Wednesday, June 25, 2008

GUI blooper: HTML2Image

There are more than a few GUI bloopers for this shareware product which takes snap-shots of web pages and stores them as images. A screen shot of the application is below.

Blooper #1: Disabling controls

Notice that all the controls are enabled in the "Save As Image" group box. But if you try to work with any of the controls, they will ignore your input. Only when the "Save As Image" group is checked will the controls respond. This is a no-no: the controls should be disabled and grayed-out to show that they are not accessible until "Save As Image" is checked.

Additionally the spinner to the right of the "Crop Height" checkbox should be grayed out when "Crop Height" is not checked.

Blooper #2: Grammar

Programmers often overlook grammar and spelling, especially since spell checkers are not often part of programming environments. In this case the help hint that appears above reads "the same time you capturing main image" when of course it should read "the same time you are capturing the main image." Also, what is the "main" image? This vocabulary is not used anywhere on the GUI and could confuse the user.

Blooper #3: Feedback

And finally, once the user clicks on the Save Image button, there's no indication that the somewhat time consuming job has completed. The status bar at the bottom should at least say "Image saved." or something to that effect. Otherwise the user sits there, staring at the window, wondering if the job has completed or not.

As always, if any of you have other GUI bloopers to share, my mailbox is always open.