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Re: Overtime: Friday <Humour>


Oh, jeez, Brian!  Jobs stole from Xerox PARC, and Gates stole from
Jobs.  Strike that.  Gates stole from everybody.  But back to the
problem at hand.

Checkboxes in HTML can be implemented as single, standalone fields with
an on/off attribute.  Or they can be clustered together under the same
control name.  (As Matt pointed out.)

I think Remedy's implementation is half-assed as long a you can't
cluster the output into a single entity that you can test and query on.
 How that's done is open to discussion.  In JavaScript you access the
values as elements in an array.  In Perl's CGI.pm, they're hashes.  I
like Zandi's bitmask idea, which reminds me of Unix's permission
numbers.  It's simple, compact, and elegant.

There are often very good reasons for clustering checkboxes.  Imagine a
medical form that lists several medications.  You tell the users to
check any medications they're allergic to.  Do you REALLY want to query
on 20 different fields?  I don't.  I'd rather be able to say:

  $Allergic To$ = &#34;Aspirin&#34; OR $Allergic To$ =
&#34;Penicillin&#34;, etc.

That might be an oversimplification.  Maybe it would be better to
access the values using notation like Status History...  Like this:

  $AllergicTo.Aspirin&#34; = 'Yes' OR $AllergicTo.Penicillin&#34; =

Yeah.  I like that.

The most obvious example in the Remedy environment I can think of (and
forgive me if somebody already brought this up) is the Group List field
on the User form.  You can imagine the Group List field presented as a
list of checkboxes with the instruction:  &#34;Click all that
apply.&#34;  In this case a user can belong to any combination of
groups.  It isn't a perfect example, but you see what I'm getting at.

If Remedy is going to stick with this implementation of a checkbox as a
single, square, glorified radio button, that's fine, but I still think
we need a collector field like the Group List field or a container like
Status History that we can query/test on.

But that's just one man's opinion.


