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Consistent graphic for 'Maintain Aspect Ratio'

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In the Transform pane, there's a graphic which shows whether the aspect ratio of the selection will be maintained. It's a linked chain, (to show the ratio is not maintained); it acquires two tags at the ends to show when it is maintained. To me, this doesn't work: a linked chain says that the width and height are linked; I would expect to see a broken chain, to show they're not linked and the aspect ratio is not maintained.

The export dialog box gets closer: a locked padlock shows the ratio between height and width are linked, an open padlock shows they're not linked. But why a padlock? To me, that suggests they're locked to a fixed value and can't be altered at all.

I think it would be clearer (and more consistent) if in both Transform Pane and Export dialog a graphic of a linked chain (with tags at the end, if you wish) showed that the aspect ratio is maintained, and a broken chain showed it was not.

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My general pet peeve about icons is that if one requires a text label to explain it, then what good is the icon? For example, the word "Proportional" with a simple checkbox next to it is abundantly clear, without any cutesy graphic.

Another is the way programs often seem compelled to provide two icons for what is really a simple Boolean choice: off or on, yes or no. Illustrator is one of the worst about that. Actual tooltips on pairs of icons:

Reverse Path Direction Off and Reverse Path Direction On

Show Center and Don't Show Center

My all-time favorite was the completely indecipherable pair of icons representing New Art Has Basic Appearance and New Art Has [something else] Appearance. They finally did away with those and replace them with—wait for it—a checkbox.

My other all-time favorite was a whole palette in InDesign (I forget which one it was), the requisite Palette Options popup menu of which had the requisite Show Options selection—for a palette that had but one option. And here I was, thinking that the whole purpose of an options palette was to show options.




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For example, the word "Proportional" with a simple checkbox next to it is abundantly clear, without any cutesy graphic.

Not if English isn't your first language.


('Proportional' is an excellent example, since many non-native English speakers confuse 'proportional' and 'proportionate'.)

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