Face Lifting

In this post I will talk about the Rocs face lifting that we (Wagner, Frederik,and me) discussed and started at the awesome Randa sprint in late September. Since then the dust had time to settle down and we could also work at all the small rough edges that you get, when changing a lot.

The driving idea for the current UI iteration was to keep/make the interface simple. And with simple I mean two things:

  1. To think about what a user really needs, what he/she usually does, and what operations are used less frequently and could be put aside from the main interface.
  2. Hide complexity from the user to allow intuitively acting with the program.

An example: previously a user created a data structure by specifying a unique identifier and then clicking at “new”. Now, it is enough to click “new” and in the background we suggest an identifier for the data structure and set it. But if a user really wants to change the identifier, of cause, it is still possible to change it afterwards (though that is not a very common use case.)

Below you can see the main interface. If you recall how it looks previously, you see that it is much less cluttered:

Rocs 1.8 Screenshot

The main changes are:

  • the visual editor bar is now motivated by those toolbars that graphic editors provide; this should make handling of graphs much more intuitive
  • we created a new top-bar to get rid of the cluttered left idebar that only contained rarely used functionality
  • at the right you can find a fading side panel that provides documentation (access to handbook and scripting engine documentation), a journal for making notes about the current project, and a plane for additional plugins provided by the visual graph editor (well, currently there is exactly one plugin, but that will increase :)
  • the script output now has a toggle to show/hide debug messages (that helped to get rid of another combobox).

Beside these changes, a lot more happened (and the diff with the 4.9 branch has a shocking high number of changed lines of code) and I plan to write about that in the coming days/weeks.

One Response to Face Lifting

  1. jospoortvliet says:

    It looks real pretty and esp a lot more usable. Good work :D

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