User Experience Interest Group/Transcripts/2009-07-09

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Topic & Summary

User Experience Interest Group Discussion for July 09, 2009.

Topic: Customizable Toolbars, Menus, and Shortcuts.

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Transcript

[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, let's get started
[15:13] Loves Lemon cheers :) (silently)
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: Today's topic is "Customizable Toolbars, Menus, and Shortcuts"
[15:14] Morgaine Dinova chuckles
[15:14] Mm Alder: One of my favorite topics :-)
[15:14] McCabe Maxsted: :)
[15:14] Armin Weatherwax: yay ... customize :D
[15:14] Geneko Nemeth haven't written code for a long, long time...
[15:15] Morgaine Dinova: Somebody rez a nice big Hot Button here
[15:15] Loves Lemon: i'm not sure i really want another toolbar to suck up more of my viewing space
[15:15] Mm Alder: So, if you were going to customize your UI, what is the *first* thing you would do?
[15:15] Loves Lemon: it would be nice if the existing one was customizable
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: I'm interested in how you guys think that might work -- what steps would the user take to customize it?
[15:15] Geneko Nemeth: Hide the toolbar!
[15:15] Loves Lemon: i'd ditch the Search button on the toolbar!
[15:16] Geneko Nemeth: Right-click, get a pie menu, and select customize. Then you get a palette of buttons you can drag from/to.
[15:16] Loves Lemon: well, i'm already using right clicks for customizing in my other programs
[15:16] Mm Alder: Geneko, you mean get rid of it or have it appear only when you hover near?
[15:16] Morgaine Dinova: Let people select on which of the 4 edges a toolbar appears, from 1-4 of them.
[15:16] Geneko Nemeth: Although a pie menu on the edge of the screen... might not be that nice.
[15:16] Armin Weatherwax: toolbar is communicate ... inventory ?
[15:16] Loves Lemon: a palette? that seems like it might be a little cumbersome, if there's a lot of choices
[15:16] Geneko Nemeth: You could have groups in palettes.
[15:17] Morgaine Dinova: Also let the width of each toolbar be user-selectable, and also make each have an audo-hide option. That's a start
[15:17] Morgaine Dinova: auto-hide*
[15:17] Geneko Nemeth: Custom widths? Now that's something nobody has done before.
[15:18] Mm Alder: It is possible now to override any attribute by using an XML file the way internationalization does.
[15:18] Morgaine Dinova: Even Windows toolbars have customizeable widths, I recall setting them 2-3 years ago
[15:18] Loves Lemon: yep
[15:18] Morgaine Dinova: I just dragged
[15:18] Geneko Nemeth: That's only the position that's customizable.
[15:18] Morgaine Dinova: No no, width
[15:19] Geneko Nemeth: You happen to be dragging a toolbar that either expands or almost as wide as the screen.
[15:19] Moon Adamant accepted your inventory offer.
[15:19] Moon Adamant accepted your inventory offer.
[15:19] Armin Weatherwax: i tried McCabes toolbar as a "start-menu" ... inventory and maps where badly "missing"
[15:19] Morgaine Dinova: This is from memory, but I'd create a new toolbar, move it to the desired edge, and change its width as desired.
[15:19] Geneko Nemeth: ... yeah, custom positions is needed.
[15:20] Morgaine Dinova: That was XP
[15:21] Mm Alder: Many people figure out LSL scripting, so is XML customization good enough for the UI?
[15:21] Jacek Antonelli: Yeah, Windows XP task bar can be expanded to multiple rows
[15:21] Morgaine Dinova: No, because it has to be dynamic to adpat as you work on different things
[15:22] Mm Alder: Dynamic in what way?
[15:22] Morgaine Dinova: (No was to Mm)
[15:22] Armin Weatherwax: dont think so, Mm ... many people who are excellent scripters seem not to be able to customizr their pie menues
[15:22] Jacek Antonelli: In my opinion, requiring the user to edit XML to customize their UI (at least in the basic ways -- adding, removing, rearranging) is a no-no.
