User Settings

Involved development of the OpenMW construction set.
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graffy
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Joined: 06 Feb 2013, 19:30

User Settings

Post by graffy » 03 Mar 2013, 13:52

So, I'm going to look at implementing user settings in the editor. pvdk's done some work on load order (or is it stack order?) in the launcher, which will be helpful.

But apart from that, I'd like to know: what does the user settings dialog in the editor need to contain?

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Zini
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Re: User Settings

Post by Zini » 03 Mar 2013, 15:36

Lots of user settings? Don't know what else I could say here. It is pretty much a standard element of any application.

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Zini
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Re: User Settings

Post by Zini » 03 Mar 2013, 21:17

Actually, there is one point I should mention: Changes in the settings dialogue should take effect immediately and not wait for a click on a button. Also, the dialogue should be designed in a way that can accommodate a large number of settings comfortably, since the OpenCS will be a very complex editor.

graffy
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Re: User Settings

Post by graffy » 05 Mar 2013, 00:54

Changes taking immediate effect - I read that as no need for either an "apply" or "cancel" button - just "Done"...

So far as accommodating a large number of settings goes, my initial thought is simply a tabbed dialog approach. That said, I haven't really sat down to research complex user settings layouts, so I may be a bit naive taking that path.

Anyway, all thoughts on dialog layout and the scope are certainly appreciated...

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Zini
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Re: User Settings

Post by Zini » 05 Mar 2013, 07:52

Changes taking immediate effect - I read that as no need for either an "apply" or "cancel" button - just "Done"...
Correct.
So far as accommodating a large number of settings goes, my initial thought is simply a tabbed dialog approach.
Yeah, it pretty much comes down to some kind of tabs. I know of no other way to handle this kind of UI.

We can either have a tab-like interface at the top of the window (like the launcher) or on the left side. These seem to be the two popular locations. If we use a vertical arrangement (i.e. on the left side), we can choose between icons and text (not sure yet, which option would be preferable). For the horizontal arrangement on the top we should only use icons (for obvious reasons I hope).

graffy
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Re: User Settings

Post by graffy » 05 Mar 2013, 19:43

Tab iconography / text... Ah, I have to admit, the "no text on top tabs" rule is a llittle foreign to me, though now that you've mentioned it, I have seen that idea used fairly often.

Agreed that left / top tab arrangement is preferrable...

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Zini
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Re: User Settings

Post by Zini » 06 Mar 2013, 10:50

Ah, I have to admit, the "no text on top tabs" rule is a llittle foreign to me, though now that you've mentioned it, I have seen that idea used fairly often.
More generally this rule could be versed the following way:

If you have a (potentially) very large number of text items, that the user needs to interact with in a random access fashion (i.e. not sequentially running through them, but locate them based on the text), then don't arrange these text items horizontally.


The problem here is that such a horizontal layout scales terribly, because a line of text usually has a substantial horizontal size to begin with, while the vertical size is quite small. This makes a vertical layout a must.


This is not a problem with our launcher (using icons and text, which potentially suffers from the same limitations), because we only have a few tabs and the number is unlikely to grow much.


You are right in that this kind of UI is very common. Even popular. I claim that those people got it wrong. Not in an arguable, point of view kind of wrong, but clearly and factually wrong.

Actually that should be obvious, if you just look at these interfaces with an open mind. Unless size is not an issue, you will always find some kind of workaround, that is supposed to "fix" the limitations of the tab interface. You have left and right arrows to scroll through the tabs (horrible usability), you have a pop up menu that lists all tabs (on its own a sensible approach, but within a tab interface it just shows the failure of said interface more clearly) or even multiple lines of tabs (fear and loathing).

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Rhys
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Location: Australia

Re: User Settings

Post by Rhys » 06 Mar 2013, 12:36

Bad
Image

Better
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Zini
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Re: User Settings

Post by Zini » 06 Mar 2013, 14:13

Exactly. Thanks for illustrating my point.

ezzetabi
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Re: User Settings

Post by ezzetabi » 06 Mar 2013, 15:55

Can anyone explain why this "No OK or Apply" button idea? It seems a fad nowadays and I cannot understand the advantages, I can just think problems with it.

For example with a slider the whole program adapt when you are sliding it in the right position; a typo can mess up everything or show an obvious and annoying error message; in some cases changing a setting stops the program for a little while and you have to wait for each change instead of once; if you mess-up you cannot just Cancel and try again...

Since it is used in so many programs, obviously people like it, and it is part of gnome standards about GUIs I would like to understand the reason.

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