[UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

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[Startup] - issue related to the program's startup or shutdown process;
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Clairvaux
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[UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Clairvaux » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:28 am

The Options menu has some very useful settings, and it's important to use them so as to get acquainted with them. However, they are difficult to use, because of the cascading menus system. Problems are :

  • There are up to 4 levels of cascading menus, so it can take a long time to reach the desired setting. However, once you've ticked the desired option, all menus vanish ; if you want to change some other settings (which would be a logical thing to do, for instance when installing or updating the software), you have to begin all over again from the top of the selection chain : click again on Options, scroll down to the desired sub-menu, click again, etc. Allowing for the inevitable mistakes, you could be walking up and down that menu ladder ten times in a single session.

  • The cascading menu system is a sort of (bad) video game, because you never know where the desired function will appear : where on earth is that function ? in fact, what are the offered options ? does that sub-menu have another sub-menu ? will it pop up on the right or on the left of my present menu ? also, what's the global logic of it ? So you keep chasing menu options up and down, right and left with your mouse. It's funny once, then it quickly gets on your nerves.

  • You can't make notes of your settings, nor take a screenshot of them in order to document your own install of Cinta Notes.

Whereas with the near-universal system of a Preferences or Settings window one can find now in many, many programs :

  • You click the Options menu, click the Preferences or Settings command, and then you enter Preferences mode : a static Preferences window opens, which shows you all the options and sub-options available, through a tab system and/or a tree system.

  • Clicking on a tab, or checking a box, leaves the Preferences window open. You can rummage about and experiment.

  • An Apply button allows you to view the effects of an attempted change, without committing to it and closing the window. An OK button saves all changes made and closes the window.

  • You can also add a Restore Defaults button, and even a couple of Export/Import Settings buttons.

  • The complete hierarchy of choices is permanently displayed while the window is open, so you can familiarise yourself with it just by looking at it.

Here is one example of this principle at work in the Everything search tool, but I'm sure you can find many others :

https://www.voidtools.com/support/everything/options

If such an option is retained, it remains to be seen where a Preferences command should be shown. At present, the top Options menu only has those possible Preferences. I have used software where the top Options menu directly opened a Preferences window, and I tend to find this destabilising. It seems to me that when you click on the menu bar of a program, you expect it to drop with a selection of choices. If all menus behave like that except one, this is, I think, bad form.

On the other hand, if you click Options and the drop-down menu only offers Preferences, that's ridiculous and a waste of time.

So an Options menu should have a Preferences command, and then other ones. Alternatively, if other commands are simply not needed there, an Options-or-Preferences command could just be integrated in the File menu.

Besides, the File menu presently has a Backup command which partly belongs to Preferences, in my opinion. The tick-boxes Backup Hourly/Daily/Weekly are typically user preferences.
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Ovg
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Ovg » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:58 am

Clairvaux
Very good idea/proposal! Support++.
Image
Very similar Configuration menu with search have Ultraedit text editor
It's impossible to lead us astray for we don't care even to choose the way.
CN 3.11 LifeTime Pro Licence / Windows 7 SP1 x64
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Mirakodus
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Mirakodus » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:28 pm

I strongly disagree with many of the suggestions.
Clairvaux, you may call me an autist right now, but at least hear me out and argument constructively.


they are difficult to use, because of the cascading menus system

I like CN exactly because the cascading menu system. With options popup dialogue, you lock out what is happening behind the popup and have to either accept or cancel the window to return to your notes.

There are up to 4 levels of cascading menus, so it can take a long time to reach the desired setting.

as far as I'm counting, 3 levels in CN3.8

if you want to change some other settings, you have to begin all over again from the top of the selection chain : click again on Options, scroll down to the desired sub-menu, click again, etc. Allowing for the inevitable mistakes, you could be walking up and down that menu ladder ten times in a single session.
I would call this one-time procedure with ocassional changes, instead of your proposing "everyday torture"

The cascading menu system is a sort of (bad) video game, because you never know where the desired function will appear

The menu entries are still on the same place. Again to my previous comment, it is not difficult to learn the menu hierarchy and "what is where"

You can't make notes of your settings, nor take a screenshot of them in order to document your own install of Cinta Notes.

cintanotes.settings

Whereas with the near-universal system of a Preferences or Settings window one can find now in many, many programs :

Yeah, but not in CN. I wish for CN to not be like other programs.

You click the Options menu, click the Preferences or Settings command, and then you enter Preferences mode : a static Preferences window opens, which shows you all the options and sub-options available, through a tab system and/or a tree system.

e.g. click (options) -click (preferences) - click (UI) - click (always on top) - click (apply) .... even more clicks if you do not find the desired settings at first try

An Apply button allows you to view the effects of an attempted change, without committing to it and closing the window. An OK button saves all changes made and closes the window.


