Difference between revisions of "Projects/Usability/HIG/Toggle Buttons"

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==Definition==
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__NOTOC__
  
A toggle button is a button which stays down when clicked once and goes up when clicked a second time.
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== Purpose ==
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''Toggle buttons'' look similar to regular buttons, but are used to show or change a state rather than initiate an action. A toggle button's two states, set and unset, are shown by its appearing "pushed in" or "popped out" respectively.
  
==When to Use==
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Toggle buttons are a valid option to indicate a state with the advance of using an icon. Compared to the related radio button or check box they are an efficient way to save screen space. But toggle buttons should be used with care outside a toolbar because the state is not clearly indicated.
  
Use a toggle button to indicate a '''state'''.
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== Example ==
  
Example: A word processor should use toggle buttons to indicate the state of "Bold", "Italic" or "Underline" formatting.
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== Guidelines ==
 
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=== Is this the right control ===
[[File:Toggle-button-formatting.png]]
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* Use a toggle button to indicate a state if no other control apply, i.e. in case of the [[Projects/Usability/HIG/toolbar|toolbar]].
(Toggle buttons used in a rich text editor)
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* Prefer [[Projects/Usability/HIG/Radio_Buttons|radio buttons]] or [[Projects/Usability/HIG/Check_Box|check boxes]] outside the toolbar.
 
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=== Behavior ===
==When not to Use==
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* Group toggle buttons in case of multiple selection.
 
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* Separate toggle buttons from other controls, so they are not mistaken for push buttons.
Do not use a toggle button to indicate an '''action'''.
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* Do not use a toggle button to initiate an action.
 
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* Do not change the label according the button state.
Example: A music player should not use a toggle button to implement a combined Play/Pause button. It should use a normal button and adjust the icon and label to represent the action which would be performed when clicked.
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=== Appearance ===
 
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* Align groups of toggle buttons horizontally rather than vertically.
[[File:Toggle-button-media-player.png]]
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* Provide an access key in the label of all toggle buttons that allows the user to set or unset the button directly from the keyboard.
 
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== Implementation ==
==Icon and Label==
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[http://api.kde.org/4.10-api/kdelibs-apidocs/kdeui/html/classKPushButton.html#KPushButton] for generic buttons.
 
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[http://api.kde.org/4.10-api/kdelibs-apidocs/kdeui/html/classKAction.html#KAction] is used to generate buttons in toolbars.
There are two ways to label a toggle button. You can either describe the state reached when the button is down or describe the current state.
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===First option: Describe the state reached when the button is down===
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In this case the icon and label should not change when the button is down.
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Example: We create a toggle button to toggle the visibility of a sidebar. The label of this button is "Show Sidebar". When the button is toggled down, it should still say "Show Sidebar": it should not be changed to "Hide Sidebar".
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Think of the button as a check box: when you click a check box you do not expect its label to change. If it makes more sense to change the button text to "Hide Sidebar" when the sidebar is shown then you should use a normal button, not a toggle button.
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It is worth noting that unlike normal buttons, the label of a toggle button does not need to contain a verb, as long as there is no ambiguity. In this example the label can be reduced to "Sidebar".
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[[File:Toggle-button-summary.png]]
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===Second option: Describe the current state===
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In this case the label will often include a passive verb. For example a button to lock or unlock an element would say "Unlocked" when it is up and "Locked" when it is down. The icon should also change to match the label.
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[[File:Toggle-button-unlocked-locked.png]]
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===Which option to use===
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There is no strict rule to decide which option is the best, it depends on the context of your application. Note however that the second option has one drawback: since the label change, the button width will change as well. This can be annoying if the button is in the middle of a toolbar as it will cause all buttons after it to shift horizontally.
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Latest revision as of 12:07, 26 September 2013


[edit] Purpose

Toggle buttons look similar to regular buttons, but are used to show or change a state rather than initiate an action. A toggle button's two states, set and unset, are shown by its appearing "pushed in" or "popped out" respectively.

Toggle buttons are a valid option to indicate a state with the advance of using an icon. Compared to the related radio button or check box they are an efficient way to save screen space. But toggle buttons should be used with care outside a toolbar because the state is not clearly indicated.

[edit] Example

[edit] Guidelines

[edit] Is this the right control

[edit] Behavior

  • Group toggle buttons in case of multiple selection.
  • Separate toggle buttons from other controls, so they are not mistaken for push buttons.
  • Do not use a toggle button to initiate an action.
  • Do not change the label according the button state.

[edit] Appearance

  • Align groups of toggle buttons horizontally rather than vertically.
  • Provide an access key in the label of all toggle buttons that allows the user to set or unset the button directly from the keyboard.

[edit] Implementation

[1] for generic buttons. [2] is used to generate buttons in toolbars.


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