The Sidebar Problem

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mirek2 mirek2
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The Sidebar Problem

Hi guys,
Ever since we've adopted the sidebar, we've had issues with duplicate
panels [1]. Worse yet, the sidebar brings yet another UI element to look
through for commands. This might not sound like a big problem, but this
makes our already hard to use UI even harder to use, and is bound to get
worse as the sidebar develops.

I'd recommend to read through the usability problems Microsoft found with
its Office task pane (which was very much like our sidebar):
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2006/04/03/567261.aspx .

So what should we do?

I've been a big advocate of having a single place where to look for
commands. (That, by the way, is the single biggest advantage the Ribbon
brought to MS Office [2].) In our case, that place would be the toolbar.

My proposed solution would be to split the sidebar into individual panels
(e.g. Properties, Formulas, Custom Animation, Slide Transition, etc.) and
add buttons for launching them to the relevant toolbars. This would not
only solve the problems of panel duplication [1], but it would also add
context to the individual panels. For example, the Slide Layout and Slide
Transition buttons would appear in the Slide toolbar. The Functions pane
could appear when clicking the functions button in the formula bar.
Properties could easily replace all the toolbar buttons that currently
point to the relevant formatting dialogs. And we already have buttons for
Styles, the Gallery, and the Navigator.

In any case, it's imperative that we do something about the problem. We
can't afford to dig ourselves even further in terms of UX.

[1] https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=73151
[2] "The Ribbon is the starting point for all functionality." --
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2005/10/11/479586.aspx

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5v865bd64dvbv868b 5v865bd64dvbv868b
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

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mirek2 mirek2
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

Hi Alex,

2014-01-28 Alexander Wilms <[hidden email]>

> Hi Mirek,
>
> agree that the duplication of functionality is rather confusing.Did you
> mean that the individual panes would appear as a pop-up like e.g. the
> "Insert table" button already does?
> The cell appearance btton would then open the panel in sucha a way:
> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SoIjRsaQikR3lZT1RBNThTcmc/
> edit?usp=sharing
>

For most of the panes, a popover isn't appropriate, as the pane is simply
too complex to be useful as a popover. As per elementary's guidelines [1]
(GNOME doesn't have its own popover guidelines yet), "don't use a popover
if the user would spend more than a few seconds in it".
In the case of the Properties pane, I hope one day it will completely
replace the formatting dialogs that we have.

That said, I would love to have some simple, specialized popovers for quick
tweaks. Even something like
http://bassultra.deviantart.com/art/Spreadsheet-363147552 (that's still
just a subset of what we have in Properties). Or an Insert popover.
That's a project for another day, though.

I think this would be better than showing them in a sidebar, since the
> mouse has to travel more and there's no visual connection.


It'd be great if it was possible to align toolbar buttons to the right [2].
That could solve both the mouse travel and the visual connection problems.
I hope to have a discussion on this at the upcoming hackfest.

[1] http://elementaryos.org/docs/human-interface-guidelines/popovers
[2] As in http://spiceofdesign.deviantart.com/art/Writer-Concept-351501580or
http://media.maceinsteiger.de/2009/02/bild-27.jpg

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Jean-Francois Nifenecker Jean-Francois Nifenecker
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi Mirek,

Le 28/01/2014 17:06, Mirek M. a écrit :
> Hi guys,
> Ever since we've adopted the sidebar, we've had issues with duplicate
> panels [1]. Worse yet, the sidebar brings yet another UI element to look
> through for commands. This might not sound like a big problem, but this
> makes our already hard to use UI even harder to use, and is bound to get
> worse as the sidebar develops.

The LibO sidebar is, imo, the worse thing that has hit software for ages:

1. when I only need it in Impress (for transitions and animations
settings), it remains visible in Writer

2. the sidebar is not consistent with other UI items in LibO. In
Impress, the panel choice is clumsy. The set of buttons should be at the
top (à la Stylist).