[15:22] Morgaine Dinova: Mm: depending on what you're doing, you may want your toolbars set differently
[15:23] Loves Lemon: exactly, many users, myself included, do not know how to edit XML files to alter the viewer
[15:23] Geneko Nemeth: So we're back to viewer modes again? XD
[15:23] Loves Lemon: if we did, those of us who did alter our viewer would not want to upgrade after
[15:23] Mm Alder: What about getting XML from somebody else and choosing what you like?
[15:23] Loves Lemon: and if those XML modules conflict?
[15:24] Mm Alder: The XML would have to replace an existing one.
[15:24] Loves Lemon: i don't write XML, so i don't know if that happens, but it did with the languages i learned in high school
[15:24] Jacek Antonelli: Sharing UI customizations is a good idea. But I'd lean towards an easier way to do that, without having to edit any XML
[15:24] Jacek Antonelli: or any other files, for that matter
[15:24] Loves Lemon: right, and an inexperienced XML user may not know which to replace, etc
[15:24] Morgaine Dinova: It's a bit implementation-dependent to be talking about XML this early. prolly better to start off discussing what end result is desired in the UI
[15:25] Jacek Antonelli: I think that customizing the UI should essentially be something you could accomplish just by dragging and dropping, mostly
[15:25] Loves Lemon: i would really prefer something that is contained within the GUI
[15:25] Armin Weatherwax: thats an interesting point Loves Lemon: coordinate the different viewer projects to have compatible interfaces
[15:25] Mm Alder: Suppose you could preview a floater and decide whether you like it, woudl that help?
[15:25] Loves Lemon: dragging and dropping would be cool...especially if you could open up, say, Preferences, to a list of buttons/commands and choose what you wanted to add
[15:25] Loves Lemon: or even remove something from the toolbar
[15:26] Mm Alder: I mention XML because that's the way the UI is defined now.
[15:26] Armin Weatherwax: XMLis hell to merge.
[15:27] Mm Alder: The XML for the UI isn't all that complicated if you understand XML.
[15:28] Loves Lemon: i know Microsoft isn't the most pleasant company to discuss, but they allow for customizing the toolbars in all of their programs... it would be good to take some sort of note from their lead
[15:28] Geneko Nemeth: Not in Paint!
[15:28] Jacek Antonelli: I like the idea of being able to export and import UI layouts, and preview them before you import them. I think those are solid ideas. Probably those layout files would be XML or something like that, but that's just a little detail
[15:29] Loves Lemon: well, Paint is a stagnant program, actually
[15:29] Geneko Nemeth: ... oh, nor in Minesweeper.
[15:29] Geneko Nemeth: But the palette of Paint in Vista looks quite nice...
[15:29] Loves Lemon: right, but my point was not which MS program is better
[15:29] Loves Lemon: rather, that being able to choose from a list of all commands to customize the toolbar is the lead I was hoping for
[15:30] Geneko Nemeth: And my point is that not all MS programs have customizablity. And some might not need it.
[15:30] Geneko Nemeth: Same.
[15:30] Jacek Antonelli: Yes, there are good examples of customizable toolbars we can draw inspiration. Microsoft has done it, Apple has done it, etc.
[15:30] Loves Lemon: there are specific commands i use a lot, for instance, that would be nice to have a button instead of figuring out where it is in the menus, etc
[15:30] Mm Alder: Loves, what do you mean "lead"?
[15:30] Loves Lemon: right
[15:30] Loves Lemon: Jacek just put it out there
[15:31] Loves Lemon: not just MS, but also Apple...
[15:31] Loves Lemon: MS is what came to mind first, is all
[15:31] Jacek Antonelli: Most of them seem to involve a palette or list of commands to choose from, and you can drag and drop them to add/remove/rearrange them.
[15:31] Loves Lemon: right... there have been some where you click another little button to "add" it to the toolbar
[15:31] Loves Lemon: (or remove it)
[15:32] Jacek Antonelli: Customizable shortcuts are common too, although the UI for that is much different from the toolbar editing UI, usually
[15:32] Jacek Antonelli: Customizable menus, though... I think those are relatively rare. I'm having trouble thinking of an app that allows you to really change the menus significantly.
