A status bar is an area at the bottom of a window that can be used to display brief information about the status of the application.
Selecting the right information
Use statusbars for information that is
- Relevant to the current user in the current situation
- Not critical (i.e. information that does not need immediate response)
- General information about the document or application. For example, current connection status in a network application, or the size of the current document in a text editor.
- Progress of a background operation. For example, "Sending to printer", "Printing page 10 of 20", "Printing Complete".
- Information about the task the user is currently performing. For example, while using the selection tool in a drawing application, "Hold Shift to extend the selection"
- A description of the control or area of the window under the mouse pointer. For example, "Drop files here to upload them"
Do not use status bars for
- Information that most users won't need while using the application. Put that information in a log file or display it in a dialog on demand.
- Critical information to which users need to respond in order to complete their task or avoid loosing any work. Display critical information in a dialog instead. Users may miss information displayed in a status bar and some novice users might not even notice the status bar at all.
- Information about routine checks (unless something - non-critical - has happened)
- An error that occured while fetching a file from the internet that is needed for the task at hand
- An error that occured while trying to save a file
Status bar layout
- Disply status messages on the left end of the status bar
Providing contextual help