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GUI Design: Links vs. Buttons

   Real Link? Buttons have been around as long as GUIs have. They were initially only used to perform actions. When hyperlinks (or links) were first created, their usage was obvious: it was a method for linking documents to each other and for quickly jumping from one to another (hence the name hyperlink). Unfortunately, the difference between the two has been blurred such that in many GUIs there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to when either is used, other than the whim of the designer or developer. Buttons are often made to look like links and vice versa. Part of the reason for this is probably the fact that menu items usually look more like links, but often act more like actions; this is also true for the controls … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes, Navigation

GUI Review Revisited: Google® Navigation

In keeping with the frequent changes found in the navigation of Google® web applications, multiple changes have occurred in the short time since my GUI Review: Google® Navigation posted in March. (Actually, the changes appeared in advance of my post, but I usually have my articles scheduled to post automatically several weeks ahead of time.) Unfortunately, some of the inconsistencies shown in that original review are now even worse. The changes revolve around the new Play option which now combines the previous Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore. Google Music was specifically noted in the previous review. As a brief review, Figure 1 shows the Google Navigation bar when using Gmail. Note that “Gmail” at the far right is displayed with text that is white, indicating that it is the current selection, but the … Read entire article »

Filed under: GUI Design, Mistakes, Navigation

GUI Review: Google® Navigation

Google® is fast taking over the internet with all the amazing services and apps it provides. When I did a GUI Review of Gmail® (and revisited that review) last November, I deliberately avoided any analysis of the navigation bar across the top, thinking that it deserved a separate treatment. Now I think it’s time. I have lots of questions about the implementation of the Google navigation, so it seemed to make sense to have each section below entitled with a question.   WHAT IS SELECTED? Google is constantly changing the way it displays the current option in its navigation bar. Following are a series of portions of screen shots of the various displays from the last year. Figure 1 is a screen shot of the Google navigation bar with Gmail selected, as it appeared in May 2011. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Navigation