[15:32] Armin Weatherwax: opera
[15:32] Loves Lemon: yep
[15:33] Jacek Antonelli: How does Opera do it?
[15:33] Loves Lemon: too bad opera isn't more popular
[15:33] Geneko Nemeth: And Microsoft Office has customizable menus, I think... until they got rid of menus altogether that is.
[15:33] Armin Weatherwax: they have config files and ... tada ... documentation
[15:33] Mm Alder: Just so I'm on the same page: When you say "toolbar" what specifically on the viewer screen are you thinking about? "File Edit View..."? "Communicate Fly Snapshot..."?
[15:33] Loves Lemon: but it's things like that, customizing the menus, that make me use Opera (and others) instead of the "standard" programs
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: The toolbar for the SL viewer is Communicate, Fly, Snapshot, etc.
[15:34] Loves Lemon: i thought the toolbar was the buttons, not the menu bar
[15:34] Geneko Nemeth: The bottom toolbar. But if possible, might throw in the status bar as well. I always wanted to add some kind of gadgets to the status bar.
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: Yes. File, Edit, View, etc. are the menus / menu bar
[15:34] Geneko Nemeth: And remove the buy L$ button.
[15:35] Mm Alder: OK, so do you mean removing some of the buttons on the toolbar?
[15:35] Loves Lemon: although i have a large computer screen, it seems like i can never see far enough around me *clearly* because there is so much screen "real estate" taken up by toobars, menu bars, title bars, etc
[15:35] Armin Weatherwax: i think people would use the already present (even thogh limited) customizability of sl like clients if there was some documentation
[15:35] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: Yes, removing, or adding new ones for other actions, or rearranging them.
[15:36] Mm Alder: How would you add a button for a function that doesn't exist?
[15:36] Geneko Nemeth: You implement it first? Then add it to the palette...
[15:37] Jacek Antonelli: Not for functions that don't exist, of course :P. But for ones that aren't in the toolbar now.
[15:37] Mm Alder: Jacek: for example?
[15:37] Loves Lemon: Mm, *why* would you add a button for a function that doesn't exist? preplanning?
[15:37] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: Pretty much anything from the menus
[15:38] Jacek Antonelli: Maybe you want to add a button for Mouselook, or Set Away, or Change to Midnight, or any number of other things
[15:38] Loves Lemon: for instance, i'd like to have a button to turn the ARC display on and off
[15:38] Loves Lemon: exactly, Jacek
[15:38] Armin Weatherwax: loves: cut copy paste in an editor ?
[15:38] Mm Alder: Hmmm. Actually the menu items are the best abstracted functions.
[15:39] Mm Alder: You can specify menu functions in the XML
[15:39] Loves Lemon: so, it would be nice if the buttons would be automatically sized according to the display text that goes on them
[15:39] Jacek Antonelli: Loves: Yeah, that would be a nice improvement
[15:39] Morgaine Dinova: Adding launch buttons for functions that don't exist is possible too --- allow the user to specify an O/S command.
[15:40] Jacek Antonelli: Morgaine: Yep, that's another possibility
[15:40] Geneko Nemeth: Would people be tricked into adding 'del C:\*.*' or 'rm -rf /' though?
[15:40] Loves Lemon: again, i'm not a programmer, so i am unable to do any of this XML specifying... frankly, i don't know what you're referring to when you say that :/
[15:40] Loves Lemon laughs at Gen's quip
[15:40] Loves Lemon: boy, i recall those days!
[15:41] Armin Weatherwax: read mail really fast is usefull though :P
[15:41] Geneko Nemeth: Lemon: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Skinning_HowTo/Basics
[15:42] Morgaine Dinova: And if you can specify a range of arguments for what you launch, that would be quite powerful. For example, if acquiring a land audio stream sets the "LAND_AUDIO" environment variable, then setting some button to "myplayer ${LAND_AUDIO}" could launch one's favourite media player on the URL.
