Tuesday, July 19, 2005

KDE's checkboxes for toggleable menu items

There's a problem with KDE's menus that's been bugging me for a while now, but only recently was I directly confronted with it because it prevented a usability improvement from being made. I just did a usability review of Digikam's tagging functionality in version 0.8 and made the suggestion to put checkmarks in front of the tags which are already assigned to an image (when managing image tags through the image context-menu). It was supposed to look like this:

I already expected it, but lippel told me today that doing it this way is probably not possible in KDE, because the icon and the checkbox of a menu item are drawn together -- on top of each other instead of side by side like in my mockup. This makes for bad visibility in almost every case it is used. Do you have to look twice if you have tree view or something else actived in Konqueror's view menu (view -> view modes)? I already had a chat with annma about the same thing happening in Kalzium, where it's barely visible when the legend is activated:
And it also strikes in the development version of Basket, where the tags assigned to an item are indeed checked, but because the "checkmark" is on top of the icon, you can still barely see it:

The problem doesn't seem to be a style specific thing, because I checked all the styles on my system -- keramic, plastik, light 2nd and kde classic all have it. Trolltech obviously knows that having a separate icon and checkmark is better, because QT Designer on the Mac does them that way, but strangely they implemented this differently from platform to platform. Designer on Windows, for example, does not have room for checkmarks to the left of menu item icons, although Windows itself supports this. (Note that "Edit Widgets" is toggled in both of these last screenshots!)
Sadly, I'm not a KDE hacker, so maybe I can convince anybody to do something about this this way ;). It would be a great addition to all the other cool things that are coming for KDE 4.

P.S.: holehan recently also blogged about another similar problem with toggleable menu items -- I bet he would also love to have this solved for KDE 4 :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lemmings rock indeed

Reading Hans Oischinger's last blog entry about Lemmings, I remebered this little movie (19MB, xvid/mp3) I and some friends made in a Uni course a while ago. It's a stop-motion animation of a game of Lemmings with lego men -- it shows how the lemmings themselves see the game.

Some screencaps:

We also programmed an (ahem) nice, (ahem) working java app to produce stop-motion animated films. Strangley, I must have forgotten the link for it ;).