program installed on user's machine as opposed to a program that runs remotely and is accessed via an internet browser.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

55
votes
18answers
2k views

How can I keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about designing complex, rich applications?

I am designing a very complex eco-system of apps. I like to make sure I am up-to-date with the latest thinking, research and trends in app and UI/UX design. I find that there are many great articles, ...
50
votes
9answers
5k views

Undo History - Why limit it?

Why do most applications have fairly limited 'undo' history functionality? I've been caught out on multiple occasions (granted its technically my fault) where I've needed to undo a number of changes ...
33
votes
9answers
4k views

What are the drawbacks of designing a Windows application to look like a Mac application?

I'm working with a company whose product is a Microsoft Windows application. As the UI/UX designer (and as a Mac user) I want to redesign the application so it is more visually appealing. Are there ...
32
votes
8answers
6k views

What is the purpose of having a clock on the desktop?

It is common for a clock to be placed somewhere on the desktop - in Windows, it is on the taskbar. But why do designers do this? It makes sense on a phone, for example, but when on a computer, I ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the best way to get users to discover and learn keyboard shortcuts

In a mouse driven desktop application, with a ribbon style interface and which has no menubar, what is the best way for users to learn about the shortcuts and accelerators which can help a user work ...
21
votes
5answers
15k views

Is there a Windows 8 desktop UI Guideline or HIG anywhere in the world?

And I don't mean Win 7 / Metro UI guidelines, I have them up the wazoo, but I've changed jobs and need to start looking at the new Windows 8 DESKTOP design. I know it takes a lot of cues from Metro on ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Search box UI - “all words”, “partial match”, “exact phrase”

I'm designing a desktop application (boring accounting stuff) and I have a "search product" feature. I want to have a nice but simple 'smart' search box. Currently, the search box works by splitting ...
17
votes
3answers
612 views

How to indicate a table is missing rows that have been filtered out?

Do you know of any aesthetically-pleasing and effective ways of indicating that a table's contents have been filtered, without the filter information getting in the way? Some background on my ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Warn desktop user of draggable website

I'm building a site that uses the jQuery iScroll plugin in the main navigation system. (http://lab.cubiq.org/iscroll/examples/simple/). Please note that the plugin is not exactly drag-n-drop. Right ...
13
votes
5answers
370 views

Should a special slider value be implemented with a checkbox or not?

I am creating a dialog box for a GIMP plugin that exports images in the WebP format. The dialog currently looks something like this: download bmml source – Wireframes created with ...
12
votes
3answers
425 views

Desktop metaphor - Why is it called “windows”?

The desktop metaphor is modelled after a real life desk with files and folders on top and useful items (calculator, trash bin...) nearby. And when we take something in our hands to examine it more ...
12
votes
7answers
512 views

Saving & restoring undo stack — good or bad?

In a sovereign desktop app with multi-level undo/redo (ie Photoshop, Word, etc), would being able to save and restore the undo history of a file with the file itself be a good thing or a bad thing? My ...
12
votes
3answers
269 views

What are the reasons why the mobile apps market is more developed and active than the desktop one?

What are the reasons why the mobile apps market is more developed and active than the desktop one?
11
votes
5answers
549 views

What's the best way to get reliable user feedback on a desktop application?

Lately my company has been trying to figure out the best way to get reliable feedback from a our users. It seems that we hear things from our power users and mostly from those who have trouble, but ...
11
votes
2answers
576 views

Icon-only navigation bar for a desktop application?

I am working on a groupware application running as a desktop application (not in the browser). I wanted to keep the interface really simple and minimalistic so my users will not get distracted by a ...
11
votes
2answers
218 views

Is Desktop Window Title Necessary?

I'm currently working on a desktop app and wonder if the program name is really necessary in the title bar? I know that latest versions of App Store and iTunes doesn't have it at all. But if we ...
11
votes
3answers
269 views

Can placing dark and light elements or blocks next to each other in a UI lead to problems in visual perception?

A designer on my project has proposed something that uses both light and dark backgrounds within the same context (basic mockups below). A short background for the app: It is a platform on which ...
10
votes
6answers
464 views

What to put in the About box?

I wonder what useful stuff one can put in an About box in a Mac OS X program. Most basic the About box displays Program icon Program name Version number Copyright More sophisticated ones ...
10
votes
2answers
305 views

Choosing appropriate words for error levels

I develop an open-source, system monitoring tool, ServiceMon, and I'd really appreciate some help choosing the right words to use for a feature. The state of the system that is being monitored is ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Should Dialogs be avoided in modern applications?

I have used a few dialogs on the last system I designed. The application was a business application with many database tables and I used many datagrids to show data. It was common that I placed a ...
9
votes
13answers
710 views

When would you prefer a custom/skinned user interface in a desktop application?

I'm working on an application whose UI is skin-based, but it looks a little bit old (its graphics were designed more than 5 yeas ago). It's not clear to me whether we should consider a redesign or get ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

Desktop software design patterns

There are a lot of resources on the web about web applications design patterns, but only a few about desktop applications. And this is quite strange as most of the business targeted software is ...
9
votes
3answers
244 views

Why do menu labels behave differently in desktop applications and websites?

In a desktop application when you click a menu, you see all the options which reside within it, in a drop-down/pop-up list. In many websites with a navigation menu which has sub-categories, I have ...
9
votes
6answers
806 views

iPhone like UI for Desktop apps

Is there any reason why an iPhone like UI paradigms shouldn't be adopted while designing a desktop application? Let's say you're developing a windows application, can you not use something similar to ...
9
votes
1answer
415 views

Where should the “preferences” item go in a desktop application?

