Compact Menu Option.

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 From:  blowlamp
5541.1 
Michael.

It's probably with me being used to other programs and a newbie at MoI, but I quite often find myself having to scan for the tool menu tab I want, as it's moved away from where I last pictured it. I think this is as a result of the repeated expanding and contracting of the main menu options as different tools are selected for use. It feels a bit like Whac-A-Mole at times :)

So is there a way to normally keep the Menus in their 'compact', or closed state, such that they only open up if moused over and either have them overlap other tabs (to stop the menu jumping about) and stay open for further use, or possibly just collapse again when left?

Basically, is there a way to prevent the main headings moving from their shrunken location so I can go straight to them without hunting?


Martin (2).
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.2 In reply to 5541.1 
Hi Martin, sorry no there's no option to keep panels always collapsed - I think that would have a bad side effect of always requiring additional clicks all the time to access any tools at all.

Right now it's intentionally designed for the last used panel to stay open so that the UI that you are currently using remains open and more directly accessible right at the top level rather than every single button always all hidden away at a secondary level which is what would happen if I understand what you're asking about.

Are there any tools in particular that you are having problems losing track of? Overall the buttons that MoI uses are pretty large and all labeled with text on each one, which usually helps make things much easier to scan.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.3 In reply to 5541.1 
Hi Martin,

> Basically, is there a way to prevent the main headings moving from their shrunken location
> so I can go straight to them without hunting?

I guess I'm also not exactly sure what kind of "hunting" you're asking about - are you having difficulty just locating the tabs at the top of each section?

Those usually don't need a lot of effort to be located, they're always at the top of each palette section... and the active one has a blue color that nothing else in the side pane has, so those tabs normally jump out fairly easily at a glance.

I probably don't quite understand exactly what problem you're running into though.

Is it possible that the UI is slightly too small for you to see things easily on your current screen? If so you can adjust it to be slightly larger to increase the ease of just seeing it in general, go to Options > General and move the "UI size" slider over a bit to increase the size of all the buttons and everything in the side pane.

- Michael
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 From:  bemfarmer
5541.4 In reply to 5541.1 
I finally moved the Objects/Types/Styles menu over to the left side of the screen, on a 27" diagonal monitor, both of which help a lot. IMHO
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 From:  blowlamp
5541.5 In reply to 5541.3 
Hi Michael.

It's just how the scene undergoes changes in the course of switching between tools and fuctions that means I have to actively focus on where something is now - what I mean is that my eye isn't naturally landing on the spot where I'm expecting to see the icon I need.

I'm sure I'll become accustomed to the layout, but thought I'd ask you if an alternative was possible - I've not seen anyone else mention this, but it did take me a little while to understand why I was stuttering whilst choosing the next tool.

The attached picture is at the extreme end of the effect and yes, I know everything is in the same relative position and all the labels are big and clear, but my eyes still need to scan to find what I'm after :) Old age creeping up on me maybe!?



Martin (2).
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.6 In reply to 5541.5 
Hi Martin,

> The attached picture is at the extreme end of the effect <...>

Well, what you're showing there is the way that MoI's UI is intentionally set up....

It's basically a hybrid system where there is some amount of stuff that's hidden (on inactive tabs that you might need to switch to) to avoid the problem of showing every single thing all at the same time, but where the tools that you are currently using stay open so that there is at least a good chance that the next stuff that you need to use will already be visible and can be activated on a single click.

This overall method is pretty fundamental to how MoI is designed to operate, so no there isn't anything set to change it how you are asking.

Like you've seen part of the design incorporates unusually large buttons with both icons and text labels included, which usually helps with making browsing through them and finding them pretty easy... That whole problem that you're describing of having to hunt through it a lot is not something that I hear very often.

If you're having problems seeing the UI, again I would suggest increasing the size of it so that you can see it more easily and see if that might help.

Also currently it looks like you have the scene browser set to its "inside" mode, and that configuration adds another section to the side pane at the bottom, you can switch that back to "adjacent" or "opposite" mode under Options > General > "Scene browser position" if you want to simplify the side pane and reduce the number of palettes that you might need to be looking at over there.

If it still doesn't work very well for you after those adjustments, then it just may be a case that MoI's particular UI system just does not work very well for you, it might just not suit your particular habits or something like that. I can tell you that I've had a lot of feedback from people who find the UI really easy to use and browse and though, so it's a bit unusual to have problems with these particular aspects of it.

- Michael
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 From:  blowlamp
5541.7 In reply to 5541.6 
Michael.

This is just feedback on my early interaction with MoI's interface and I'm thinking now is the time to mention it, while you're still in the beta phase of development, rather than once it's all buttoned up.

