Re: FYI: Your dialog isn't Modeless

Subject: Re: FYI: Your dialog isn't Modeless
From: Paul Cubbage (
Date: Sat May 27 2000 - 00:30:44 CDT

sam th wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On Fri, 26 May 2000, Paul Cubbage wrote:
> > I bcc'd Jef Raskin my comments and he replied:
> >
> > I have some comments on Martin's note (I am not sure who is
> > communicating to
> > whom here).
> >
> > "Open 4 windows on your desktop, now which window does your symbol go
> > into?" From a UI point of view the answer is "The Window Most Recently
> > Focussed".
> >
> > I disagree. As soon as you have windows, you have modes. If one of the
> > windows has the system focus, then it will behave differently than the
> > other
> > windows if, say, you try to type into it. Any other window will require
> > a
> > click in it (or some such) before you can type, but that one can be
> > typed
> > into directly. I think there is a quote in my book about windows being
> > modes
> > in sheep's clothing.
> >
> > Jef
> Martin was writing this for the rest of us AbiWord developers (who are
> likely to have to implement these for other dialogs, unless he does them
> all for us).
> I wonder, since you seem to believe that the behavior Martin described as
> modeless is not really, and is not the optimal UI design, what you think a
> better solution would be. We are all understandably anxious to have the
> best UI possible for AbiWord, and I at least would like to hear your views
> on this.
> Thanks

I had trepiditions about this when I first sent it. I would recommend
that you read Jef's book to understand the entire context of the logic.
Something is a mode if keystrokes/actions in it have a different meaning
than if used elsewhere. In effect, the user has to become aware of the
system state and be distracted from content.

The trepiditions were that ABI Word is too far downstream to incorporate
most or all of the concepts in "The Humane Interface" and I don't want
to interfere with the progress just before 1.0 is due.

However, anyone involved in interface design should read this book.

Paul Cubbage, CEO	408-353-2164 408-353-8181FAX 408-472-1112cel
Open Country, Inc.
23450 Old Santa Cruz Hwy.
Los Gatos, CA 95033

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