Articles Comments

GUI Journal » Mistakes

GUI Design: Moving from Web to Mobile

In the evolution of “everywhere access” it’s easy to make mistakes. Most organizations already have a web presence and are in the process of providing access that is specific for mobile devices. Unfortunately there are some common mistakes that can be very frustrating for users. EVOLUTION OF MOBILE ACCESS Here are the steps that most organizations have or are taking in making their offerings accessible everywhere: Check the web browser on a mobile device to verify that the web site displays. Update the web site to function better through a mobile browser. Detect that a mobile device is being used and adjust the display accordingly. Create a mobile app instead of relying solely on a web browser. PAST: PROBLEMS, YES, BUT MANAGEABLE When the first users of mobile devices began to access web sites years ago, most were … Read entire article »

Filed under: GUI Design, Mistakes

GUI Design: Check Box Checkup

I am still amazed when I find current examples of standard GUI controls being used with non-standard functionality. The roles and purposes of check boxes and radio buttons, for example, have long been established. They should not be used interchangeably or have their functionality changed to match the other. Anything a designer or programmer might hope to gain by such a decision is far out-weighed by the confusion imposed on the user. ECLIPSE® MISUSING CHECK BOXES Figure 1 is a screen shot of the Eclipse® Preferences dialog showing the list of Installed JREs.   Notice the check boxes along the left side of each item in the list. One could easily get the impression that these check boxes are for selecting items in the list. They are not. The check box actually indicates which of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes

GUI Design: Time Out!

Any website that includes the ability to log in should have an automatic timeout feature. If logging in is needed, then obviously there must be private data which should be protected. In the past I have blogged about the problems with applications that perform functions automatically (GUI Design: Auto Outlines), but this is one case where the automatic functionality is definitely needed. There are at least two situations when I am grateful for the automatic timeouts when I forget to close an application: When I’m using a shared computer at home where others know the password. When I walk away from my desk at the office without remembering to lock the screen. It is rare for me to use a computer that is not mine, so I am very careful in those situations. But … Read entire article »

Filed under: Automatic Features, GUI Design, Mistakes

GUI Design: Empty Lists

Users should be told when a list is empty. Especially when the given feature can take some time to generate results, the user should be informed when the results are in. A user should not be required to guess whether the area is blank because there is nothing to show or just because the app isn’t done yet.   WINDOWS® OPERATING SYSTEMS I was reminded recently of how inconsiderate it is to not tell users that a list is empty. I was using the Explorer® on a Windows® XP system to look manually through some folders that I hadn’t used for a couple of years, so I wasn’t sure exactly what I would find. The system is a little slow and some of the folders were very full, so I occasionally needed to wait for … Read entire article »

Filed under: GUI Design, Mistakes