Author Topic: General UI/UX feedback  (Read 4203 times)

vikingcode

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General UI/UX feedback
« on: August 04, 2016, 03:57:39 PM »
Okay, so, I'm going to appear as a total asshat, but this is actually meant as constructive criticism. I may still be an asshat, but thats probably a separate issue. In a previous lifetime it seems, I did a lot of OSS (and in .NET, though C#/WPF focus, not WinForms.. gross! ;)) and one of the trickiest things whether it was a solo project or with many contributors was actually *finding* bugs/issues, particularly with the UI. Often getting feedback was... tricky. The question is, how much feedback do you want? I'm going to assume all of the feedback.

Overall the program helped me get my laser setup, so thank you for that alone. I'm not sure what work flow path I'll be going with (the laser was sent to me to do a youtube review on) as I'm still not sure what my  end uses for it will be (hopefully finidng out a bit more about that over the weekend)

General
  • When I was trying to get my Gearbest laser working, I had a lot of windows open and I had multiple T2 instances open by mistake. I think - and again, this is my opinion, feel free to disregard - it only needs to be single instanced. There are a few ways to do it, I like using a mutex, but the visual basic libraries have a way to do it. see: http://stackoverflow.com/a/12340210
  • None of the (resizable) windows remember their size or position. If you were using WPF I've got drag and drop components I'd point you to so that those settings are auto stored/recalled with zero lines of code.. but.. well..

Help Menu
It doesn't actually contain any help - perhaps put a menu item/link to the forums

About window
  • Common practice would be to set window startup location to center owner (my preference) or center screen.
  • Since youre redistributing GPL/OSS content, you should probably include a note stating the licenses for them here too. (AVRDude, GRBL, LibUSB)
  • Submit button text is too small, button is shorter than the text field next to it (KeyCode field)

T2Laser Controller window
  • Same with the about window, center owner (rather than random location!) window creation. Form.StartPosition. ie, me.StartPosition = FormStartPosition.CenterScreen;
  • There is no 'disconnect' button/reselect the COM port.
  • There are no labels (ie, hovering doesn't reveal any text) on the three laser buttons - scratch that, it sometimes doesn't popup. T2 thinks I'm still connected (even after restarting the program) to the laser, despite no USB connection, so it might be just when its disconnected that it doesn't show the labels properly
  • "Hidden" buttons - ctrl click to send the default settings and the other button that lets you send the firmware (which I can't get to now 'cause I can't "disconnect" I think?). Perhaps put a 'show advanced' box or have the hover label over the button have "send gcode [ctrl+click to send default grbl settings]" as its completely hidden.

vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 03:59:33 PM »
Sketch Settings
It always defaults to Eleks Maker A3. I don't know if its just because I've got a trial (looking at .config, it looks like its not that), but defaulting to last-selected (in my case, A5) would be nice.

vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 10:17:13 PM »
Program icon
Looks like your application icon is a weird size too - 216x216. Ideally it should be either 256x256 and/or (ico can have multiple icons inside them, or.. actually I don't know if winforms can package UI scalable PNGs) 128/96/64/48/40/32/24/16px.

It scales weird.

If you do use PNG, you might have issues with XP, I can't remember (At this point its 15 years old..). However you'd gain much better alpha channel  - currently the icon looks a bit wonky on dark backgrounds. This picture is embiggened to show it clearer



(yes I know my asshattery increases with each post)

Zax

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2016, 06:09:58 AM »
General:

I could force T2Laser to be a single instance but why limit the user, personally I like having multiple instances open as I can have one running the laser while I setup another job (sketch or whatever), save the G-code and then open it in the other instance as needed.

I don't use WPF, in fact I didn't even know what it was until I just searched it. It looks interesting.


Help Menu:

OK, that's actually pretty funny. I'm sure I meant to include some actual help at some point  ???


