Reset Button Icon

16 Aug 2004 - 4:37pm
9 years ago
25 replies
4554 reads
Kendra Parker
2004

I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button. The button
de-selects all selected items located on a map. The problem, though, is
that the button must contain a 16x16 px image due to constraints on the
toolbar control itself, otherwise we would simply use a text button that
says "Reset." We need something that will be fairly recognizable since
our general user will have limited computer experience and rarely more
than a High school level education. We've been racking our brains over
here, so any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Kendra Parker

Comments

17 Aug 2004 - 11:00am
Dave Collins
2004

>I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button. The button
de-selects all selected items located on a map.

Context please? What "map"? What are the items?

One suggestion is to dispose of the idea of 'reset' and ask yourself
what it means to the user's task and/or what they're trying to
accomplish. Reset is merely a means to an end.

Thanks!

Kendra Parker

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17 Aug 2004 - 11:40am
Robert Reimann
2003

Are you certain that you want a control that undoes a
bunch of user's work placed on a toolbar button
amidst other more benign functions? Perhaps a menu
(if your app has them) might be a safer location for such
an "ejector seat" feature.

Not knowing more about the context, though, means these
comments are a bit of a stab in the dark....

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Kendra Parker
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 5:38 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button. The button de-selects
all selected items located on a map. The problem, though, is that the
button must contain a 16x16 px image due to constraints on the toolbar
control itself, otherwise we would simply use a text button that says
"Reset." We need something that will be fairly recognizable since our
general user will have limited computer experience and rarely more than a
High school level education. We've been racking our brains over here, so
any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Kendra Parker

17 Aug 2004 - 1:04pm
Schomer, Todd
2004

My recommendation is to use something like a refresh button in a browser
(see: Safari) - a "circle-arrow" icon. I've seen this used as an Undo icon
as well. It might be acceptable for a reset button...

> I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button.

17 Aug 2004 - 2:05pm
Mark Canlas
2003

I think I agree with Dave. Is a Reset button really what the user needs?
Just look at studies of the Reset button on web forms. How often has a user
actually needed to clear all the data that he's entered? Not often.

And if your domain is one of selection, usually making a new, blank
selection will clear all of the previous selections, like selecting files in
the Windows Explorer.

I dunno. I keep trying to think of applications with a need to clear, and
while the idea exists, none of them utilize that kind of icon (Photoshop,
Word, Notepad, etc.)

Mark Canlas
http://www.htmlism.com/mark/

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-
> bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-
> interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf
> Of Kendra Parker
> Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 5:38 PM
> To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon
>
> I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button. The button
> de-selects all selected items located on a map. The problem, though, is
> that the button must contain a 16x16 px image due to constraints on the
> toolbar control itself, otherwise we would simply use a text button that
> says "Reset." We need something that will be fairly recognizable since
> our general user will have limited computer experience and rarely more
> than a High school level education. We've been racking our brains over
> here, so any help will be greatly appreciated.
>
>
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
>
>
> Kendra Parker
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at ixdg.org
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> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> http://discuss.ixdg.org/
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> already)
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> --
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17 Aug 2004 - 2:45pm
Kendra Parker
2004

Mark Canlas asked:
Is a Reset button really what the user needs?

Well, the problem is that yes, the user will have plenty of occasion to
clear all of the selected items. The items selected on the map
represent a collection of devices that will be activated by another
command during emergency situations. Currently the user can select as
many devices as he/she wants, but there is no way to clear the selection
of all of the items in order to start over. We can clear them
individually, but de-selecting all of the items must be an option
because users will likely not have time to de-select each item
individually in an emergency situation.

Mark Canlas also said:
And if your domain is one of selection, usually making a new, blank
selection will clear all of the previous selections, like selecting
files in
the Windows Explorer.

That's not a bad idea; we might be able to find a way to utilize this.

Kendra

18 Aug 2004 - 3:12pm
Dave Collins
2004

> Well, the problem is that yes, the user will have plenty of occasion
to
clear all of the selected items. The items selected on the map
represent a collection of devices that will be activated by another
command during emergency situations. Currently the user can select as
many devices as he/she wants, but there is no way to clear the selection
of all of the items in order to start over. We can clear them
individually, but de-selecting all of the items must be an option
because users will likely not have time to de-select each item
individually in an emergency situation.

