Re: Questions on Win3.1 GUI

Subject: Re: Questions on Win3.1 GUI
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 3 May 1996 14:48:02 +0800

Susan Schulken <SSchulken -at- NEA -dot- ORG> wrote:
> Problem: It's difficult to distinguish visually between the regular
> and display-only text boxes. But, the developers insist that they're
> following "the Windows 3.1 standard." (Is there such a thing...?)

Are the developers following a written reference, or did they just like
something they saw in another Windows application?

A good rule to follow is "Obey existing standards unless you have a very
good reason not to". Standards are (usually) good because users who are
familiar with other standard applications have in effect had free training
in how to use _your_ application. The stronger the standard, the more
careful you have to be in your justification. (BTW Microsoft products
regularly break Microsoft standards.)

In your example, if there really is a standard, you need to find out just
how much of a problem users have distinguishing between the different
text boxes.

Watch them in action. If you just ask you're likely to get an intellectual
response rather than a real one. Do many users hesitate and make mistakes?
What if you change the text boxes to make them more distinct? Do
experienced users of other applications now hesitate because your text
boxes don't behave as their appearence suggests?

If there is no standard, do what you think is best.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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