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Here’s how you do trial software dialogs…

28 Feb 2009

Lately, I’ve been trying the Autodesk Sketchbook Pro software for sketching some pictures for presentations. So far I’ve found it both beautiful and easy to use. If I actually had a tablet it would be heavenly. But so far, I’m just trialing it. As much as I like it, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to justify the cost.

I did want to drop a quick picture here of their trial usage dialog that pops up as it’s a thing of beauty in a piece of software that usually is seen as highly unimportant, yet is the first thing you encounter when taking commercial software for a spin.

First, the trial is based on 14 days of usage, not a 14 day timespan. This is so much more reasonable and useful and yet so incredibly rare. Second, the gui is showing me lots of stuff at a glance here – there are 14 boxes colored from green to red indicating an increase in remaining trial. The X starts to tick them down showing you the remainder. Nothing fancy here, just good visualization.

Also note that the button I need to click is not “Ok” or something generic, it is “Use Trial”, reinforcing yet again that I am choosing to use the trial version every day I click the button.

SketchBook also uses a corner menu with radial sub-menus which is different than every other UI you use on a daily basis (or at least that I use) but it is very intuitive and fast (hello Fitts’s Law):