Passing Back the Ball

It seemed I made a wish of some people from the usability folks come true. Presenting: my first approach of a CollapsibleWidget!

The same dialog with two filled and one empty collapsable item on Linux, OS X and Windows:

Interesting to see that there are so many differences in the layouting among the different platforms -- odd. But I will sort them out eventually. On the positive side of things, this allows us to finally get rid of the tab-desert in most kde applications and separate common settings from rarely used ones.

This is the part of the usability guys: It's your turn again :).

PS: Whoever finds typos may keep them ;).


Personally I'm not really sure about having hidden options. If the options aren't important, maybe they shouldn't be there in the first place.

But anyways, KDE already has for instance "Advanced Options", a popup dialog in the Kicker configuration. That really sucks usability wise, since I'm looking for the option I want not a button. I think this would be an improvement, make it more obvious that there are options currently hidden. A button doesn't give any indication of this.

By [email protected] at Thu, 07/14/2005 - 16:10

Although I don't mind them personally. I see them as being configurable via the style chosen by the user. Alternatives should probably be selected through that route if the selected style you are using uses triangles, or whatever.
I personally like '+' and '-', like this:


By Ryan Nickell at Thu, 07/14/2005 - 17:25

I absolutely agree with this. It greatly annoys me when one program or the other decides to draw it's own expand/contract buttons, which then carry the hallmark of the programmer's favourite widget style. In most cases this means that they are the [+] and [-] marks, but in my style they are arrows like here.
It would as Ryan says be achieved best simply by reusing the tree-view drawing routines, asking the widget style to draw the expand/contract graphic.

..Dan // Leinir..

By Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen at Fri, 07/15/2005 - 02:51

Keep it simple and consistant. Let the theme decide whether the list items have triangles or +/- symbols next to them.

If extra configuration is needed it should be part of the theme.

By kayosiii at Mon, 07/18/2005 - 05:00

First off, I just wanted to say good job!

I do however have some conserns... I guess the window gains a 'scrollbar' to let us access content that moves off the viewing area of the dialog?

Now, I do agree that having an expanding 'context' is a good idea. In fact, I feel there are many places they should be used.

However... I do not think they should be used in ways that would make a dialog feel more like an application window.

A good example of expanding widgets is IMHO the gnome file dialog. You get a basic dialog with the options most users will need... But by pressing the expander you actually expand the dialog to display the more verbose information. The same idea can be found in the drawers applications have now on MacOs X. (Eh... when they are used correctly I mean. There are currently quite a few examples of how NOT to design an application drawer currently...). Do not get me wrong here about the gnome file dialog however. I have some issues with how the gnome dialog does some things... but the expander is not one of them.

For a bad example... PLEASE have a serious look at how the current version of firefox implements them. Especially considering the fact that the FireFox options dialog implements not just one... but MANY conflicting designs.

General Window:
We have sets of buttons and text grouped together. The top set of buttons change a behavior of something. The buttons below it all bring up a dialog.

We have a table of expandable rows. Each row has an expander, a title, and a clear button. Expanding a row hides any previously expanded rows... colors the row yellow and adds some poorly aligned text/buttons to the row.

Web Features:
We have a list of checkboxes, with 'advanced configuration' buttons to the right. This is by far the easiest to understand option screen.

This is your average configuration screen. Much like any basic configuration screen created for the last 10 years.

This is what I imagine you are trying to emulate. While I can't get an idea of whats 'configurable' at a first glace (half the content is off the screen)... at least this time around things are actually aligned! Rows expand in a way I expect them to and for the most part the option screen 'works'.

Righto... so this post ended up a little larger than I wanted... but anyways... =)

By lorinel at Sat, 08/13/2005 - 22:26