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

(Aside: I know this may get a little farther into it than you want, but:
Shouldn't the configuring and selecting and deselecting happen *prior*
to the emergency? Seems to me the whole point is to have it set up ahead
of time so that the set of devices are activated automatically, or at
least with a single manual command. To be deselecting everything while
in an emergency sounds more like a procedural problem. I'm sure that
there's a logical explanation that space prohibits elaborating, so I'll
just leave it at that.)

Some questions:
1] What does a single device look like on the map to indicate that it is
selected as opposed to unselected? eg. a checked box? a solid line
joining it to Hal9000?

2] What is the figurative equivalent of these devices being deselected?
Could they be imagined to be sort of 'turned off'? Would an icon that
indicates a giant breaker switch or some derivative make sense?

There's a moral here. It is, by definition, impossible to come up with a
succinct and self-explanatory symbol without first having a direct,
detailed and intimate knowledge of the system. All I'm doing is asking
you to elaborate on your initial sparse description. (Of course, a
picture would be ideal.)

18 Aug 2004 - 3:52pm
Dave Collins
2004

> Why use an icon at all? How about the word "Reset"

Original post:
'The problem, though, is that the button must contain a 16x16 px image
due to constraints on the toolbar control itself, otherwise we would
simply use a text button that says "Reset."'

18 Aug 2004 - 4:04pm
Dave Collins
2004

>> Why use an icon at all? How about the word "Reset"
>
>Original post:
>'The problem, though, is that the button must contain a 16x16 px image
>due to constraints on the toolbar control itself, otherwise we would
>simply use a text button that says "Reset."'

Although, now that you force me to reconsider it, it is theoretically
possible to fit the text on the button as pixels:

XX XX XX XX XXX
X X X X X X
XX XX XX XX X
XXX X X X X
X X XX XX XX X

X X X
X X X X
XXX X X
X X X X
X X XXX XXX

(a bit of 16 colour anti-aliasing might help too)

I am the first to grant that it will be barely legible in such a teeny
tiny font, but then again, ask yourself - is it even possible to create
a symbol of *any* sort that is as explicit as this - using a mere 256
pixels?

18 Aug 2004 - 4:18pm
Robert Reimann
2003

It's definitely helpful to understand the situation better.

One way to finesse the issue is with the concept of a "group"
object, an object that represents a set of selected objects
on the map. This also might permit some powerful additional
functions.

Once you have this concept, the system can *automatically* clear
selections when the user creates a new group object; to recover
the selection, just click on an already created group object.

Once you have these objects, it's also easy to assign multiple
commands to them (perhaps by drag and drop), or activate commands
across multiple groups in real time (by selecting one or more
group objects and issuing a command). And you do avoid the
need for a reset button-- just delete a group if you aren't
happy with it.

Also, regarding icons-- except in the minority of cases where
an action is very concrete and easy to represent, button icons
are by necessity idiomatic: you need to learn them. It's mostly
futile to search for visual metaphors for abstract concepts
like "reset selection". Use of tooltips is a good way to enhance
learnability of whatever icons you choose.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Dave Collins
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 4:13 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

> Well, the problem is that yes, the user will have plenty of occasion
to
clear all of the selected items. The items selected on the map represent a
collection of devices that will be activated by another command during
emergency situations. Currently the user can select as many devices as
he/she wants, but there is no way to clear the selection of all of the items
in order to start over. We can clear them individually, but de-selecting
all of the items must be an option because users will likely not have time
to de-select each item individually in an emergency situation.

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

(Aside: I know this may get a little farther into it than you want, but:
Shouldn't the configuring and selecting and deselecting happen *prior* to
the emergency? Seems to me the whole point is to have it set up ahead of
time so that the set of devices are activated automatically, or at least
with a single manual command. To be deselecting everything while in an
emergency sounds more like a procedural problem. I'm sure that there's a
logical explanation that space prohibits elaborating, so I'll just leave it
at that.)

Some questions:
1] What does a single device look like on the map to indicate that it is
selected as opposed to unselected? eg. a checked box? a solid line joining
it to Hal9000?