About Window:

StartPosition is set to "CenterParent" for the sub form (about and others), but appears random. It's probably something I am doing wrong.

On the redistribution, I agree 100% and will add some text to that effect.

The submit button should never be needed as the key is automatically accepted when pasted or typed into the box. It looks fine on my system but I am sure my settings are different. It was added as an after thought and really serves no purpose.


T2Laser Control Window:

It is set to "WindowsDefaultLocation", which is apparently the same as saying "any random position Windows chooses".

There is a disconnect button, but I'm sure you won't like it. It's a right click on the EMO button and even has a tooltip   ;)

When you aren't connected to the laser, that control panel is disabled so the tooltips don't work - that's a feature I guess.

I made a decision early on (probably a bad one) to keep the maximum required screen resolution to 800x600 for older systems / tablets as I know many people use these for CNC controllers. I also have poor vision so run my screen DPI low to make everything larger for me to see, this makes it challenging to find space for more buttons so I started down the slippery slope of using key combinations and right clicks etc. Sorry! It must be the old school Nintendo gamer in me, R-B-U-D-D-L.


Sketch:

It is supposed to remember your settings, even custom values. That was added recently so perhaps you don't have the latest version (v1.2y).


Icon:

Oh come on, I spent a long time creating that gorgeous icon. OK, really I just "stole" an image from google image search and used irfanview to save as an icon. I guess since it's my programs identity I should have given it more time / thought  :-\ but it seems quite fitting based on all my GUI disasters that the icon is no different. I think I'll keep it.

vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2016, 06:35:04 AM »
Quote
I don't use WPF, in fact I didn't even know what it was until I just searched it. It looks interesting.
It is, however don't abandon WinForms just 'cause I dislike it ;)

Quote
StartPosition is set to "CenterParent" for the sub form (about and others), but appears random. It's probably something I am doing wrong.

I did some investigation. If you have it set to FormStartPosition.CenterParent, you need to do form.ShowDialog(Me), rather than Show() then hiding the other Form. CenterScreen doesn't need that.

Quote
There is a disconnect button, but I'm sure you won't like it. It's a right click on the EMO button and even has a tooltip
It has a tooltip, sure... but doesn't say to right click. Right clicking on buttons isn't exactly standard Windows behaviour ;)

Quote
When you aren't connected to the laser, that control panel is disabled so the tooltips don't work - that's a feature I guess.
It'd also depend on how you're disabling them - they're not 'greying out' properly. It might actually be the icons you've got that arne't going greyscale. Not entirely certain how WinForms disables works with those type of icons.

Quote
It is supposed to remember your settings, even custom values. That was added recently so perhaps you don't have the latest version (v1.2y).
You can make ClickOnce do auto-update and stuff. It'd require you to change the way  you distribute it (host the expanded files, people download the .application, it checks your server on launch to see if there are changes, autoupdates).

It appears I have 1.2t, which is whats linked in your signature :)

Quote
I guess since it's my programs identity I should have given it more time / thought  :-\ but it seems quite fitting based on all my GUI disasters that the icon is no different. I think I'll keep it.
Sorry if I'm coming off as discouraging. The intention was the opposite. Software dev is always lots of little things, and often they go unnoticed/etc. If I get time, I can at least remake the icon with less jaggies.

ROSS

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2016, 06:56:33 AM »
Does it really matter? .... ....

The forum aim was to help people to set up the laser and use something better than Benbox  software.   
All the rest is probably well beyond most users and only a few are probably interested in higher programming development work......       

Lets not escalate an amateur users forum for cutting and engraving   into something it was never designed for.....programme development.
There are other forums dedicated to this.
My 2p (or 2 cents)

« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 07:03:46 AM by ROSS »
.
Lasers are wonderful machines..not ONLY  can they cut a finger off BUT  they can also cauterise it at the same time.....