3. in Writer, it doesn't emphasize on Styles and brings more attention
to what is evil: direct formatting (this explains why I do *not* want it
that module).

4. it takes too much room on screen. A toolbar can be docked somewhere
and just occupy one row/column of tools. This thing is way too
wide/high. BTW: my primary PC is a 13" laptop, but I'd say the same if I
had a 19" or wider desktop.
I've got the Navigator and the Stylist docked on the right. Where could
I dock the sidebar? Should I get a two-screen setup?


So, to me, and until/unless that thing changes dramatically, the sidebar
stays hidden. As-is it is a pure annoyance. I deeply regret to have to
use it in Impress...

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Jean-Francois Nifenecker, Bordeaux

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Daniel Hulse Daniel Hulse
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi,
I think it's wrong to say the sidebar is the problem. The problem is a duplication of controls. In my opinion, for the sidebar to be a good design decision, we need to hide the formatting toolbar.

This is the setup I use every day: http://imgur.com/PzvVL5P  The sidebar becomes a viable option when you remove the formatting toolbar and the toolbar entries for the navigator, styles, and gallery, and I would say even then it still needs work. Having the toolbar (panel?) on the side is awkward. I'd rather have that above the sidebar in a toolbar than on the side of it. The little menu at the top of the panel is weird, too. and not really needed.

Now, to the haters:
Some people have said that the sidebar emphasizes direct formatting. Those people are wrong. I would not know there was such a thing as styles if it were not for the sidebar. Applying styles is one of the sidebar's major functions. Furthermore, it's stupid to say direct formatting is evil or wrong or bad. It's not. Many times, people want to make one-page documents that they can quickly make and print out, and direct ad-hoc formatting is perfectly fine for that.

The sidebar is nicer than pop-overs, because it doesn't get in the way of the document-- it's always on one side, in the same consistent place. It's nicer than massive toolbars, because it provides icons with context and groups them together. It also links to the dialogs related to the buttons there, so I don't have to go fishing through menus to get them. (Not to say I don't like menus. Menus are a good thing for fully-featured applications like LibreOffice) And it's in a place that makes sense: Documents are mostly vertical--if you want to see the document while editing it, putting controls at the side is a much better idea than putting them at the top.

-Daniel.
Rafael Rocha Daud Rafael Rocha Daud
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
Gimp's sidebar has been there for ages, and it's contextual and it has
tons of properties and settings you can control from there. It doesn't
substitute the menus but it's very practical and modern (at the time as
today -- not sure what software adopted the model for the first time,
but it's never been abandoned).

I believe our sidebar could be better, less clutered and usable if we
adopted something like gimp's one. I don't like buttons that much,
personnally, but I believe this could be a good solution for the sidebar.
In short, it's not much more than relocating the buttons bar to the
side, and taking use of the extra space to add contextual content inline
(as opposed to in a dialog). The way it's been implemented, it looks
like different things were just thrown there together.

The sidebar offers plenty of vertical space, but it shouldn't use much
horizontal space. That's why lists don't fit in it well. We should have
buttons for tools and categories of controls in the upper part, and the
more thorough properties and choices and options for each category or
tool in the bottom part. This is clean, logical, sensible and takes less
space. It involves a complete redesign too, but I guess we don't have
much choice at this point.

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Owen Genat Owen Genat
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
I broadly agree with what Mirek is proposing, but FWIW here are my responses:

mirek2 wrote
Ever since we've adopted the sidebar, we've had issues with duplicate
panels [1]. Worse yet, the sidebar brings yet another UI element to look
through for commands. This might not sound like a big problem, but this
makes our already hard to use UI even harder to use, and is bound to get
worse as the sidebar develops.
Completely agree.

mirek2 wrote
My proposed solution would be to split the sidebar into individual panels
(e.g. Properties, Formulas, Custom Animation, Slide Transition, etc.) and
add buttons for launching them to the relevant toolbars. This would not
only solve the problems of panel duplication [1], but it would also add
context to the individual panels. For example, the Slide Layout and Slide
Transition buttons would appear in the Slide toolbar.
Can you expand on this to provide clearer examples? I am not clear about how this "split" would visually appear i.e., one above the other? How would it work in UX terms? I cannot determine if this describes launching the entire display side-pane, upon selection, to a separate toolbar, or providing a launch button on each toolbar to make visible the related panel in the sidebar? Either option seems somewhat cluncky.

