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Re: Let's talk about sorting arrows
Sam Hulick <samh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:03:26 -0800
Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.3.0
On 2/21/14 8:14 AM, Alejandro J. Cura wrote:
See, I can see the issue unfolding already. :) Thorsten, you might be
overthinking it. I don't know if we should be having a discussion on how
to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. This discussion we're having is like
saying "let's change how checkboxes work." It's a UI standard that
people are used to. Imitating how sort arrows work in Windows and Mac OS
is a wise move, IMO. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate that you
find the arrows ambiguous or confusing. My wife and I were talking about
it last night and she admits she has no idea what the arrows are, she
just clicks the header until the list looks like it's sorted the way she
wants it. :) But there are many of us who DO know what the arrows
represent, and rely on those visual cues to know if we're sorted to our
preference. All that being said, though, I kinda like the idea of a tiny
A..Z/1..9/Jan..Dec icon in the header bar. The only issue I have with
that is the space it would require. Look at Thunderbird's headers,
they're already SMALL.
On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 9:22 AM, Thorsten Wilms <t_w_@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 02/21/2014 11:08 AM, Sam Hulick wrote:
I don't think A-Z is guesswork. Other operating systems and several apps
have already laid out the fact that an arrow pointing up is ascending
order, an arrow pointing down is descending order.
The fact that you talk about the indicators as arrows already demonstrates
part of the problem. An arrow shows direction, but how does it relate to the
reading/writing direction implied by the list, and what comes first? Small
or large, newer or older?
The other interpretation of the indicators is that of triangles, with a tip
that stands for the start of the sorting alphabet and for small.
Even if you start from the terms ascending and descending, it's not obvious
what that means for dates (time-since-then vs numerical value).
I think this is somewhat representative of what an incredible strong
consensus ;) can be found about the issue:
Some interesting comments there.
I like the one about "A..Z" and "Z..A" for alpha, "1..9" and "9..1"
for numeric, "1..12" and "12..1" for dates.
Perhaps "Jan..Dec" and "Dec..Jan" would make it easier to read, but I
think it's leaps more descriptive than arrows.
Quick mockup to compare:
It's not terrible, but what if you had a very short header bar like
"Hits" and it only had small numbers less than 50? The arrow is much
easier to fit in the header bar than "9..1". Just something to consider.
And that's a 10pt font I used BTW, I wouldn't go smaller than that.
People with visual impairments might find it difficult to read.
I'm all for making advances in UI design in Unity, like the Dash, for
example (which is brilliant). But if Ubuntu hopes to become even more
mainstream, I think it needs to have UI elements that provide a safe and
familiar user experience. Buttons, dropdowns, checkboxes, sort headers..
these are the core elements I think we shouldn't be tinkering with too much.
Of course, now that I've gotten to the end of my email, I'm liking the
"Jan..Dec" idea more and more. I guess we should put a name to it so we
don't keep calling it "A..Z, 1..9". Contextual sort indicators? Since
they're based on context, i.e. what kind of data exists in that column.
I dig it. I'm gonna post this on the bug report, see what others think.
What do the rest of you think of that idea? It's probably the only thing
I'd like besides the arrows.