Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist

Guidelines for Informational Messages



Your application uses footer messages only to communicate status, progress, or information (help) messages. It does not use the footer to present error messages. 

Motif provides a message area at the bottom of the main window, but this is rather clumsy and ugly. A more elegant approach is to provide a wider margin below the data area of the main window where status information can be unobtrusively displayed, as shown in Figure 8-2. For other examples of the use of informational messages, see the status message area in the Common Desktop Environment Mailer.

Figure 8-2 An informational message in the lower margin of a window.


The text "Loading earth.gif..." is displayed at the start of the load and the text "Done" is added when the load completes. The entire message is removed 5 seconds later.

Informational messages in the footer area should be left-justified and displayed in a light font in keeping with their unobtrusive nature. Note that the margin where informational messages are displayed should not accept mouse focus. Progress messages in the footer area should normally be displayed only while the operation is in progress. Notices and other information that is no longer valid should be removed within a few seconds to avoid confusion about whether the information is current.