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I'm creating a dialog box template for my website (which is more like an application and may have multiple dialogs open at a time) and I was thinking about putting the title text and the bar that moves the window around at the bottom of the window (instead of at the top like in Mac/Window). Are there any studies that might support this layout option?

When the dialog has close button, I'm was thinking about integrating into the title bar.

Personally, I think the feel is nicer as it gives the window a 'gravity' effect and I was wondering whether it's likely to put users off or whether they'd get used to it quickly, assuming they're was an obvious handle on it.

  • There has to be a better reason than you think it's nicer. For example - the users will think it's nicer and your user research provides evidence for this. I'm all for breaking convention IFF the benefits outweigh the friction against expectations. But, I can think of no good reason for this. Can you? Really? – Roger Attrill Sep 19 '14 at 15:54
  • I couldn't find any studies about this (and therefore tried to approach this without preconceptions). Conformity for conformity's sake isn't always the right answer. Some of the best apps/programs have come out of people breaking conformity. That's why I asked. – Prinsig Sep 19 '14 at 16:06
  • There are conventions to follow and conventions that can be broken or at least tinkered with. For example, it would seem prudent to drive on the same side of the road as everyone else in your own country, but you can customise your car as much as you like (within the law). – Roger Attrill Sep 19 '14 at 16:13
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Without any research on the subject I'd say it would be one of the most annoying things to get used to, as it is the exact opposite of any standards put in place by operating systems.

Another thing to consider is that content always follows the title, reversing the order would go against common sense.

  • Hmm, okay. I guess the reason I asked was because I want to use the title bars as anchors, rather than titles as such. – Prinsig Sep 19 '14 at 15:54
  • @Prinsig What's meant by "anchors"? Like tabs at the bottom of an Excel sheet? – bdimag Sep 19 '14 at 20:01
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Big part of being UX is not basing your designs on what you feel, know or expect, but on user research and cognition instead.

User 'research' (conventions)

A title bar at the top is pretty much an undisputed convention. By way of analogy, putting it a the bottom is like speaking and change yes with no, because you feel like it (in Greek 'na' means 'yes' - massively confusing for non-Greek speakers). Since you should design based on what users expect, there's little to consider here - they expect titles on the top. That's the user 'research' bit of the answer.

Structure and cognition

There is also a cognitive reason why its on top. All languages (I believe?) are reader top to bottom. Thus, in term of structure, users expect the high-level details (overview, captions, etc.) on top, and low-level details on the bottom.

I could expand the argument, but I hope what's here suffice.

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