Java TM Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics > Part II: Special Topics > 2: Windows > Primary Windows   Previous Next Contents/Index/Search


Primary Windows

A primary window is the main window in which a user interacts with a document or data. An application can have one or more primary windows, each of which a user can manipulate independently.

A primary window represents an object (such as an email message) or a set of objects (such as all the messages in a mail window). For information about representing the properties of objects, see Property Windows.

Primary windows contain a title bar and, optionally, a menu bar, toolbar, and status bar, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3   Elements of a Primary Window


Title Bars in Primary Windows

The title bar of a primary window displays text that includes the name of the object, or set of objects, that the window represents. Figure 4 shows a typical title bar for a primary window.

Figure 4   Title Bar of a Primary Window


For more information about window titles, see Chapter 7 of Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines , 2d ed. In addition, see Window Titles for Identically Named Objects and Views of this book.

 In primary windows, begin the window title text with the name of the object or set of objects that the window represents, followed by a space, a hyphen, another space, and the application name.

Toolbars in Primary Windows

Primary windows can contain a toolbar, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5   Toolbar of a Primary Window


A toolbar can contain any combination of the following controls:

  • Command buttons--for example, a button for printing or searching
  • Controls for choosing modes of interaction--for example, buttons for choosing painting tools in a graphics application
  • Controls that dynamically change and display an object's property values--for example, in a word-processing program, a button that both italicizes the current text and shows that the current text is italicized

 If users can access an action from a toolbar, provide keyboard access to that action as well. Alternatively, provide an equivalent action that is keyboard accessible.For example, if you provide a toolbar control for printing text, you might also provide a menu item for printing text. Toolbar controls can differ from their corresponding menu items--but only in that the toolbar control uses default values, whereas the menu item opens an action window.

 When providing a keyboard-accessible alternative to a toolbar control, ensure that the alternative has at least the capabilities of the toolbar control.

 Omit all toolbar controls from the keyboard traversal order so that expert users to navigate more easily. If a user presses the Tab key to move keyboard focus in a window, do not move focus to toolbar controls.

 Provide a tool tip for each toolbar control, especially if the control has no label. (For more information about tool tips, see "Tool Tips" on page 68 .)

Status Bars in Primary Windows

The bottom of primary windows can include a status bar, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6   Status Bar at the Bottom of a Primary Window


You can use the status bar to display status messages and read-only information about the object that the window represents.

 In a window's status bar, ensure that each message fits the available space when the window is at its default size.

 To avoid displaying obsolete information in a window's status bar, clear each status message when the next user action occurs in that window.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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