Chris McGrath’s Blog

Just another Developer’s Blog

Posts Tagged ‘UI

Another cool thing about chrome

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Chrome is a great example of how an user interface should be done. There’s so many small things about it which are so useful. My current favourite is the ability to resize text areas (aka multi-line textboxes).

They put a subtle gripper on the corner which you can grab and increase the size.

I can’t believe how many sites provide you with ridiculously small text areas. They ask for a detailed description then give you 3 lines with enough space for maybe 40 words. Of course a scroll bar appears but they’re annoying with only 3 lines.

I hope all other browsers copy this function, it is a brilliant idea.


Written by Chris McGrath

July 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

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Grids suck

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I’ve heard a lot of people ask, “What is the benefit in moving to WPF? I’m just making a plain line of business app I don’t need any special effects.”  Well I think that using WPF there is one thing that it really makes stand out – Grid suck.

I know all you winform enthusiasts out there are saying, “Have you seen the DataGridView? I can create a list in seconds.” Well I’ve got news for you DataGridViews suck too.

I’m not talking about from the programming point of view, you’re right nothing compares to the DataGridView for quickly showing data. The problem is from the user experience point of view, it’s ugly and anything more than three columns is really hard to use.

So here is the big problem with WinForms, it’s hard to create “ViewAll” screens without using a DataGridView, as such you don’t bother with anything else. So if you want a reason to change to WPF, you no longer need the DataGridView.

Instead of Grids WPF focuses strongly of List Items. You provide a template for one item – and it’s as customisable as you like, any control can go in it, you can use multiple lines – and it repeats that template for every item in the list.

Written by Chris McGrath

July 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm

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Firefox 3.5

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Overall I was disappointed with Firefox 3.5. It’s not that it’s not good – it is and it’s better than Firefox 3. It’s more the lack of new features that I actually care about. And the real surprising thing is that a big shake up happened in the browsing space after v3 which I would have thought would influence 3.5 more. That shake up was chrome. Now chrome might not have much of a market share but it did bring fresh new ideas. There are three in particular I would have thought would influence Firefox 3.5.

The New Tab Screen

Let’s compare this across browsers. Firefox has always made it a blank white page, Internet Explorer improved on it to provide some information about tabs. But chrome really took advantage of it and placed heaps of meaningful stuff on it. Most importantly was a list of most visited websites. This was probably my biggest disappointment with firefox 3.5.

Lack of Chrome

Admittedly the way my Firefox is set up makes it almost as good as chrome, but Mozilla hasn’t put in any effort to improve this.


I’m a strong believer that you should avoid dialogs where ever possible. They interrupt the flow of a process. The Chrome team also shares this view. But the really cool thing they do is when a dialog is needed, it is held in a tab. As such it doesn’t stop you from using other tabs. That’s just a well thought out idea.

Written by Chris McGrath

July 4, 2009 at 7:59 am

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Great UI

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Making a great UI is hard. Probably the best posts I’ve seen about it is Mark Miller’s Great UI series. A must for anyone who has to do any UI design.

Mark Miller’s Blog

Written by Chris McGrath

April 6, 2009 at 6:59 am

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