If "launching them to the relevant toolbars" is a reference to having a new toolbar appear, then this could cause UX problems. I currently find contextual toolbars to contribute to poor UX, especially if anchored above the viewable area (canvas) as they move the canvas as they dis/appear. Clicking in/out of a table is the classic example, which is why I anchor this particular toolbar at the bottom of the window. Toolbars and the sidebar should /never/ move the canvas. I realise this is a potentially separate issue (depending on the type of behaviour being suggested), but I would not like to see it become worse. A constant launching/retrieving type of behaviour based on toolbar clicks that expanded the sidebar and adjusted the canvas would be just as bad as the current contextual toolbar dis/appearance. I mention this for clarity.

mirek2 wrote
In any case, it's imperative that we do something about the problem. We
can't afford to dig ourselves even further in terms of UX.
Again, agreed.

Rafael Rocha Daud wrote
Gimp's sidebar has been there for ages, and it's contextual and it has
tons of properties and settings you can control from there.
I think Inkscape is a better example. If this is the type of behaviour Mirek is referring to then I am more enthusiastic. It would be nice if the key combinations to display a panel (e.g., SHIFT+CTRL+L to display the Layers panel in Inkscape) cycled through a launch/iconify/retrieve type of behaviour. This does not appear to be possible in Inkscape (it only launches). Mirek, is the iconfy button in Inkscape related to the behaviour you are suggesting?

Best wishes, Owen.
r_ouellette r_ouellette
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by Jean-Francois Nifenecker
I totally agree with Jean-François. The sidebar is a bad choice, it encourages the user to do direct formatting and to perpetuate the bad behaviors inherited from concurrent office suite.

I always try to show LO users how to escape from these bad direct formatting behaviors and to concentrate on their work and content instead of the icy around the cake... LO has the right design to do a decent work-flow if you don't try to mimic another suite (and perpetuate the 1850 writing machine behavior).

Raymond
bitigçi bitigçi
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

It seems that the main problem is command duplication, my thoughts are as follows:

Sidebar should be redesigned, merging Sidebar, Styles and Formatting and Navigator into one panel. Now it is possible to open Sidebar, S&F and Navigator separately.

Main panel of the sidebar should consist Styles functionality in a very user friendly way.

All Buttons should be rearranged, giving users more horizontal space. Sidebar takes up too much space, and this can be reduced at least to half with proper arrangement of buttons. Plus Sidebar tab options should be moved to top as well, instead the side of the screen.

Effective scrolling should be implemented on the sidebar, currently it is not possible to scroll using trackpad[1]. When scrolling is fixed, it is OK to list all commands vertically, scrolling would not be a very UX issue.

When formatting toolbar is disabled, content-specific toolbars continue to pop-up, causing distractions and command duplication both on the sidebar and the toolbar.

And most of all, it is imperative that we start working on this as soon as possible to get everything merged into 4.3. Otherwise most likely we will have a half-broken Sidebar by the next release as well. This is is the utmost chance to give LO a very functional UI and a good chance to move away from OOo design direction.

Moving formatting functions to sidebar will allow us to use the title bar with basic controls like open, save etc. and give the chance to include Mac or Gnome friendly design elements, also opening space for a nice search bar. Formatting toolbar can always be docked under this bar when desired.

[1] https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=65634
jonathon-6 jonathon-6
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by Daniel Hulse
On 1/28/2014 2:00 PM, Daniel Hulse wrote:

  >Some people have said that the sidebar emphasizes direct formatting.
Those
  people are wrong.