--- Brian Goralczyk &lt;Brian.Goralczyk@VERIZONWIRELESS.COM&gt; wrote:
&gt; **
&gt; Matt,
&gt; I have two names.  Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates.  The founding
&gt; of
&gt; modern graphical interfaces
&gt; Sorry, couldn't resist.  But really, I believe that environments
&gt; have
&gt; been around for longer, or at least offered the functionality
&gt; have
&gt; the right to decide how it should be used, and by far, the
&gt; that
&gt; saturates the market is usually the one that set the industry
&gt; standard.  I
&gt; know my graphical environment knowledge is somewhat limited.
&gt; VB,
&gt; Remedy.  But I feel that out of these, check boxes have been used
&gt; somewhat
&gt; consistently.  Some one feel free to correct me.
&gt; I know that, myself as a user, would probably send off a scathing
&gt; email to a
&gt; programmer that gave me a list like :
&gt; What is your age:
&gt; 1) 0-12
&gt; 2) 0-17
&gt; 3) 0-25
&gt; 4) 18-65
&gt; 5) 65+
&gt; I also realize that your list was speculation.  But it would be
&gt; extremely
&gt; bad gui design to do something like that.  A book that I have
&gt; useful
&gt; and recommended to other developers is Gui Bloopers.  It somewhat
&gt; coincides
&gt; with www.websitesthatsuck.com but offers a lot of useful insight.
&gt; that
&gt; note, I suggest all developers of Graphical User Interfaces go
&gt; the
&gt; book.  I am certain that some knowledge will be gained.
&gt; HTH,
&gt; Brian
&gt; -----Original Message-----
&gt; From: Black, Matt [mailto:matt.black@verizon.com]
&gt; Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 1:33 PM
&gt; Subject: Re: [ARSLIST] Overtime: Friday &lt;Humour&gt;
&gt; **
&gt; Scott,
&gt;         First, thanks for the response (Same to you to Brian.) I
&gt; appreciate hearing other peoples perspectives. (They often tell me
&gt; what I do
&gt; not know, and help to show me new ways to look at the world around
&gt; me.)
&gt;         This user never put that together. (AKA: Radio Button =
&gt; of n,
&gt; Checkboxes = (0[1?]..n) of n) I did however, check www.w3c.org and
&gt; confirm
&gt; that your basic explanation is substantially correct for HTML
&gt; (There
&gt; were a few interesting notes about what is &#34;undefined
behavior&#34; too.
&gt; http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/interact/forms.html#checkbox ) I
&gt; HTML,
&gt; because it is the &#34;killer app&#34; environment that most
&gt; applications
&gt; strive to be a part of. (Cough.. Cough..)
&gt;         I really viewed the &#34;Radio Button&#34; vs.
&#34;Checkboxes&#34; as a
&gt; &#34;purely
&gt; stylistic&#34; difference. The logic that suggest that these GUI's
&gt; something different is interesting. (I guess here is where I show
&gt; that I
&gt; have written more Perl code, without GUI's, then &#34;GUI&#34;
&gt; outside
&gt; of ARS. :)
&gt; So with that said.
&gt; &lt;soapbox&gt;
&gt;  &lt;using_common_GUI_conventions&gt;
&gt;         ARS selection fields only allow for a single selection,
&gt; they
&gt; allow for no selection at all.
&gt;         So it is _not correct_ to implement a &#34;checkbox&#34;
GUI on top
&gt; of that
&gt; object. (It does not match the &#34;intended&#34; design of
checkboxes.) In
&gt; fact, it
&gt; does not match the &#34;design&#34; of HTML radio buttons either.
&gt; require that
&gt; a value be selected. See the URL's above.)
&gt;   AKA: Remedy still missed the &#34;conventional&#34; boat.
&gt;  &lt;using_common_GUI_conventions&gt;
&gt;  &lt;Not_following_common_GUI_conventions&gt;
&gt;   (In my simple view of applications.)
&gt;         I think it is questionable as to if this GUI convention,
&gt; necessary.
&gt;         For example (and it is a bit ridiculous) If a user was
&gt; the
&gt; following list. What would you expect them to do? (besides laugh
&gt; the
&gt; stupidity of the details in this example.)
&gt; What is your age:
&gt; 1) 0-12
&gt; 2) 0-17
&gt; 3) 0-25
&gt; 4) 18-65
&gt; 5) 65+
&gt; [I have intentionally not defined what type of GUI is used to
&gt; describe this
&gt; list.]
&gt;         The first thing the user will likely think&#34;.. &#34;Why
is there
&gt; '0-12'
&gt; and '0-17'?&#34; However if the user is between 12-17 this list
&gt; determine
&gt; that. Provided that the user selects the first two options. (I
&gt; why not
&gt; just do 0-12 and 13-17, but the point is that the groupings on the
&gt; list are
&gt; defined by the what the application &#34;needs&#34;. There may be
a case
&gt; where the
&gt; application needs to &#34;test&#34; to see if the user is
&gt; consistent data&#34;
&gt; and &#34;duplication of options makes sense&#34;. There are also
&gt; &#34;application
&gt; needs&#34; that might allow for &#34;overlap&#34; in the listed
&gt;         The next thought the user might have face is.. &#34;Ok,
I'm in
&gt; more than
&gt; one, what do I do?&#34; If the list was in a GUI, I'm sure they
