Commands can be grouped in a Menubar, or to reduce window clutter, you can use a Palette. When grouping related data together, use a Modeless Feedback Area ...

Modeless Feedback Area

...when using Goal Oriented Areas provide a place to display system feedback. Use this pattern when you wish to provide non-critical information to the user.

There is a need to display information to the user without disrupting the natural flow of work.

For every action the user takes, the system should provide some feedback that the program has accepted the command. When some change in system state occurs, the user should be notified. However, the users should not be forced to interrupt their sequence of actions to respond to informational feedback.

You may be tempted to deliver application warnings and information in popup windows or dialogs, but it can obscure the task window the user is focusing on. The application must keep the user informed, especially when it is busy processing a request, or the user will become impatient and may think that the application has failed her.


Use a status area, rather than dialog boxes or pop up windows , to display information about the current state of the application. Place it near the main display area, so the user can view this information when she deems appropriate.

Many word processors have a status bar at the bottom of the display indicating page number, line number, etc. Microsoft Word uses this area to explain what a Toolbar button does.

Netscape Navigator uses an animated storm shower in its upper left N icon to indicate that it is contacting a Web site. Navigator also displays the status of the connection and the amount of data transfered in an area at the bottom of its window. This keeps the user adequately informed.

Be careful not to overload the purpose of the status area. Non-status information should not be displayed in this area because it will diminish the area's meaning. It will become a Noise Area that the user will ignore. An example is the way some Web pages use the status area at the bottom of the browser as a ticker tape marquee.