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Reinstate "..." ellipses convention on all buttons that do not cause an immediate action.

mjbank
mjbank Member ✭✭✭
So, this isn't so much a "New Idea" as it is an Old Idea about resurrecting established UI conventions.

The convention: Buttons that given an opportunity for more interaction have ellipses ("...") after the label (and, presumably, that additional interaction will include an opportunity to Cancel). Buttons that will do something immediately do not have ellipses.

I need to know which buttons will submit an action now with the information on the form and which buttons will pop a further dialog, allowing me another opportunity to review what's going to happen and maybe cancel the operation then.

Example: "Send Later" vs "Schedule". Will Send Later pop another dialog so I can choose WHEN? Will Schedule schedule it now with the information given or pop a dialog so that I can make further adjustments on when (or cancel)?

I know some designers who do not like ellipses because they see them as visual "clutter" and interfere with the pretty centering of the button label - I would allege that something that conveys information which is useful (or sometimes important) to the user is never clutter.
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  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    It is a very old UI principle for ellipses to indicate user input will be required before an action is executed. (Not just on buttons, but on menu items, too.)

    Over the years, Quicken implementers seem to have forgotten this, and Q has landed in an inconsistent state where this simple UI guideline is concerned. I have voted.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • mjbank
    mjbank Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks Rocky! Yes, I wish I could EDIT my idea, but PLEASE ADD TO MY IDEA "also menu items". For example, context menus (pop-up menus).

    Yeah, it IS a "very old" UI principle - though I might have said "venerable" to promote a more positive connotation! ;-)
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    "Venerable" is better. :)
    But what a mess. Physically editing the GUI strings is easy, but some high level decision needs to be made about what needs ellipses and what doesn't.
    Take the Tools menu as an example. Basically every command in this menu opens a dialog rather than taking an action. Do we want "..." after all of these menu items? I don't think so, because opening a dialog is different than requesting more information before performing an action.
    Look at this inconsistent mess. Of all the items which needs ellipsis, "Reset Vault" screams out for one.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    "Venerable" is better. :)

    Look at this inconsistent mess. Of all the items which needs ellipsis, "Reset Vault" screams out for one.

    And not Account List, Calendar, Alert Center, Category List, Tag List, Security List, One Step Update Summary, Renaming Rules, Memorized Payee List, Online Center, Online Payee List, Address Book, Calculator?   :)

    In fact the easiest way to state this the only one that shouldn't have ... is Password Vault menu item.
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  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't think they all need ellipses. Most of them really are "tools" which open via menu item, as opposed to "commands" which perform an action. The latter is what needs ellipses.
    The "List" items surely don't need ellipses, as their name denotes the fact that they open lists. So I think this issue does have its subtleties.
    What it needs is consistency. Why does "Manage Bill & Income Reminders" lack  ellipsis while "Manage Hidden Accounts..." has it?
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I don't think they all need ellipses. Most of them really are "tools" which open via menu item, as opposed to "commands" which perform an action. The latter is what needs ellipses.
    The "List" items surely don't need ellipses, as their name denotes the fact that they open lists. So I think this issue does have its subtleties.
    What it needs is consistency. Why does "Manage Bill & Income Reminders" lack  ellipsis while "Manage Hidden Accounts..." has it?
    And there is one of the reasons these kinds of things come up.  When there isn't a hard fast rule that everyone agrees on you will get people's opinion, which of course will of course not be the same for everyone.

    But on top of that you have mixing of GUI styles from different era's, and changing opinions. For instance URLs, at first they were suppose to be underlined, but as they wanted to make them more like the Desktop and buttons now you don't see that as much.  And throw in the mobile GUIs where ... is "expensive" space wise and as such not part of any "standard".

    And last I doubt anyone has done a top down look at everything pertaining to such a "style" in many, many years, as so once in by a given developer, it just "stays".

    For what it is worth here is what Microsoft says on the subject:

    Using ellipses

    While menu commands are used for immediate actions, more information might be needed to perform the action. Indicate a command that needs additional information (including a confirmation) by adding an ellipsis at the end of the label.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/uxguide/cmd-menus


    So in reference to the "Lists"  I guess that depends on if you think of it as an "action" or a dialog to get additional information.

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  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Microsoft is exactly right. Also on that page (emphasis theirs):

    Proper use of ellipses is important to indicate that users can make further choices before performing the action, or even cancel the action entirely. The visual cue offered by an ellipsis allows users to explore your software without fear.

    This doesn't mean you should use an ellipsis whenever an action displays another window only when additional information is required to perform the action. For example, the commands About, Advanced, Help, Options, Properties, and Settings must display another window when clicked, but don't require additional information from the user. Therefore they don't need ellipses.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Microsoft is exactly right. Also on that page (emphasis theirs):
    Of course they are right, they pretty much the people that set the standard.   :)

    I'm certainly not a "GUI expert" especially when it comes to the "standards".  In fact I pretty much hated working on GUI in any kind of company setting because in my opinion is "programming by committee".

    I notice that though that when Quicken Inc puts something in Quicken that is "adhering to the current standard" or in other words "modernized" which the "old timers" don't like its is still "wrong".  It was really fun to watch how the suggestion to "modernize Quicken" got so many votes.  And then when it was actually done, again got tons of comments because it wasn't what they expected.

    For instance when Quicken was modernized to reflect what Windows 10 was at the time where it had monographic images and such, there was a big out cry about that.

    Interesting enough Microsoft has come around to putting color back into their icons.  But frankly I wonder more if it is if they were catering to the users, or if they just felt the need to change.  The GUI styles seem to change like women's fashions use to.  It had to change, after how else would you justify buying a whole new wardrobe?    :)

    I do love this statement:
    "The visual cue offered by an ellipsis allows users to explore your software without fear."

    The things I would "fear" in Quicken as a new user have nothing to do with these menus!
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  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Chris_QPW said:
    Microsoft is exactly right.
    Of course they are right, they pretty much the people that set the standard.   :)
    The standards predate Microsoft Windows. Virtually all of the Windows GUI conventions were, cough, originally "adopted" from the Motif window manager which ran on the X11 window system on Unix.
    I'm certainly not a "GUI expert" especially when it comes to the "standards".  In fact I pretty much hated working on GUI in any kind of company setting because in my opinion is "programming by committee".
    I am a GUI expert. It was my career focus for 20 years. Just saying.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Ah Motif I remember it well.   :)
    (But not well enough that it was the first to use ...  :D  )

    I certainly liked its constraints way of setting up a GUI over Microsoft's "fixed" GUIs that forces the programmer to handle all the resizing and such.  Quicken is a perfect example of why this isn't really good idea, with all its fixed sized windows and columns that don't hold their size, and improper scaling with the fonts change...
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    BTW the other thing I hate about GUIs is they might be flexible, but I haven't seen any that I would call "efficient" (from a system programmer's point of view).  When I look at Quicken's performance or more precisely the lack of performance, I suspect the GUI, especially in the investment accounts has a lot to do with it.

    I haven't ever seen a GUI library that can handle more than a few hundred items in a list without either slowing down to a crawl or having to make it a virtual list.
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