Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Proper UI Design...

I am writing an app that will need to be running all the time and will have a small window. Although it has nothing to do with instant messaging I think it will be helpful that it behaves like MS Messenger or ICQ or WinAMP 2.x.

First of all, is it only me or everyone is putting the Messenger window in the lower right corner of the screen?

Second, Messenger does not have any 'sticky' feature to stick to the screen corners like WinAMP. Do you think this is a disadvantage?
No MS product uses this thing although I have seen an app of MS which form does not allow you to put it outside the screen. Surely you want to give your users all the freedom they want but also all the confort you can. So for so small sized app it will be helpful that the window not stick to the corner but even not leave it. For IE window I can think of when I want it shown but I really can't think of a reason to do this with Messenger.

Five me your opinions, I know that the average reader of this forum has good thoughts about such problems. :)

Boris Yankov
Saturday, May 3, 2003

I use Trillian, and it lines the entire left side of my primary monitor.

As for "stick to edges", if you do it, make sure it works across multiple monitors. I personally like this UI sugar, but I don't know whether it would be annoying to casual users.

Brad Wilson (
Saturday, May 3, 2003

I like that Winamp and a few other programs stick to each other & the edges of the monitor. It's helpful. Though occasionally annoying... I think there's a toggle that lets me turn it off.

Especially for something small, & out of the way, sticky is nice... Why not just put it in the systray?
Saturday, May 3, 2003

I've put it in the systray, but it has a very important visual part too. It really looks like Trillian and Messenger so it is not only the tray.
I will like to hear more opinions.

Boris Yankov
Saturday, May 3, 2003

yeah, sticky is good. As long as you can disable that, of course.

Another thing I like about winamp and that might be appropiate is the windows-shade thing. Double-click and it becomes just a bar, but still shows all important info! That's nice.

If it's an app that users are going to interact with often you may want to add the possibility to define system-wide hotkeys. Again for winamp, I use an add-on that lets me pause/play and change volume with ctrl-alt-arrow keys. But that might be overkill.

Good luck with your app, tell us when it's ready.

Saturday, May 3, 2003

What's more important than docking is will it remain always on top? Finding a good spot for something that's always on top is always difficult.
Sunday, May 4, 2003

If I add an Always on Top option it will definately be not default. I still haven't found an app that will reside always on top and not be annoying (except the Windows Taskbar :)
I know that if you ask 100 people if they want to have the ability to remove the stickiness of WinAMP at least 95 will answer that they want it. But I doubt that even one will actually want to remove this.

Boris Yankov
Sunday, May 4, 2003

I saw an app that was a tab that stuck out of the side about 10 or so pixels, and when you clicked on it it slid out showing you what it needed to show you.

That might work for you, unless someone really needs to be able to see he information at a glance.

Have you also thought of a Win98 - XP taskbar icon? ZoneAlarm does this. It just acts like another quicklaunch bar.
Sunday, May 4, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home