langridge wrote:

> What should be done is to involve the Gnome usability mailing list, who
> are now being so asked with this mail :) 
> What's the motive for the HIG's mandate to separate Play/Pause, and is
> it still valid?

We've had this discussion many times, you'd be better checking the
archives for the numerous iterations.

My summary of the HIG's motivation would be:

- If you have separate play and pause (and/or stop) buttons, it should
be immediately obvious to anyone who knows what play, pause (and/or
stop) mean how they're going to behave.  If you only have a play button,
you can't really tell what it's going to do until you press it.  (Will
it turn into a Pause button?  A stop button?  Will it stay pressed in,
or pop back out?)

- The accessibility folks generally prefer one button = one function,
otherwise (for example) a screenreader has to convey to the user (while,
in this case, some other sort of audio is now playing) that the button
whose function was "Play" now has the function "Pause".

The arguments against:

- "Stop" has no real meaning in digital media, "Pause" is sufficient, so
you're only ever going to need Play and Pause functions, which are
effectively opposite states.  And it's spatially inefficient to have two
buttons for opposite states, ergo you only need one button.

Personally, I blame Apple.  Until the iPod came along, every CD player
(and of course cassette player) I ever owned had separate Play, Pause
and Stop buttons.  But that wouldn't have fitted so nicely onto a
clickwheel, so now everyone's used to overloaded buttons :)


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            Java Desktop System Group                      +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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