KDE HIG: Survey about how to align controls over multiple groups

In the course of revising the KDE HIG we reached a point where visual aspects are considered, in particular the alignment of controls. We'd like to ask you how to align controls over multiple groups.

The current HIG advice to align controls independently over groups. In consequence every container has its own, separate alignment. Aurélien Gâteau started the discussion to improve the layout by introducing his ColumnResizer, which is rather a technical point of view but illustrates the problem well: It is easier to scan a dialog that has good visual anchors. It doesn’t matter too much where this anchor is placed but for standardization purpose we need to define a layout that is used by default in KDE applications. So we prepared some options presented below.

Option 1: Left align captions

The alignment of groups of widgets is independent, and so you may have different sized groups with different “centered” lines. A group of widgets consists of widgets within some type of natural separation such as a group box or separator bar. (This is the legacy guideline.)

Option 1: Left aligned captions

Option 1: Left aligned captions

Option 2: Center align controls

Use a central visual anchor that makes the space to left and right equal.

Option 2: Center aligned controls

Option 2: Center aligned controls

Option 3: Left align controls

Left align controls over multiple groups. The largest caption defines the position of controls.

Option 3: Left aligned controls

Option 3: Left aligned controls

Actually, this alignment is similar to the above with centered controls if the groups are sized according their content, as requested.

Option 4: Right align controls

Right align controls over multiple groups.

Option 4: Right aligned controls

Option 4: Right aligned controls

And now its up to you…

Please vote. If none of our ideas makes sense and you have a better proposal, please let us know and discuss it below (download our mockup made with Balsamiq if you want to hack it).

How do you want to have controls aligned over multiple groups?

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