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tashirosgt
13th October 2004, 05:37 PM
One of the problems in designing user interfaces is the question of how you phrase a yes-or-no question. For example does your window say:

YOU ARE ABOUT TO REMOVE THE CONTROL RODS FROM THE REACTOR
Are you sure you want to do this?
Yes Cancel

Or should it say

IT IS DANGEROUS TO REMOVE ALL THE CONTROL RODS FROM THE REACTOR
Should the removal be aborted?
Yes No

Or should it be completely confusing and say
REMOVING THE CONTROL RODS FROM THE REACTOR IS DANGEROUS
Yes No Cancel

One of the best examples where the designers seem to have gotten it wrong (at least for me) is in open office, when you try to save a non *.sxw document. First, you are warned that formatting may be lost if you save in a different format and asked whether you want to save in *.sxw format, to which the answer is "No". Then when you close the file, you are asked if you really want to quit without saving, to which you must answer "Yes". Why didn't they design it so I could answer with two Yes's or two No's ?

I have a feeling that when a menu attempts to be multilingual, it may end up being confusing in some of its translations. I recall using a windows database program (developed in Germany, I think) where the "quit" option on the data entry function gave a message like:

Not saving will lose all data.
Yes No

and the "yes" option quit and lost the data.

sayeeth
13th October 2004, 05:57 PM
I just thought of this scenario, user is at his pc going to reformat his Winblows HD and going to install Linux. He enters the following command instead of format.
C:\kill bill
(Warning! Are you sure you wish to destroy Microsoft CEO and all his counterparts?) Yes/Sure/Duh?
User enters D for Duh.
Output:
Congratulations! Your system is free from nasty and pesky software. Please insert CD #1 on your favourite Linux distro to continue.
User gleams with delight. :D

marks_linux
13th October 2004, 07:01 PM
These types of questions are always difficult to phrase and have the correct options for, even a good message can be read differnelty by to people. Making sure the key words in the question stick out is tricky. I spend more programming time thinking over help messages and 'are you sure' type questions than anything else. Theres loads of inconsistencies out there as you pointed out.

The cancel option when used gives a 'get out' for the unsure, or the how did i get here? scenarios.

Hey hit me at the wrong time with this one - spent 15mins today arguing over what a question box should say........

ieuuk
13th October 2004, 07:06 PM
exit message boxies are always a cause for discussion - its hard to decide how to phase them so that the idiot of the world can understand it, but i suppose you cant please everyone all of the time.

foolish
13th October 2004, 10:22 PM
This is what good, constant human interface guidelines are supposed to solve. If you find trouble like this, report it 'till your fingers hurt.

Jman
13th October 2004, 11:47 PM
I like the gedit save warning. Do you want to save before closing? Save/Don't Save/Cancel. It even tells you how many hours of work you would lose if not saving.

Apple got it right with their interface guidelines, in this case dialog boxes (http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/OSXHIGuidelines/).

With very good buttons, you don't even have to look at the text to know what they do.

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