Monday, August 13, 2007 at 12:22 PMPosted by Omar Khan, Software Engineer (Google Desktop Team)
Computer users learn all kinds of arbitrary conventions: blue underlined text is a hyperlink, an I-beam over text means you can select it, during an installation just click OK through all the dialogs ;) — whoops, that's not such a good one, but you get my point.
It's no different with gadgets. Most people first encounter Google Desktop gadgets by using the news gadget or some other item-based gadget. They learn the default way of interacting with gadgets from these first encounters. One of my themes when posting here will be how we, as gadget creators, should design our interfaces given a user's default training.
In this post I'll discuss interacting with items. In the news gadget, a user sees lots of news stories, each of which is a content item. Here are the interactions people come to expect after interacting with the news gadget:
- Mousing over an item highlights that item: In the news gadget, the background color changes slightly to indicate which item has focus. (This may not be relevant if your gadget has only one item.)
- Single-click to open details view: The details view gives a larger view on an item's information.
- Double-click to fully open item (maybe in browser): In the news gadget, double-clicking opens the item in the user's default web browser.
- Single-click to close: If the user is looking at an item in the details view, clicking that item again in the gadget closes the item.