I really do understand and appreciate the care you lavish on getting MoI just right, so the picture was just to try and illustrate how the main headings of the menu system had moved apart and also to let you know that I believe it's this dynamic effect feature :) of selecting different options whilst drawing, that is causing me to momentarily lose track of where to head for the next tool. I figured that because it slows me down a little, then it might be affecting other users (newbies?), even though they may not have mentioned it here.

So working from a fully minimised tool menu, I think what I was hoping for was an option that allows the menu to open when moused over without clicking (heading text turns blue), and closes on its own when left.
This keeps everything neat and in the same place, in fact I can already get this if I remember to close every menu after use - but I always forget!

Getting slightly more ambitious, clicking on the main heading might keep that toolbox open for further use as it does now, whilst drawing over the other headings i.e., without the dynamic movement. I envisage a right mouse click in this menu area could clear any open menu back to its minimised state.

The above idea would have the slight restriction of access only being feasible from the sides or from below due to the drop-down overlap from the upper main menu rows as they are moused over, but could it also offer the advantage of leaving more free space for the Scene browser and more icons to be added to each main menu area if ever that were needed?




Martin (2).
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.8 In reply to 5541.7 
Hi Martin, the thing is MoI is in beta for version 3.0 , not version 1.0 - the stuff that you're referring to here has been a fundamental part of the UI since the very first pre-1.0 beta quite a while ago (I guess about 6 years ago now for the first public release). So that is indeed a buttoned up area and has been for quite some time.

I don't doubt that you're having some problems with the UI - different people can have all kinds of different UI preferences and I absolutely realize that MoI's UI structure may not be a perfect fit for every single person out there. There does not exist any single UI that works absolutely optimally for every single person, different people can have pretty different preferences in what they want to use.

I guess all I can tell you is that making the UI very easily browsed was definitely an important consideration in the fundamental UI design of MoI, that's why it's kept sparse and with particularly large buttons and with text labels everywhere. I guess despite these parts of the design it's just not working for you though.

This area though is what I'd consider to be a mature and finished area of the product, and it's not a particular area that I'm experimenting with now.


It's difficult in general to get a good and stable behaving interface that has too many large pieces opening and closing simply by mouse-over movement alone like you're asking about, that's just so far off of the overall established UI design of MoI that I can't see setting up anything for that, sorry.

Since this is such a fundamental area of MoI's UI, if it's not working for you I think I'd mainly suggest that MoI just isn't suited for your particular needs and you'll instead want something with a more conventional UI, like something that only uses regular pull-down menus or something like that. I personally find those to be quite a bit slower than MoI's approach, because although it's highly consistent you're also consistently needing to do more actions to do anything at all since you have to go open the menu each time you want to do anything...

MoI's overall UI design philosophy does indeed sacrifice consistency to some extent, since it does not guarantee that every single button in the entire UI is always fixed into one single place in every circumstance. It's an intentional part of the overall design that this is not the overall goal of what the UI is trying to do, so if you absolutely need that 100% fixed position consistency I just don't think that MoI's design is going to deliver what you need.

I've already made the decision quite a long time ago to allow flexibility in the UI for position and instead focus on other kinds of qualities, with more of a hybrid toolbar/menu kind of combination approach. There's still some hidden things (other tabs that are not currently active), but also once you activate a tab you then get its contents persistently available and accessible with just one single click after that, that's the value that MoI's system delivers with the price being that fixed location consistency not being present.

- Michael
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 From:  blowlamp
5541.9 In reply to 5541.8 
Michael.

I'm satisfied that I made my point to you and you've given the matter due consideration.

Thanks for the reply.


Martin (2).
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.10 In reply to 5541.9 
Hi Martin, just to explain a bit further, you asked previously:

> So working from a fully minimised tool menu, I think what I was hoping for was an option that
> allows the menu to open when moused over without clicking (heading text turns blue), and
> closes on its own when left.

So imagine that it was set up this way where all the titles stayed collapsed all the time and popped up menus on top of everything when you just moved the mouse over them.

Now imagine with it set up that way that you started with the mouse at the top of the screen and wanted to use one of the "Edit" tools which are on the second row.

In order to get to that second row your mouse will first need to pass over the first row with "Draw curve / Draw solid" on it. But uh-oh when your mouse moved over that first row the draw buttons popped up and if you continued to move your mouse downward instead of going onto the second row of titles you would instead be over the popped up draw tools which are now covering up the rest of the titles below them.

You'd have to do something like try to "sneak up" on the titles maybe coming in from the side of the UI rather than being able to just move your mouse in a straight line to the particular controls you want to get at.