In as much as it shows that direct formatting is possible, it is an
abomination.

>I would not know there was such a thing as styles if it were not for the sidebar.

I take it you never ever looked at the formatting bar --- which is also
a thing accursed, but it saved from being an abomination, because it
does display the name of the style, and provide similar functionality as
whatever WP had, that so many people request, and fail to recognize is
already present in LibO, by judicious use of the formatting bar.

>Many times, people want to make one-page documents  that they can quickly make and print out, and direct ad-hoc formatting is
  perfectly fine for that.

If you don't understand why direct formatting is an abomination in a
one-off one time only document, you don't understand the virtue of styles.
I assume you already know that 70% of the time, that "one-off one time
only document" is neither a one time only thing, nor a one-off document".

> I don't like menus. Menus are a good thing for fully-featured applications

Menus are _mandatory_ if LibO is to have any hope of being a11y.
As is, LibO is barely a11y. "Barely a11y" is probably overstating how
anti-a11y the current setup is.


jonathon




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Owen Genat Owen Genat
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by r_ouellette
r_ouellette wrote
The sidebar [...] encourages the user to do direct formatting
The sidebar is no /more/ encouraging than the existing toolbars. This, and other concerns about the sidebar encouraging the use of direct formatting can be addressed by enhancement fdo#65351.

bitigçi wrote
Sidebar should be redesigned, merging Sidebar, Styles and Formatting and Navigator into one panel.
This is already the case. There are buttons down the side to select the various panels.

bitigçi wrote
Now it is possible to open Sidebar, S&F and Navigator separately.
The idea of launching/retrieving the various panels and perhaps subpanels to/from the sidebar is a central issue raised by Mirek.

bitigçi wrote
All Buttons should be rearranged, giving users more horizontal space.
A better idea would be to simply improve the wrapping capability so that the sidebar could be set to a required width and have the content more elegantly adjust automatically. This will be contingent on the content in panels. Buttons and icons (e.g., Properties, Gallery, Master Pages panels) are easier to wrap, while list entries (e.g., Styles and Formatting, Navigator, Custom Animation, Slide Transition panels) have a minimum width requirement.

Best wishes, Owen.
Daniel Hulse Daniel Hulse
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by jonathon-6
"An abomination."

"Accursed."

Using direct formatting as a reason to dislike the sidebar is ridiculous. The sidebar can be changed, if need be. If anything, having a sidebar fits using styles much better than a toolbar does. Let me explain: In the toolbar, you pull styles in a list that gets in the way of the document, which may end up covering the exact thing you are trying to format. In a sidebar, this element would cover other controls that you aren't using at the moment, which is fine.

Don't misunderstand me, I use styles--they are very useful and definitely the "right" way to do things. But we shouldn't push people into using them until editing, using, and managing styles is at least as intuitive as direct formatting is now.
"> I don't like menus."
I didn't say that. I said the opposite of that.

Daniel
mirek2 mirek2
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

Hi guys,
I feel like the conversation has shifted to styles vs. direct formatting,
which really isn't the crux of the sidebar problem. (BTW, the Properties
pane of the sidebar is very likely to feature styles in the future.)

Here are the relevant parts of Microsoft's task pane blog post [1] that
point out what problems there are with the UI element:
"The downsides of the Task Panes were many. Number one, given that all the
menus and toolbars still had to be present, it did take up a lot of space,
as you'll see if you reflect back on my now infamous "Mythbusters"
post<http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2005/09/15/467956.aspx>.
Worse, because it didn't actually replace any of the existing UI metaphors,
it created yet another
rock<http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2005/10/11/479586.aspx>for
users to look under. Now, in addition to short menus, long menus,
hierarchical menus, visible toolbars, and the toolbar list, a user had to
look through the Task Pane stack as well for features. It just added
complexity to the product.