2] What is the figurative equivalent of these devices being deselected?
Could they be imagined to be sort of 'turned off'? Would an icon that
indicates a giant breaker switch or some derivative make sense?

There's a moral here. It is, by definition, impossible to come up with a
succinct and self-explanatory symbol without first having a direct, detailed
and intimate knowledge of the system. All I'm doing is asking you to
elaborate on your initial sparse description. (Of course, a picture would be
ideal.)

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discuss at ixdg.org
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to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.ixdg.org/
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18 Aug 2004 - 5:00pm
Svoboda, Eric
2004

There's always the 'trashcan' icon. Still, I don't like the metaphor
much for this use, because you're not actually "throwing away" an
object. I like Dave's line of inquiry (and I'm having a hard time not
making a Dave/Hal9000 reference here...), but think the
breaker-switch-type metaphor might be getting a little abstract. If it
was my project, I'd probably be looking to have requirements rewritten
to allow for a good old-fashioned, plainly labeled "reset entire map"
button. Would I be surrendering too soon?

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com] On Behalf Of Reimann, Robert
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 4:19 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

It's definitely helpful to understand the situation better.

One way to finesse the issue is with the concept of a "group"
object, an object that represents a set of selected objects on the map.
This also might permit some powerful additional functions.

Once you have this concept, the system can *automatically* clear
selections when the user creates a new group object; to recover the
selection, just click on an already created group object.

Once you have these objects, it's also easy to assign multiple commands
to them (perhaps by drag and drop), or activate commands across multiple
groups in real time (by selecting one or more group objects and issuing
a command). And you do avoid the need for a reset button-- just delete a
group if you aren't happy with it.

Also, regarding icons-- except in the minority of cases where an action
is very concrete and easy to represent, button icons are by necessity
idiomatic: you need to learn them. It's mostly futile to search for
visual metaphors for abstract concepts like "reset selection". Use of
tooltips is a good way to enhance learnability of whatever icons you
choose.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.
com] On Behalf Of Dave Collins
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 4:13 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

> Well, the problem is that yes, the user will have plenty of occasion
to
clear all of the selected items. The items selected on the map
represent a collection of devices that will be activated by another
command during emergency situations. Currently the user can select as
many devices as he/she wants, but there is no way to clear the selection
of all of the items in order to start over. We can clear them
individually, but de-selecting all of the items must be an option
because users will likely not have time to de-select each item
individually in an emergency situation.

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

(Aside: I know this may get a little farther into it than you want, but:
Shouldn't the configuring and selecting and deselecting happen *prior*
to the emergency? Seems to me the whole point is to have it set up ahead
of time so that the set of devices are activated automatically, or at
least with a single manual command. To be deselecting everything while
in an emergency sounds more like a procedural problem. I'm sure that
there's a logical explanation that space prohibits elaborating, so I'll
just leave it at that.)

Some questions:
1] What does a single device look like on the map to indicate that it is
selected as opposed to unselected? eg. a checked box? a solid line
joining it to Hal9000?

2] What is the figurative equivalent of these devices being deselected?
Could they be imagined to be sort of 'turned off'? Would an icon that
indicates a giant breaker switch or some derivative make sense?

There's a moral here. It is, by definition, impossible to come up with a
succinct and self-explanatory symbol without first having a direct,
detailed and intimate knowledge of the system. All I'm doing is asking
you to elaborate on your initial sparse description. (Of course, a
picture would be
ideal.)

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at ixdg.org
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to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
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--
Questions: lists at ixdg.org
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18 Aug 2004 - 11:46pm
Mark Canlas
2003

I dunno, I'm just not "seeing" it... I'm trying to think of all the icons I
can, but the idea of a selection via check boxes and then having this sudden
need to deselect all of them... It just doesn't match. As Dave said, we need
more knowledge of the system/domain to make an appropriate recommendation.

And at this point, I'm wondering if the technical constraint of a toolbar is
a bit much for you to be limited by... Time to expand the utilities at your
disposal, maybe?

Mark Canlas
http://www.htmlism.com/mark/

> Well, the problem is that yes, the user will have plenty of occasion to
> clear all of the selected items. The items selected on the map
> represent a collection of devices that will be activated by another
> command during emergency situations. Currently the user can select as
> many devices as he/she wants, but there is no way to clear the selection
> of all of the items in order to start over. We can clear them
> individually, but de-selecting all of the items must be an option
> because users will likely not have time to de-select each item
> individually in an emergency situation.

