I have seen lots of different ways to define and categorize user interface elements/components. In the process of writing a style guide, I am interested in whether the following categories cover the standard set of user interface elements available and commonly used. What are the different categories that we should use to define user interface elements?

This is an example of what I am using at the moment:

  • Containers (e.g. windows, popups)
  • Navigation (e.g. accordions, breadcrumbs, pagination) Selection (e.g. menus, color picker)
  • Input (e.g. textfields, checkboxes)

"About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design", by Alan Cooper, has various chapters dedicated to user interface elements. The book uses these categories that I personally find appropiate and exhaustive:

  • Controls
    • Imperative controls (buttons, hyperlinks...)
    • Selection controls (check boxes, lists...)
    • Entry controls (spinneres, text edit...)
    • Display controls (scroll bars, splitters...)
  • Menus
  • Toolbars
  • Dialogs
  • Errors, alerts and confirmations

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