Dialog Prompt Messages and Formatting

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Dialog prompt messages and formatting rules

Constraining Width

In 2007 it is reasonable to assume that no one is using EiffelStudio in a resolution less that 1024 pixels wide. Therefore dialog prompt can be of that width. However, dialog prompts should not actually be that wide as users eyes will have to traverse a large length when scanning from one line to the next, to the buttons. The minimum with for dialog prompts with messages spanning multiple lines is 300 pixel and the maximum should be 700 pixels. A comfortable size is around 450 pixels.

Note that the new dialog prompt design displays the buttons on the right-most of the dialog prompt. This by design as the user will finish reading a dialog prompt at the right. You may also notice a gap between the right of the dialog prompt text and the edge of the window. Again, by design because for single button dialog prompts the user's eyes will not have to backtrack to read the button.


Questions come in may forms but for most question-oriented dialog prompts the question should actually be the dialog prompt message. For example, when closing EiffelStudio the prompt text will be something along the lines of:

Are you sure you want to exit EiffelStudio?

When in debugging on the other hand the debugger will be stopped if EiffelStudio is exited.

Exiting EiffelStudio will stop the debugger and terminated the
debugged application.

Are you sure you want to exit EiffelStudio?

Notice the message includes what will happen if they user chooses to close EiffelStudio, this is the consequence. In addition the question in the first example has been repeated with an extra line break between the consequence and the question.

Generally questions should always start "Are you sure you want ..." and obviously end with a question mark "?".

Any consequence text must also be verbose enough so the user understands what will happen but not too verbose so they have to read a paragraph.