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Old 05-17-2011, 12:22 PM   #16
luketheobscure
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Elements: That's good feedback. If I go another round I'll spend some time in Windows 7 and Ubuntu and see if I can pick up anything from there.

theducks: Excellent point. Since both the cover browser and book details are toggle-able elements they both need to have view states that look nice together or alone. I suppose it would make sense to have the cover on the book details view collapsible.

Manichean, kiwidude, & Starson17: Cover browser and book details are hidden by the buttons on the lower left hand side (just as they currently are, just with different icons). "Advanced Search" would slide open, obscuring the tag browser and revealing all current search functions, with even more real estate than it currently occupies.

It looks like the current user base is content with how things are. I think I might just leave it at that.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by luketheobscure View Post
...
It looks like the current user base is content with how things are.
Well, at least the most vocal part of it. It is really a pity that some people here are convinced that beauty and functionality are mutually exclusive. I wonder how “You can convince Kovid/others it's an improvement „ (or most developers for that matter), when for then the vi is the summun of the prettiness?
May be this thread could be move to the General forum, so more people could comment on the merits of the proposed changes?

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I think I might just leave it at that.

Please, do not give up just yet.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:26 PM   #18
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There's a difference between beautiful and usability. And programs should under no circumstances be dumbed down just to look pretty.
Ever heard the expression "form follows function"?
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Manichean View Post
There's a difference between beautiful and usability. And programs should under no circumstances be dumbed down just to look pretty.
Ever heard the expression "form follows function"?
Oh, but I like so much the example on the Wikipedia:
  1. Nothing is better than eternal happiness.
  2. Eating a hamburger is better than nothing.
  3. Therefore, eating a hamburger is better than eternal happiness.

IMHO, beauty and usability are two equally important aspects of any design and not at all incompatible. Ideally, very difficult to achieve, but certainly worth pursuing. In computer terms, have you ever wondered why the vast majority of the users prefer GUIs to command line interfaces? Or, do you truly believe that the success of the iPhone is not related at all with its beauty?

On the other side, please note that the proposed design does not dumb down calibre, nor does it remove functionality, however instead of working with the OP, we are telling him “ you desing is beautiful therefore I do not like it” or “on my religion iTunes is the devil and your ideas remind me of it” or even “I like it; just please make it exactly as it is now”.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:35 PM   #20
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I promised myself I'd stay away from this thread, but...

Let's see just how the proposed design changes impact usability:

1) The search bar is hidden which means extra clicks to use it

2) The reflections on the cover mean there is less space available for the actual book details, which means that people will have to scroll to read them, more extra clicks

3) The icons have been split into two bars and the lower bar has been made smaller. That means that a new calibre user is going to have to:
a) Notice there are two sets of buttons
b) Hover her mouse over every button in the bottom set to find out what it does

3b) There is no way to logically divide the buttons in the main toolbar into two groups, if we use the OPs suggestion, then there will be three buttons in the top toolbar and 7 in the bottom, which means tons of wasted space on the top.

I can't think of any positive impacts it has on usability, beyond highlighting one set of features at the expense of others. Feel free to point out something I missed.

About the only thing I like in that mockup is the "native" OS X look and feel (colors, fonts, spacing), which means that calibre will integrate better. But to achieve that in a cross platform application means writing a separate UI specially for OS X. As I told user_none, I have nothing against that in principle, but I am not going to waste my time on it. My calibre TODO list has about 300 items on it. If someone else wants to, feel free, I wont refuse the patch.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:58 PM   #21
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Kovid, all your points are valid, but on my layman opinion not insolvable. I hope the OP is not scared away and still willing to work on the design.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pollito pito View Post
Kovid, all your points are valid, but on my layman opinion not insolvable. I hope the OP is not scared away and still willing to work on the design.
.
Sure, as user_none mentioned, I am always happy to implement a suggestion for a UI change provided I can be convinced it actually improves usability. For proof, just compare the calibre UI from 0.6.x to 0.8.x.

It's important to realize that usability is not nearly as simple an issue as it seems at first glance.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:11 PM   #23
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... provided I can be convinced it actually improves usability.
Touché,
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:18 PM   #24
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Must... Not... Respond.... GAH!

I didn't just make something "pretty", I grouped elements in a more logical fashion in order to aid in predictability of functions. I made something that you could just look at and know what it did, instead of having to experiment. And yes, in my opinion (and it seems everybody else's opinion, even those who don't want a change), I made something that is a lot easier on the eyes.

And Manichean- ever heard of "feature creep"? Besides, I didn't actually remove any functions- just moved them. And the logical groupings of related functions is the definition of "form follows function".

Of course there was room for improvement on what I posted! There was some great constructive criticism early on, but things quickly degenerated.

I'll leave it at that. Consider my suggestions withdrawn.

Good luck all, Calibre is still a great program. Perhaps a designer with more intestinal fortitude than I will come along and offer help.

Last edited by luketheobscure; 05-18-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:21 PM   #25
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<redacted>

Last edited by luketheobscure; 05-18-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luketheobscure View Post
Must... Not... Respond.... GAH!
I wrote that I hated it, but I'd still encourage you to forge on. It wasn't meant as an attack on your efforts, nor a defense of the current UI. I wrote those words because it's vitally important to me that search functionality and width for columns not be reduced. Even one more click for search is a significant interference with how I use it.

I don't feel at all strongly that the current interface is the best, nor do I have any particular resistance to changing it - it merely needs to be change for the better. Moreover, I agree that beauty and functionality are not mutually exclusive. I almost never use the tag browser, the icons or the cover browser, so my ideal UI will be significantly different from most other users.

If you are going to change the interface, you'll definitely need to be ready for lots of negative comments, but if you can glean the best from all comments, learn how the UI is actually used over multiple OSs, and convince Kovid your changes are an improvement, they will be adopted.

Actually improving the UI is not going to be easy, but it's not impossible.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:23 AM   #27
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Starson71, I guess your words were a bit too harsh. So, great that you toned it down a bit ;-)
luketheobscure, why so pissed off? Some critics may be harsh, but still, as a designer one needs to be able to live with critique, right? At least thats what I do when I ask for critique of my designs. And UX design really is more than a beautiful UI, especially when it comes down to usability and varying use cases.
If you really have lots of experience in UX, then I believe it would be great if you are willing to share your experience.
Since your design was simply a mockup, how about really starting from the different use cases, ask the community how they really use calibre. What functions are important, which are less important, aso. And then go from there, not the other way around.

And, dude, suck it up, and stop being such a diva.

Last edited by elementz; 05-20-2011 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:15 AM   #28
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I did not see a file attached in this topic, but I see that luketheobscure was able to change make changes.
Is that version still available?

And another question on gui-changes, is it possible to add a pane to the current gui?
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:05 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drMerry View Post
I did not see a file attached in this topic, but I see that luketheobscure was able to change make changes.
Is that version still available?

And another question on gui-changes, is it possible to add a pane to the current gui?
No changes were actually made. A Photoshopped picture of what it could look like was the only thing created.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:31 AM   #30
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Thanks for this info!
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