18 Aug 2004 - 4:57pm
David_Levine at...
2004

> I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button.
> The button de-selects all selected items located on a map.
> The problem, though, is that the button must contain a
> 16x16 px image due to constraints on the toolbar control
> itself, otherwise we would simply use a text button that
> says "Reset." We need something that will be fairly
> recognizable since our general user will have limited
> computer experience and rarely more than a High school
> level education.

The "de-select" button has to tie in with the "select" action in some
visual way. I'm guessing you don't have a "select" button on the
toolbar, and that instead the user selects items by clicking them, so
you can't riff off of that. So what does an item look like when it's
selected? The "deselect" button could show the visual cue for selection
with some visual indication of removal.

For example, if selected items have a check mark, you could show a
dotted outline of a check mark, or a check mark with a red slash through
it. If selected items have manipulation handles (those black rectangles
that appear at the corners), you could show a rectangle with gray
manipulation handles, or red X's in the place of the manipulation
handles.

In either case, you should use the word "Reset" ("Deselect All" might be
better) as a ToolTip on the button, if your platform supports those.
For this audience you might also consider using larger icons than 16x16,
if your platform supports them.

Hope this helps.

- David D. Levine, Sr. User Interface Engineer
David_Levine at mcafee.com (nai.com still works too)

19 Aug 2004 - 12:18pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Dave Collins <DCollins at phoenix-interactive.com> writes:

> >'The problem, though, is that the button must contain a 16x16 px image
>>due to constraints on the toolbar control itself, otherwise we would
>>simply use a text button that says "Reset."'
>
>Although, now that you force me to reconsider it, it is theoretically
>possible to fit the text on the button as pixels:

Using pixelated text in a button is a big no-no for Localization needs.
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA jdrew at adobe.com
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 08/17)

19 Aug 2004 - 10:14am
Kendra Parker
2004

There currently aren't any checkboxes in our system to represent these
items/devices. On the map, we have a number of icons representing
devices at various geographical locations. These icons aren't in any
sorts of lines or convenient order, so we can use a tool to create a
polygon (generally a rectangle) to select the devices from the map.

Once those devices are selected, the icon changes to represent a
selected icon. Now, it might seem like a good idea to try something
along the lines of using the polygon/rectangle tool to de-select those
devices in the same way we selected them. It would probably work, too;
however, the likelihood of one or two devices remaining selected remains
high.

Why is this a problem for us? This is a problem because our software is
being used to control emergency alerting systems. In an emergency
situation, the user will select certain devices to activate. If, for
some reason, the emergency situation goes away before the devices have
had time to fully activate, or if the emergency situation changes,
requiring a different set of devices, the user needs a way to quickly
clear the screen of activated devices so he can start over.

Now, using something like the polygon/rectangle tool to deselect could
work, but the likelihood of devices remaining selected is still a
problem when it comes to quickly changing emergency needs. If devices
remain selected when they shouldn't, it could wind up incorrectly
activating devices and sending an inappropriate message.

For this reason, we want to use a reset button so that the user can
quickly de-select all of the devices and be able to select a new set
without having to also worry about checking to make sure all of his
previously selected devices have been de-selected.

I have attached an example of what we decided to use in our system for
now. I would be interested to hear some thoughts on the graphic. We
found a similar graphic being used elsewhere and decided to try it.

Now, regarding the technical constraints of our toolbar, we have tried
several other available toolbars in our design and found that this is
one of the better solutions. Since our UI has so much happening, it was
necessary to use a smaller toolbar in order to simplify the interface.
The remainder of our toolbar has recognizable graphics, and we haven't
had any trouble with our initial testing.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Canlas [mailto:mark at htmlism.com]

I dunno, I'm just not "seeing" it... I'm trying to think of all the
icons I
can, but the idea of a selection via check boxes and then having this
sudden
need to deselect all of them... It just doesn't match. As Dave said, we
need
more knowledge of the system/domain to make an appropriate
recommendation.

