LIS 640 - Checklists for Windows Applications
General Microsoft Guidelines
- Minimum steps.
- System restart not required.
- Users do not have to read a Readme file.
- User-generated files stored by default in My
- No folders outside of Program Files.
- Any disk cache registered with the Disk Cleanup
- Any new file types registered
at user's option.
- Start menu.
- No entries for Help*, Readme, and Uninstall.
- Top level for group only.
- No icons added to the desktop without user's
- Option to start application immediately after
- Uninstaller included.
- Cryptic file names avoided.
- No files written to the disk's root directory.
- If run at startup, with no splash screens or
- Taskbar notification area used only to alert to
- Message boxes avoided.
- No jargon or user blaming in interface text.
- Windows and dialogs.
- Appropriate controls.
- Recommended layout
(e.g., position of "OK" and "Cancel"
- Appropriate labeling.
- Sizing, spacing, margins.
- Keyboard accessibility.
- Support for the applicable standard keyboard
- Adjustment to different locales.
- Adjustment to changes in system display:
color scheme, default font size,
display resolution, and number of monitors.
- Uninstall that leaves no remaining files or registry
(except user-created files).
* This is Microsoft's advice,
but can sometimes be a bad idea.
Note, for example,
how difficult it is to get at help for Microsoft Access Visual
Microsoft Guidelines for Interface Text
- 8-point font,
adjusting automatically to changes in system font.
- Avoid italics and bold,
except use bold for defaults in menus.
- Avoid (unfamiliar) abbreviations.
Acronyms are OK,
but watch for ambiguity.
- Define access keys for all controls,
except "OK" and "Cancel",
which should always be Enter and Esc.
- Use proper name (title) style for column headings;
button, icon, and toolbar labels;
menu names and commands;
palette and tab titles;
title bar texts;
and Web page titles and navigational elements.
- Use sentence style for
ALT text on Web pages;
check box, group box, radio button, and text box labels;
status bar text;
introductory or instructional text.
- But always keep any capitalization in user-supplied names.
- Never form a contraction from a subject and its verb.
- If a command requires additional information
to be entered via a dialog,
follow it with "...".
- Introductory or instructional text should be
concise, complementary to labels,
positioned to make clear any relationship with a particular
and in sentence form.
- Align numbers at the decimal point.
- Follow normal punctuation rules.
Include punctuation in bulleted lists.
- Suit style to audience.
- Avoid negatives. Be consistent.
Use plain plurals rather than "(s)".
Use the present tense and the active voice.
Use tables or lists to break up long texts.
- "click" for selecting buttons,
hyperlinks, tabs, menus, and menu items;
- "select" for selecting items in a list box or
- "select" and "clear" for checking and
a check box;
- "click to remove the check mark"
for removing a check mark from a menu item;
- "press" for pressing a key;
- "type" for typing words.
- Avoid wording that might offend people with
- Give titles to all windows except
splashes, balloon tips, pop-up context-sensitive help,
and volume control:
command name for dialog;
document title for document window
or message box;
name of objects displayed for palette;
product or program name for program window;
object name plus "Properties" for property window;
toolbar name for toolbar;
page title and browser name for Web page;
wizard name for wizard.
Some Other Microsoft Guidelines for Interfaces
- Lay out left-to-right, top-to-bottom,
with the most important information in the upper left.
- Use standard size toolbars, buttons, etc.
- Try for consistent widths for buttons, tabs, etc.,
and consistent spacing between similar controls.
- Place a margin around each window
of about 1¾ average character widths.
Space related controls 1 average character width apart
and unrelated controls 1¾ apart.
(Various similar guidelines are also included.)
- Place labels to the left of or above related
- Place controls that apply only to a tabbed page
within the page's border
and controls that apply to the entire window
outside the page's border.
- Left align text boxes and labels.
- Make graphics consistent but distinct.
- Avoid using existing graphics for different functions;
standard icons for New, Open, Save, Print, Print Preview, Undo,
Copy, Paste, Delete, Find, Replace, Properties, Bold, Italic,
What's This?, Show Help Topics, Back, Forward, Stop, Refresh,
Search, Favorites, History, Full screen, Mail, Edit, Open parent
View as large icons, View as small icons, View as list, Region
View as details.
- Imitate a light source at the upper left.
- Make images international.
- Use the pointer's design to help the user identify
and to provide feedback,
but only in the area where it applies.
The hot spot should be easily identifiable.
- Show visually which object has been selected.
- Use filled handles for manipulation points
and unfilled handles to indicate simple selection.
Last updated October 25, 2001.
This page maintained by
E-mail (text/plain only): email@example.com
Faculty of Information and
University of Western
Canada, N6A 5B7