graphic item UI - suggested improvements

When a new graphic item box is drawn, I’m sure most people want to insert a graphic into it. Hence for most users it would be faster if, on releasing the mose after having drawn the graphic item box, the ‘Import’ dialog opened automatically. Close that dialog (cmd-. or cancel), and things would be as they are now.

This would be a great time-saver whenever one just wanted to insert an image, as well as being more intuitive for new users.

There are actually three ways a new graphics box might be used:

  • insert an empty box now, add the contents later
  • insert a box intending to immediately add an existing graphic image
  • insert a box intending to immediately enter text as a graphic

Freeway attempts to provide these options to the user, however there seems to be lots of confusing and counter-intuitive ways to go about getting things done.

It should also be that once all text was deleted from the graphic item box, it returned to ‘normal’ or ‘as-new’ graphic item behaviour, ie one could import a graphic. But this does not happen

And vice versa, let’s say I put a gif into a graphic item, but later decide that graphic text would be better, why not give me the option to remove the imported graphic from the graphic item, so that I could type text into it? At the moment, the graphic item box gets ‘trapped’ in one mode or the other after the first choice is made (text or image) and I’m yet to find a way to go back to ‘as new’.

There are a bunch of other quirks:

  • Why, when I control-click or double-click on a graphic item with an image isn’t there a ‘clear’ or ‘remove image’ option?

  • And why is it that when I’ve deleted all text that was typed into a new graphic item, that I can’t import a graphic into that now-empty graphic item box???

  • Likewise, why, when I control-click on a graphic item with an image already in it, is there no ‘change image’ / ‘locate’ option? Why force me to double-click to get the ‘graphic options’ type dialog??? Surely all available options - especially ‘locate’ or ‘graphic options’ should exist in the right-click or control-click pop-up?

  • And why, if I draw a clean new graphic item box, and right-click on it, is there no ‘import graphic’ option??? Doesn’t that seem a fairly silly omission?

  • And wouldn’t it be nice if the control-click list included a ‘stack’ or ‘overlay’ command, that gave me an import dialog box and when I selected an image, it was stacked on top of the current one in the same dimensions as the current one???

I would be SO happy if the release version made some improvements in this area. Most would not be all that difficult to do. The most obvious would be:

  • once all text is deleted from a graphic item box, it becomes ‘like new’ and one can them import a graphic into it if desired, and likewise once the image file associated with a graphic text box is cleared, it also becomes ‘like new’ and text can be entered instead.

  • when right-clicking or control-clicking on a new graphic item box, the list should include ‘import…’ (opening the import dialog), and also an ‘insert text as graphic’ option (giving you a text cursor). Now any user can quickly do exactly what they want with their new graphic item box.

  • right-clicking or control-clicking on a graphic item box that already contains a graphic (or text) gives the user means to clear the existing graphic (or text), switch to a different graphic (ie re-open the import dialog to replace the current image, or ‘locate’), or stack a new image on top of the existing one (with the same size new graphic item box), and give to the ‘graphic options’ dialog (as an alternative to double-clicking to do so). Suitable menu labels could include ‘clear’, ‘change image’, ‘stack’ and ‘graphic options’.

  • double-clicking on a new graphic item box should open the import dialog, not go to a text cursor. Command-double-clicking (or use of some other modifier with double-click) on a new graphic item box could be used to provide the text cursor (but right-clicking would be better).

Sorry to harp on about these things in such a long email, but they just seem so obvious to me. I have little doubt that they would make a big improvement in ease of use for new users, and also give power users a very quick and clean way to achieve exactly what they want in a consistent manner.

If these ideas were implemented, one would only ever need to draw the graphic box and then right click to do anything to it, at any time. This would be consistent, simple and obvious to everyone.

Wouldn’t that be nice for V5final?

Chris.


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Chris, please don’t take my resposes below as being personal.
Discussions and suggestions are great, and if not here, then where
else? It is just that I happen to disagree with some of what you’re
suggesting.

Although I can see that these changes would benefit your particular
current workflow, looking at it from the point of view of software
interface design, as someone who’s created software, evaluated
software professionally, and taught people about software as tools
and as abstract concepts, I see numerous issues…

When a new graphic item box is drawn, I’m sure most people want to
insert a graphic into it. Hence for most users it would be faster
if, on releasing the mose after having drawn the graphic item box,
the ‘Import’ dialog opened automatically.

Uh-uh! I often use a graphic box for other purposes; frequently for
graphic type, but also as non-HTML filled boxes (simple or
action-driven).

There should be no automatic opening of any dialogs without explicit
requests. That way lies the procedural application structures of the
1970s. It realy isn’t a stretch to type command-E if you want to
import an external image?

It should also be that once all text was deleted from the graphic
item box, it returned to ‘normal’ or ‘as-new’ graphic item
behaviour, ie one could import a graphic. But this does not happen

It does for me. As long as all text is deleted, clicking out of the
box will leave it entirely as when it was first created.

Or do you mean that you don’t want to have to click out of the text
editing mode? What if you deleted text because you wanted to put
other text in there? Yeah, I know you can type over text without
deleting it first, but a shocking number of people honestly don’t
know that. Watch people saving files: 99% of users will delete the
default text in a dialog first!

Also, Freeway shouldn’t take me out of one mode (text editing) just
because I’ve removed all characters from a box.

  • Why, when I control-click or double-click on a graphic item with
    an image isn’t there a ‘clear’ or ‘remove image’ option?

