UI Simplicity

Windows is plagued with over-complexity, simple option dialogs are a very good example. Right-click on something like My Computer or the Recycle Bin and you find yourself presented with a dialog that offers three option buttons – “Ok” “Cancel” and “Apply.” If you’ve changed anything in the options within the UI, the “Apply” button will be enabled. Oddly enough, clicking “Ok” or “Apply” will save those changes. Wouldn’t it have been clearer to the user if initially a single “Close” button was displayed, and after the user edits options an additional “Ok”, or “Apply” button was displayed? Why are there three buttons? Am I missing something?

Apple seems to have taken a slightly different approach. They like to customize the buttons based on the situation and they also like to mix up the order of buttons. Sometimes it’s “Ok”, “Cancel”, sometimes it’s “Cancel”, “Ok” , and sometimes there are no “Ok” or “Cancel” buttons at all – once you’ve changed an option it’s considered changed.

In developing Daisy I’m going to go with a simple standard. Two buttons, “Close” and “Ok” will be displayed. If any option in the dialog or property tab changes, the close button will change to “Cancel” and the “Ok” button will be enabled. I think that’s the simplest approach overall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *