Author Topic: Have you considered changing some of the interface buttons' text for icons?  (Read 10753 times)

Trevor

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I had a possible epiphany when reading through this thread. Do you think the crazy amount of little buttons and things on screen when you open lackey is what causes it to run slowly on nicer machines? I've used Lackey on countless different systems, new and old, and even with a brand new computer I still get some lag between highlighting a button and actually being able to click it. I doubt its related, but cleaning up the interface maaaaay help?
I don't think large amount of buttons are likely to be the cause of lag. I think the lag is due to either improperly configured graphics settings (such as your opengl drivers), or inappropriate performance preferences. I could test and give you a version of lackey with no buttons, and I think you'd find the same results. What can be a major source of lag is large images, such as a high res desktop image. I suggest you go to the Appearance preferences tab and try the Low preset (and then relaunch for good measure). If that improves things, it gives you a good idea about the source of the lag.

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By shifting this stuff around you could maybe possibly pleeeaaassseee increase the text size just like 2 points? Maybe you have a giant monitor or something (or just better eyesight) but the size of the text not only screams "OLD LOOKING PROGRAM" (in all capitals, no less) but is very friggin hard to read.
You can freely increase the size of text in the game log, server log, and library and deck lists. If I allow people to increase the size of buttons, that would have a cascade effect and suddenly there would be far less space for everything else. I could make all the buttons just have icons, which is what many programs do, but I think text (albeit small) is more clear than an icon. And tons of icons might degrade graphical performance.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 01:05:05 pm by Trevor »

innuendo

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I'll be brief for now since I don't want to just get into a point by point on the design, we're bound to disagree and sidetrack the conversation.

I think it's a philosophy thing. Please don't overvalue "space" compared usability and consistency of function. Having an always on log panel makes sense since you can have lackey always talking to the user through that. You can see server chat without a server panel, you can whisper from the same space as the general chat.

You're right, it does "shrink the space" for the deck editor, but frankly that increase is "wow, this makes sense" is well worth the loss of 10 displayed cards from the card pool.

I'm willing to concede is people disagree, but I just think having a consistent anchor makes sense, and is far more valuable than marginally increased screen real estate.

Briefly on making the game and deck editor large. That's highly on purpose because current new users *never* find them on the their own. They are bar none the most important two "tabs" of the display and they are nested next to comparatively unimportant tabs. Or at least tabs that aren't toggled between near as often.

This program is about playing games, yet it gives equal importance in the ui to the preferences tab as the main tabletop display and deck editor? That doesn't make sense.

The goal in the design I did was to consolidate down to 2 tabs that are toggled. Put commonly used by sometimes hidden features like chat and the plugin menu in a permanent, always visible home. Then throw everything else in a menu because it just doesn't get used that often.

Also, you mentioned int he deck editor "when does a new filter get opened up", it's when they hit the "new filter" button. :)

Thanks for the thoughts and review. I think this is best done with more opinions involved however.

Trevor

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Having an always on log panel makes sense since you can have lackey always talking to the user through that. You can see server chat without a server panel, you can whisper from the same space as the general chat.

If a person wants a large amount of space for the log while playing a game, with your design, you force them to have the same amount of space for this region no matter what a person is doing. In my opinion, that's a deal breaker right there. Constantly resizing the window is not a feasible option. Having too little space for some tasks and too much space for other tasks seems inextricably tied to the unified chat design.

And to see server chat, you still need to click the server chat tab. That's really no different than clicking on the server tab at the top of the screen. I think it is a novel idea to have whisper windows, but I think it would be ultimately more useful to have everything compiled into a single window. Right now, whispers are sent to both the server and chat tabs. I could make whisper tabs, but I don't think that functionality is worth the increased complexity of the interface as well as the increased amount of space that it would require. It's an interesting idea though and I will give it some thought, but I also need to think about the bigger picture and how all things go together, what people want and use and readily understand, and many other complications that can arise from what can seem like a small change.

If it is generally the consensus that the game, deck editor, server, and preferences tabs are not pronounced enough, I can change them. I will be redesigning tabs, and you may change your mind when you see the new design implemented. I disagree with your opinion about the server and preferences tab are not worthy of being tabs. I think all things you do in lackey can naturally fall under one of those 4 tabs, and I think how I have the tabs now is logical and intuitive. That isn't to say I think the overall interface is as intuitive it can be, but I think the tabs model in place now is the best choice.

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Also, you mentioned int he deck editor "when does a new filter get opened up", it's when they hit the "new filter" button.
I think little manually done things like that quickly add up. Making (and deleting) and navigating, and comparing multiple different "filter groups" is unneeded complexity. And the objective measure of "how many clicks something takes" makes the current model superior to the model you presented. I am sure there is a better solution to the current way, but I don't think it's the one you mentioned.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 02:02:04 pm by Trevor »

billylee174

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I mostly agree with Trevor.

I prefer not to have chat available at all times, at least on the deck editor. And if it is necessary for some players, maybe having that bar hidden by default, and to be able to make it appear. Also it doesn't have to be the same size as the chat bar when ingame. Anyway, I wouldn't make it appear but maybe someone will?

I also wouldn't like to see player stats at all times when not ingame, why should I?

I don't like the two huge buttons for game and deck editor. This is because of the space they use. The card preview will look considerably smaller, and it takes space for anything else, when these buttons are not needed when ingame.

Considering tabs proposal, I will remain neutral.

I like that I see no scroll bars in innuendo's proposal. That can save some space, let us see bigger card images and make interface less complicated. But these bars should appear when they are needed.

That is all I have to say for now.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 04:45:26 pm by billylee »

Trevor

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Oh, I didn't notice the lack of scroll bars on things like the game log and game zone viewer. I am actually not sure if that was intentional or if it was an oversight. In any case, scroll bars are definitely needed for those kinds of things. Also, for the deck editor lists.
I am not sure if innuendo meant for them to be conditionally hidden (and under what conditions). I don't like the idea of them being hidden ever. It's not typical scroll bar behavior, and I think it would be weird if they would come and go. They take up space, so either the space they appear in would be oddly empty when the scroll bars are hidden, or even worse, the amount of space allocated to the object to be scrolled would have to change. Both I think are far worse than the the standard way of showing scroll bars, and when nothing is able to be scrolled, just show them as inactive.

innuendo

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it wasn't an oversight. The images I put up were not meant to be a final UI, I was showing a layout diagram.

Picks-at-Flies

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There are some things I really liked about Innuendo's version:

- Chat always on. At the most basic, I often deck build while I'm waiting with a game open. Sometimes I can hear the beeps and/or see the room contents change but chat would be much more obvious. Not to mention the possiblities of actually having deck building conversations without having to constantly switch windows. Or being able to make small talk while you build your sealed deck.
- Similarly, being able to switch between chat views without changing the screens.
- Private chat in its own window would be fun but would have to be limited. But useful for tournaments or drafts (for instance).

The 'obvious' place to put it, for me, is on the left under the preview. Unfortunately that presents its own problems due to available space and wrapping; although long comments are unusual. The pluses are that only one screen uses it for anything at the moment.

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If you were to change the filters, Innuendo's idea is the way I would want them. I am frequently juggling between different filters; being able to just flick back and forth is amazing. If you could give the plugin-maker a way to specify which columns were listed by default I think it would be viable.

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Game/Deck Editor buttons.
I entirely see the logic but actually it's not so straight forward. When a person downloads Lackey it should ideally take you through:
a) Download your plugin using the pluginfinder
[ b) Download the images ]
c) Load your plugin
d) Deckbuilder
e) Server
f) Play game

Until just now I thought I was going to advocate a compromise but actually, after my list, it would require a completely different path.

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current zoom/scale/tilt type functions - Being able to show/hide these in GUI sounds sensible to me. AFAIK, only Mark and Erase are likely to be used frequently and the keyboard/mouse method is 90% easier.

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I didn't spot the Current Plugin info first time round, but it's a "yes please" to me. Being able to change plugin without going to preferences would be awesome; and it's elegant and doesn't intrude on anything else.
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Chat/log functions: the order is set by the plugin maker; I think that's better for now.
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That's all my specific comments. My overall comments are this: making any interface is tricky; making it good is time consuming; making it so it suits everybody almost impossible.  So from my point of view, while I think Innuendo raised a lot of points which have been on my mental wishlist, they remain just that: a wishlist.  A couple of those changes are fairly  minor but the rest would require potentially an entire rewrite of the GUI so I won't press for them. Lackey remains an awesome program.

Trevor

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Take a look at the new interface that is live now. I am still going to make additional improvements to the tabs and to the way I draw buttons.

innuendo

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Less is more, so the new version is a better version of the old version. The core things I still don't like about it persist though, but that's another issue.

I do want to continue the discusion of the always visible chat window. I think picks at flies pointed out all the reasons why I think this is one of the most important changes you could make.

Ignore my mockup's scaling. Take your current UI and make the chat always visible. At most based on the number of lines visible in the chat log by default, you are looking at a loss of no more than 10 visible cards in the deck editor pane.

I can't ask more directly than to say that is 100% a good trade. looking at 10 less cards in the deck editor pane does not hurt my ability to make a deck. not seeing the chat window absolutely and positively does.  I'm not even asking for the chat window tabs like I mocked up. Just the ability to view the game log chat from the deck editor tab (or shoot, all tabs, that way I could navigate a new player through the preferences without them having to flip around).

