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My company is redesigning one of its accounting software. Intuit's QuickBooks is something that be considered in the same market field, so I took a look at its UI.

Here is the invoice management: enter image description here

Please take a look at (A) the buttons bar on the top left and (B) the window buttons at on the right bottom.

Which pattern are they following? I guess: - the buttons bar (A) is about secondary actions - the windows buttons (B) are about primary actions.

Moreover, the window buttons are consistent through the different windows, while the buttons bar is contextualized in every single program.

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maybe this: ui.stackexchange.com/questions/3380/… –  igor Feb 14 '11 at 11:55
    
To me, is more another question. –  franz976 Feb 14 '11 at 17:19
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2 Answers

The buttons manage this estimate like a "page" content object.

The (B) window buttons are like the page SAVE button. They store the draft, and also ask what to do next:

  • Close the window. (Where do you go?)
  • Make a new page.
  • Go back to the previously saved version. (How sophisticated is the versioning? Can the user select from all previous drafts? Or just the last one?)

The (A) buttons bar move the page into an output workflow.

  • Print. (To file? Text? PDF? Hardcopy?)
  • Email. (Send estimate in the body of an email)
  • Further customization. ([Re]format the data)
  • Attach (to another object? To a new/existing email message?)

I don't know that "primary" and "secondary" are the issue. It seems more like "Where do you want to go from here?" SAVE or OUTPUT?

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The buttons on the lower right (B) are the navigation buttons. They can save or cancel the overall action that the user performs on this screen. Revert will put everything back to the way it was when the window was first opened. Save and New will save and then make a new invoice. Save and Close will save and then close this window.It's more typical to see buttons like Ok, Cancel here, but these are also fine.

The buttons above the table (A) are toolbar buttons. They affect the items in the table and also issue general commands for working on this screen.

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