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A lot of program dialogs can be resized. Some programs remember the new size of the dialog after you've resized it. So next time you open the same dialog, the new size is being used.

Right now in the software I'm designing for this is not the case, the dialogs don't remember their size. I've discussed it with a colleague and his stance is that users often do this temporarily just to view things that are truncated or fall just out of the dialog. I think that resizing the dialog is a conscious action by the user who is not happy with the default dialog size, and that it should be remembered.

I'm wondering if there are any guidelines on this on what would be best practice?

  • Are you asking in relation to desktop software or web based applications? I think there is a difference in expectation from users. – Martyn Mar 2 at 9:50
  • @Martyn Desktop software – Gerlof Leuhof Mar 2 at 10:19
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Not a guideline, but the result of long experience. You should remember the size setting, but not the location. If you need to resize the dialog to see something, you will need to resize it again when you next perform the same task. I have worked with applications with the following:

  1. No resize, no scroll. Content the developer didn't forsee gets cut off.
  2. No resize, with scroll. Users can see cut off data, but the user experience is poor.
  3. Resize, no memory. Users resize each time they open the dialog. They get used to it so it's poor UX but seldom reported.
  4. Resize, with memory. No UX issues.

NB I said don't remember the position, because you should generally bring up dialogs in the middle of the screen or the middle of the parent app. If they go somewhere else, even if it's the last place this person put it, then it can be hard to find. It may for example have been on another monitor.

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  • I've had to fight so many times with dialogues on the wrong monitor. It's so frustrating. PLEASE AVOID THIS! – chrisbergr Mar 5 at 12:09
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I don't think there are any guidelines but if you feel the user might want the size to be same as what he resized it just provide a control(something the user selects to save the size) so that it can be according to his preference as most of the users love the power of controlling things. Alternatively, It also depends on the use case.

Hope this helps you, Thanks!

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I'd just remember the user settings for window panes and other things where the user spends most of their time.

For important information coming from the app, like alert modals and notifications, I'd keep them in the same place all the time so the user can see them where you designed them to live.

Best example is

Another example,

  • Material Design's notifications:

https://material.io/design/platform-guidance/android-notifications.html#types-of-notifications notification In here, we also see that, as their guidelines, notifications always appear in the same place.

About the size: It should depend on the content. And dialogs should be designed to take into account how much content they will display.

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It is not necessary to save the size of the modal window, but it must be designed to fit the content. That is, it must be flexible.

Design a component taking into account padding and margins and you will not have any problem for its correct visualization.

The margins and blanks will generate harmony and make any content displayed correctly.

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Overall, as others have said there's probably no convention or rule here. It really depends on the context, how users use your system, and so on.

Here are some questions I'd probably ask myself when trying to decide...

Do you have dozens of dialog boxes you have to keep track of? Then recording all their sizes for every user becomes sort of burdensome from the development perspective and perhaps isn't worth it.

How are you resizing the dialog now? If it is difficult to do and the user has to click a small resize area to do so, then resizing is annoying and difficult. If it's a single button to expand say, the height of the dialog, then it's pretty easy.

Do users have to resize all the time? If so then redesign your dialog box to be more practical for normal use. If it's rare, then don't bother remembering sizes.

Is expansion needed specifically for a text entry element or an expanding list where user input can make it grow? Then consider having the dialog automatically expand as the user adds more content. Also, when the dialog is re-opened with the same larger content, re-open the dialog automatically expanded based on the content you know you have to show.

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"users often do this temporarily just to view things that are truncated or fall just out of the dialog" it would seem that is the only valid case for "resizing the dialog is a conscious action by the user who is not happy with the default dialog size" (perhaps another valid reason is to cover up some horrible content beneath the dialog? XD). So focus on making dialogs present their content without such problems, thereby negating the existence of the dialog resizing problem completely.

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