This kind of problem is one of the reasons why it's an intentional feature for the palettes to actually push down other content below them when their tools are opened and not to just pop the tools up as a floating menu covering things up...

So it would take a major restructuring of the UI to have things pop open just with a mouse over, instead of having tools arranged in a vertical stack the top level launchers would probably need to be arranged horizontally so that when one of them activated it could pop up the menu below all of the title things instead of covering them up, basically working more like a more tranditional pull-down menu. But that's a totally different UI than MoI's UI, not just a small tweak or option. Also in a primarily "horziontal band" type UI like that it's quite difficult to utilize space for a command options area very well, one of the best things about Moi's side pane UI is that it works very well to have the top area of the side pane as a reserved area for showing the options and controls for the current command. Those kinds of options like check boxes are easier to set up in a space that's more similar to the shape of a dialog box.

So there are a lot of different pieces of the UI that work together in the current design - the side pane allows for a nice command options area at the top, so that makes a lot of space available below it to house the "main menu" of all the various controls which means different categories of controls will be stacked vertically and vertically stacked things don't work well with the kind of system that you're asking about with stuff popping up just on mouse overs...

There are a lot of details and considerations like this that have gone into the current UI design, the current system is a result of about 1 year's worth of design effort at the very initial start of MoI about 8 years ago or so. It's such a fundamental part of MoI that it's not something that's easy to just switch to a different system.

- Michael
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 From:  blowlamp
5541.11 In reply to 5541.10 
Hi Michael.

As you probably know, I've been a member of the forum quite a bit longer than I've had a licenced copy of MoI, so I am fairly well aware of the effort you've made, not only with the interface, but with all aspects of the program and I must say that was significant in my decision to eventually purchase.

So with your explanation, I understand the problem now and see it's not worth persuing - when I initially asked, it was in the hope that a script or tweak somewhere might do the job, but it's plainly more involved than that.

No-one else seems to have brought up this topic, so it's obviously not a common issue for others. With that in mind, I'll keep using MoI and see how I get on - perhaps I'm just too used to the behaviour of other software and need more time to acclimatise to the difference.


Thanks for the detailed reply.

Martin (2).
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 From:  shayno
5541.12 In reply to 5541.11 
Hi Martin
If everything is closed its seems an extra effort to have to mouseover to open it to get to a tool every time you need one.

Why don't you just leave the main ones open in their default states and move the browser to the opposite side of the screen
Then they are open and exactly where you expect them and you only have to tab to the other options such as between construct and transform etc.

The only thing I would like changed is the View and Select tabs only have 1 row of icons each and the Edit has three rows.
when moving between Edit to using view or select the border box resizes and the whole column below is moved up and down moving the icon positions of construct and transform and the browser area.

I find this more of a bug bear as you get used to the spot they are in and they end up in a different place depending on above.

Michael have you considered combining View and Select into one Tab next to Edit and possibly putting align in there also.

Personally I use keyboard shortcuts for almost every command which is very fast compared to using the icons.

cheers
shayne
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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.13 In reply to 5541.12 
Hi shayne, the tricky part is that I expect to be adding more stuff to both View and Select over time, you shouldn't really consider what they have in them as how they'll always be...

That's one general difficulty with trying to super-optimize the existing layout, it can make it so that it becomes quite difficult to add more stuff later on.

- Michael
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 From:  shayno
5541.14 In reply to 5541.13 
Hi Michael
I'm very happy with how Moi looks and works, often programs get overcomplicated and overloaded with options/icons (rhino or photoshop for example) You need to be a rocket scientist to figure them out. Your icons are large and clearly labeled

Moi is a program that I spend hours each day using and I appreciate its simplicity, ease of use and powerful modelling abilities.

It has transformed the way I now run my manufacturing jewellery and design business reducing my labour costs and enabling me to produce products I could never have handmade before. An added benefit is the savings on gold and platinum wastage .

For example This ring I have drawn in under 1 hour (it still needs a little work) once rendered with keyshot2 my chances of securing the sale are head and shoulders above my opposition here, and I can produce a completed product in as quick as 3-4 days

The V3 enhancements especially flow and twist are a major leap forward over V2 and this alone is worth the upgrade cost from V2
I'm loving the extrude to point.

Thanks for all your hard work and looking forward to future enhancements

cheers
shayne

EDITED: 15 Nov 2012 by SHAYNO

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 From:  Michael Gibson
5541.15 In reply to 5541.14 
Hi shayne, that is a great result from only 1 hour's worth of work, I'm really glad that you have gotten so productive with MoI!

- Michael
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