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I'm designing a windowed application. When the application starts up the user needs to be presented with a Login interface. The initial (and minimum) window size is 800x600. A header of height 42 pixels must be displayed.

The way I'm presenting the Login interface currently is by displaying a Panel at the center of the Window, however I feel that some users may be discontent with this option.

I considered the idea of starting with a small window, displaying the Login interface and expanding the window if the authentication succeeds, however this will pose a problem with the animations that take place and I feel that some users may be uncomfortable with small windows.

Any innovative and intuitive ideas to present the Login interface would be appreciated. -Chris Smith

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What leads you to believe that 'some users will be discontent' with presenting a panel in the center of the window as a login interface? That's the way operating systems have done it for years, and it's the way that many websites handle it (e.g. the WordPress admin area) so most users will likely be perfectly comfortable with it. –  Nick Aug 16 '11 at 13:17
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

With regards to websites which match your requirements, I'm a big fan of Toggl's centered sign in and sign up forms (which by the way, are equally simple - both with email + password only).

I don't see any reason why users should be discontent with it.

In the snapshot below, obviously your header replaces Toggl's...

You could try positioning it at 61.8% of the way up the screen to see if the golden ratio effect makes it look more attractive, but honestly - center is fine.

enter image description here

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You could try having a bar pop down from underneath the header. Like this:enter image description here

Then when the login has been completed, have the bar disappear.

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Good idea, however, what about the empty space blow the bar? The application runs in an 800x600 window in which the login interface and the header are the only components. –  Chris Smith Aug 16 '11 at 13:08
    
Could you just display the actually interface but gray it out or disable it until login is complete? –  Matt Rockwell Aug 16 '11 at 13:16
    
Unfortunately that is not an option, the resulting interface if fully dependent upon the user's data. –  Chris Smith Aug 16 '11 at 13:19
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Do you have to present some info about the app to the user or can the screen be completely empty (besides the header)? The toggl-example isnt't that userfriendly for newbies who don't know much about the app.

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That's very true - it only works for someone who knows why they are there (and just to confirm, the sign in screen is not Toggl's main page either). Either way - your answer should be a comment on the question - which you probably can't do yet! –  Roger Attrill Aug 16 '11 at 14:06
    
The app will need to be downloaded to be used, information about the app will be presented on a website. As for your question, no, the header and the login interface are the only components needed, however I'm always open to new ideas. –  Chris Smith Aug 16 '11 at 14:27
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