Interface KDE

3.2.1 Kontact

KAddressBook’s category selector and editor need some UI work.

Critique based on KAddressBook 3.2.1. I know KDE 3.2.3 was just released, so this may all be for naught!

The Kontact Category Selector and Editor dialog windows

Select Categories (left)

  • The full category names are not displayed, regardless of the width of the dialog window. This is particularly problematic when you have a default category called Customer that, when truncated, looks like it might be a way to create a Custom… category. You can only see that it is Customer by opening the Edit Categories window.
  • The Clear Selection button unchecks all the checked boxes, regardless of whether or not they have been selected (thereby gaining the highlight color). The way it works is not entirely unexpected, but the wording is not very clear.

Edit Categories (right)

  • When the dialog first appears, the Add button is not enabled, meaning you have to select an existing category and then click it. This minor problem is exacerbated by the next one…
  • If I click the Add button while School is selected, School is duplicated rather than a new Untitled category being created. If you really wanted to provide a category duplication button (which makes no sense to me), there is enough room to make one specifically for that purpose rather than illogically assigning the behavior to a button labeled “Add”.

My combined Kontact Category Selector and Editor mockup

My combined Selector and Editor

  1. As far as I could tell, the only way to Modify an existing category was to rename it, so I just labeled the button Rename.
  2. Alternating row colors might help. In any case, I think they look better, even in the quick and dirty way I did it in QT Designer.
  3. Labeling the Clear Selected button Clear All Checked Categories is not necessarily best, because not all themes use actual check marks. Some themes moronically use only a color to differentiate between checked and unchecked items. Interface themes do add a bit of interface unpredictability that OS X developers don’t have to worry about — note that I’m not advocating a “locked” UI for KDE!

I’m aware that I’m missing the shortcut key underlining and that my spacing isn’t perfect. I blame it on my inexperience with QT Designer (which is a really nice application).

Yes, the post title is a reference to the PBS show of long ago.

By Daniel J. Wilson

I am a designer, drummer, and photographer in Brooklyn, NY.