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[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Nation dialog

[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Nation dialog

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To: freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Nation dialog
From: Vasco Alexandre Da Silva Costa <vasc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 23:00:06 +0000 (WET)

On Wed, 26 Feb 2003, Alan Horkan wrote:
> On Wed, 26 Feb 2003, Vasco Alexandre Da Silva Costa wrote:
> > Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 04:50:52 +0000 (WET)
> > From: Vasco Alexandre Da Silva Costa <vasc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > To: freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx
> > Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Nation dialog
> >
> >
> > I have been making a new nation dialog for the GTK+ 2.0 client. The design
> > has been finished as well as 70% of the code. You can see a screenshot
> > here:
> >
> >
> >
> > I've strived to make a dialog which follows the GNOME Human Interface
> > Guidelines. The old dialog was just too visually cluttered. Not to mention
> > friggin HUGE:
> i only recently started reading this list (and some of the archives), and
> this is my first post to the list.  i dont know how you do things around
> here so if this feedback is not welcome then please politely say so and i
> wont bother you agian.  I am not an expert, but an enthusiastic amateur
> who has done some reading and study.  "I dont know what art is but i know
> what i like" and mostly i can analyse why i like it that way.
> based purely on the screenshot i have a little* feedback, which i hope
> will be contructive.
> Firstly this is a substantial improvement and seems far more flexible for
> the future when Freeciv will inevetabley have rulesets for even more
> nations.
> If GTK dialogs allow you to skip down a list by typing the first few
> letters of a word it would be even better but that has nothing to do with
> freeciv.
> having both pictures and text is brilliant (for example icons only makes
> it hard to distinguish Irish or Ivory Coast, Italian or Mexican and text
> only is harder to scan quickly (only a contrived example)).


> I am always glad to see a developer who keeps in mind smaller displays
> when they design, until very recently i was still using a very small
> monitor.  Even better, but much much harder would be to make a dialog that
> resizes nicely for different displays (perhaps if the "nations" box was
> resizable).

I was forced to use a laptop since the weekend. I programmed this dialog in
it. I guess it shows.

> The alignment of the elements seems a bit off.
> I would have put "Leader" so that it aligned with "Robert Menzies".
> I would have put City Style top aligned rather than center aligned agains
> the list (but i am not sure what the HIG says on this, I need to
> properly read through the pages I link to rather than just skim reading).

The HIG didn't seem to be very specific about this. I originally used top
alignment. But then it looked a bit awkward because it wasn't properly
aligned with the label on top of the nation list. I tried aligning it and
it still looked awkward somehow.

> "Select a nation" with "Nation" right underneath it seems redundant.
> I never much liked those outliner boxes and would simply remove it.
> This section of the HIG about Frames seems to back me up.

Actually the problem is GtkFrame is not HIG compliant. If it was the
string would just be text in a bold font with the contents right
shifted 6 pixels and there would be no boxes. From what I read eventually
they should fix this so I used it.
Once GTK+ is HIG compliant it will look like it is meant to.

I could make my own widgets, but I think the GTK+ people should fix this
in the library where the changes belong. I removed all the other lines.
The only ones remaining are artifacts of GTK+ HIG non-compliance: the line
in the dialog separating the buttons from the widgets and the lines of
the GtkFrame.

The head GTK+ people seem to be insensitive regarding changing it to
follow the HIG. I think they are being dumb. It is about time Linux apps
started having consistent interfaces. I thought it was odd that GTK+ did
not have user interface guidelines for years. I mean, even Commodore bothered
making guidelines for the Amiga UI!

> The task order is different from the old dialog which is a little
> disconcerting.  (I see it as 2 columns and i read from right to left so in
> effect it is pick nation, pick leader, pick city.  The old dialog was one
> column, pick nation, pick city, pick leader).
> Have you tried arranging the new dialog as a single column?  (I have no
> idea if this would be better, i am totally biased by my personal
> preferences and being familiar with the old dialog).

I did. It was too tall and didn't look nice (it was way off Golden Section
proportions). Also, you are supposed to pick the nation before
anything else. Leader afterwards. Few people bother with the city style option.

> not and ideal example but hopefully you will agree that a little bit more
> layout space around the Quit,Disconnect,OK buttons would look nicer and
> more consistant.  More about layout in this section of the HIG.

I will look into this.

> Again I really hope this was constructive criticism.
> Thanks for the software.

No problem! :-)

Vasco Alexandre da Silva Costa @ Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisboa

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