Author Topic: UI Tweaks  (Read 2919 times)

Offline tom_hampton

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UI Tweaks
« on: October 20, 2011, 10:53:38 AM »
First of all, I know it might seem like I'm griping alot, and I don't mean for it to seem that way.  I think Beersmith rocks!  I've been using it for most of its history---just in quiet anonymity.  The 2.0 step, is a big step-up in terms of being preceived as "modern" and current.   So, these suggestions are only my attempt to help improve it further.  Keep up the good work!

Now that the program has joined the "modern" UI era...its important to follow the established rules for paradigms that you re-use.  Usability is about "meeting expectations".  Re-using an existing paradigm means its more important to follow the rules of that existing paradigm rather than "improve" upon it.  In almost all cases "different" == bad.  Many of my suggestions below are based on this tenet.  The Ribbon and tabs metaphores are well-established and are ubiquitous in today's Home computer environments.  These elements should work the same way in all applications that implement the metaphore.

Sidebar---I'm not sure what to call it, but the tool/function menus in the sidebar below the folder list.  These are redundant with the ribbon and menubar.  I'd like to be able to just have the folders viewed in the sidebar.  I don't want to turn off the whole sidebar---just the menus (I need the space for the folders).  Alternatively, add the HOME functions to this variation, and make it so that I can turn off the ribbon entirely.  Third option, make it so that one opens a window, and the other opens a tab (at least that way they would serve different, rather than redundant, purposes).

Scroll Wheel in ribbon---it would be nice to be able to scroll between tabs on the ribbon (when the mouse cursor is with the extends of the ribbon).

Scroll Wheel in tabs---it would be nice to be able to scroll between tabs on the tabbed windows (when the mouse cursor is with the extends of the tabs.

List Sorting---These can get pretty long with all add-on packs...or custom ingredients from my LHBS.  Sorting by one column doesn't quite cut it for finding just the right ingredient/recipe.  Multi-column sorting would help a lot when trying to find the set of ingredients that fit some criteria (Hops: US, Bittering, high-alpha, low-beta, in my inventory).  Could be implemented using CTRL-CLICK---click primary column, ctrl-click secondary, ctrl-click teriary, etc.  Clicking (without ctrl, would reselect the primary key).  Shift (or alt) click could be used to reverse the order of a column without changing the priority.  Also, adding the commensurate functions to the right-click menu.  If I'm totally honest, I'd rather see a filter function similar to Excel AutoFilter.  I recognize that might be more work than a priority sort.  But, given equal work....

Streamline the "set price" action---If I'm going to do something 50 times, I want it to be as efficient as possible.  I don't want to have to move my hands between the keyboard and mouse. 

Say I've got my brew supplier website up.  I've got beersmith open side by side with my web browser.  I'm looking at the list of hops in both places.  I want to be able to quickly type in the prices from the website.  Quickly, to me, means without using the mouse, eg: <keystroke>1.25<enter><down arrow><keystroke>1.38<enter> and so on.  For keystroke, something like CTRL-P (for price)...or even make the list view directly editable like a spreadsheet.  The arrow keys could take me to the next cell in the same column...<enter> could activate edit on the cell, type in the new value, and press <enter> again (<esc> to abort).

Find In List---Use CTRL-F keystroke to move the input to the "search box".  Then allow the cursor up/down keys to move within the search results without having to touch the mouse.

Again, when I'm doing something 50 times, I don't want to move my hand from the keyboard to move the mouse over to the "search" box.  Currently, it works like this:  move mouse to "search box", click in box, type name of ingredient, move mouse to ribbon, click set-price, type price, press <enter>.  Repeat for each ingredient.  This takes me 9 seconds to perform for fuggles hops (using fugg for search)...while TRYING to go fast.  The same operation using CTRL-F, fugg, CTRL-P, 1.38, <enter> took me 3 seconds....also trying to go fast.

Ribbon----After I select a action from the ribbon, the ribbon always seems to return to "Home".  IMHO,  the ribbon should remain where I put it (tools, ingredients, etc), until I decide to go back to home.  This is particularly annoying when I'm in tools or unit-tools.  I can sort of understand the logic for profiles and ingredients actions---because the home actions have real meaning for profiles and ingredients.  But, I don't usually want to open just one tool.  So, I have to keep reselecting the sub-ribbon I want (click tools, click infusion, click tools, click hydrometer, click tools, click boiloff, ...).   The Office 2007 ribbon follows the paradigm I'm proposing.  When I select an action that doesn't have meaningfull sub-options, the ribbon remains put.  If I select "Insert|Table" however, it opens the "table-design ribbon".

Tabbed View----When I close a tab in the tabbed-view, I can't seem to predict which tab is going to become the active tab.  Sometimes it seems like it returns to the last-active tab, other times it seems like it goes to the FIRST tab.  Neither of those fit my expectation based on other tabbed experiences.  Other tabbed interfaces return to the tab that is immediately to the LEFT of the tab that was just closed. 

Editing multiple items from a list---- Eg, in the recipe list...if I select multiple recipes, I should be able to hit <enter> or right-click and select one of the EDIT actions, then all will be opened in separate tabs or windows accordingly.

Right-click doesn't work in an empty folder---So, if am trying to reorganize my recipes, I can't paste USING MY MOUSE into the new empty folder.  I CAN use ctrl-V, or the ribbon HOME|PASTE function. 

Drag-and-Drop---When I multi-select several recipes, and then drag-n-drop those onto another folder....then apparent selection changes from the set I shift/ctrl-clicked to the item I clicked on to initiate the drag.  This leads you to think that your intent (to move multiple recipes to another location) is NOT being executed (it appears only one recipe is being moved).  However, if you complete the action the multiple selection is IN FACT being executed faithfully.  So, its visually confusing. 
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
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