There are so many upsides to an always visible game log I can't begin to list them all. It would fundamentally make lackey a better program to use. I'm honestly willing to sit on all other suggestions if you strongly consider this one idea. It's that important I feel.

Trevor

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Less is more, so the new version is a better version of the old version. The core things I still don't like about it persist though, but that's another issue.

I do want to continue the discusion of the always visible chat window. I think picks at flies pointed out all the reasons why I think this is one of the most important changes you could make.

Ignore my mockup's scaling. Take your current UI and make the chat always visible. At most based on the number of lines visible in the chat log by default, you are looking at a loss of no more than 10 visible cards in the deck editor pane.

I can't ask more directly than to say that is 100% a good trade. looking at 10 less cards in the deck editor pane does not hurt my ability to make a deck. not seeing the chat window absolutely and positively does.  I'm not even asking for the chat window tabs like I mocked up. Just the ability to view the game log chat from the deck editor tab (or shoot, all tabs, that way I could navigate a new player through the preferences without them having to flip around).

There are so many upsides to an always visible game log I can't begin to list them all. It would fundamentally make lackey a better program to use. I'm honestly willing to sit on all other suggestions if you strongly consider this one idea. It's that important I feel.
What if you want a large chat area in the game window? That would leave unacceptably little space for the deck editor.

innuendo

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It would also leave unnaceptably little room on the playmat.

That's my point. If you make the chat box big its covering up screen regardless of what page it is on. I'm not sure why you value deck editor space so much more highly than game play space? If you think they are both important then you'll realize anyone who expands the chat box will do so with full knowledge they do so at the cost of other screen space.

And either way its besides the point. Seeing the chat is such a different category of usability. To compare it to screen space on a deck pool list that is 30+ items already is not an honest discussion of the value of chat. Let's make it easy...Poll?

billylee174

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It would be good if someone else can discuss in this matter. From my point of view, chat size can be tab independent. That way, for instance, I would hide the chat log as I don't need it when Deck Building. And that may also be Trevor's point. The minority of people or cases I guess that would need a chat bar when deck building.

Picks-at-Flies

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The number of times you want large chat is fairly small. Occasionally something interesting happens in the main server room but that's about it - and in those circumstances you can increase your chat window.

However, while I maintain that it would be incredibly useful, getting it right is tricky unless Lackey can maintain separate chat sizes for different tabs. On the other hand, if that's possible it would be lovely to move to be able to have chat available in the deck builder - ideally switchable between game and server chat as mentioned before.

Trevor

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It's not just the chat we are talking about. With the suggested design, there would be a lot of unneeded interface elements for various situations.

You don't need player stats for anything but a game window. You don't need to see the card preview image when you are on the server, or editing preferences. Sometimes people DO want a large chat section in the game log, because they want to read the actions of what happened, or whatever reason they may have, which may even be aesthetic. I think the suggested design removes a lot of useful space that other panels would use.
For example, the filters take a lot of space in the deck editor. Even if I redesign the filters, I will still want to utilize that space with something pertinent to the deck editor.

And more generally, I think the current way is more intuitive. When playing a game, you need not think about anything not related to playing a game. WHen building a deck, you need not see any interface for stuff that isn't deck building related. Same goes for server and preferences panels.

People don't typically talk to each other when building a deck. If you really want to, I suggest one of the many free voice chat clients. As it is, you can see if you have received an unseen chat message. Even if you ignore the beep sound, or the actual text-to-sound (such as the "You ready?" voice sound), you can still see the number of unsent messages displayed at the top of the Game tab.
It would be nice to let people have at least the option to chat while using the deck editor panel, but I don't think pros out way the cons. There may be a solution that works well, but I don't think it is one that has been presented to me.

A lot of the ideas mentioned in this thread are ideas I have had before and I eventually decided against them. I am also trying to simplify things. I think the 4-uses-4-panels paradigm is more intuitive than some panels you see all the time and some panels you don't, and it isn't self evident what elements belong in each.
But it always is helpful to rethink old decisions, and I did come up with new design improvements from looking at the ideas.

Picks-at-Flies

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Trevor, I think we've moved away from the giant redesign to examining individual elements.

To address one of your other comments, I don't think it's necessarily more intuitive to hide the chat when you build a deck. In the world of social media chat is always on. And "Oh yeah, you can use something else" is not so much a defense as a shrug of the shoulders.

I'm curious if you have any statistics behind the "people don't talk when building a deck" (although it's clearly true if there is no facility for it). To be fair, I don't have any either (other than the number of times I've groaned about having to switch between tabs to see chats). It would be interesting to do a poll about whether people would be happy to give up some search space (or to able to toggle) it for chat. However, I notice that polls only capture a small number of people so at the moment that interest gives way to practicality.

If I'm flogging a dead horse I apologise, but I really would like "collapsible chat window in deck editor" to be on the wishlist, even if it's not likely in the near future.