Reorganizing 'Options'

Ideas for improvements and requests for new features in XnView Classic

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Olivier_G
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Reorganizing 'Options'

Post by Olivier_G » Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:52 pm

I believe the 'Options' Panel can be optimized quite a lot in order to reduce the complexity of setting-up and using XnView, thus making it more straightforward and attractive to newcomers.

Some principles:
- Keep It Simple Stupid (cf: simple options-tree, etc...)
- put options where they are used, and avoid centralization when possible (some options may find their way in menus, context menus, existing dialogs...)
- remove not-so-useful options from panel (and put them as extra ini entries when needed)
- use logical and user-oriented layouts, accurate naming +avoid interference/confusion between options

I will try to provide suggestions, starting from general ideas to detailled settings. Meanwhile, please discuss those elements, give opinions or ideas about this subject (those useful descriptions of options will help a lot).

Olivier
PS1: I started this thread now because I am currently more available and because 1.82b2 is already a good basis for discussion (and will stabilize even further toward 1.82... :D )
PS2: I believe the current options panel is complex, and I almost dismissed XnView in my first evaluation some years ago because of this issue => it is important, and 'Options' should undergo a major change
Last edited by Olivier_G on Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Olivier_G » Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:02 pm

From a user point of view, I first see the following elements:

Code: Select all

- General (ie: apply to all elements)
- Browser
  - Files area
  - Folder Tree
  - Preview
- View
- Tools (BatchConvert, SlideShow, WebPage, Transformations, etc...)
First good news is that it pretty much replicates the main current structure... :D

Second good news is that every 'Tool' already has its own dialog, with no setting in the main 'Options' Panel...
...except the Slide Show Options: I believe those options should be removed from there and be added as a second tab ('settings') in the Slide Show Dialog.

(next, I will have a closer look at 'Browser')

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Post by Olivier_G » Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:33 pm

I start with Browser > 'Folder Tree'...
...and I notice that its Options could be handled with a simple RMB context menu.

=> Just define a RMB menu on empty space of the Folder Tree (+no full row select here)... and there you get a convenient way of setting it up directly.

Code: Select all

[ ] Show Desktop in folder tree
[X] Update Treeview when refresh
[ ] Single click to expand folder tree
[ ] Auto collapse
more changes:
- 'Show Desktop in folder tree' could find its way as an 'extra ini setting', with default=Yes
- What's the point of not updating the folder tree on a refresh? Maybe this option could be removed completely?


...

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Post by Dreamer » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:31 am

- put options where they are used, and avoid centralization when possible (some options may find their way in menus, context menus, existing dialogs...)
I strongly disagree!

When I run any new program, I open "options" and change all I need. I don't like options all over the menus, dialogs... I think it would be very confusing.
- remove not-so-useful options from panel (and put them as extra ini entries when needed)
I disagree!

I think it would be easier to switch one option ("use only basic options") than edit .ini for most users.

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Post by Olivier_G » Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:56 am

Dreamer wrote:I don't like options all over the menus, dialogs... I think it would be very confusing.
I didn't mean to put the 367 settings of the main 'Options' panel in the menus... :mrgreen:
But only some of them and only if it makes more sense (I had one possible example in mind: Language selection through a simple submenu in the 'Info' menu... and it is the only one I can think of so far in the menu).

What I called "principles" in my first messages are not dogmas-to-be-followed-at-all-cost... they should rather be considered as some hints/directions in order to come up with ideas to improve Options/Interface.
But I take your disagreement into account... and kind of agree with it :P (...and I'll try to come up with a better wording in my first message)
Dreamer wrote:
Olivier_G wrote:- remove not-so-useful options from panel (and put them as extra ini entries when needed)
I disagree!
I think that an option that is both 'hardly used' and 'not important' ...could easily find its way in the .ini file.
(what do you think about that "Hide 'Desktop' in folder tree" or maybe "Adjust zoom if X/Y DPI are different" or... ?)
Moreover, it might also be a way to add more of those 'small' options for those 0.1% extremely demanding users, without cluttering at all the Options panel.

