dialogs and label alignment

Thomas Zander zander at kde.org
Tue Dec 20 16:17:45 CET 2005

On Monday 19 December 2005 02:10, Celeste Lyn Paul wrote:
> (example 1)
> long label 1: [control]
> label2: [ c o n t r o l  ]
> ... where the input box would be stretched to fill the gap.  its
> stretched only when the gap is extremely large, for example in the
> kontact configuration when you edit an account in the general account
> info tab, the space in the first input boxes isnt very large and arnt
> difficult to trace with your eye.

> personally i think example 1 is easier to read, but would be more
> difficult for developers to design.

I'm not sure I agree with you as this way of doing things breaks aligning 
In a UI I always make sure things line up, a group of labels and their 
input boxes should be layed out in a grid to allow aligning the boxes and 
make them all the same width.
I'm pretty sure I can find some good research on this topic as I have been 
working on this issue for some time as well in my Java days.
In fact I think Qt is missing a lot of features in that department..   But 
thats going off topic.

> conversly example 2 is cleaner and 
> easier to design, but may not be as easy to scan through.

Without doing any research (I just have seen lots of different ways in 
layouting in my time) I'd say we have 
a) initial impression (is the whole dialog clean looking) thats where your 
example 1 fails.
b) scanning of all texts.  Having a steady baseline distance between items 
and a similar offset where the text starts is known to be good for 
c) Seeing the label/control combination as 1 makes it easier to grok.

If the labels are really short then the problem of b goes away in a right 
aligned setup. (example2)  Then again, that would also minimize the 
problem of (c) since the spacing also gets less.

In the end I don' t think its worth it; having baseline alignment, 
spacing/margin difference at different zoom levels and functionality to 
sync multiple layouts for aligning is (a.o.) much more needed for a 
pleasant layout IMO.

So, if you (Aaron) know of people in Qt that are interrested in real 
usability enhancements I'd love to talk to them and get those layouting 
items addressed :-)
Thomas Zander
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