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UI overhaul suggestions

Started by OlaHaldor, November 10, 2013, 10:01:11 pm

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OlaHaldor

I read in the "want WM for Linux" topic you're thinking of an UI overhaul. Given the fact you're looking into it or thinking about it anyway, I wanted to give you my thoughts.

Get rid of the icons in the toolbar.
I've never been happy with software that use icons instead of text to tell what feature is hidden behind a button. I tried different 3D software when I first started out, but I totally fell in love with LightWave 3D. Mostly because of the text buttons instead of icons.

I have no idea how a box with a circle around it, and a plane slicing through it would behave. And hovering the mouse over such an icon for 1-2 seconds would reveal the name of the tool. But doing so every time you need something can take up a lot of time.

Drop the icons, in with the text. Perhaps the menu should be vertical instead over horizontal? Who knows. I really like the LightWave way of doing things, so I'm heavily biased.



Another feature I'd like to see, which is also inspired of LightWave and other 3D software: right click/ctrl+left click to bring up a menu to quickly add the favorite devices to the workflow. You could be able to make your own list of devices and set them up in the order you want, or even group them either inside submenus or with a little space between the different groups in the menu.
Windows 10 Pro | i7 5960x | 128GB RAM | GTX 1080

jaf

I would usually agree with using text veres icons.  I'm another Lightwave user.  I remember my experiences with Truespace, my first modeling program... talk about icons!  However, I think the small icons used by WM are well thought out and since they fall under text tabs are easy to recognize (at least for me.)

Another feature I really like that Lightwave has (and most programs don't) is letting the user input data using a few mathematical operators like this:  8/3.  It's a quick way to scale inputs.  If you had a value like 2345 and wanted to scale it to 1/3.  Simply change it to 2345/3.  Or 1267 - 425 for an offset.  It's quite easy for the computer to do these simple calculations and wouldn't slow the program down much since there's no computations until the data is entered (unlike Terragen -- it starts modifying previews as the data is typed.)

Hotshot

Why not peek at other node base software...(Substance)

QuantumTheory

Binding nodes to shortcut keys would be the fastest way to go.
Quantum Theory Entertainment
Providing AAA-quality digital art solutions for video games and interactive media.
Quantum Theory Entertainment Website

jaf

Another way would be a right mouse drop-down menu when clicking on a blank area in the node view.

BrianLockett

November 12, 2013, 05:52:41 pm #5 Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 06:31:33 pm by BrianLockett
QuoteI've never been happy with software that use icons instead of text to tell what feature is hidden behind a button. I tried different 3D software when I first started out, but I totally fell in love with LightWave 3D. Mostly because of the text buttons instead of icons.


That's got to be the first time I've ever heard anyone complain about this design.

Once you learn the icons, I honestly don't see what problem one can possibly have in having them around.  A few of them may need you to hover over them to quickly identify them at first, but they're not that ambiguous.  If you're new to the program, might I suggest you just spend a few hours on the weekend learning it?

I know everyone learns differently, but WM2's icons/UI is perhaps the easiest thing to learn within WM2.  The hard part is learning how to best utilize these various functions.  They all have fast-appearing pop-up labels to identify them if you're still learning them.  The tabs are categorized pretty straightforwardly, and once you get familiar with a device, you'll quickly come to know its icon.

If that's not enough, you can likewise just go to Help & Web, and use the Device Reference to learn about the icon, or you can set the icon down and right-click it to "Get device description."  It only takes a couple of usages to get the hang of these icons.  The UI is really easy to learn when you explore and read the manual to understand its structure.

Regardless whether you use text or icons, you'd STILL need to read the documentation to learn what the function actually does.  Using word labels could still leaves things just as ambiguous for folks.  Honestly, the icons take like a good few times hovering over the buttons to learn what they are.

Once you learn how these icons are arranged (since they do follow an order), it's actually FASTER to use images instead of words, because the brain recognizes pictures much faster than we can read.  And if briefly hovering over the Terrace device icon to see "Terrace" isn't self-explanatory, I don't see how texts are going to help it any better.

Though, if it's text is what you prefer, use the menu bar above the icons.  They contain every single thing available in the icon bars.  The icon bars are there to be faster and more direct than flipping and reading through list menus.  Icons save the UI from being cluttered with a bunch of text and needless scrolling because words take up too much space.

I hope you take a little time to learn this new tool and that your user experience gets better.  It's just new--not necessarily inefficient.  I don't see why this change should be done just to satisfy a (new?) single user, when most people don't seem to be hindered by the icons.
8 GB RAM, 2 GB NVIDIA graphics, Intel Core processor, Windows 10, and tons of coffee.

BrianLockett

Quote from: jaf on November 11, 2013, 06:09:44 pm
Another way would be a right mouse drop-down menu when clicking on a blank area in the node view.


I like that idea.  I think that would make for a nice option to choose with a checkbox that we can set as a new default for ourselves, but always have the option to undo.  Sometimes I do actually use the RMB to switch between 3D View and Device View, but sometimes, I would like to be able to instead use RMB for more constructive purposes.  This sounds like a good available option to have for the RMB.
8 GB RAM, 2 GB NVIDIA graphics, Intel Core processor, Windows 10, and tons of coffee.

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