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GUI Design: Clicking Labels

Click this Label… No Clicking Here… For more than 15 years GUI applications have given users the option of clicking the label of a checkbox or radio button instead of clicking just the button itself. Browser-based GUIs did not provide that functionality early on, but in recent years it has become standard. So much so, that I’m still surprised when I find a GUI that does not have that implementation. Most implementations are as minimal as the example above, where the only clue that the text Click this Label is clickable is the fact that the radio button highlights when the mouse cursor hovers over the text (there is no highlighting on the Mac® OS). Note that no highlighting occurs when hovering over the label for the second option No … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes, Tooltips

GUI Design: Let Me Out!

I recently completed a usability review of a web app that has not yet been released. After logging in I saw two icons and the words Welcome, carl at the upper right. One of the first things I look for when reviewing usability (for a product that requires login) is how to log out. On mouse hover I found there were tooltips for the icons but not for the welcome, carl, and none of these showed a down arrow or pointer curser indicating they were clickable. It turned out that clicking on the Welcome, carl actually displayed a menu with the option to Logout, but there was no clue that any options were there until I clicked the words. Of course I recommended that the mouse change to a pointer on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes, Tooltips

GUI Review Revisited: WordPress®

In March 2011 I posted a review of the WordPress® GUI which resulted in a rating of 4 out of 5 GJs. I detailed only two complaints, and apparently the developers at WordPress care enough about my opinion that they have fixed the biggest problem for me. (Who knew I had such influence?) In that article I explained how long it took for me to become accustomed to a pair of icons that had a similar appearance, causing me to repeatedly click the wrong one when I was editing a post. Figure 1 contains portions of two screen shots of the previous toolbar with the mouse hovering over the icons for Add an Image and Toggle fullscreen mode. Notice how similar the icons look to each other. I had trouble with these until I realized … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design Review, Tooltips

GUI Design: Tooltips

Tooltips are a largely unused, yet potentially powerful resource in a GUI. I’ve noted in previous articles places where tooltips are well used and places where they could have been used to circumvent issues. For this posting I’ve decided to take a look at a few various tooltip implementations. USELESS TOOLTIPS Figure 1 shows the left navigation area of Gmail® by Google®. The display is on the default Mail panel which presents navigation options of Inbox, Buzz, etc. The mouse cursor is hovering over the Inbox option which currently has the additional text (2) following it, indicating that there are 2 unread messages in my Inbox. Note that the tooltip has the identical text as the option itself. Hovering over any one of the nine options from Inbox down to Travel does … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Help, Tooltips