Re: [Usability] GtkEntry with units

On Mon, 22 Jan 2007, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:

> Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 00:45:50 +1300
> From: Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt myrealbox com>
> To: GNOME Usability List <usability gnome org>
> Subject: Re: [Usability] GtkEntry with units
> On Jan 17, 2007, at 4:19 AM, Robert Staudinger wrote:
> > ...
> > over at the abiword assembly line we're using a lot of GtkEntry
> > widgets for displaying the size of stuff like page width/height, table
> > cell size ... There is no recommendation how to handle a size with
> > units in the HIG. Well there is [1], somewhat related but not quite.

I think [1] is not just related but exactly the example you need to look
at, I dont think this is as ambiguous as you suggest.  Anything else
requires using custom widgets.  Take the path of least resistance, use the
standard number spinbox and follow it with a lable or a dropdown allowing
the unit type to be changed.

(I have a familiar feeling about this problem.  There may be some
accessibility impact or something else awkward I cannot quite put my
finger on.  I vaguely remember filing bugs after being stuck with inches
in Abiword back when the units were shown within the entry.  There was no
obvious way of changing the units, whereas putting the units in an
accompanying drop down has much better affordance.)

> > So:
> > + How to display a size with unit in a GtkEntry? Just append the unit
> > part? Put the unit part outside the GtkEntry like [1]?

Avoid using widgets in non standard ways, if you have to ask you probably
shouldn't and the benefits (if any) are questionable?

> > + How to edit a size with unit? This obviously depends on the previous
> > question. Should used units be changeable per GtkEntry? per App?
> > global Desktop setting like LC_NUMERIC?

You would want the default changed from say inches to cm globally but
based on the locale but you cannot really be sure in the individual user
is more comfortable using smaller units within that scheme (so my default
might be 'cm' but I can forsee wanting a dropdown to change to 'mm' if I
was doing something special, it depends on the task).

I'll see if I can dredge up the old abiword bugs on the subject but I'm
fairly sure things are done as they are for particular reasons.



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