[15:42] Loves Lemon: ta, Geneko! :)
[15:42] Mm Alder: Geneko, I think Loves means del C:\*.*
[15:43] Loves Lemon: Mm, I well recall the days when folks said "try this" with the del c:\*.*
[15:43] Loves Lemon: ;)
[15:43] Loves Lemon is pretty old
[15:43] Loves Lemon: lol
[15:44] Loves Lemon: oo, Morgaine... that would be very helpful, wouldn't it
[15:44] Jacek Antonelli: (Geez, Snowglobe is *still* going.)
[15:44] Loves Lemon giggles
[15:44] Geneko Nemeth: I wonder what are they talking about.
[15:45] Jacek Antonelli: Maybe it got so boring they all fell asleep.....
[15:45] Armin Weatherwax: hah. Snowglobe. lets start an IceCube project :D
[15:45] Jacek Antonelli: haha
[15:45] Loves Lemon: or someone gave them a URL so they're all surfing the web?
[15:45] Loves Lemon: hee hee
[15:46] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, so here's another thing I wanted to talk about a bit -- what if the user messes up, and removes something important from their UI, for istance?
[15:46] Jacek Antonelli: What safeguards, etc. would be good to have?
[15:46] Armin Weatherwax: revert to default button ?
[15:46] Loves Lemon: it would be nice to...YES!
[15:46] Loves Lemon: exactly!
[15:46] Loves Lemon: rather than have to redownload
[15:47] Jacek Antonelli nods. That'd be a good one. I imagine we'd want to have an undo button, too.
[15:47] Armin Weatherwax: yes
[15:47] Loves Lemon: and that should be something that should not be removable, then
[15:47] Mm Alder: Jacek, you'd just have the user put changes in a user directory. The old stuff stays there, but the user's stuff is used first if it's there.
[15:47] Loves Lemon: but also not easily clickable by the clutzier members (thinks of her guy again)
[15:47] Loves Lemon grins
[15:47] Armin Weatherwax: and even several undo levels
[15:47] Geneko Nemeth: Maybe some keyboard shortcuts that cannot be changed, sorta like a panic button.
[15:47] Armin Weatherwax: (and redo)
[15:47] Loves Lemon: that would be even better, Armin
[15:48] Geneko Nemeth: Or, a reset command at the login prompt.
[15:48] Loves Lemon: OOooo!
[15:48] Jacek Antonelli: Yeah, a real undo/redo history would be good
[15:48] Armin Weatherwax: and a Noooo button
[15:48] Jacek Antonelli: hahaha
[15:48] Mm Alder: To do all the undo redo stuff, you'd probably need something like a version control repository.
[15:48] Armin Weatherwax: NOOOOOOOoooooooOOooo!
[15:48] Geneko Nemeth: Do not want!
[15:48] Loves Lemon dreams big for a moment... what if you could choose from a set of customized UIs at the login screen?
[15:48] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: Or just store an undo history in memory, like everything else does? ;)
[15:49] Geneko Nemeth: Wouldn't that be skinning?
[15:49] Loves Lemon: hm, i suppose so
[15:49] Armin Weatherwax: ah ... history is good ... choose where you borked it
[15:49] Mm Alder: Skinning is really just colors right now.
[15:49] Armin Weatherwax: like rebase -i HEAD~
[15:50] Jacek Antonelli: Well there's an idea -- customizing the UI and skinning are pretty similar. There could be a way to export your current layout as a skin for other people to download
[15:50] Loves Lemon: yes, just like WindowBlinds, another program i use :)
[15:50] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: skinning can do _way_ more than just colors, even now
[15:51] Mm Alder: The difference between skinning and customization is that skinning only changes attributes, not organization.
[15:51] Armin Weatherwax: hehe ... look at Emerald skins ...
[15:51] Loves Lemon grins
[15:51] Jacek Antonelli: Again, no. Skins also define the layout of the UI. You can move things around, remove things, even add new things. Heck, you can add entire new windows without editing the viewer, I think.
