Switches around the world and broken metaphors [Was: Battery Monitor revamp]

Martin Graesslin mgraesslin at kde.org
Sun May 26 16:35:20 UTC 2013

On Sunday 26 May 2013 18:07:14 Thomas Pfeiffer wrote:
> On Sunday 26 May 2013 00:05:56 Marco Martin wrote:
> > On Saturday 25 May 2013 14:32:29 Martin Graesslin wrote:
> > > > And this is clearly the case let's work around something we don't want
> > > > to
> > > > fix. Switches are a clear improvement over checkboxes depending on the
> > > > context even my 60yo mom got it much quickier than a checkbox would be
> > > > able
> > > > to on my plasmoids.
> > > 
> > > And I would completely fail to use the switch. I have huge problems
> > > understanding those switches and I have not seen any implementation of
> > > the
> > > switch where I got which one is on and which one is off.
> > 
> > that's for me as well.
> > I have to spend a second or more every time to figure/remember if the "on"
> > that is written on the switch (or being colored vs greyed, same thing)
> > means "it's on now" or "it's an action, so it's telling me it becomes on
> > if i click on it"
> Well actually, there is an easy way to make it absolutely clear which is
> which, although it takes lots of horizontal space and probably looks very
> ugly if you have many switches in the same UI: Just add text labels on each
> side, _next to_ the button, not inside of it. E.g. "OFF" or "O" on the left
> side, "ON" or "I" on the right side. That makes things perfectly clear.
Yes, it does. That clearly would work for me. As I mentioned in one of the 
replies if I see both states with a label, I am able to recognize what means 
on and what means off. As mentioned I found exactly one switch similar to the 
touch switches in my flat and it has distinct labels and I never failed to use 
that one ;-)
> So if ambiguity is the only reason against using switches on Desktop, we
> should use them.
At least for me there is another reason: given the way how the switch 
component is designed (again no matter which one) I am inclined to drag it 
from left to right. I don't try to click, I have to drag. There is no visual 
hint that clicking would adjust the state. It doesn't look like a clickable 
button. This makes the component really difficult to use. While on a touch 
screen it's much easier to use than a check box.

Now I could learn to click (so far I failed to do so), but I can think of many 
people who would no longer be able to learn this.


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