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Topics on Usability: Drawing Hot-Tracking Icons

User interfaces evolve at a previously unseen pace, becoming increasingly more user-interactive. Hot-tracking is one of the latest additions to the GUI interactivity. Hot-tracking is a user interface concept providing a visual effect where elements of user interface such as buttons, menu items etc., react to user interaction. Most commonly, the effect works by highlighting elements of user interface when the mouse is hovering over, allowing the user to get a better idea on what control is active at the moment, showing them precisely where they are over.

Icon Editor Widely introduced with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3, hot-tracking toolbars quickly found their place in many applications from browsers to Office products. While flat toolbars with hot-tracking enabled sure look more impressive than the older, traditional ones, the usability effect of hot-tracking is more than just looks. Applications with hot-tracking feel more responsive and provide better feedback to the user, providing overall a more pleasant usage experience.

Historically, first hot-tracking enabled applications used monochrome toolbars as 'regular', only displaying a single 'hot' button in color when the mouse cursor was over it. Since then, a more vivid approach to user interfaces prevailed, displaying all toolbar buttons in color, and highlighting a 'hot' button in a slightly different way.

From the designer perspective, there are several types of icons to be drawn, representing the various states of user interface elements. There are normal, disabled and 'hot' versions of each icon to be created.

When designing an application, it is essential to provide all versions of icons for best possible usability. But what if your project has hundreds of images? Do you have to draw each single one of them in all the three states? In a word, yes; but it's not necessary that you do it by hand. There are special design tools aimed at producing all three versions out of a single 'normal' original.

The newest release of IconLover recognizes the need, and makes it possible to automate the process of creating 'hot' versions of icons. The product produces 'hot' versions of icons for hot-tracking completely automatically by applying the Hot effect, thus making it possible for designers to concentrate on designing unique images instead of drowning in technicalities. The effect, as implemented in IconLover, is more realistic and pleasant-looking than any 'hot' version of an icon than the default Windows implementation of hot-tracked items.

A free trial version of IconLover is available for download at www.aha-soft.com


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 Icon Usage Agreement Large Weather Icons Large Weather Icons depict a number of weather conditions that are common for software, weather Web sites, and mobile gadgets. The images are supplied in all sizes standard to Windows, Mac OS, and mobile devices. The biggest versions are huge 512x512 pixel icons with vector sources in Adobe Illustrator (.ai) format easily affordable and ready to be printed or used in presentations in highest resolution.

Basic Icons for Vista Make your software look as nice as Vista with icons crafted in the same style

Windows Toolbar Icons Windows Toolbar Icons. A collection of practical and eye catching icons representing all basic operations required for surfing the internet or using various applications.

Standard Admin Icons Developing a tool for system administrators, making a network utility or developing a Web-based log file analyzer? Enhance any software with a collection of Standard Admin Icons from Aha-Soft!

Standard Hotel Icons Developing applications for hotel business is quite a challenge, and rarely there is time to design GUI for your project. With Standard Hotel Icons you will momentarily get all the images you need at an affordable price.