And at this point, I'm wondering if the technical constraint of a
toolbar is
a bit much for you to be limited by... Time to expand the utilities at
your
disposal, maybe?

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19 Aug 2004 - 1:57pm
Ron Fordham
2004

Given any thought to the "Clear" button like on a calculator?

---------------

David_Levine at McAfee.com wrote:

>>I need some suggestions on icons for a reset button.
>>The button de-selects all selected items located on a map.
>>The problem, though, is that the button must contain a
>>16x16 px image due to constraints on the toolbar control
>>itself, otherwise we would simply use a text button that
>>says "Reset." We need something that will be fairly
>>recognizable since our general user will have limited
>>computer experience and rarely more than a High school
>>level education.
>>
>>
>
>The "de-select" button has to tie in with the "select" action in some
>visual way. I'm guessing you don't have a "select" button on the
>toolbar, and that instead the user selects items by clicking them, so
>you can't riff off of that. So what does an item look like when it's
>selected? The "deselect" button could show the visual cue for selection
>with some visual indication of removal.
>
>For example, if selected items have a check mark, you could show a
>dotted outline of a check mark, or a check mark with a red slash through
>it. If selected items have manipulation handles (those black rectangles
>that appear at the corners), you could show a rectangle with gray
>manipulation handles, or red X's in the place of the manipulation
>handles.
>
>In either case, you should use the word "Reset" ("Deselect All" might be
>better) as a ToolTip on the button, if your platform supports those.
>For this audience you might also consider using larger icons than 16x16,
>if your platform supports them.
>
>Hope this helps.
>
>- David D. Levine, Sr. User Interface Engineer
> David_Levine at mcafee.com (nai.com still works too)
>_______________________________________________
>Interaction Design Discussion List
>discuss at ixdg.org
>--
>to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.ixdg.org/
>--
>Questions: lists at ixdg.org
>--
>Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
>http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
>--
>http://ixdg.org/
>
>
>

20 Aug 2004 - 9:21am
Robert Reimann
2003

Again, this seems like a good reason to allow
users to create predefined groups of devices before
problems occur, so that users can focus on rapid
corrective action rather than selecting/deselecting
objects in the time of crisis (which could lead to
errors or omissions). Or is it the case that the
systems that need to be selected vary entirely
according to the particular emergency?

The graphic looks okay, but you should include
tooltips, and separate the control spatially
on the toolbar so that it isn't accidentally
pressed.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Kendra Parker
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 11:14 AM
To: Mark Canlas;
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

There currently aren't any checkboxes in our system to represent these
items/devices. On the map, we have a number of icons representing devices
at various geographical locations. These icons aren't in any sorts of lines
or convenient order, so we can use a tool to create a polygon (generally a
rectangle) to select the devices from the map.

Once those devices are selected, the icon changes to represent a selected
icon. Now, it might seem like a good idea to try something along the lines
of using the polygon/rectangle tool to de-select those devices in the same
way we selected them. It would probably work, too; however, the likelihood
of one or two devices remaining selected remains high.

Why is this a problem for us? This is a problem because our software is
being used to control emergency alerting systems. In an emergency
situation, the user will select certain devices to activate. If, for some
reason, the emergency situation goes away before the devices have had time
to fully activate, or if the emergency situation changes, requiring a
different set of devices, the user needs a way to quickly clear the screen
of activated devices so he can start over.

Now, using something like the polygon/rectangle tool to deselect could work,
but the likelihood of devices remaining selected is still a problem when it
comes to quickly changing emergency needs. If devices remain selected when
they shouldn't, it could wind up incorrectly activating devices and sending
an inappropriate message.

For this reason, we want to use a reset button so that the user can quickly
de-select all of the devices and be able to select a new set without having
to also worry about checking to make sure all of his previously selected
devices have been de-selected.

I have attached an example of what we decided to use in our system for now.
I would be interested to hear some thoughts on the graphic. We found a
similar graphic being used elsewhere and decided to try it.

Now, regarding the technical constraints of our toolbar, we have tried
several other available toolbars in our design and found that this is one of
the better solutions. Since our UI has so much happening, it was necessary
to use a smaller toolbar in order to simplify the interface. The remainder
of our toolbar has recognizable graphics, and we haven't had any trouble
with our initial testing.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Canlas [mailto:mark at htmlism.com]

I dunno, I'm just not "seeing" it... I'm trying to think of all the icons I
can, but the idea of a selection via check boxes and then having this sudden
need to deselect all of them... It just doesn't match. As Dave said, we need
more knowledge of the system/domain to make an appropriate recommendation.

