|Windows title bars have lots of uses for the users of our
Applications in addition to the obvious ones of dragging and minimize
etc they can be used to allow the user to easily identify which window
out of a set of windows they require.
As developers we can help the users by using a strict convention for
the text in those title bars. The most obvious first choice is to
include the name of the function the window performs, this easily allows
the user to find the type of window they require. When the user has
multiple windows of the same type open as is frequently the case in MDI
applications, the window name is not enough to identify which window
Again we can help the users out by including one or two of the key
fields from the data being displayed on the window in the title bar.
When adding the data items to the window name there is a choice to be
made, should the window name go first or last in the title.
For example Word 97 used the convention of:
Microsoft Word - C:\The\Name\Of\Your\Document.doc
Which is great and has both pieces of information but the problem
being that when the text is truncated as is frequently the case all you
Microsoft Word - C:\The\Name\Of\Y...
Which is not very useful if you have 10 document all open at the same
time. We can see that Microsoft agreed as in Word 2000 they swapped the
sequence around so that the Document name appears before the Application
This works well in the case of Word but frequently in database
applications the text of the key data items can get long and when
concatenated with the window title can become unwieldy for the user.
Therefore the ultimate solution is to use a combination of the title bar
and the window icon. If possible choice a different icon for each type
of window in your application. The users can then associate the icon
with the function and you can remove the function of the window from the
title bar. Leaving just the identifying data as the title bar.