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P2: A look at the development of a GUI

Edit P2: A look at the development of a GUI here.In Spring 2000, the semester long project for CS2340 was to develop a newspaper that would obtain stories from various news websites such as cnn and bbc. A Graphic User Interface (GUI) needed to be created that would allow users to quickly and simply select their sources for the newspaper and generate it. Whie this sounds like a simple task, there are several issues to consider when one writes a GUI. A good GUI will be user friendly such that any computer user regardless of computer experience should be able to use it. Also, at the same time, it must achieve its goal effectively.

Please take a look at the screen shot of our GUI below.

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Note the simplicity of the GUI. There are four very large easy to read buttons that are labeled clearly. While having large buttons takes up more screen room, at the same time, our GUI does not need the extra room. It is able to function with the four buttons provided. Our goal as defined is to obtain input from the user for various news sources (websites) from which to get stories. The select Primary Category button allows us to choose which Category to choose first between.

Then we choose the sources, save them and finally generate the paper.

The goal of P2 was to have a GUI running so we have provided the code as an st file below. The GUI has been created, but at this point does not generate a paper. A menu pop ups from which a person can select news sources once the select news sources button is depressed. The user then selects the Menu.

The code below has been annotated to help you understand the process in designing it, and understanding it.

Now that we have hit on the good qualities of the GUI, lets look at what is not good about it. While the GUI is very simple, it might be oversimplified. instead of having the menu's show up after clicking the button, what if we set up a menu with categories, and in the categories, we added the sources. Then the person could actually click on the source. We would want to add a third storage box, that would be display the selected news sources once they were clicked on.

Part of design is constant improvement as new ideas and problems are encountered. As such, since this will be a quarter long project, we will improve the GUI until the very end. Even then there will not be a perfect GUI. There is no perfect GUI, different writers will come up with various solutions. Our goal is too come up with a plausible and sound GUI.

Once again, lets repeat whats important for a GUI.

GUI must have simple design and layout
GUI should be able to be used by any level user
GUI should appeal to the user in coloring and sight

A user does not see the programming underneath your GUI, to them your product is the GUI, and as such it must be done with due consideration.

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