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GUI Design: Vanishing Options

We’ve all had the experience of clicking on a menu expecting to select a particular option, only to find it disabled. Worse still is when it’s not there at all. This happens with dialogs, too. And it seems to happen to us just when we think we are finally getting comfortable with an application (or interface) or when we return after not having used it for a while. Few things in a GUI are more frustrating. DISABLED OPTIONS Figure 1 shows an example of WordPerfect® 9 with both menu options and toolbar options disabled. For certain options, it’s fairly logical to determine why something is disabled. For example, Cut and Copy are disabled on the toolbar because there is nothing selected in the document. Also, the fact that Paste is enabled seems to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, Featured, GUI Design, Mistakes, Tooltips

GUI Design: Hidden in Plain Sight

OK, I admit it: I am having a significant birthday this year and so I figure my life is now pretty much half over. There are some signs that I am not as young as I once was: I need friends to repeat words more often than I care to admit, and I have various sets of eyeglasses for appropriate uses. However, is that any excuse to make it so hard for me to find and read menu options on web sites? I took a look at several financial web sites (places where someone my age or older is likely to frequent) and found some interesting implementations. BAD WEB SITE MENU Figure 1 is a screen shot from a financial web site that I visit often. The web site shows a dark blue … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes