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<table width="100%" cellpadding=5 cellspacing=0 border=0 class="navtopbg"><tr><td><font size="1"><p class="navtitle"><a href="8.html" class="navtitle">Web Development</a> &gt; <a href="0672319942.html" class="navtitle">Python Developer's Handbook</a> &gt; <a href="199.html" class="navtitle">14. Python and GUIs</a> &gt; <span class="nonavtitle">Designing a Good Interface</span></p></font></td><td align="right" valign="top" nowrap><font size="1"><a href="main.asp?list" class="safnavoff">See All Titles</a></font></td></tr></table>
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<TABLE border=0 width="100%" cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><TR><td align=left width="15%" class="headingsubbarbg"><a href="203.html" title="Overview of Other GUI Modules"><font size="1">&lt;&nbsp;BACK</font></a></td><td align=center width="70%" class="headingsubbarbg"><font size="1"><a href="popanote.asp?pubui=oreilly&bookname=0672319942&snode=204" target="_blank" title="Make a public or private annnotation">Make Note</a> | <a href="204.html" title="Use a Safari bookmark to remember this section">Bookmark</a></font></td><td align=right width="15%" class="headingsubbarbg"><a href="205.html" title="Summary"><font size="1">CONTINUE&nbsp;&gt;</font></a></td></TR></TABLE>
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				<h3>



Designing a Good Interface</h3>
				<p>The user interface is part of a program that interacts with the
user of the program. User interfaces take many forms. These forms range in
complexity from simple command-line interfaces to the point-and-click graphical
user interfaces provided by many modern GUI applications.</p>

				<P>A GUI is built of graphical elements generally called 
<A NAme="idx1073748306"></a>widgets. Typical widgets include such items as buttons,
scrollbars, and text fields. Widgets allow the user to interact with the
program and provide the user with visual feedback about the state of the
program.</p>

				<P>Widgets do not stand alone, but rather are found within windows.
Windows contain and control the layout of widgets. Windows are themselves
widgets, however, they are called 
<A NAme="idx1073748307"></a>
					<i>toplevel</I> widgets as they can't be
placed inside other widgets.
<A NAme="idx1073748308"></a>
				</p>

				<p>A good interface makes it easy for users to tell the computer what
they want to do, for the computer to request information from the users, and
for the computer to present understandable information. Clear communication
between the user and the computer is the working premise of a good user
interface design. Some of the qualities that a good user interface must have
are clear, consistent, simple, user-controlled, direct, forgiving, feedback
provider, and aesthetic.
<a name="idx1073748309"></a>
					<a name="idx1073748310"></a>
					<a naMe="idx1073748311"></a>
					<A namE="idx1073748312"></a>
				</p>

				<p>Following the next GUI design principles should help you create
more effective, user-friendly interfaces while avoiding many design errors.
Unfortunately, just following design principles cannot alone guarantee success
because it is entirely possible to create completely unworkable interfaces
while strictly adhering to the rules.</p>

				<Ul>
<li>
						<P>Don't try to reinvent the wheel. The user must be able to
anticipate the behavior of your program using knowledge gained from other
programs.</P>

					</LI>
<li>
						<p>Provide adequate user feedback. Keep the user informed about
his actions.</p>

					</LI>
<LI>
						<p>Create a safe environment for exploration.</p>

					</li>
<LI>
						<P>Struggle to make your application self-evident, by making the
actions easily recognizable for the components of your application.</P>

					</li>
<li>
						<P>The user must be able to anticipate a widget's behavior from
its visual properties.</P>

					</LI>
<li>
						<p>View every user warning and error dialog that your program
generates as an opportunity to improve your interface.</p>

					</li>
<li>
						<p>Do not abuse sound, color, animation, and multimedia clips.
They are appropriate for education or entertainment, but effective use in other
applications is difficult.</p>

					</li>
<li>
						<p>You better try to avoid modal behaviors. Programs using modal
behavior force the user to perform tasks in a specific order or otherwise
modify the user's expected responses.</p>

					</li>
<li>
						<P>Design your interface so that your users can accomplish their
t
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