The Transcendental GUI (was a thread from REALbasic vs. Revolution)

Rob Cozens rcozens at
Sun Oct 13 11:20:01 EDT 2002

>So no keyboard driven options?  I am a touch typist, and have little 
>love for the mouse. I find it particularly annoying that much of the 
>Web REQUIRES mouse actions.

Yes, we have no keyboard driven options.  OenoLog is designed so that 
the user need never switch between the keyboard and mouse when 
processing a transaction.

The majority of transaction input (as opposed to setup input) is 
determined by selecting individual items (ie: wine lot, grape type, 
source/destination barrel or tank, inventory supply, etc.) from 
various lists.  I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think 
you will agree that selecting an item from a displayed list is more 
easily accomplished with a mouse than a keyboard.

There is no alphabetic character input required to complete 
transaction processing (though optional comments can be entered at 
the end of input).  Whenever numeric input is expected, OenoLog 
displays a numeric keyboard palette so the mouse can be used to enter 
the number.

I am a hunt-&-peck typist, and since the early days of the Mac I have 
constantly looked to see how much I could accomplish with the mouse 
alone.  The techniques used in OenoLog work because, after setup, 
there is minimal alphabetic input required.  I have yet to find an 
acceptable technique for entering alphabetic characters via the mouse 
(displaying a keyboard palette isn't viable for characters as it is 
for numbers).

There is one issue that I bet annoys you touch typists as much as us 
hunt & peckers: input screens that go from a keyboard-entered field 
to a mouse-action field back to a keyboard-entered field back to a 
mouse-action field, etc.  OenoLog setup screens are designed so that 
all keyboard-entered fields come before or after the mouse-action 

I do try to use keyboard driven options in text-intensive operations. 
For example, next message/previous message buttons originally 
included in Serendipity Library's Message Translator substack were 
replaced with arrow key handlers so the user would not have to switch 
between the mouse & keyboard during a translation session.

There is one other issue regarding keyboard options I will note 
before closing:  they complicate considerations for multi-lingual 
implementations...especially for user-translatable applications. 
Serendipity Library & associated stacks contain no menu shortcuts or 
mnemonics, because I felt it complicated the menu & menuItem 
translation too much for inexperienced users.  However, the menu & 
menuItem text is identified as such on the Translation screen; so the 
experienced translator can add keyboard shortcuts or mnemonics to 
those menus.  (OenoLog has no menubar.)

Rob Cozens
CCW, Serendipity Software Company

"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."

from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)

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