Probably my biggest misgiving about Task Panes is that they encourage bad
interaction design. Every PM wanted to design their feature as a Task Pane
because they could have a brand new, clean rectangle to put their feature
in. This makes their job easier and your experience, as a person using the
software, worse. Every feature would whack away the Task Pane of the
previous feature (because only one could be up at once.) Some of the Task
Panes were quasi-wizards with multiple pages, some of them were really
dialog boxes, some of them were just a menu of two commands with a bunch of
explanatory text around them. No one really thought about the experience of
how to reconcile all of the Task Panes--how to find related functionality
in the old UI system, how to use two features at once, and the fact that
ever single feature required its own huge rectangle. In just two releases,
ending with Office 2003, we already stretched the limit of Task Panes as a
manageable UI paradigm."
[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2006/04/03/567261.aspx


2014-02-07 9:33 GMT+01:00 Daniel Hulse <[hidden email]>:

> "An abomination."
>
> "Accursed."
>
> Using direct formatting as a reason to dislike the sidebar is ridiculous.
> The sidebar can be changed, if need be. If anything, having a sidebar fits
> using styles much better than a toolbar does. Let me explain: In the
> toolbar, you pull styles in a list that gets in the way of the document,
> which may end up covering the exact thing you are trying to format. In a
> sidebar, this element would cover other controls that you aren't using at
> the moment, which is fine.
>
> Don't misunderstand me, I use styles--they are very useful and definitely
> the "right" way to do things. But we shouldn't push people into using them
> until editing, using, and managing styles is at least as intuitive as
> direct
> formatting is now.
> "> I don't like menus."
> I didn't say that. I said the opposite of that.
>
> Daniel
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://nabble.documentfoundation.org/The-Sidebar-Problem-tp4094331p4095983.html
> Sent from the Design mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
>
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Jean-Francois Nifenecker Jean-Francois Nifenecker
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

Le 07/02/2014 12:50, Mirek M. a écrit :
> Hi guys,
> I feel like the conversation has shifted to styles vs. direct formatting,
> which really isn't the crux of the sidebar problem.

Yes, it does, at least in part, given the current state of the Sidebar.
We can only discuss on what we see currently. And yes we may propose
amending the Sidebar for a better UI.

My main griefs with the Sidebar are: (1) it takes a lot of screen estate
without introducing any new idiom, IMO (2) the Sidebar buttons are
docked vertically which (a) makes it wider than necessary and (b) is not
consistent with other UI items, such as the Stylist; (3) I need the
Taskbar in Impress, which is replaced by the Sidebar (so far so good,
with the notes above), but I do *not* want it in Writer: make it
optional on a module basis (just like the Navigator and Stylist should
be, btw).


> (BTW, the Properties
> pane of the sidebar is very likely to feature styles in the future.)
>

About Styles. This is somewhat OT but requires a *deep* thinking from
TDF. The root question is: *who* is the LibreOffice installation target?

-- Business and Corporate users?
Why, then, is the tool un-finished when the installation is done? No
Stylist, No Navigator. Missing settings. All these are hidden. If no-one
in the company IT dept knows how much efficiency can be pulled from
LibO, these gems stay hidden. This explains why thousands of users are
indeed struggling against the tool while LibO is designed to help them.
That's a real, real, shame. On a side note, this doesn't help getting
market shares from these targets. From some pov the current office
suites (unfortunately LibO is not alone), make me feel they are toys
until someone takes some time to configure them before giving them to
the in-house users. And I can tell you many IT depts won't ever change
one single bit after LibO has been installed. The user is left alone.

-- John Doe?
Ok, fine with me. But then give the businesses and corporate users a
tool, a preset, something, to help them setting LibO to fit the
efficiency their users need.


Currently the answer to this question is John Doe.
--
Jean-Francois Nifenecker, Bordeaux

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Jean-Baptiste Faure Jean-Baptiste Faure
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi,

Le 28/01/2014 17:06, Mirek M. a écrit :
> Hi guys,
> Ever since we've adopted the sidebar, we've had issues with duplicate
> panels [1].

