Laptop diary tool in REV - Glyphs
mark at maseurope.net
Mon Jun 19 11:51:46 CDT 2006
On 19 Jun 2006, at 15:57, Rob Cozens wrote:
> One does not abandon language by replacing label text with
> icons...especially if the icons have toolTips. In essence, the
> textual labels become toolTips; so the icons add to the total
> experience, not replace it.
I do actually agree with you here, but context is everything.
In the example I gave of the audio editing app, there were two
problems. 1), was that the programmers had made bad choices of icons,
and 2) they had put 30 or so badly chosen icons in one long row. I'd
contend that no-one would find it easy to learn to use that app. Even
well chosen icons would have been a problem here, I think, as there
were just too many of them.
On the other hand, the audio editing app that I use now presents
about 20 or so buttons in it's main screen, but arranged in groups
that cover related functions.
Some of them are simply icons, some are simply labels (the ones for
choosing editing modes, a pretty abstract concept that does not lend
itself to pictorial representation).
> How many of the icons on a Rev (or PhotoShop or whatever) palette
> or menuBar did you understand the first time you looked at the app?
The tool bar in Rev has labels (I actually turned off the icons to
make it smaller) so I understood them straight away. The palettes in
Photoshop Elements have no labels, so as an occasional user, I have
to do quite a bit of hovering over icons to get the tool-tip so I can
proceed. Perhaps this is one reason that I'm an occasional user.
Having said that, though, the palette in Rev has no labels, but then
apart from choosing browse and edit modes, most of the items in the
palette are simply pictures of the exact things (fields, buttons etc)
that you're choosing. Horses for courses, in other words.
So, to moderate my original rant, the choice of pictures over text as
a general solution to all gui issues is a mistake, I think. I don't
accept that icons really solve language problems, either. if
something is better served by a label than an icon, then to get
around it by using an icon is just fudging the issue, and will not
enhance the experience for the user.
I accept that some issues of screen geometry can reasonably dictate
the programmers choices, also, so we disagree less than I thought,
I would also say that we can get used to almost anything, in time,
but a good test of a gui, I think, is how quickly a new user can
learn it and be productive with it. In my experience, labels help the
learning process a great deal.
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