• Develop specifications for each part of a theme, from windows down to a per widget level.
  • List what each widget needs to get across about itself. Continue with the how.
  • Describe relationships between widgets (example: a group of radio buttons and a combo-box both stand for a selection of one item out of a list)


  • Panels need to be clearly separated from the background and windows. However, they are related to menu and tool bars and this can be shown.
  • For a top panel, it must be clearly distinct from a window titlebar.


  • Clearly separate the window area from the surrounding and other windows
  • Show the availability or unavailability of means of manipulation, for closing, minimizing, maximizing, moving and resizing.
  • Indicate which window has focus
  • Indicate if a window can be resized or not

Non-Interactive Widgets

Non-interactive widgets have to make it clear that they are not click- or drag-able. Especially progressbars have to be clearly distinct from scrollbars and sliders.

  • Labels
  • Frames
  • Separators
  • Progress bars

Interactive Widgets

  • Offer a target area.
  • Give a hint at possible interaction. Can the widget be clicked on and/or dragged? This possibilities should always be shown in the same or similar fashion.
  • Ideally indicate if the pointer is in the target area before an action is taken (prelight).
  • Visually respond to an action like clicking or dragging.
  • Indicate whether the widget has input focus (note the separated keyboard and enter-key focus in dialogs).
  • Command Buttons. There is a special case of focus-handling in dialogs: The Default button of the dialog (for example "Open" in the "Open File" dialog) will receive Enter-key events, even if the general keyboard focus is on another widget that doesn't react to Enter itself.
  • Toggle Buttons
  • Check Boxes
  • Radio Buttons
  • Menubars
  • Toolbars


A notebook needs to communicate that it allows to make one of several areas visible, while all of these areas and the options offered on them persist.

  • Expanders
  • Scrollbars


A combobox allows to select always one item from a list and is therein like a group of radio buttons.

  • Combobox Entries
  • Text Entries
  • Spin Buttons
  • Sliders
  • List Views
  • Icon Views
  • Tree Views

Artwork/Documentation/Pieces (last edited 2009-04-15 19:12:11 by p5089738D)