Olivier

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Post by Olivier_G » Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:41 am

I would like to get more feedback about this, in order to settle now those 'principles' (er... :|).

By using real examples, what do you think about:
A. Moving the Folder Tree options to a RMB context menu?
B. Moving the Slide Show options to the Slide Show dialog?
C. Moving some not-so-useful options to the .ini file?
D. Removing completely some options (cf: 'not refreshing folder tree') ?

Now, your turn: YES/NO, motivated opinion, advice, ideas...
edit: ...or a song, a strip-tease, a christmas cake, whatever... :mrgreen:

Olivier

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Post by Dreamer » Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:53 am

Olivier_G wrote:
Dreamer wrote:I don't like options all over the menus, dialogs... I think it would be very confusing.
I didn't mean to put the 367 settings of the main 'Options' panel in the menus... :mrgreen:
But only some of them and only if it makes more sense (I had one possible example in mind: Language selection through a simple submenu in the 'Info' menu... and it is the only one I can think of so far in the menu).

What I called "principles" in my first messages are not dogmas-to-be-followed-at-all-cost... they should rather be considered as some hints/directions in order to come up with ideas to improve Options/Interface.
But I take your disagreement into account... and kind of agree with it :P (...and I'll try to come up with a better wording in my first message)
OK. :)

I know program that have about 60% of options in Options dialog and 40% in menus, this is no good.
Olivier_G wrote:
Dreamer wrote:
Olivier_G wrote:- remove not-so-useful options from panel (and put them as extra ini entries when needed)
I disagree!
I think that an option that is both 'hardly used' and 'not important' ...could easily find its way in the .ini file.
(what do you think about that "Hide 'Desktop' in folder tree" or maybe "Adjust zoom if X/Y DPI are different" or... ?)
Moreover, it might also be a way to add more of those 'small' options for those 0.1% extremely demanding users, without cluttering at all the Options panel.
I still think that my idea is better - just hide these options and add one option to show it, maybe this option could be in .ini file, but I'd prefer a dialog.
I would like to get more feedback about this, in order to settle now those 'principles' (er... Neutral).

By using real examples, what do you think about:
A. Moving the Folder Tree options to a RMB context menu?
B. Moving the Slide Show options to the Slide Show dialog?
C. Moving some not-so-useful options to the .ini file?
D. Removing completely some options (cf: 'not refreshing folder tree') ?
A. & B. No.

- reason 1 - above "When I run any new program, I open "options" and change all I need..." - I don't want search for options - options belong to Options. :)
- reason 2 - folder tree context menu / slideshow dialog would be very confusing then. Right now we did a change in Batch Convert dialog because it looked confusing, so I think, most used options should be in context menu / dialogs and other options that user usually change just once, should be in Options dialog.

C. No, reason and other idea above.

D. Maybe, I don't use folder tree often.

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Post by Xyzzy » Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:31 pm

As this thread is about Options reorganization, I propose to stay on this topic. Here is my proposal for Options structure. (To see structure, copy the list into a file and display it in WWW browser).

Why such main categories:
Interface - says how XnView looks and works as a whole.
Browser - all Browser only options
View - all View only options
Read, Write - all file reading/writing operations. They are main categories, because many options use read/write capabilites, like slideshow or WWW gallery.
System integration - how XnView is "embedded" in operating system.
General - all other options

Order of options on the lists is random

What do you think about the structure???

X.