And at this point, I'm wondering if the technical constraint of a toolbar is
a bit much for you to be limited by... Time to expand the utilities at your
disposal, maybe?

21 Aug 2004 - 3:48am
H Taylor
2004

Jim Drew wrote:

> Using pixelated text in a button is a big no-no for Localization needs.

I add:

Unless your system is capable of generating localized button graphics
on the fly.

But then, if you're tied to 16px square, you can't be sure your
localized terms will always fit, even if English terms do.

- Hal

22 Aug 2004 - 7:20pm
Mark Canlas
2003

It really bugs me that this problem doesn't resemble anything familiar
(where familiar => good)... Although it does, in a way, which is why I
assumed there were checkboxes.

For each geographic selection, I visualized an accompanying checkbox. Select
the device, the checkbox goes on. Deselect the device, checkbox goes off. As
with many checkbox-based web interfaces, there's a master checkbox at the
top of the column which dictates solid select all, grey some selected, and
clear no selection.

In every domain that I could think of involving a selection of some sort
(something more complicated than just files or nodes), the idea of selection
was way more important than deselection. That is, there was no real
clickable interface to say select none. It was just a matter of selecting
this, or selecting that, with the deselection just happening.

Look at Explorer. Hot selection. It's volatile. You make a selection, with a
box or Ctrl-clicks and that's it. If you click off, everything is
deselected. Again, volatile.

The checkbox/geographic selection I imagined. Soft selection. Click a device
to switch it on or select it. Click another device or box-select it and it
gets selected in addition to the first one. And so on. Not volatile.

If deselecting is of such great priority, then maybe just a right click
context menu (AreYouSureOkay) for deselect all is enough. I mean, again, I
can't think of any selection domains where there was a clear deselect
button.

And by the way, the icon you attached in no way speaks "clear" or "select
none" to me...

I don't know. I'm rambling.

Mark Canlas
http://www.htmlism.com/mark/
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kendra Parker [mailto:kparker at saferservices.com]
> Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 11:14 AM
> To: Mark Canlas; discuss-
> interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon
>
> There currently aren't any checkboxes in our system to represent these
> items/devices. On the map, we have a number of icons representing
> devices at various geographical locations. These icons aren't in any
> sorts of lines or convenient order, so we can use a tool to create a
> polygon (generally a rectangle) to select the devices from the map.
>
> Once those devices are selected, the icon changes to represent a
> selected icon. Now, it might seem like a good idea to try something
> along the lines of using the polygon/rectangle tool to de-select those
> devices in the same way we selected them. It would probably work, too;
> however, the likelihood of one or two devices remaining selected remains
> high.
>
> Why is this a problem for us? This is a problem because our software is
> being used to control emergency alerting systems. In an emergency
> situation, the user will select certain devices to activate. If, for
> some reason, the emergency situation goes away before the devices have
> had time to fully activate, or if the emergency situation changes,
> requiring a different set of devices, the user needs a way to quickly
> clear the screen of activated devices so he can start over.
>
> Now, using something like the polygon/rectangle tool to deselect could
> work, but the likelihood of devices remaining selected is still a
> problem when it comes to quickly changing emergency needs. If devices
> remain selected when they shouldn't, it could wind up incorrectly
> activating devices and sending an inappropriate message.
>
> For this reason, we want to use a reset button so that the user can
> quickly de-select all of the devices and be able to select a new set
> without having to also worry about checking to make sure all of his
> previously selected devices have been de-selected.
>
> I have attached an example of what we decided to use in our system for
> now. I would be interested to hear some thoughts on the graphic. We
> found a similar graphic being used elsewhere and decided to try it.
>
> Now, regarding the technical constraints of our toolbar, we have tried
> several other available toolbars in our design and found that this is
> one of the better solutions. Since our UI has so much happening, it was
> necessary to use a smaller toolbar in order to simplify the interface.
> The remainder of our toolbar has recognizable graphics, and we haven't
> had any trouble with our initial testing.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Canlas [mailto:mark at htmlism.com]
>
> I dunno, I'm just not "seeing" it... I'm trying to think of all the
> icons I
> can, but the idea of a selection via check boxes and then having this
> sudden
> need to deselect all of them... It just doesn't match. As Dave said, we
> need
> more knowledge of the system/domain to make an appropriate
> recommendation.
>
> And at this point, I'm wondering if the technical constraint of a
> toolbar is
> a bit much for you to be limited by... Time to expand the utilities at
> your
> disposal, maybe?