What is the problem with that ? That lets the user to choose the most
convenient way for her.

> [...]
> I've been a big advocate of having a single place where to look for
> commands.

I think it is not a good idea because with a single place where to look
for commands you are sure that an important part of the users will not
be able to find these commands easily. On the contrary, if you design
several ways to access to the commands, then you multiply the chances
for each user to find them and to memorize where they are in order to
find them quicker next time.

My proposition is to transform the sidebar into a container in which the
user can dock the toolbars she want. The idea is to increase the
versatility of the UI so that the user could configure the UI in the
best way for her.

Best regards.
JBF
--
Seuls des formats ouverts peuvent assurer la pérennité de vos documents.

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Derek Cooper Derek Cooper
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by Jean-Francois Nifenecker
While I understand it has glitches I actually like the sidebar. In
Impress I like being able to see and set the object properties without
opening a popup.  That said, I wonder if sidebars would be best split
off to extensions. I could see installing a sidebar for Impress while
someone else might install a formatting sidebar for Writer.  This
doesn't really address your concerns about hidden gems.  It might
actually make that problem worse. It just seems to me that when some
people are complaining that they don't want a feature and others do want
it, extensions are a natural answer.

Derek Cooper


On 02/07/2014 01:00 PM, Jean-Francois Nifenecker wrote:

> Le 07/02/2014 12:50, Mirek M. a écrit :
>> Hi guys,
>> I feel like the conversation has shifted to styles vs. direct formatting,
>> which really isn't the crux of the sidebar problem.
>
> Yes, it does, at least in part, given the current state of the Sidebar.
> We can only discuss on what we see currently. And yes we may propose
> amending the Sidebar for a better UI.
>
> My main griefs with the Sidebar are: (1) it takes a lot of screen estate
> without introducing any new idiom, IMO (2) the Sidebar buttons are
> docked vertically which (a) makes it wider than necessary and (b) is not
> consistent with other UI items, such as the Stylist; (3) I need the
> Taskbar in Impress, which is replaced by the Sidebar (so far so good,
> with the notes above), but I do *not* want it in Writer: make it
> optional on a module basis (just like the Navigator and Stylist should
> be, btw).
>
>
>> (BTW, the Properties
>> pane of the sidebar is very likely to feature styles in the future.)
>>
>
> About Styles. This is somewhat OT but requires a *deep* thinking from
> TDF. The root question is: *who* is the LibreOffice installation target?
>
> -- Business and Corporate users?
> Why, then, is the tool un-finished when the installation is done? No
> Stylist, No Navigator. Missing settings. All these are hidden. If no-one
> in the company IT dept knows how much efficiency can be pulled from
> LibO, these gems stay hidden. This explains why thousands of users are
> indeed struggling against the tool while LibO is designed to help them.
> That's a real, real, shame. On a side note, this doesn't help getting
> market shares from these targets. From some pov the current office
> suites (unfortunately LibO is not alone), make me feel they are toys
> until someone takes some time to configure them before giving them to
> the in-house users. And I can tell you many IT depts won't ever change
> one single bit after LibO has been installed. The user is left alone.
>
> -- John Doe?
> Ok, fine with me. But then give the businesses and corporate users a
> tool, a preset, something, to help them setting LibO to fit the
> efficiency their users need.
>
>
> Currently the answer to this question is John Doe.
>

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Rodolfo R Gomes Rodolfo R Gomes
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by Jean-Baptiste Faure
That's exactly what I thought it should/would be done: resizable and
dockable toolbars.

Toolbars are already dockable. It could be only resizable and, when it
fits, expand its buttons/controls as it is in sidebar.

Regards.

2014-02-07 16:41 GMT-02:00 Jean-Baptiste Faure <[hidden email]>:
> My proposition is to transform the sidebar into a container in which the
> user can dock the toolbars she want. The idea is to increase the
> versatility of the UI so that the user could configure the UI in the
> best way for her.