[15:51] Loves Lemon: emerald has a lot of skins, but how many users actually use a different color?
[15:52] Loves Lemon: just a rhetorical question, there
[15:52] Armin Weatherwax: I prefere the default skin. and en-us as language. even though I'm german
[15:52] Mm Alder: I guess it's a matter of semantics.
[15:53] Loves Lemon: i'm not sure a lot of users change the skin colors, because they don't perceive a difference in anything other than color
[15:53] Geneko Nemeth: I like the viewer interface I translated <3
[15:53] Geneko Nemeth: Even though it still has Inventory down as "storage room"...
[15:53] Jacek Antonelli: hehe
[15:53] Loves Lemon: lol, i like that!
[15:54] Jacek Antonelli: Better than calling it "broom closet"
[15:54] Armin Weatherwax: hm. german translation is pretty good now. but there are way more english based users - so if i have a question i had to guess what the back-translation was ...
[15:54] Loves Lemon: not many brooms in mine, but i do call it a closet!
[15:55] Jacek Antonelli: Armin: Hrm, interesting point
[15:55] Armin Weatherwax: yeah, happens more often in the realm of linux, of course
[15:56] Jacek Antonelli: It makes me wonder -- If people can customize their UIs, does it become harder to write tutorials or offer support?
[15:56] Geneko Nemeth: 'You know... the third button you get from the northwest pie of the second menu on the right...?'
[15:56] Jacek Antonelli: E.g. if the tutorial says "Use File > Upload Image"... well, they might have moved it. Is that a problem?
[15:57] Geneko Nemeth: That would be.
[15:57] Morgaine Dinova: I rather like the idea of named setups or presets. So you start off with "default", and any UI change you make goes into "current", or you can save it in another named preset. Then add a present selector, and you can switch around merrily. Requires full UI reload on selection I think.
[15:57] Geneko Nemeth: That would definitely give Torley a headache. XD
[15:57] Jacek Antonelli: hehe Gen
[15:57] Loves Lemon: folks who help out newbies would need to retain the default UI, of course
[15:58] Jacek Antonelli: I'm sure LL would only offer support for the default layout.
[15:58] Loves Lemon: heh, i thought Torley was up to anything!
[15:58] Geneko Nemeth: Or maybe switch it in a moments notice.
[15:58] Morgaine Dinova: The preset idea is good for tutors too --- they should just start with "Select your default preset"
[15:58] Mm Alder: You could always switch to the default layout for the tutorial and locate the same function in your custom layout later.
[15:58] Loves Lemon: yes, being able to switch UIs *without relogging* would be very helpful
[15:58] Jacek Antonelli: Good point
[15:59] Jacek Antonelli: Hrmmm. Let's talk about skinning for a little bit, before we adjourn.
[16:00] Mm Alder: Specifically?
[16:00] Jacek Antonelli: Would customizing the UI include things like changing colors and textures? So far we've mostly been talking about changing the layout and menu items and such
[16:00] Loves Lemon: that would be a nice thing
[16:01] Loves Lemon: i'm always changing my look...it would be nice to do that with the UI too
[16:01] Geneko Nemeth: Maybe something simple. Like Personas for Firfox?
[16:01] Garn Conover: 3/4 of my inventory is body parts
[16:01] Garn Conover: be nice if i didn't have to have all those folders lol
[16:02] Garn Conover: im just jumping in lol i have no idea whats going on
[16:02] Mm Alder: Has anyone here played with skinning the UI?
[16:02] Geneko Nemeth puts his body parts in the Clothing folder.
[16:02] McCabe Maxsted has poked at it
[16:02] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: Yep. I have, and I know McCabe has done a lot
[16:02] Geneko Nemeth: Skinning the UI? Does translating count?
[16:02] Mm Alder: What do you find most difficult?
[16:03] Mm Alder: Tranlating does count.
[16:03] Jacek Antonelli: Editing XML. -_-
[16:03] McCabe Maxsted: lack of live updates
[16:03] Jacek Antonelli: Oh, yeah, that too. Having to restart the viewer every time is a pain
[16:03] Loves Lemon: yes it is!