&gt; attempt to
&gt; &#34;click&#34; on each option that applies. (or at least the one
&gt; applies
&gt; &#34;best&#34;. They could also be lazy and not try the other
&gt;         In the event that the GUI displays that only one option
&gt; be
&gt; selected then the would leave the one that applies the
&#34;best&#34; as
&gt; selected
&gt; and try to move on.
&gt;         In the event that the GUI displays that multiple options
&gt; be
&gt; selected then I would expect that they would to select all that
&gt; apply.
&gt;  (Maybe it's just my users, but they seem to click on everything 6
&gt; times
&gt; before the decide that it was the right thing to click on. You
&gt; watch a
&gt; user using an application? They get board &#34;thinking about what
&gt; are
&gt; doing&#34; and turn into a &#34;click-o-matic&#34;.)
&gt;         Would it so confuse the users if the &#34;checkboxes&#34;
had little
&gt; &#34;x&#34;'s
&gt; in the box instead of an actually &#34;check mark&#34;? (Or would
that be a
&gt; third
&gt; type of GUI that could have a third &#34;expected behavior&#34; by
&gt; users?) Maybe
&gt; Remedy should use a square box with a round &#34;check mark&#34;
to describe
&gt; a (0 or
&gt; 1) of n &#34;selection field&#34;?
&gt;   (I doubt that any of that would confuse a reasonably intelligent
&gt; user. I
&gt; know, there is that oxymoron again... &#34;intelligent
user&#34;... )
&gt; Now let me try to switch your train of thought to a new track...
&gt;    If the following list was presented from a command line script.
&gt; What
&gt; would the user think then? How do you expect them to react if the
&gt; &#34;interface&#34; is a command line? (maybe answer with 0,1 or
&gt; (until
&gt; they answer with no answer) and what happens when the press
&lt;cr&gt;? Do
&gt; they
&gt; get a list back like:
&gt; 1)*0-12
&gt; 2) 0-17
&gt; 3) 0-25
&gt; 4) 18-65
&gt; 5) 65+
&gt; Then:
&gt; 1)*0-12
&gt; 2)*0-17
&gt; 3) 0-25
&gt; 4) 18-65
&gt; 5) 65+
&gt; Or do they just get the &#34;next prompt&#34;? (or error because
they failed
&gt; to
&gt; select any?)
&gt;         My point is simple... &#34;Don't fence me in&#34;. Even at
the cost
&gt; of
&gt; allowing me to &#34;break conventions&#34;.
&gt;         Just because I can, does not mean that I should, or will
&gt; something. It's about &#34;Freedom baby&#34;! Freedom to make all
the stupid
&gt; mistakes that you want to. Which is also the power to create
&gt; next best
&gt; thing since sliced bread&#34;. We learn through mistakes. We
create best,
&gt; without boundaries.
&gt; &lt;spooky_music lights =&#34;dimming&#34;&gt;
&gt;         Maybe, just maybe, ARS will &#34;redefine application
&gt; conventions&#34;
&gt; because it will &#34;take over the world!!!!&#34;
&gt; &lt;/spooky_music&gt;
&gt;  &lt;/Not_following_common_GUI_conventions&gt;
&gt; &lt;/soapbox&gt;
&gt; I guess I am so &#34;unaware of the GUI box&#34; that I don't want
to be
&gt; limited by
&gt; it.
&gt; BTW: &#34;the way it is intended&#34;... By whom? (Who invented
the &#34;Checkbox
&gt; GUI&#34;
&gt; and defined how it should work?  If you have a verifiable name, I
&gt; just
&gt; fall out of my chair. :)
&gt; --
&gt; Carey Matthew Black
&gt; Solution = People + Process + Tools
&gt; Fast, Accurate, Cheap.... Pick two.
&gt; -----Original Message-----
&gt; From: Parrish, Scott [mailto:Scott.Parish@BELLSOUTH.COM]
&gt; Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 11:02 AM
&gt; Subject: Re: Overtime: Friday &lt;Humour&gt;
&gt; **
&gt; My read into this functionality is that Remedy is forcing you to
&gt; the
&gt; &#34;checkbox GUI thing&#34; the way it is intended. Frankly,
using a
&gt; checkbox to
&gt; force a user to a single selection among a group of selections is
&gt; poor
&gt; design. (I understand that you already know this.) While the Radio
&gt; vs.
&gt; Checkbox thing may be a GUI thing, it does go beyond that. It is a
&gt; usability
&gt; issue. Users in the GUI world know that if they have a radio
&gt; with
&gt; three selections, they may choose only one. The same user also
&gt; that if
&gt; there are three checkboxes they may choose to select none, one,
&gt; or all
&gt; three. I really do not see any other way Remedy could have
&gt; implemented the
&gt; checkboxes, except to allow developers to use them in a manner in
&gt; which they
&gt; weren't intended. The same way we USED to be forced to use radio
&gt; buttons to
&gt; mimic checkbox functionality.
&gt; That being said, I would have liked to have been able to put five
&gt; selections
&gt; in the attributes for the checkbox field and allowed the user to
&gt; select any
&gt; permutation of all five. Only thing is, I don't know how the ARS
&gt; system
&gt; could have implemented that type of functionality. But, maybe I'm
&gt; just not
&gt; thinking out of the box enough.
&gt; Ok, off of my soapbox.
&gt; Scott
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