Bad, Bad, Naughty UI

Filed under VB Feng Shui

Ok, how hard is it really to use a standard Windows button control on a form?

Apparently, for this app, it’s pretty difficult (and this is a big name Document Management app):


Notice the FIND and PROFILE SEARCH buttons. They’re some kind of odd “flat button” thinggees, but right next door are two standard Windows OK and Cancel buttons (hopefully, the grokked down capture still shows this).

Maybe I’m just nitpicking here, but if you’re gonna skin an app and give it new button styles, shouldn’t you do all of them? Or just leave em alone?

My question is, Why stop at button styles? Why not make some labels bold, and others italics, just for the heck of it. Consistency is the mother of derision, right? Oh, and throw in some good colors while you’re there. It’ll help. Trust me.

One Comment

  1. Ralf says:

    Heh, I see this all the time in varied shades of silly. Doesn’t anybody in QC see this and raise a flag?

    I suspect the problem arises from our old friend inheritance. The OK and Cancel buttons may be part of a standard set of functions for all the forms, while the Find (etc) buttons are special features of THIS form. Thus, all "local" buttons have the flat look while the system-wide buttons don’t. Why aren’t the system-wide buttons skinned? Perhaps it’s by design: keep them looking the same despite whatever wackiness abounds on the host form, for usability. I observe that two raised buttons in a field of flat ones really pop out — thus it’s instantly possible to find "Cancel" wherever you are.

    Or perhaps I’m just rationalizing a bad design? Personally I like all the buttons to look similar.

    My least favorite UI "feature" of late are the dynamic buttons that change style/size/smell when you mouse over them. Cute, pretty, and soooo juvenile. A total waste of horsepower. I blame the slippery slope of ad-banners: a whole generation of users has learned to filter out "Click the monkey for a prize!" and thus anything less obnoxious is deemed acceptable UI design.

    For the most recent example of my outrate, fire up a Youtube video and mouse over the thing while it’s playing. Yegods! What’s all THAT crap? Holy smokes, it exploded– no wait, those are *widgets* you can click. *sob*

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