None of the options are actually visible via apply/reset to defaults buttons, because they are internal system settings, not the text format settings.

Language - nope, needs restart
stay on top - nope because if you have options menu open up, CN is automatically "on top"
associate filetypes - nope
proxy settings - nope
minimize on esc - nope
run at startup - nope
allow multiple instances - nope
search, hotkeys, etc.. nope again.
notes list has it's own window


Besides, the File menu presently has a Backup command which partly belongs to Preferences, in my opinion. The tick-boxes Backup Hourly/Daily/Weekly are typically user preferences.

Agreed. But I like that the backup is related to the file you are working on, ergo File>backup

Sorry for the rant.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Clairvaux
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Clairvaux » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:08 pm

Mirakodus,

No need to apologise for your opinion ! To each his own... I have just attempted a reply to your remarks, but the forum ate it by asking me to renew my login. Maybe I'll write it again later.
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:09 am

Hi guys,
Thanks for your opinions.

I deeply respect and appreciate the opinion of Mirakodus, but have to admit that the
current Options menu wasn't very carefully thought out and was born by lack of time to do
it properly.

On the whole, I talk to many CN users and feel that more people would agree with Clairvaux
on this matter. This is why for CN 4.0 we plan to intruduce the familiar Options dialog that would
allow us to greatly simplify main menu and maximize space devoted to the notes list itself.
Alex
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Mirakodus
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Mirakodus » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:54 pm

I respect that, of course. I was trying to think in In terms of roadmap, i.e. what needs to be done first, instead of features that are nice but not critical.

If you think that my perspective was wrong, please feel free to quote me and correct me, so I can view things the better way :)

Btw, do you have exact list of planned features for 4.0? (Pin note, by any chance? :twisted: )
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby gunars » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:52 pm

I agree with Clairvaux's proposal also. I seldom make changes to the options, but if I want to check all the current settings, mousing down through multiple cascades is awkward. A combined preferences dialog would be easier to get an overview.

However, I'll allow that if there is some setting change that is made frequently, the current menus might be more convenient. I suspect that is Mirakodus' use case, as he referred to the preferences dialog as "everyday torture" :o. If there is something that needs to change often, perhaps a better solution would be something like a toolbar button. Mirakodus, could you describe what settings you change more often?
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Mirakodus
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Mirakodus » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:16 pm

I think there was misunderstanding, so let me dig myself out of it .

gunars wrote:However, I'll allow that if there is some setting change that is made frequently, the current menus might be more convenient. I suspect that is Mirakodus' use case, as he referred to the preferences dialog as "everyday torture"


I did not meant to use everyday torture for his proposed design, but how I thought he was feeling about the actual options design (CN 3.8).

if you want to change some other settings, you have to begin all over again from the top of the selection chain : click again on Options, scroll down to the desired sub-menu, click again, etc. Allowing for the inevitable mistakes, you could be walking up and down that menu ladder ten times in a single session.
we'll agree that this (3.8 options) procedure is tedious and few might really consider it bad up to the point it needs rework, ergo the proposed options window. I was trying to explain that in most cases, changing options is ocassional tweaking, and not something you'll do every day.

gunars wrote: Mirakodus, could you describe what settings you change more often?


To be honest, almost none. I was posponing the program updates until clipping became more stable and fixed, so I have not given focus to the features. When it got fixed, I updated to 3.8 and tinkered with menu and tried multiple settings until I got comfortable. Now I do not feel required to change the options at all. That's why I feel there is no need to put the options menu as the most important feature in 4.0. My 2¢.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Clairvaux
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby Clairvaux » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:42 pm

Now Mirakodus drew my attention to a feature I had overlooked in the Options menu : the Notes List command. So I took it for a ride, and experimented with different combinations of fonts for the notes title and text. What to say ? It's really, really a pain. Much worse than with the other commands, since there are so many possible combinations, and no way to apply them without closing the window, then starting all over again to test another font combination, then another, then another.

Oh, and by the way, I forgot there's a dedicated window for this command, as well as for Hot Keys. So the original logic of cascading menus with tick-boxes on the side has already been broken, because obviously it couldn't cope. One more reason to overhaul the system. I'm glad it's in the pipeline. Having a single window for settings would also allow for easier addition of extra settings the developing team might want to include at some point in the future.
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Re: [UI] Substitute a Preferences window for the Options cascading menus

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:40 am

Agreed. The Options menu needs to go - already decided on that.
Alex

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