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Do you use bold text and indentation, instead of dividing lines?
  v2.0 Posted at 1/12/2014 4:04 PM by Rebecca Liu

Many applications have a lot of content on each form. If this is the case there needs to be some way to separate certain sections. To achieve this separation Microsoft (and therefore most developers) uses separating lines, but this UI is not perfect because:

  • It creates additional visual clutter
  • It is hard to maintain

We recommend using bold instead of dividing lines because:

  1. Bold stands out
  2. Indentation is more important
  3. Developers are not good at keeping the lines aligned - you could create a .NET custom control to do this - but Microsoft do not provide one
    • The dividing lines create additional visual clutter (ever so slight)
    • Each line creates additional performance implications (ever so slight)
Internet options form of IE
Figure: Bad Example - This is the Tools - Options from Internet Explorer and it groups each section in a groupbox - busy UI.
Options form of Outlook
Figure: Bad Example - This is the Tools - Options from Outlook and it uses dividing lines for each section.
SSW Code AUditor - Email and Schedule
Figure: Bad Example - This is an old screen from Code Auditor - the dividing lines are not required.
SSW Code Auditor - Email and Schedule
Figure: Good Example - This is the new screen from Code Auditor - the bold title and indenting are the best way to show the sections.

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