2 hours ago, cbae wrote
@W3bbo: What would you have them do? Add a third tab and spread out the controls arbitrarily just to have more tabs? I think having two tabs is just fine. I see two-tabbed dialog forms all over the place. There wouldn't even be anything wrong with having only one tab on a particular form, if your intent is to have a consistent look across all of your forms.
No, I'm saying that people are overusing the ribbon because it's the current fad in UI design. Here's how I believe things should be:
- 0-10 commands all used roughly equally - menu bar (Notepad)
- 0-20 commands, but some used very frequently - menu bar with fixed toolbar for frequent options (ye olde Wordpad and Paint)
- 20-50 commands (without menubar): 'context bar' and appropriate replacements (Vista/7 Windows Explorer, IE9)
- 20-100 commands: menu bar with multiple flexible toolbars, preferably context-sensitive (Office 9x, non-Adobe image editing software)
- 100+ commands: ribbon (Office and AutoCAD)
- 100+ commands: a command-prompt (AutoCAD, Emacs)
What sucks is that in Windows Vista and 7 the menu bar was (seemingly deliberately) made ugly and doesn't fit in with the rest of Windows (a vertical blue gradient, why?), I feel this is why developers are leaning away from the menubar.
Photoshop is interesting because it keeps the menubar as a place to hide most of the commands (palettes and the context-sensitive toolbar aren't used as a starting point for issuing commands) - the menu system in PS (and the rest of their product line-up) is overly complicated and I do see a way forward as moving those commands to an area that represents the document's model (like how Layers commands are in the Layers Palette) but that isn't going to happen so long as Mac OS X keeps the menubar.
54 minutes ago, vesuvius wrote
@evildictaitor: It was built as a replacement for this when we started (probably the worst bit of software being sold on the planet in terms of bugs), so a toolbar was just not going to be acceptable as an update.
The customer really wanted a product that had a UI that was modern. Being scientists, they are really quite conservative, so any Billy Hollis type UI concepts were binned as soon as they were mentioned.
"acceptable" according to who? I'll agree the old product was an eyesore, but I don't believe that's an excuse for inappropriate UI design. You can have beautiful applications that aren't garish and have an effective UI, but I can't really offer any constructive criticism because I don't know or understand your application so I can't go into detail about alternatives.