I find that the "preferences" menu item is always in a different place, and often under an arbitrary name which always makes it a pain to locate unless you're already familiar with the software. I ...
9
votes
1answer
491 views

Prominent Notification Areas in a Desktop Application

I am working on ux for a desktop application for users. I am looking to find out more information, answers, best practices when it comes to handling notifications of actions and other alerts within a ...
8
votes
10answers
748 views

How can I deal with too much blank space in a desktop application?

Usually people are concerned with too much data/interface, and not enough screen real estate, but I'm in the opposite situation. The desktop application I'm working on has several tabs for entering ...
8
votes
3answers
891 views

Options, preferences, settings, configurations: What to call them in my application?

I've seen a lot of different applications use a lot of different terminology for the part of the application that lets you change the settings. But are there any advantages/conventions as to using one ...
8
votes
5answers
547 views

What factors should I consider when [re]designing a home page / home screen?

I've been considering redesigning the home screen for the next release in a desktop application I'm responsible for. This could probably be thought of as a brand-new design, since I have virtually no ...
8
votes
2answers
270 views

Has user testing ever revealed that you have to change your app's UI colour?

Dark-themed UI colours have been popular for a while on certain desktop applications (Adobe Lightroom as an example), and seem to be popping up on mobile applications as well. I'm referring to the ...
8
votes
4answers
241 views

Is there ever a circumstance where the user should be notified of a user interface no-op?

The headline may be a bit confusing, so here's a web example (although this question is equally applicable to desktop applications): I open up the same eBay listing in 2 separate tabs of my web ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Why does Skype's “x” button minimize the application instead of closing?

I was browsing through the web and I came across this sentiment: Dear Skype, this (red X) button means close, not minimize I also found the same question on the Skype website. Why would a ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the ideal height of a button in regular desktop applications?

On most GUI creator (I just checked Qt Creator and Flex Builder), it seems the default button height is about 22 pixels. This is what I use for most desktop applications I create except those I make ...
7
votes
1answer
206 views

Should filtering of data have an effect on the filter criteria as well?

My quesion is about filtering of data in a Windows desktop application. I have a large amount of data coming from a database (> 900.000 records). The records are shown in a classic listcontrol (rows ...
7
votes
1answer
158 views

Best practice to ask for donation on a windows application?

How to ask for donation on a free windows application, without risking being pushy ? This old question is only talking about websites: Best UX to ask for donations I want to remind people to donate, ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Replacement for long drop-down list

I'm currently working on a part of our application in which the user edits a document. Part of the application allows the user to input certain "parts." We've implemented this as a couple of drop ...
6
votes
7answers
450 views

Why do most websites have a custom skin where as most desktop applications don't?

You rarely ever see websites with a UI that has the same skin as the operating system. But, desktop application rarely ever change skins. Why do custom-skins work so well for webpages but not for ...
6
votes
3answers
204 views

How to handle long processing task in UI?

We have a Desktop based WinForms application. Application performs some very complex logic in database and is bound to take long time. By long time i mean it will take anything from 1 min to 20 min ...
6
votes
1answer
346 views

Where can I find an official or recommended Windows desktop application user interface usability and style guide?

I've heard there is a OSX User Interface Usability and Style Guide since the 90's. I never heard of an equivalent book for Windows. Is there any?
6
votes
3answers
466 views

Best Practices: Save and Exit in Software UI

This has been discussed a few times on here for web implementations but never for a desktop application. Being we have a title bar/file menu/toolbar etc. what is the best practice for closing a window ...
6
votes
4answers
722 views

What are good examples of custom/skinned user interfaces? [closed]

In relation to the question of when should you skin your application (desktop apps, not web pages, which are almost always customised), it seems a real fact, that sometimes you just have to do it, ...
6
votes
3answers
160 views

Getting “empty” views right

In many applications, the first view a user will see is an empty view. A view with no data in it. Let's say for example that we have a desktop project management application, then the first view ...
5
votes
4answers
350 views

Better way to provide software downloads for an exe application

We plan to release an .exe file to public. The options would be to download the .exe file from the websites direct server link, so that we can provide direct download support with respective to ...
5
votes
2answers
537 views

What affords scrolling?

Besides the obvious: Scrollbar Touch interfaces (especially mobile ones) A sign saying "You can scroll here you know!" This for a desktop application.
5
votes
6answers
420 views

Rough and fine adjustments with horizontal slider

I'm used to scrolling being thrice as effective as arrowkeys in Firefox. I want to give the ability to quickly and roughly adjust values by hovering over the slider and using the scrollwheel. Finest ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

The logic behind having an OK button and Apply button

Moving back to desktop land after being drunk with mobile interfaces, desktop dialogs almost always have these three buttons: OK Apply Cancel A close button. This pattern seems to occur on both ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

Correct ordering position for 'Yes', 'No' and 'Not now'?

What is the correct position for the 3 buttons: Yes - No - Not now (or Yes - No - Later) is it Yes - No - Not now or is it Yes - Not now - No This will be on a windows 7 windows application, on ...
5
votes
3answers
336 views

Managing multiple windows in one application

I am developing a desktop application to create, arrange and read blocs of sounds, via a grid interface like this : Each bloc of sound is of different nature and has its own panel to control its ...
5
votes
4answers
622 views

Software startup screens [closed]

I know there is advice (and very good advice at that) to generally not have startup/welcome screens in software. Our software I think has a legitimate need for one, our free download is served from ...
5
votes
3answers
330 views

Menu organization : conventional or domain-specific?

I'm building a desktop application that is a tool to mount some very domain-specific graphic structures that in the tool's context are called "sequences" (it's not important here I guess). To help ...