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> Why can't more people take a page from Apple's HCI guidelines, which > specify that button labels should be verbs? "Quit" and "Debug" would make > so much more sense than "OK" and "Cancel". Apples HCI gudelines are a bit schizophrenic here, because they say the labels should be verbs, but they also say that one could be "Cancel". They appear to have put that in because someone got on their case about "Abort" and they decided to standardise on "Cancel". I haven't yet seen this one, but I'm waiting for it: Do you want to cancel this message? (Don't Cancel) (Cancel) (Cancel) There's a whole barrel of problems with dialog boxes in general I'd be completely ecstatic if I didn't have to hate them any more. 1. Don't pop up a dialog box unless you're the foreground app. Apple does a good job with this, mostly, except the never sufficiently damned iTunes insists on popping up instead of "jumping up and down in the Dock like a Jack Russel Terrier", which is infinitely preferable. 2. Don't pop up more than one dialog box for a given problem. This can be tricky, but at least try to say: Can't connect to these servers, should I continue retrying selected servers? [X] Server 1 Location 1, California [X] Server 2 Location 2, California [ ] Server 3 Location 3, Argentina Or: File access error, can't remove files. (Ignore further errors) (Abandon reinstall) ... 3. If there's an obvious recovery operation, put it in the same dialog box. Can't connect to Server1, try: [Server2 ] (Retry) (Cancel) 4. If an operation can never succeed, let the user disable it. Mail.app insists on trying to connect to my IMAP servers on startup even if I know I'm not on the network and I just want to access local stuff. No matter what options I put in the server settings. "Connect on demand only" is kinda important. 5. If you know you're likely to get an error flood, put it in a separate window you can pull up from the dialog. Mirror failed. (See log) (Retry) (Cancel) Dialog boxes are all too often seen as an afterthought. For a lot of software, particularly stuff that's run in an automated fashion once it's set up, they can be most of the user interface!
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