It's a pretty simple question I guess. I'm fairly new to UI design. I'm generally a programmer, but I've been putting a lot of thought into my most recent project and I think I've managed to make a fairly cohesive design across the application.

My questions are

  • How far should I take this design?
  • Should I just accept that the Windows Explorer window is familiar to everyone, so when I save a file I just show that one like normal.
  • What is the standard practice for UI developers when developing Windows applications. Do you try to make everything look the same or go with Windows dialogs as default?

I guess I know in my own experience when I use a Java app in Windows it always catches my eye when it uses a custom explorer window to save something.


  • Programmers thinking about design issues of the interface as part of their implementation process - definitely should be encouraged!
    – Michael Lai
    May 3, 2016 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


I think in general the users will give you the best answer, and in the case where you don't have any information to go on, then consistency and conformance is the safe default option.

As for your questions:

  • how far can you take this design? can you provide some screenshots to see what the difference in styling and behaviour is?
  • I don't think the windows file explorer is that familiar to everyone, because it depends on which version of windows you are running as they can be quite different
  • you noticed the difference, and other people will as well, but whether that difference is good or bad won't be clear unless you can test the concepts with the users
  • Thanks for the answer. The thing is I'm a Windows power user so maybe not the best person to judge this. I notice the java apps as they create their own windows dialogs that stand out much more than the regular windows dialogs. Again, not sure if my opinion is skewed.
    – chris84948
    May 3, 2016 at 3:52
  • @chris84948 my understanding is that there are settings/configurations in java when it comes to UI look & feel which will automatically detect and change depending on what the operating environment is. On top of that you can also customize it however you like, whereas with Windows it would almost be like rewriting the Windows UI Framework if you want to adapt it to something else. Probably why people use Bootstrap and other front-end development framework instead of ASP.NET?
    – Michael Lai
    May 3, 2016 at 5:05

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