Many GUI creators let users change their application window’s size. But are they really ready for such actions? Not all of them. So, let’s welcome the hero of today, Videora iPod Converter. Among tens of free and commercial “DVD to iPod, DivX, XviD and vise versa” converters this one is definitely a first candidate to “keep away from” list. Not even mentioning its encoding features (I couldn’t make it work) I would only stop on a portion of its interface.
So, what do we see on launch?
Self-made iPod icon in the left-top corner, some tree control derivative for tab selection (come on, there’s a lot of space), some (grid-control?) garbage on the top of it and cut right panel. The controls are so poorly aligned that you won’treally be able to read the text unless you resize the whole window. The bitmap is centered and thus the text on it is unreadable…
Let’s just switch to te second tab to see controls:
Unusable without window resizing. So, let’s try to make the window bigger and see if it looks better then:
Not much, really. Now we just get a huge window with poorly composed controls. Let’s scale the thing down:
In fact, even this pitiful UI could look better if its creators followed some very simple rules:
- Can’t control – lock. I.e. just lock dialog size if you cannotmake it look decent under different resolutions
- Don’t use center align without a reason: in most cases left (or right) align woulddo less harm.
- Be careful with bitmaps: scaling them is no fun.
- RTFM. Seriously. If you find yourself a groovy coder, why not spending few minutes on readingbasic control usage rules?
Overall, resizeable windows and dialogs are quite a pain for many developers as they’re harder to handle then fixed-size ones. You may have to remember window position, size, state, carefully align controls, set sane defaults, etc…