Good catch. I agree entirely with this. (But in the meantime, you do
know about Edit > Delete Content, or command-B for shortcut
aficionadoes?)

  • And why is it that when I’ve deleted all text that was typed into
    a new graphic item, that I can’t import a graphic into that
    now-empty graphic item box???

Click out and back on the box, or command-click it.

  • Likewise, why, when I control-click on a graphic item with an
    image already in it, is there no ‘change image’ / ‘locate’ option?

Taking those two options separately, File > Import or command-E will
let you change the image for another. The Locate idea is a good one.
It is important that contextual menus don’t contain commands not in
regular menus (bad UI logic design) so this would need to be added to
the Item menu.

  • And why, if I draw a clean new graphic item box, and right-click
    on it, is there no ‘import graphic’ option??? Doesn’t that seem a
    fairly silly omission?

I don’t know about being silly as an omission, but it would be
sensible to include it. Although it is wise to avoid making
contextual menus too long!

  • And wouldn’t it be nice if the control-click list included a
    ‘stack’ or ‘overlay’ command, that gave me an import dialog box and
    when I selected an image, it was stacked on top of the current one
    in the same dimensions as the current one???

Copy, paste, command-E? Seems a bit much to load a contextual menu
with something so basic. :slight_smile:

also an ‘insert text as graphic’ option (giving you a text cursor).

  • double-clicking on a new graphic item box should open the import
    dialog, not go to a text cursor.

You’re seeing graphic boxes as picture boxes that are only
occasionally used for handling text. In fact, this is an equal-level
ability. When I draw a graphic box I might want it to be for text, I
might want it to be for a graphic, I might want it to be for a
Freeway-generated fill. It is important that Freeway doesn’t assume
one kind of use over another.

Maybe your particular design approach means you rarely use graphic
text, but Freeway should be - and is - flexible enough to allow for
many different approaches to layout, design and construction. THAT is
the big UI design challenge, and the thing that should be the goal
for the Softpress engineers at all times

k


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That drives me NUTS!

On Feb 9, 2008, at 1:50 AM, Chris Thompson wrote:

  • Why, when I control-click or double-click on a graphic item with an image isn’t there a ‘clear’ or ‘remove image’ option?

Also, when I want to scale an image up or down, I have to right click and go through the popup menu EVERY time, click by click… Oh just shoot me!! It’s awful!! A nice little icon at the top would be so nice!!

Oh, just thought of this - the actions icon button at the top - is it different than Window>Actions or even the Insert>action options? That is confusing to me… three locations… different choices??? Maybe this is just me or has been updated/fixed/etc.

On 9 Feb 2008, at 15:34, BeezEyeView wrote:

Also, when I want to scale an image up or down, I have to right
click and go through the popup menu EVERY time, click by click… Oh
just shoot me!! It’s awful!! A nice little icon at the top would
be so nice!!

Shift-Option-Command-. to increase scale
Shift-Option-Command-, to decrease scale

Shortcuts are listed in the main menus, not in the contextual ones.
This particular set of shortcuts has been used since Freeway 1.

;o)

Heather


“Freeway - Web Design for All”


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Thanks!! Still getting used to keyboard shortcuts in general on the mac!!

On Feb 9, 2008, at 10:46 AM, Heather wrote:

Shift-Option-Command-. to increase scale

Shift-Option-Command-, to decrease scale

Sometime around 9/2/08 (at 11:25 -0500) BeezEyeView said:

Thanks!! Still getting used to keyboard shortcuts in general on the mac!!

Ahh, a recent Mac convert? Welcome to the path of enlightenment! :wink:

If you ever find yourself doing something regularly, take a look in
the menus (the regular ones, not the contextual ones) to see if
there’s a keyboard shortcut for it. Keyboard shortcuts are cool -
having an extra modifier button helps (no, the Windows key in Windows
doesn’t really count).

But drag-and-drop is the bizness. :slight_smile:

k


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Oh yeah… for a couple years now, but feel like I am always learning
more and more (MUCH more than I ever did on a clear throat… other
machine). I was a heavy keyboard shortcut gal, but lost the
skill … slowly gaining it back again.

On Feb 9, 2008, at 11:54 AM, Keith Martin wrote:

Sometime around 9/2/08 (at 11:25 -0500) BeezEyeView said:

Thanks!! Still getting used to keyboard shortcuts in general on
the mac!!

Ahh, a recent Mac convert? Welcome to the path of enlightenment! :wink:

If you ever find yourself doing something regularly, take a look in
the menus (the regular ones, not the contextual ones) to see if
there’s a keyboard shortcut for it. Keyboard shortcuts are cool -
having an extra modifier button helps (no, the Windows key in Windows
doesn’t really count).

But drag-and-drop is the bizness. :slight_smile:

k


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If not mentioned, I dont like the Inspector icon over to the far right…


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On 10 Feb 2008, at 02:38, Beatrice wrote:

If not mentioned, I dont like the Inspector icon over to the far
right…

So, View menu > Customize Toolbar… and then drag any button where
you want it to be.

:o)

Heather


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On 9 Feb 2008, at 06:50, Chris Thompson wrote:

  • Likewise, why, when I control-click on a graphic item with an
    image already in it, is there no ‘change image’ / ‘locate’ option?

This option is there in the contextual menu (control or right click/
brilliant two finger tap on trackpad): it’s under modify.


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