Interface question

J. Landman Gay jacque at
Tue Dec 22 13:50:45 EST 2009

I've got another interface problem I can't decide how to solve, maybe 
some of you have ideas.

I have an app that creates various printouts. These are all hard-coded; 
i.e., the end user never sees the templates and can't change them. In 
the app's preferences, though, they are allowed to add custom header and 
footer text that will appear on each printout. This info is entered into 
fields in the prefs stack. They can also set the tabstops by moving 
little sliding arrows, so that they can control the text placement in 
each header or footer by adding and positioning tabs.

Because the prefs stack is much smaller than the print template stacks, 
the text entry fields are also not as wide. To give the user a way to 
visualize how their tabstops will look, the textsize in the entry fields 
is very small. This gives the right ratio between field width and text 
size, so that they get a fairly accurate idea of the text placement in 
the header or footer as they slide the tabstops around.

So now the client says the text is too small to read easily (which is 
true) and he'd like it legible. Problem is, if I increase the text size, 
the relative ratio of the tabstops will not be accurate and the fields 
will not display the relative text placement correctly.

I need a clever idea on how to display accurate text positioning while 
maintaining legibility. I've thought of a few things, but nothing I 
like. Tooltips that show what the text says might be one way, but I 
don't really like that much.

Jacqueline Landman Gay         |     jacque at
HyperActive Software           |

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