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I am working on a computer application and from a design aspect, I would like my application to be as intuitive as possible. I currently have a panel that is displayed via a menu strip and that panel has a button that says "Done" used to collapse the panel. The panel is used for loading data and thus the way to display it is:

  • File->Load->Data

Then once you've completed loading your data, the idea is to click "Done" to collapse the panel and continue your work in the main content area. This gets rid of the need for an extra form with such simple work occurring inside the panel.

So far, I have a split panel control where panel1 is the main content area, and panel2 is the data area. At the bottom of panel2 is a button (as described above). I'm afraid that this isn't as intuitive as I think it is, and that I should either chose a different word, or utilize a different layout to accomplish this task.

The flow of this is as follows:

  • The user wants to load data.
    • File->Load->Data
  • Data loader panel is displayed.
  • User selects the data to load.
  • Data is loaded.
  • User clicks "Done" to collapse the panel.

An alternative is to collapse the panel when it loses focus, or once data loading is completed.


What would be the proper word used to inform a user that the button they are about to click will collapse the panel (alternatives to show, hide, done, close, or collapse are preferred).


Example

@Nicolas Hung asked for a screenshot of the GUI for clarification purposes. I am unable to provide a true screenshot; however, I have crafted an example that I can use to help explain.

GUI Example

The dark grey area is the data panel; once the user clicks done, the panel then collapses to the right, expanding the main area (black area).

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  • Could you share a screen or two to better describe the problem? Thanks – Nicolas Hung Oct 23 '18 at 13:37
  • @NicolasHung Unfortunately I can't; however, I will craft a basic representation of it in Paint and upload it. – user120113 Oct 23 '18 at 14:57
  • Can a user change certain settings when they load the data in the panel at the right side? Will the application be in English or perhaps some other language? – Kevin M. Oct 23 '18 at 15:08
  • @KevinM. It will be in English; and they can change properties of specific objects they are loading which is why I'd like a "Done" button or similar. Essentially, once they've loaded their data, they can then select an object in their data list, and at the bottom of the panel, if that object has properties, then they can change them for that object if they wish. – user120113 Oct 23 '18 at 15:19
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Since the button is the final step of a mini-task (open data list, select data, confirm), the wording should confirm the action desired by the user.

Show, Hide and Collapse all imply an interface action (Expand/Collapse, Show/Hide) and not necessarily a command for the system.

"Done" is used by many applications as the finish of a task. Could be used for space constrained cases, but would be more powerful if coupled with a verb title such as "Select data to be loaded".

An alternative button label could be "Load Selected Data". It describes what the system will do when the button is clicked and reaffirms the user they are doing the desired action. Moreover, it also keeps consistent use of the verb "Load" from your dropdown menu.

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If the purpose of the button - as you see it in this scenario - is to close/hide the panel once the data has loaded (or when the user has had enough) then use 'Close' or 'Hide', or simply include a 'X' close button on the top right hand corner of the panel. This is a universally understood action.

Don't forget you shouldn't confuse user actions (use buttons) with system status messages (alerts, status alerts)? How will the customer know when the data being loaded into the panel is complete or ~50% of the way complete? I would suggest providing a mechanism (many examples out there) of showing the progress of the data being loaded, and keep that separate from the 'Close' or 'X' button. Once the data has loaded then the status message should show 'Complete / Done' or something similar, but the button would also be visible to provide a user action (to close the panel).

Finally, when in doubt test it. Come up with a relevant narrative/scenario and ask the user to complete a task(s) using your designs? Or show them your image and ask questions related to your 'problem' statement.

Good luck.

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