...: Marsh Chatter
Design Decisions: Good, Bad, and Ugly
This Chatter series is not meant to be critical. In fact, it is meant to ask questions about design in order to learn and find out what is good design… or not. You might ask… can someone who does “code” actually ask questions about design? I say yes. This includes form, function, color, and even imagery. You can to!
Graphic artists and such might sit back and give you a few “tsk, tsk” and please stay out of this type of design. I say… why are you hoarding the knowledge. Share the knowledge, inform us why or why not… don’t tell us to go away – these questions and results are a puzzle to us and people who write code don’t turn away from a puzzle.
So – let’s get to the first question in this series… First, the background “cause”…
I like many developers, and people in general, participate in the community of Twitter. I use a couple of clients, along with the web interface to this community information sharing tool. One client I use is TweetDeck. As far as Twitter clients go, TweetDeck is favored amongst the Tweeps I follow. TweetDeck requires the Adobe AIR runtime. I suspect many of the design decisions for TweetDeck revolves around the abilities or inabilities within the AIR runtime – I don’t know… that’s why I’m asking.
So here’s what I did… I was reviewing some of the Tweets earlier today, using the very small scroll bar to go up and down. At one point, I was clicking the arrow at the top of the scroll bar (e.g. cyan arrow). Several clicks into my review I saw a dialog (warning message box) pop up (e.g. dark black bar with “Do you really want to delete the All Friends column?”). Apparently an errant click caught the “x” button to close the All Friends column – just above the up scroll button (e.g. see red arrow).
Obviously surprised by this, I, of course, did not want to do this and pressed the Escape Key to close the dialog. Guess what…? That didn’t work. I then looked for a button to close the dialog. The only button visible (see yellow arrow) was whose hover tip said “Yes, do it!” and giving the ominous blue text saying “(this action cannot be undone – choose wisely)”. Well… “grasshopper” – as far as I could see… I didn’t have a choice. Escape didn’t work and there wasn’t a close button.
Puzzled yet? I was – but then I had the proverbial “V-8” moment. I like many people use TweetDeck’s ability to shrink the window from multiple columns to 1 column. I opened it up a bit and there was the Close button (e.g. pink arrow, below).
So… the questions…
Why are the scroll arrows so small? The click target is just a few pixels.
Why doesn't the Escape Key clear the dialog?
Why would the close button for this message dialog be “off screen”?
Wouldn’t you size the dialog to be narrower than the column the question is about?
Of course, now that “I know” – I will know how to handle the issue – but would a couple of changes make this more intuitive and more functional?