Thursday, May 22, 2008

Using Unified Separators and Containers to Draw a GUI

How would I describe today's GUIs? A mess. -- A mess that grew as new features were needed, with lack of proper design, with a desire to keep backward compatibility, and with tools from the past trying to achieve future needs. I propose a new design philosophy for GUIs. We'll call it Vermaden's GUI. Note: This is the latest entry in our 2008 article contest.

At the beginning they were designed, but as time passed by they just grew. Most of today's GUIs use a grid of dots on which other GUI elements are placed: menus, buttons, lists, draw areas, folder lists and everything that you can imagine. Today's GUIs, such as GTK or QT toolkits can do almost everything we could want from a classic GUI -- the problem is how all our wishes are realized under the hood of the interface. Speaking precisely, lots of different types of content, different combo boxes, different margins, borders ... Many widgets have a scrollbar included, some need external placing of the scrollbar, or even two of them if we also need to scroll horizontally, like Anjuta's IDE GUI for example, some scrollbars are outside widget content, some are placed inside content.

Displaying a lack of unification, today's GUIs are not coherent. They are like a big bag of tricks that try to get the job done. The Nautilus File Manager, which, similarily to Anjuta, uses the GTK toolkit, "prefers" putting scrollbars inside widget content area, where Anjuta puts them outside. Some of you may say "what about QT?" Well, things are not better here; let me tell you why with Konqueror as an example: a widget with folders on the right has a border, a tab with that widget also has border, which also includes a status bar in the bottom part of the window ... again with the border, don't you think that there are too many borders around there? Well, you are not alone. It's big waste of space and functionality (which border would you like to resize today?), not to mention ergonomics."    (Continued via OS News, vermaden)    [Usability Resources]

Nautilus vs. Konqueror File Browser - Usability, User Interface Design

Nautilus vs. Konqueror File Browser

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