GUI: Please clarify expected behaviour of 'Apply' button.
|Reported by:||macca8||Owned by:|
The Apply button provides a very simple feature: change a Global Option without leaving the Options tab.
Unfortunately, using the button alongside the OK button isn't anywhere near as intuitive as if used alone… it works as expected, but assumes a user's prior knowledge of its purpose.
Just to be clear, the issue here isn't with the task the Apply button performs, it's with how it's communicated to the user.
The first problem is that the dialog contains two methods for applying a change, Apply & OK… an ambiguous situation with no clear guidelines offered.
This immediately poses two questions to the new user:
- Which button do I use?
- What's the difference between Apply & OK?
The cleanest solution is to remove the OK button (the Apply button virtually makes it redundant in this case), but I'm guessing that most devs would be reluctant to remove a long standing method, particularly since it's not actually broken!
Alternatively, I propose the addition of these tooltips to the tab's buttons:
- Cancel: Return to Launcher.
- Apply: Change options.
- OK: Change options & return to Launcher.
While adding a tooltip to the Cancel button isn't really necessary, it does provide clarity to the relationship between the three buttons (Apply + Cancel = OK).
The second problem is a lack of feedback when clicking the Apply button to apply a change.
If the selected option changes the overall appearance of the GUI (language, theme, or screen size), then it's obvious to the user that the change was effected. However, most options don't, and look the same before and after the button is clicked, prompting the question:
- Did anything actually happen?
The only way to check is to exit the tab (usually to the Launcher), then return to confirm the change… defeating the purpose of using the Apply button.
What I propose is that the Apply button (and, for consistency, the OK button as well) be disabled by default, and only enabled when the user selects an option to change. After the user applies the change, both buttons are again disabled, visually confirming that the change was effected.
As such, the following behaviours would also need to be addressed:
- if, before applying a change, the user reconsiders and reverts that change to its currently applied value, then the button should be immediately disabled.
- similarly, when changing multiple options simultaneously, if all changes are reverted, the button should be immediately disabled, otherwise it should remain enabled while any potential changes still exist.
To be fair, as features go, the Apply button is trivial, but regardless, communicating clearly with the user is essential to using a GUI effectively.
Thanks for your consideration.