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Re: Emacs completion matches selection UI

From: Ted Zlatanov
Subject: Re: Emacs completion matches selection UI
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 14:05:48 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.130008 (Ma Gnus v0.8) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

On Thu, 19 Dec 2013 02:37:36 +0900 "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> 

SJT> Ted Zlatanov writes:
>> The best way forward seems to be to look at specific solutions of
>> the problem outside Emacs,

SJT> "Solution" to what "problem"?  I don't understand what problem you're
SJT> trying to solve by emulating other application's UIs.

I thought I explained it pretty clearly in this thread so I won't recap
it.  The topic is the current UI for selecting completion candidates
(and items from a list in general).  The question is whether it can be
improved; we have proposed some specific improvements and at least
having "down/up" go into the "select candidates" mode was reasonably
well received.

>> preferably without mentioning Apple or Microsoft products because
>> they tend to polarize the debate quickly.

SJT> How can you avoid mentioning the two most "familiar" UIs in the
SJT> business (backed up by a pile of HCI research)?

Watch me :)  I managed to give two relevant examples (libreadline and
zsh).  I can give more: Qt, GTK, Motif...

Here's a fairly standard autocomplete widget in today's Web, you can try
several use cases if your browser supports it:

>> * they should be displayed without a dedicated *Completions* buffer,
>> like `widget-choose' does it (special text buffer in text mode, nice
>> popup in graphical mode)

SJT> Huh?  *Completions* is a special text buffer, no?

Not in the same way if I understand the code in minibuffer.el correctly.
But more importantly, I don't want to see a special text buffer in
graphical mode.  I'm willing to sacrifice text vs. graphical consistency
for better visuals.  If *Completions* is still used in text mode, that's
OK (although I think `widget-choose' does it better for small lists).


p.s. finally, some anti-tips for UI designers:
http://toastytech.com/guis/uirant.html (the whole thing is quite funny
and based on older operating systems)

"Never, ever, under any circumstance use the OS-native graphical
controls or widgets. Users get bored of the same old buttons, text
boxes, and stuff.

When possible, disable window management and use unusual, oddly placed
graphics for the windowing functions such as the window close option.

When writing your own controls or widgets, make absolutely sure they
look and feel nothing like the OS-native widgets or anything else the
user might expect. Otherwise you might accidentally make the user think
that your application is actually designed for their OS."

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