Proposed design changes for qmlui

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chille
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Proposed design changes for qmlui

Post by chille » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:24 am

I have successfully compiled qmlui and played around for a few hours. I have some feedback regarding the design. I must say I really like the new touch friendly interface. However, I think it is possible to make it even better. I will try to focus mostly on bigger structural design changes in this post.

1) First of all it needs to me a little bit more consistent in it's behavior. I really like the idea of having just a small number of UI elements to do the basic tasks. Those elements should always behave the same on the different screens inside the application. For example a toolbar should always be in the same place, work in the same way and look exactly the same. It might be a good idea to try to write down some kind of "UI behavior guidelines" for how the UI is supposed to work. Those guidelines could also be part of a the documentation / a quick start when introducing new users.

2) I would like to do a lot of changes to the navigation structure in the application. I think 99% of the different screens should be reachable via two navigation bars. The first one (Primary navigation) should be just as the top bar is today. When doing web development the best practice is to not have more than 8 buttons in the primary navigation. I think we should aim for about 6-8 buttons we actually use, but could accept even more buttons. Maybe 10 or 12 could be okay, if really needed.

Under the "Primary navigation" there should be a "Secondary navigation", which will contain the second level in the navigation tree structure. This navigation could also work as a toolbar for the screens that needs this. The toolbar elements should be clearly distinguished from the secondary navigation. Either with a separator, or left/right align. This seems to be the case today, but if I remember correctly I found a few exceptions.

3) I think the "Actions" menu is inconsistent from the behavior of the other buttons in the toolbar. I think a better idea would be to remove the drop down menu and replace it with a new screen with buttons. Those buttons could be a fairly big to fill up most of the screen. It could also have a list of recent projects and probably some other things as well.

4) When clicking the BPM there is configuration options directly in the popup. I think this configuration should be in a separate Settings screen and the popup should be as clean as possible. It's more consistent like this. Another reason is that I would also like to have more advanced synchronisation settings in the future, like getting the tempo out of a Pioneer CDJ-2000 NXS (There is such open source projects already). This would probably not fit in the popup.

5) I'm primarily interested in using QLC+ for live performances with a really limited ability to pre-program a workspace before a gig. I think people like me would appreciate that all the settings stuff goes into a separate settings screen. In this way you can have the interface you work with clean from thinks like adding fixtures etc.

6) Whith all this said I would like to propose a new navigation structure. The first level is for the primary navigation and the second level is for secondary navigation.
  • (Aligned left)
  • Actions
    • (No secondary navigation on this screen, only big buttons)
    • New project
    • Open project
    • Save project
    • Save project as..
    • Documentation
    • Start tutorial
    • Recent projects
  • Functions
    • DMX View
    • Programmer
  • 2D View
  • 3D View
  • Virtual Console
  • Simple Desk
  • Show Manager
  • (Aligned right)
  • Settings
    • Input/Output
    • Synchronization (BPM)
    • Universe View
    • Address tool
    • Toggle fullscreen
  • BPM
7) As you can see the 2D and 3D views are moved away from Functions. I think those could still be useful when selecting fixtures and/or previewing scenes. It might be a good idea to make some kind of split screen functionallity so that the 2D or 3D view could be shown at the same time as the Functions screen. Maybe a generic split screen mode wich allows two different items to be selected in the navigation.

8) I added a new screen in Functions. It's called "Programmer" and is supposed to view a table of what DMX values have been changed and could be saved into a new scene. This could also be used to show the content of a already existing scene.

9) I think the left sidebar in Functions should go away. All the buttons that show up in the toolbar when selecting an fixure needs to be moved. I would prefer that the buttons are removed completly and the color pickers, sliders etc show up at the bottom, just like grandMA2 or Cuelux. In this way there will be less clicks when programming.

10) It's not always clear what button shows/hides a sidebar. I think this could be improved as well.