General view of the tree, explanations below

Code: Select all

General 
	Startup
	Browser & View
	File operations
	Slide Show 
	Plugin Adobe 8bf 
Interface 
	Switching modes
	Misc (Languages, Recent lists, Folder tabs) 
	Toolbar 
		Buttons displayed 
		Skin 
Browser 
	Files displayed 
	File list 
		Cache
	Thumbnails 
		Appearance 
		Labels 
	Folder tree 
	Preview 
	Open action 
	Misc 
View 
	File sequence 
	Quick Slide Show 
	Quick View 
	Keyboard/Mouse 
	Fullscreen 
Read 
Write 
System integration 
	Associations 
	Install 


<ul>
<li>General</li> - options not fitting in other places, 'General' because it looks nicer than 'Misc' and is commonly used in the same meaning as option name.
<ul>
<li>Startup</li> - options affecting how XnView is started and what actions are performed on startup from user's point of view
<li>Browser&View</li> - Options affecting specifically Browser and View, and at the same time working for both, like Enable BMP animations
<li>File operations</li> - Options for file operations, like copying etc.
<li>Slide Show</li>
<li>Plugin Adobe 8bf</li>
</ul>
<li>Interface</li>
<ul>
<li>Switching modes</li> - this is how interface works
<li>Misc(Languages&Recent lists&Folder tabs)</li> - change Languages to drop down menu and fitting all these on one page would be no problem I think
<li>Toolbar</li>
<ul>
<li>Buttons displayed</li>
<li>Skin</li>
</ul>
</ul>
<li>Browser</li>
<ul>
<li>File list</li>
<ul>
<li>Files displayed</li>
<li>Cache</li> - cache is used only by file list, that's why it's here
</ul>
<li>Thumbnails</li> - this really should be under File list, but option tree with 4 levels would not fit into control
<ul>
<li>Appearance</li>
<li>Labels</li>
</ul>
<li>Folder tree</li>
<li>Preview</li>
<li>Open action</li>
<li>Misc</li>
</ul>
<li>View</li>
<ul>
<li>File sequence</li> - This is currently called File list, but file list is something displayed in Browser
<li>Quick Slide Show</li>
<li>Quick View</li> - or however it is called- there are a few options that work only for fullscreen mode run directly from Windows
<li>Keyboard/Mouse</li>
<li>Fullscreen</li>
</ul>
<li>Read</li>
<li>Write</li>
<li>System integration</li>
<ul>
<li>Associations</li>
<li>Install</li>
</ul>
Last edited by Xyzzy on Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Olivier_G » Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:24 pm

I wanted to clean current Options a little (cf: context menu, SlideShow, extra .ini, etc...) before optimizing the real thing... but it seems that there is no easy agreement about that.

So, let's focus on the structure itself, as suggested by Xyzzy.
Here is my own suggestion:

Code: Select all

Interface
  - Misc  (Windows tabs*, Language, Recent list)
  - Toolbar*
  - Switching mode
Browser 
  - Files displayed
  - Open
  - File list
    . Thumbnails appearance
    . Thumbnails labels
    . Cache 
  - Folder Tree*
  - Preview 
View
  - File sequence  (+Quick slide show)
  - Keyboard/Mouse
  - Full screen
General
  - Read
  - Write
  - SlideShow*
  - Plugins Adobe 8bf
  - System integration
    . Association

(* to be removed)
Some comments:
- 'Files displayed' and 'Open' apply to both File list and Preview
- Thumbnails Appearance&Labels and Cache apply to File list only
(I don't like 'File list'... wouldn't 'Files area' be more appropriate, especially with thumbnails?)

Olivier

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Post by Olivier_G » Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:50 pm

..and some comments about Xyzzy's structure:
- 'Startup' options are mainly about windows settings => most of them will go into 'Interface', and the rest directly into 'General'.
- I didn't find what you want to put in 'Browser&View' nor in 'File operations' (and for me, BMP animations should go into 'Read').
- 'Files displayed' apply to both 'File list' and 'Preview', therefore my suggestion. I also prefer to see 'Open' just after.
- 'Misc' could find its way in the main 'Browser' panel, with 2 droplists.
- I like your suggestion of 'File sequence'. I also gathered 'Quick slide show' under it (there is room, and a slide show is an animated sequence :D )
- I prefer to gather Read/Write/System Integration under 'General'
(I first put 'Interface' under 'General' to give 'General' its general meaning... :D ...but we would reach too quickly the 3rd level... :( )

Olivier

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Post by Dreamer » Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:53 pm

I don't like sub-categories, at least "Associations" is often the first (and sometimes also the only) thing that users are searching for in Options. I think "hiding" it is not a good idea.

