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Splitter bars: Not for the farsighted

I think there are a few "standard" controls that are in serious need of revisiting/refactoring. One of them is the splitter control. Below is an image from Word 2003 with a document on the left and the thesaurus on the right. This is probably more obvious on standard monitors but on my laptop, the space between the dark grey bar and the side window appears almost as a single colour. I’ve placed red lines around the actual "clickable" area for the splitter.


Here’s another example with a horizontal splitter in Word 2003.


And yet another, this time in Visual Studio 2008. Note that there is also a darker grey bar outside the red lines but just to add to the confusion, this is not, in fact, clickable.


I’m still primarily in Windows XP/Office 2003 so maybe this has been addressed in Vista/Office 2007. If not, it needs to be. I’ve seen other complaints over the years about having to hunt for pixels in order to control the splitter so I don’t understand why it is still an issue in 2008. Even the Apple guidelines state that a 1-pixel splitter is the most common. Or maybe it’s just my eyesight and motor skills deteriorating.

The Hillbilly is gettin’ too old for this #*%$.

Kyle the Myopic

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  • http://weblogs.asp.net/jstengel jstengel

    I 100% agreee. The solutiion? I would like to see the splitter bar expand as my mouse approaches it so that by the time my mouse is in proximity, I’ve got a nice fat line to grab onto if I want. Kind of like the fisheye menu approach.

  • Ben

    Oh man, I couldn’t agree more!!