11) The size of buttons (and probably other UI elements) seems to be a little bit non-consistent. I'm not sure if this is a design bug, or you have not bothered with minor design improvements yet. However, it may be a good idea to create some kind of basic UI design guidelines with at least the following information:
  • Text sizes
  • Button sizes
  • Color scheme
  • I think it's a good idea to avoid popups when possible
  • Drop down menus should only be used as a select element to choose an option. Drop downs should not execute an task or change screen (If possible)
  • Avoid popup windows (If possible)


Notes:
I have not yet tried figure out if/how the Function editor could be improved. From what I have seen so far I'm pretty sure I could come up with a few improvments here as well.

I have not looked into the Virtual console yet.

I will not look into the Show manager, as this is a function I have no plans to use at all.

I am a programmer and I want to contribute to the project. I do have an working development environment and some spare time. I have mostly done low level C programming before, but have some limited C++ knowledge.

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mcallegari
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Location: Italy
Real Name: Massimo Callegari
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Re: Proposed design changes for qmlui

Post by mcallegari » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:43 am

I have retracted and deleted my previous answer, as it's been judged "too harsh".

Today, instead, I found a document I've written back in February 2015, that was sitting in my hard disk since then.
So I have uploaded it in my Google Drive space and here's a public link to it:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DoC ... sp=sharing

Today I just added the "Actions" and "BPM" paragraphs, cause in 2015 those weren't of any concern.

I hope the document clears out why I did what I did in QLC+ 5. Everything you see is there for an exact reason and has days/weeks/months of thoughts behind.
Thoughts of someone that has the whole picture of what QLC+ should be and what users expect from it, based on years of comments and requests in these forums.

Your comments are out of the track. They indicate you have a partial view of the software and they are personal opinions of how you would want QLC+ 5. That doesn't mean everyone would be happy with the changes you proposed.
Also, it seems you haven't even watched the 3 videos I uploaded on YouTube, which show, for example, that contexts can be detached or that the recent file list is already there.

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GGGss
Posts: 167
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Location: Belgium
Real Name: Fredje Gallon

Re: Proposed design changes for qmlui

Post by GGGss » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:58 am

Massimo et all,

Thank you for sharing your filosophy how a 'desk' should work.
I second this filosophy 100% - big desks work alike... don't spend time naming things (except in theatrical productions) - let your creativity be the most important aspect and the workflow should guide you doing so. The programm / go live step has to be avoided in any case. Busking around is nice but if you oversee something you should be able to change it on the fly.

I absolutely don't want to start a discussion with anyone... here are my 2cents contributing to my, in the meantime much beloved, QLC+ version of the future.

The 2 things I can think of to 'improve' (I'm carefully choosing this word) this filosophy is:

* implement the possibilty to highlight / lowlight / locate the fixtures selected...
In larger productions you sometimes get lost in the forrest of lights. If, say, head 18 has to be adjusted some degrees down - you can take the lightplan (if present) and start counting the heads in a row. OR use the locate / high- lowlight feature and by selecting a head in the interface you see the head changing color f.i. - simply look at the stage and you'll find head 18 very fast. These 3 buttons are present on chamsys desks and are very usefull. Find the head, change the Y-position, update the scene or whatever, press clear - finished.

* the back-track possibility... (no-one has this feature atm to my knowledge)
In the live show a fixture does something which is not expected (false colour, bad brightness, position by 180° off, ... to name some bad behaviours in live shows).
You 'd be very glad if you had a possibility to find the chase, scene, setting, ... which is responsible for this behaviour at the moment you see it in live conditions. So have the show to continue in the background, you'd take a snapshot of what is going on (snapshot at the moment you remark a fixture doing something eratical). Then selecting the fixture which behaves badly, selecting the chanel (or capability) of the error, press back-tack: you get a list of all functions programmed influencing this chanel with this fixture at the moment of the snapshot.
This means that the snapshot should be aware of the LTP chain ... this can be difficult to program I know ... but woow this could be a life-saver and such a nice feature to have ;-) Finding badly programmed sequencers, scenes, ... erratic behaviour introduced by cloning things, ... It sometimes takes soo much time to find out 'where does the error come from' that you are lossing track in live-shows. With this back-track function finding the responsible function in error is only a matter of seconds.

Thank you again making such a lovely 'must-have' light-desk.
All electric machines work on smoke... when the smoke escape from machines... they don't work anymore

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