What about this (no sub-categories):

Code: Select all

Category          <General> | Browser |  View ...

Startup
Recent lists
Switching modes
...
"General", "Browser", "View"... could be 'buttons'.

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Post by Olivier_G » Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:27 am

Dreamer wrote:"General", "Browser", "View"... could be 'buttons'.
* I removed my previous comment, as I understood your suggestion -> I slightly prefer the current interface of Options as a tree*
Dreamer wrote:I don't like sub-categories, at least "Associations"...
OK. Especially for you, Dreamer, 'Association' can go up one level (directly under 'General', which is general enough, I think). I would even agree to put 'Thumbnails appearance'/'Thumbnails labels'/'Cache' directly under 'Browser'... if you really want! :D

Olivier
PS1: my suggestion has 26 panels vs 31 currently (and 21 if we 'decentralize' some of them :))
PS2: the Options panel is 579x431 pixels... shouldn't we increase it to 640x480 for more flexibility?
Last edited by Olivier_G on Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Xyzzy » Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:06 am

OK, let's concentrate only on restructuring options tree for now. I fe. prefer list-tabs layout like used here http://www.gpsoft.com.au/Preview/preview_2.html
but it's another discussion.

Olivier_G:
You removed some option but didn't say why, and where these options should be placed. If you want something considered, give a reason for that.
'Files displayed' refers to file list. Preview simply shows what is selected in file list. BTW, there is option that affects Preview display directly, and not file list, namely Show HexaView for unknown file.
'Quick slide show' has nothing to do with file sequences. When running quick slide show you use current settings for file sequence, it's not something that defines sequence.
Why put Read/Write/Integration in General? They are quite distinct, as they define basics of XnView operations (fe. nconvert also could use Read/Write), and System integration defines not how XnView itself behaves, but how it cooperates with Operating system.

X.

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Post by Xyzzy » Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:20 am

BTW, some proposed rules for discussion about the subject.
- I divided options tree into main functional areas. 'Interface' is how program looks and works as a whole. 'Browser' and 'View' are two main functions the program performs. 'Read' and 'Write' define how program works with files to support program operations; 'Read' supports 'Browser' and 'View' and 'Write' supports misc tools. 'System integration' defines how program cooperates with its environment. 'General' is other options. If you think there should be a change here, give good reasons.
- Give reason for your choices. Otherwise they are worthless.
- Associate option with program function it affects.
- Do not let user search too much. Both scattering options into many categories and squeezing them on one page are bad.
- Try to be logical. If you'd like some option in some place, just because you like it so, it's worthless. If you know your conceptions are usually unconventional, be relatively illogical...

I'll try to create a sketch of options movements asap.

X.

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Post by Olivier_G » Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:24 am

Xyzzy wrote:You removed some option but didn't say why, and where these options should be placed.
Already explained: Folder tabs, Language, Recent list are grouped (just as you); File sequence and Quick slide show are grouped; Startup options are dispatched between 'Interface' and 'General'; 'Misc' is grouped with 'Browser'.
New explanation: 'Thumbnail' and 'appearance' are grouped together.
Xyzzy wrote:'Files displayed' refers to file list. Preview simply shows what is selected in file list.
No. There is a column 'Show in Preview' that allows you to restrict further what is shown in 'Preview'. Therefore it refers to both file list and preview.
Xyzzy wrote:'Quick slide show' has nothing to do with file sequences.
OK: then I change the name to 'Misc' and still group those options. Or even better: I keep 'file sequence' and don't agree with your opinion.
Xyzzy wrote:Why put Read/Write/Integration in General?
Because I put under 'General' all options that do not fit under the other main categories (aka: Interface, Browser, Viewer).

Olivier

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