UI Follies, Volume III

Ever wonder how you could possibly find something in that complex, ten-tabbed options dialog? How about a search function on the options dialog, as featured in Quest's Toad for SQL Server:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/12/ui-follies-volume-iii.html

Spotlight search in OS X works in it’s System Preferences dialog. It’s pretty handy. I believe the new Search in Vista will work in the similar manner. Spotlight just highlights the SysPref applets that match your search.

A couple of years ago I’ve been using freeware version of Toad for Oracle work. I preffered it to
SQL Navigator. However last version I saw recently is absolutely horrible in UI terms.

Jeff -

If you’re doing Oracle work, you really owe it to yourself to check out PL/SQL Developer by www.allroundautomations.com.

I’ve been using that tool for years and it is wonderful. If only MS could come up with a tool half as good for SQL Server! It even has intellisense! All kinds of productivity features.



I think it’s truly pathetic when people need to “customize” dialog enter/tab key behavior. If you didn’t notice, on the right side of the image, there are a bunch of check-boxes that will let you change the behavior of hitting tab/enter.

Standard Windows dialogs close/confirm with the Enter key, and let you navigate using Tab.

I think it is sad when people try to change these behaviors, and worse when I have to do it my self (some high-profile users of my app are a little incompetent and cannot get into their head DO NOT PRESS ENTER)

never mind that you would have to know which TAB is the one that contains the search option =oD

which TAB is the one that contains the search option

It’s on every tab, at the bottom. It’s a fixed area, like the actual tabs themselves.

when people need to “customize” dialog enter/tab key behavior

In their defense, this is referring to the datagrid that displays records specifically, not the dialog itself.

Also with spotlight on Mac OS: every application has a search box in its help menu. This search box searches help as you would expect, but it also searches the application’s menu items. If you hover over a menu item in the search results, the relevant menus are expanded until the item is revealed, and a floating blue arrow points at the menu item. It’s a really great way to find a menu item that’s hidden in a strange place. The best part - it works with all applications, with seemingly no work needed on the part of the developer.