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szecs

Need feedback on windowed GUI

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szecs    2990
Hi all! I "advertised" this small minesweeper program in "Your Announcements" too, and I would really appreciate some feedback about the GUI usability, features, stability, bugs, especially the main window functions (resize/move/maximize-restore-minimize). If I miss a feature, or some features behaves differently than the default features, please let me know! Test it to its limits! I want to make the GUI stable, so I can reuse it in the future, but I'm not a hardcore user, so there may be test cases I don't even know about. link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/minesweepergame/ All other features (additional widgets) are secondary problems right now, the most important thing is to get the main window working right. BTW, is it an important feature to keep the GUI updated with the desktop? I mean when for example double click speed is changed, do I have to keep up with it (I'm not using the message for that, because I need triple/multiple clicking too at edit-boxes)? If so, how can I do that (apart from querying all the time)? Is there a system message for that? (I couldn't find anything on MSDN about this particular question (double-click speed)) Thanks in advance! The GUI in the signature is an older version with messy system and no windowing, but with more widgets

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szecs    2990
Immediately spotted two small bugs around the resize borders:
There were 1 pixel wide 'gaps' between the selection areas, and the selection areas of the title bar buttons didn't update properly after restoring the window from maximized state.

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davepermen    1047
Quote:
BTW, is it an important feature to keep the GUI updated with the desktop? I mean when for example double click speed is changed, do I have to keep up with it (I'm not using the message for that, because I need triple/multiple clicking too at edit-boxes)? If so, how can I do that (apart from querying all the time)? Is there a system message for that? (I couldn't find anything on MSDN about this particular question (double-click speed))


very important to me. i want to have every app to behave the same. consistency is key to usability.

so all in all, i think your ui is completely useless. but it works quite fine (and the game is cool, minesweeper FTW).

windows-internal gui, i don't care as much. but please let the windows borders the default way.

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szecs    2990
Maybe you are right, but so many programs have their custom skins.
I asked this before, but got no answer. Can I use a custom skin, but with the same border-titlebar? If so, then my struggling is totally meaningless.

BTW I spotted 2 other bugs: the window can be sized in x direction indefinitely (move+rezize+move+resize etc). This is easy to solve, but the next one is tougher:
I can move the window in a way that pressing the quit button will make the exit menu pop up off-screen, so I'm doomed, it's impossible to exit without ctr+alt+del, since it's a modal window, and the main titlebar is handled as a normal widget, so cannot be clicked, I think i can only come up with some hacky solution, which would ruin the whole GUI-"engine" (so much for the engine design...).

Maybe I should give it up (luckily that means commenting out 3 lines).

Or maybe....
I have to implement proper modal windowing some time: proper means that an other window can be clicked, if it's not an ancestor of the modal window. So The main window will not be an ancestor of any windows. And I can simply check in the quit-button-function if a modal window is present. So only it will be not clickable.

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szecs    2990
Er...
Do you mean custom GUI programs have a setting to restore the default Windows border/titlebar?

Not a bad idea...
I can have an options menu after all!

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Decrius    100
Quote:
Original post by davepermen
no, i mean i uninstalled all of those apps as they are annoying to use. custom ui == relearning usage


Then those custom GUI must have been extremely different.

I have really no problem with iTunes, Skype, xFire, AVG and what not. Also in any game the UI has not been a learning curve at all; buttons stay buttons, text is text. I can not remember an application that didn't follow these kind of basic rules.

Really, does it matter if the button is yellow or blue instead of gray?

For me, the most important is that the application looks the same regardless of the operating system, I mostly program full-screen applications though, so that is justified. As long as the OS has OpenGL, my GUI's work.

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davepermen    1047
the problem is not that a button looks a bit different. it matters if it happens to behave a bit different.

can i f.e. tab trough your controls to access them? can i use the ordinary keyboard shortcuts. can i remote control them with some automatication tools?

can i use them with my pen on the tablet? can i write with my pen into your textbox?

can i use it lefthanded/righthanded? big zoomed, smaller set?

does aero snap work for yours? aero peek? aero preview? aero shake?


i guess some will be answered with yes, but not all => your components don't deliver the same experience i have from other apps.

i can swipe like on an iphone trough lists with my tablet. can i do that on your lists?


etc.


standard components are there for a reason: to have the same usability in ANY situation. there are detailed os guidelines and explanations on WHY they are that way, and why they make sense.

and if you need an own gui in your window (for games, it makes sense), please still provide the ordinary window surrounding it, so people can handle the app like any other in terms of minimizing, maximizing etc.

does your f.e. comply to the fitts law when maximized? so i can close it by "throwing the mouse to the topright, not targeting, and blindly clicking?"

does it behave correctly on a multiscreen setup?

over remote desktop?

etc..


leave your clientpart as it is. but please use an ordinary window surrounding it. then people need 0 thought to find out how to use your app. now they do (no matter how low that amount is). 0 is always lower.




oh, and, yeah, i want my buttons in the same colour. if i want an os with all in gold, i can theme it like that. but then your app should be in gold, too. if i want it all dark, i can set it up like that. but your app should be like that, too, then.

the ones that CARE about theming are the ones that want your app to follow THEIR theme. all others want apps to have consistency => no own theme.

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szecs    2990
Thanks, that was the feedback I wanted to have. You seem like the hardcore user i wanted to ask, and that pointed out, that the default windowing behavior is just too complex to clone (at least for me).

But I uploaded the default windowed version, if you like minesweeper games.

And for the client GUI: of course it's only suitable for a complex game menu, maybe for a game related editor (with tons of work).

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jwezorek    2663
I like the custom window frame. I mean, it's a game. If it was a text editor or something then in that case you'd want it to look like a normal window, but I think it's okay for games to look different.

Here are some thoughts:

(1) I'd probably put a single pixel black or dark gray border around the window frame. The light gray doesn't pop enough when the window is sitting on the desktop.

(2) I'd tone down the shadow effect around the edges of the playing area. I like the effect but it's a little dark and can make the numbers hard to read.

(3) The zoom feature on the mouse wheel is pretty cool.

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