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Daniel Hulse Daniel Hulse
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by mirek2
I think the problem is that we need to clearly define what goes into the sidebar and stick to it. Basically, it needs to be designed. I would propose one "home" tab, a "Styles" tab, a "Navigation" tab, and an "insert" tab. The home tab would have a quick styles selector, bold/italic/underline/highlighting/bullets/etc, paragraph properties, and page formatting options. The "home" tab would also change contextually based off of what was highlighted/edited. For example, when a chart is being edited, the contextual options would take the place of the formatting options in the "home" tab, much like they do now in the formatting toolbar. It might offer room for limited customization, like the adding of buttons/toolbars in a designated place.

All in all, I think the sidebar is an issue of implementation. It offers potential benefits, but it needs to be designed to work as an integrated part of the LibreOffice UI in order to make sense.

Daniel
Daniel Hulse Daniel Hulse
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
I drew a mock-up for how an interface like this would work. Here it is: http://imgur.com/a/suDhH

The first tab in the sidebar in this case is used to edit the current style, while a toolbar at the bottom contains some reasonable direct formatting options like bolding , italicizing, and highlighting, as well as a few other actions that don't make sense in the sidebar, like adding in bullets and numbering. The toolbar at the top contains actions that don't change and that the user should always be able to do: creating/opening/saving documents as well as undo/redoing and looking up help. I added an "insert" tab, because that seemed to make sense as something the sidebar should be able to do.

This would all take a great deal of work to implement, but it would be worth it. People have been wanting a newer, better UI from LibreOffice for a long time. An interface like this would make using styles an essential part of any users' work-flow, rather than pushing them to the side. It also takes advantage of a large amount of wasted space and reduces the usage of dialogs--which have the problem of blocking the document.

Daniel
Nagy Ákos Nagy Ákos
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Re: The Sidebar Problem

In reply to this post by mirek2
Maybe one solution is that make the same think, that do Kingsoft Office.
Kingsoft office, in installation procedure offer two skins:
Classic - with menu, and LO style icons
Ribbon Style - with ribbon menu

and in Ribbon Style offer a Sidebar (Taks Window) too, for styles,
shapes, etc.

Professional users, who use menu, templates and advanced formating
options, leave the actual desing, and for users who like ribbons, modern
design, and local formatting, offer a ribbon menu.


2014.01.28. 18:06 keltezéssel, Mirek M. írta:

> Hi guys,
> Ever since we've adopted the sidebar, we've had issues with duplicate
> panels [1]. Worse yet, the sidebar brings yet another UI element to look
> through for commands. This might not sound like a big problem, but this
> makes our already hard to use UI even harder to use, and is bound to get
> worse as the sidebar develops.
>
> I'd recommend to read through the usability problems Microsoft found with
> its Office task pane (which was very much like our sidebar):
> http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2006/04/03/567261.aspx .
>
> So what should we do?
>
> I've been a big advocate of having a single place where to look for
> commands. (That, by the way, is the single biggest advantage the Ribbon
> brought to MS Office [2].) In our case, that place would be the toolbar.
>
> My proposed solution would be to split the sidebar into individual panels
> (e.g. Properties, Formulas, Custom Animation, Slide Transition, etc.) and
> add buttons for launching them to the relevant toolbars. This would not
> only solve the problems of panel duplication [1], but it would also add
> context to the individual panels. For example, the Slide Layout and Slide
> Transition buttons would appear in the Slide toolbar. The Functions pane
> could appear when clicking the functions button in the formula bar.
> Properties could easily replace all the toolbar buttons that currently
> point to the relevant formatting dialogs. And we already have buttons for
> Styles, the Gallery, and the Navigator.
>
> In any case, it's imperative that we do something about the problem. We
> can't afford to dig ourselves even further in terms of UX.
>
> [1] https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=73151
> [2] "The Ribbon is the starting point for all functionality." --
> http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2005/10/11/479586.aspx
>


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Ákos


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