[16:03] Mm Alder: Jacek, do you use an XML editor?
[16:04] Armin Weatherwax: that every time i merge upstream i get 237 conflicts
[16:04] Jacek Antonelli: hehe Armin
[16:04] Loves Lemon: urg, sounds painful
[16:04] Mm Alder: How do you "merge upstream"?
[16:04] Armin Weatherwax: scnr
[16:04] Jacek Antonelli: Mm: I use Emacs
[16:04] Geneko Nemeth: Translators' life sure are easier than skinners... most UI re-loads translation when they open (but, isn't that a bit ineffecient?).
[16:04] Morgaine Dinova: Is there a really hard reason why the XML can't be reloaded for live updates?
[16:05] Jacek Antonelli: Morgaine: Mostly just the stupid way the UI works internally
[16:05] Mm Alder: You can almost load a floater for preview now. It just needs a bug fixed.
[16:05] Armin Weatherwax: Mm: when merging changes from an higher hierarchy of development
[16:05] Morgaine Dinova: k
[16:05] McCabe Maxsted: some ui elements redraw when opened.. like preferences; most don't
[16:05] Mm Alder: Armin, where is the hierarchy?
[16:06] Geneko Nemeth: Most floaters do. Most... everything else, don't.
[16:06] Armin Weatherwax: i merge jacek ... jacek merges LL ... for example
[16:07] Mm Alder: Geneko, a lot of stuff can be put into a floater to preview it.
[16:07] Geneko Nemeth: Hee hee hehee...
[16:07] Mm Alder: Armin, are you using patches?
[16:08] Armin Weatherwax: if jacek or ll do changes to thesame parts as i do i get conflicts
[16:08] Armin Weatherwax: git
[16:08] Mm Alder: I didn't think LL was doing a lot with the XML recently.
[16:09] Armin Weatherwax: lol. not at en-us
[16:09] Jacek Antonelli: They've been doing a ton in the other languages. Improving all the translations
[16:09] Armin Weatherwax: but de changes a lot
[16:09] Mm Alder: Ah yes.
[16:10] Armin Weatherwax: and its nice things like from " L$ 100" to "100 L$" and back and forth
[16:11] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, I'd like to wrap up soon. Any last remarks or thoughts about customizing/skinning?
[16:11] Mm Alder: It was a good topic. Good reference material. :-)
[16:12] Geneko Nemeth: Zzz...
[16:12] Armin Weatherwax: yeah: anything that makes it more wysiwyg is good
[16:12] Jacek Antonelli: hehehe
[16:12] Jacek Antonelli: Yeah, I want some in-viewer wysiwyg UI editing, dangit
[16:13] McCabe Maxsted drags a pie menu onto jacek's face
[16:13] Jacek Antonelli eats it
[16:13] Jacek Antonelli: Mmmm pie
[16:13] Armin Weatherwax: small steps better than being stuck
[16:13] Loves Lemon: hee hee
[16:13] Jacek Antonelli: Good point, Armin
[16:13] Loves Lemon: sounds like the lag i was in last night...ick
[16:13] Geneko Nemeth: It sounds like a lot of work to implement this.
[16:14] Geneko Nemeth is desprately trying to find something to say...
[16:14] Jacek Antonelli: Yep, it would be a huge endeavor
[16:14] Creme Pie! Just wear it to get goin'. whispers: Use Mouselook to aim. Click your mouse to shoot.
[16:14] Creme Pie! Just wear it to get goin'. whispers: Choose 'Detach' from my menu to take me off.
[16:14] Loves Lemon: it would seem like a lot, but there are more than just one or two programmers, i would hope
[16:14] Mm Alder: wysiwyg is hard, but you can go a long way towards that
[16:14] Cheeze Smacker whispers: Mmmmmm Smackdown!
[16:14] Mm Alder: I'm working on some things now.
[16:15] Loves Lemon: mmm, someone has some interesting toys!
[16:15] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, let's call it a day. Thanks for coming, everyone!