SAFETY -  IS NO ACCIDENT

Zax

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 11:02:05 AM »
I did some investigation. If you have it set to FormStartPosition.CenterParent, you need to do form.ShowDialog(Me), rather than Show() then hiding the other Form. CenterScreen doesn't need that.

Awesome, thank you. I have corrected that in my code.

You can make ClickOnce do auto-update and stuff. It'd require you to change the way  you distribute it (host the expanded files, people download the .application, it checks your server on launch to see if there are changes, autoupdates).

Yes, I am aware of this. Many CNC/Laser users (myself included) don't have their PC's online so this can be more problematic than the issues it solves. It is also more flexible for offering beta versions on the forum for diagnostics and then having stable releases elsewhere.

Sorry if I'm coming off as discouraging.

Not at all, just as an asshat  ;D just kidding. I appreciate the feedback and as you can see I will even listen and improve my software for everyone as a result - so really, it is appreciated.

Zax

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2016, 11:07:49 AM »
It appears I have 1.2t, which is whats linked in your signature :)

Check the "Updates" link, that's where I post beta (really early release) versions for the forum to provide feedback.

vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2016, 02:33:27 PM »
Yes, I am aware of this. Many CNC/Laser users (myself included) don't have their PC's online so this can be more problematic than the issues it solves. It is also more flexible for offering beta versions on the forum for diagnostics and then having stable releases elsewhere.

What issues in particular? If "offline as well" is selected, as well as "check for updates after application starts", it doesn't require/slow down launch times.  I believe you can still do offline installs in a similar manner to now (ie, a zip of the manifest, exe and files) and if it can't get online to check it just waits until it can. Heck, you can even make it not auto-check for updates and do it in code-behind a button. Might be a good feature for the 'help' menu ;)

When I did OSS with ClickOnce, I just created a "stable" branch and a "beta" branch. Seperate installs. The beta branch was auto-generated on commit to github using TeamCity, auto-published too. The stable branch was a manual trigger, but still used TeamCity to do it all.

ClickOnce *can* be very problematic - T2 shouldn't run into the issues - but it does have its perk and auto-update is pretty much the main reason to use it.

Does it really matter? .... ....

The forum aim was to help people to set up the laser and use something better than Benbox  software.   
All the rest is probably well beyond most users and only a few are probably interested in higher programming development work......       

Lets not escalate an amateur users forum for cutting and engraving   into something it was never designed for.....programme development.
There are other forums dedicated to this.
My 2p (or 2 cents)
I'm providing free feedback to the author of the program directly, so that he can make the software even better and more user friendly. But no, you're totally right, I should just stop talking because everybody will want to read this thread then get sad because they don't understand programming.



vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2016, 02:58:20 PM »
I am not an artist or proficient in design software, but here you go. Attached are recreated versions of your logo.

SVG/AI if you want to edit/tweak it (go for the AI if you can), or PNG if its suitable. It may require more tweaking to make it actually icon ready, but you've got a better starting point now its a vector. At the very least now you can engrave it on things without jaggies/scaling issues ;)

« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 03:54:34 PM by vikingcode »

Madmark

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2016, 08:46:38 AM »
Shouldn't the beam icon be _blue?_

LOL

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vikingcode

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2016, 11:43:21 PM »
Output Size
May just be a personal preference, but "tab index" is off. Entering in Width/Height, then pressing tab (IMO) should go to OK first, not Cancel.

This is set under TabIndex on any object on the form designer, sequentially. ie, 0, 1, 2, 3 for Output Width, Output Height, OK then Cancel.

License Restrictions
"Some features are restricted or disabled, please refer to the trial license for details". I know its stated in T2Laser_EULA.txt in the install zip, may not hurt to link to that from the Help menu. Minor thing.

Zax

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Re: General UI/UX feedback
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2016, 10:02:35 AM »
The changes I already made cover the license restrictions, the Help menu now includes a link to the online manual which has those limitations and the EULA information.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 10:27:29 AM by Zax »