[thelist] Analog interfaces in digital form (was Flash Question)

Stephen Rider evolt_org at striderweb.com
Wed Jan 31 09:10:13 CST 2007

On Jan 30, 2007, at 8:33 PM, Donald Pasewark wrote:

> What would be the best way to simulate a volume knob?
> On mouse down I'd like to go right to increase and left to decrease.

Use a slider.

In my experience it's not always the best idea to try to create  
analogs of physical interfaces in digital form.  If you want to avoid  
irritated users, stick to straightforward sliders and such.

Even if the software allows you to drag beyond the image of the  
"wheel", many users will not realize it, and be click-click-click- 
clicking at it with tiny little on-wheel drags, grumbling about the  
idiot designer all the while.  Apple's Quicktime player had a rather  
infamous version (v4 I think...) with a volume "wheel", and they  
learned their lesson the hard way.  Note that their new touch-screen  
iPhone dropped the iconic iPod "wheel" interface, even in the music  
player screen, because they realized that such a thing in purely  
digital form would be hard to use....

If you simply must use a wheel image, I would say that right or left  
depends on where mousedown occurs.  Top of the wheel, right is "up";  
bottom of the wheel, left is "up"; left side, up is up, right side,  
down is "up".  (That is, "clockwise" turn is up.)  Imitate a real  
volume knob.  Also look out for users who will click and then run the  
cursor in little circles because... well, it's a knob, right?  See  
why I suggest a slider? ;-)

Stephen Rider

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