Openbravo's User Experience Lab
GUI design, ERP Usability and Visual Design

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In this stage we´re almost done with the HTML for the forms and grids for the 3.0 GUI. We´ve built two versions for the forms:

1. Fixed width fields. Example here

2. Relative width fields: depending on screen resolution, the fields will be stretched. Example here

Both have pros and cons. Fixed width fields are easier to scan (especially on wide screen monitors) and I suspect them to be faster in use (although the difference may be insignificant). Relative width fields allow for long value input, without the value (string of characters) being cut off. Nothing more annoying than not being able to distinguish a value because the most distinguishing characters are at the end, just outside the field.

There is even a third option: variable length input fields are pretty cool as well but I´m afraid of a creating messy forms when fields stretch individually so in case you wanted to suggest this: Don´t :-)

Also, the tab order in these demo sites follow the html by default, which is up to down. The current OB form tab order goes from the left to the right. What works best for you?

I would like to hear you opinion & experiences on both topics. Drop you reactions here.