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- To: cfry@MIT.EDU (Christopher Fry)
- Subject: Re: *text-restricted-dialog-item*
- From: Steve Strassmann <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1992 14:31:17 -0500
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, info-mcl
Actually, from a user-interface design standpoint, I'm not too keen on
either of these proposals.
The smiley/frowneyface idea probably won't go over well, especially
with non-technical users or those of us who hate smurfy cuteness.
It reminds me too much of the AI-enhanced doorway in Hitchhiker's Guide
that refuses to allow Arthur Dent to pass, saying "first you have to
impress me." You have to be *really* careful about when you allow
your GUI's to get anthropomorphic.
I'm also not sanguine about the various graphic attempts to indicate
that you've maxed out the field size. It's a bad precedent to make
fixed-length fields common, when there's no technical reason for that
sort of mentality anymore. And size certainly shouldn't be the most
outstanding feature to be concerned about - semantic content is much
more appropriate. Finally, you don't want gook on the screen where
you're about to type, and let's remember that in these modern times
of mouse-clicks, editing the beginning or middle of strings is
What you need to do is somehow indicate which aspects of the entry
are incomplete or wrong. How about a wavy or other line under
incomplete or unacceptable values, or portions thereof. A little
balloon-help windoid is necessary to explain the problems and
recommend some solutions. Correcting the problem(s) make these
lines go away, and when the last problem is cleared, it's safe
to undim the master "OK" button.