Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
Jesse Kuhnert, the Dojo and Tapestry commiter, must have had one too many UIs with split-panes on his desktop.
It drove him to write about why splitpane views suck..:
Iâ€™ve recently been involved in some discussions surrounding ixd issues and attempted to use Yahoo Mail and Google Mail as examples of bad/good interface design techniques. There was a lot of push back because there were no follow up details outlining why one was good and the other bad. A complete analysis of the two applications would take much longer and require more effort than a random blog posting so I decided to focus on one core annoyance I have with Yahoo Mail – its use of ye old â€œSplit Paneâ€ re-sizable control.
Jesse’s core peeves are:
- Sizing – The size of the view I care about is never right! When Iâ€™m browsing a list of emails I want as much real estate as possible to view them all, I donâ€™t care about seeing any one particular email at that point. When I do select an email and the content within it doesnâ€™t fit into my split view itâ€™s annoying. I donâ€™t care about the emails anymore at that point, I just want to read the email Iâ€™ve selected. In fact, I might go so far as to say itâ€™s almost impossible for the view to ever be what I want in this scenario. By nature of the control the size of the view remains static until adjusted by the user, but when reading emails you really need it to change based on what step of reading them you are in. Arghh!
- Scrolling – I know I know. It sounds like a real whiny thing to complain about, but it is annoying. After selecting an email message I must now consciously think about the interface and move my mouse over to the appropriate area before I can actually scroll through the content – otherwise scrolling right there and then would move me up and down through all of my other email messages.
- Claustrophobia – I donâ€™t know about you, but these split views tend to make me feel pretty constrained. All of the scrollbars appearing on the page really start to make me feel like nothing is the right size. Like maybe my monitor sucks and I should get a bigger one? I donâ€™t know. The screen looks pretty large, how hard is it to fit everything on there without an all out assault on the senses from a million different UI controls all telling me the same thing – nothing fits!
Do you agree?
Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:27 am