23 Aug 2004 - 8:55am
Dave Collins
2004

>Once those devices are selected, the icon changes to represent a
selected icon.

Which looks like what? How is a selected device visually distinguished
from a deselected device? Again, your question can't be effectively
answered in the abstract.

Though it appears you have made a choice and moved on, rendering further
discussion academic.

Dave

23 Aug 2004 - 10:16am
Dave Collins
2004

>I have attached an example of what we decided to use in our system for
now. I would be interested to hear some thoughts on the graphic. We
found a similar graphic being used elsewhere and decided to try it.

Oh yeah. Forgot you'd asked for feedback.

It sure looks like a 'timer' icon like you see on cameras.

The symbol strongly suggests to me a pointer that rotates in a circle.
The arrow is stright (not curved like it might be if it were a
motion-line), the tail of the arrow is at the exact centre of the circle
(suggesting that is a fixed rotational point), and the fact that the
arrow points off-true strongly suggests (to me) that it is in a
continual sweeping motion, (as opposed to, say, once-around and stop).
If these are not intended interps, then there are too many coincidences.

I can't imagine it representing anything other than the sweeping hand on
a clockface (any alternate interps will be swamped with this one anyway,
IMO).

OTOH, context would have a big effect. If there are other, similar
objects in the app, they will emphasize or de-emphasize certain
components. For example, if many other icons happened to be composed of
a large 'C', or if one has an arrow pointing *into* a circle, that would
dramatically affect comprehension.

BTW, just to bring it full circle, what word(s) do you ideally hope you
have appear unbidden in your users' minds when they see this icon? Are
you still thinking of 'reset all'?

Is there some reason why you can't show us a screen shot, or at least
some components?

Dave

23 Aug 2004 - 4:32pm
Jim Kauffman
2004

Kendra Parker wrote:

>Why is this a problem for us? This is a problem because our software is
>being used to control emergency alerting systems. In an emergency
>situation, the user will select certain devices to activate. If, for
>some reason, the emergency situation goes away before the devices have
>had time to fully activate, or if the emergency situation changes,
>requiring a different set of devices, the user needs a way to quickly
>clear the screen of activated devices so he can start over.
>
>
I think you should look at some hardware control panels for ideas. Many
have a large, mushroom-shaped red push button on the panel with the word
STOP. Others use a push light labeled RESET to go along with the STOP
button. You say your interface is already busy, but a highly visible
64x64 pixel RESET or STOP graphic in a corner or edge of the screen
would always be in the user's peripheral vision, and would be well worth
the screen real estate if this is something they must do often and as
quickly as possible.

You might also consider using the keyboard. You could put a label on an
end-of-row function key (F12) that says RESET, and dedicate that key to
the function.

Jim K.

23 Aug 2004 - 10:34am
Kendra Parker
2004

The icon that we found was used in another application as a reset, so we
figured we'd try borrowing the idea. I think we're going to use it
through initial testing to see how it goes.

As for Mark's comment regarding checkboxes in addition to regions, in
future releases we are planning to list each device with its device name
and a check box in a fly-out window, but for now we have to go with just
the map and changing the icons to a selected state.

I think some of the reason that we are doing things the way that are has
to do with the fact that this is a system being built on an older
paradigm chosen before I came on board. In the past, this company has
used a similar paradigm where the users select devices from a map and
click a button to start an action. We're somewhat reluctant to change
the paradigm completely because we have seen it already working for our
clients. Of course, the UI at that time looked more like a student's
Java programming rather than a professional Windows-based system.

