Dead Space: GUI Layout Question

28 Mar 2006 - 7:22pm
8 years ago
1 reply
865 reads
Jeremy Wood
2006

The generic form of the question is this:
What resources are out there that talk about resizing windows, and what
to do with dead space that results in some cases?

The specific form of the question is this:
We're working on an animation program (taking still frames and
arranging them into animations).

This is the general layout of our GUI:
http://homepage.mac.com/tech4learning/layout.pdf

All the components are of a fixed size, except the preview area (the
big box in the middle), and the timeline (which is of a fixed height,
but will stretch to whatever width the window allows). The preview
area will always scale so it's zoom-to-fit.

As Cooper & Reimann would say, this application should have a sovereign
posture. So it's designed to look best when it's maximized on a
"normal" single monitor.

But people don't always view it that way... they may want to drag and
drop images from their browser or file system, for example, so they'll
scale the window down. In this case, the window my look more like
this:
http://homepage.mac.com/tech4learning/layout2.pdf

(We know they don't have to resize the window to do these things, but
they don't know that.)

Now a lot of dead space is introduced in the middle of the window.

What are the general philosophies about how to deal with dead space?
(Are they written down?) I'm sure this must be related to a lot of web
design, too.

Not a huge deal, as we hope the application will normally be run
maximized, but worth asking...

Regards,
Jeremy Wood

Comments

29 Mar 2006 - 2:37am
stauciuc
2006

On 3/29/06, Jeremy Wood <jeremy at tech4learning.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> The generic form of the question is this:
> What resources are out there that talk about resizing windows, and what
> to do with dead space that results in some cases?
>
> The specific form of the question is this:
> We're working on an animation program (taking still frames and
> arranging them into animations).
>
> This is the general layout of our GUI:
> http://homepage.mac.com/tech4learning/layout.pdf
>
> All the components are of a fixed size, except the preview area (the
> big box in the middle), and the timeline (which is of a fixed height,
> but will stretch to whatever width the window allows). The preview
> area will always scale so it's zoom-to-fit.
>
> As Cooper & Reimann would say, this application should have a sovereign
> posture. So it's designed to look best when it's maximized on a
> "normal" single monitor.
>
> But people don't always view it that way... they may want to drag and
> drop images from their browser or file system, for example, so they'll
> scale the window down. In this case, the window my look more like
> this:
> http://homepage.mac.com/tech4learning/layout2.pdf
>
> (We know they don't have to resize the window to do these things, but
> they don't know that.)
>
> Now a lot of dead space is introduced in the middle of the window.
>
> What are the general philosophies about how to deal with dead space?
> (Are they written down?) I'm sure this must be related to a lot of web
> design, too.
>
> Not a huge deal, as we hope the application will normally be run
> maximized, but worth asking...
>
> Regards,
> Jeremy Wood
>
>
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Just my personal opinion:

It seems ok to me to have some dead space in this situation, because the
purpose is to protect the user from scrolling, which would be worse. As long
as the size of the preview area is ok with him, it's ok.

If the preview is getting too small,
..maybe if the panes on the right and left were be retractable, or
minimizable, or something, then by hiding/minimizing one of them, the user
could win some space and the preview area could automatically take that
space and fit pretty well, and it would have a reasonable size. And I think
most of the space on the screen would be used.

Hope this helps
--
Sebi

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