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User Interface Style Guide

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Windows

Preferences

Preference windows are similar in appearance to dialog windows, in that they have a row of buttons along the bottom and no close gadget in the title bar.

ui/images/windows-prefs-titlebar.png

Example of a preferences window title bar. Notice the absence of the close gadget.

Rationale

There is no close gadget because its semantics would be ambiguous. In other words, it would not be clear to the user exactly what the side-effect of closing the window is. Will it save the preferences or will it abandon all changes?

The following set of buttons are always present, positioned horizontally along the bottom of the window (in this order, from left to right):

Test
Applies the settings in the window so that they take effect immediately. Does not close the window.
Revert
Restores the settings in the window to the state they were in when the window was opened and applies them immediately. Does not close the window.
Save
Applies the settings in the window immediately and saves them permanently [1]. Closes the window. If it is not possible to save the settings permanently (e.g. if the disk where they would be saved is read-only) this button is ghosted.
Use
Applies the settings in the window immediately and saves them temporarily (only for this session) [2]. Closes the window.
Cancel
Restores the settings in the window to the state they were in when the window was opened and applies them immediately. Closes the window.

Layout

The buttons are divided into two groups with Test and Revert in one and Save, Use and Cancel in the other, where the former group is aligned to the left, and the latter is aligned to the right. There is a space between the two groups to separate them visually [3]. All buttons have the same width, which should be as small as possible (when resizing, only the space between the groups should grow and not the buttons).

ui/images/windows-prefs-buttons.png

Example of the row of buttons in a preferences window.

[1]Saves both to ENVARC: and ENV:.
[2]Saves only to ENV:.
[3]Notice that all buttons in the left group do not close the window, while all buttons in the right group do close the window.

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