I believe someone else recently mentioned that if time is so important
that we should have the devices pre-scripted into the commands. That
was a very good observation, and something we have already taken into
account. For each command, there is a default set of devices selected.
On the other hand, for flexibility, we want the user to have the option
of making a selection that would override the pre-selected devices in
some emergency situations.

It has been quite valuable to have all of this discussion. I'm really
glad to we have set up such a forum for this sort of thing.

Kendra

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Canlas [mailto:mark at htmlism.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 5:21 PM
To: Kendra Parker;
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

It really bugs me that this problem doesn't resemble anything familiar
(where familiar => good)... Although it does, in a way, which is why I
assumed there were checkboxes.

For each geographic selection, I visualized an accompanying checkbox.
Select
the device, the checkbox goes on. Deselect the device, checkbox goes
off. As
with many checkbox-based web interfaces, there's a master checkbox at
the
top of the column which dictates solid select all, grey some selected,
and
clear no selection.

In every domain that I could think of involving a selection of some sort
(something more complicated than just files or nodes), the idea of
selection
was way more important than deselection. That is, there was no real
clickable interface to say select none. It was just a matter of
selecting
this, or selecting that, with the deselection just happening.

Look at Explorer. Hot selection. It's volatile. You make a selection,
with a
box or Ctrl-clicks and that's it. If you click off, everything is
deselected. Again, volatile.

The checkbox/geographic selection I imagined. Soft selection. Click a
device
to switch it on or select it. Click another device or box-select it and
it
gets selected in addition to the first one. And so on. Not volatile.

If deselecting is of such great priority, then maybe just a right click
context menu (AreYouSureOkay) for deselect all is enough. I mean, again,
I
can't think of any selection domains where there was a clear deselect
button.

And by the way, the icon you attached in no way speaks "clear" or
"select
none" to me...

I don't know. I'm rambling.

Mark Canlas
http://www.htmlism.com/mark/

26 Aug 2004 - 1:11am
Stephen Mallett
2004

Jim Kauffman wrote
>I think you should look at some hardware control panels for ideas. Many
>have a large, mushroom-shaped red push button on the panel with the word
>STOP. Others use a push light labeled RESET to go along with the STOP
>button. You say your interface is already busy, but a highly visible
>64x64 pixel RESET or STOP graphic in a corner or edge of the screen
>would always be in the user's peripheral vision, and would be well worth
>the screen real estate if this is something they must do often and as
>quickly as possible.

>You might also consider using the keyboard. You could put a label on an
>end-of-row function key (F12) that says RESET, and dedicate that key to
>the function.

On the submarine project I am on follows something similar the severe Alerts
(threats to life of crew Floods, fire etc) are done on a seperate
panel/screen with the main user screens being used to supply additional
information. This alert panel uses the traditional Flashing RED to notify of
an alert, postioned just above user screen, also use an audible to get their
attention. Earlier it was mentioned that a condition may clear, on my
project the Alert would still be there, if was important enough to trigger
the alert the user has to investigate.
Disadvantage is that any different method an alert adds a cognitive load,
but if it is serious and you want the user to be clear that the need to
focus on something. Then a noisy, flashing red dedicated button does the
job. Wether that is done in software or has Jim has stated a seperate
hardware item.
Stephen

26 Aug 2004 - 10:24am
Stephen Mallett
2004

Jef,
Too late for this project- Royal Navy love Noisy Red buttons that they had
for 50 years on fascia.
I will hunt out the references for our next generation
thanks
Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: Jef Raskin
To: Stephen Mallett
Cc: 'discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com'
Sent: 26/08/04 10:49
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Reset Button Icon

Not necessarily. See Loftus's work on absorbtion. My book also gives
examples where noisy flashing indicators failed to do the job.

On Aug 25, 2004, at 11:11 PM, Stephen Mallett wrote:

> if it is serious and you want the user to be clear that the need to
> focus on something. Then a noisy, flashing red dedicated button does
> the
> job.

26 Aug 2004 - 9:49am
Jef Raskin
2004

Not necessarily. See Loftus's work on absorbtion. My book also gives
examples where noisy flashing indicators failed to do the job.

On Aug 25, 2004, at 11:11 PM, Stephen Mallett wrote:

> if it is serious and you want the user to be clear that the need to
> focus on something. Then a noisy, flashing red dedicated button does
> the
> job.

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