Design/Meetings/2014-03-30

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Attendees

  • mirek
  • abhra
  • mahfiaz

Topics

  • Styles UX (great advice collected by mirek from GDocs and Pages)

Log

[15:45:53] <mirek2> hi there
[15:46:03] <abhra> hi
[15:46:22] <mirek2> what brings you to the chat?
[15:46:22] <mirek2> is there a topic you'd like to discuss?
[15:47:05] <abhra> i always tried to attend this; unfortunately i never get the time of the chat right! :(
[15:47:37] <mirek2> :) well, unfortunately, there have been no attendees lately
[15:48:05] <mirek2> (and I myself have had very little time lately, so I'm not really active in the team ATM)
[15:48:06] <abhra> i guess mahfiaz is a bot!!
[15:48:22] <mahfiaz> hi abhra
[15:48:28] <abhra> as he is the only one present here
[15:48:28] <mirek2> no, it's a person :)
[15:48:33] <abhra> oh!
[15:48:39] <abhra> sorry mahfiaz
[15:48:44] <mahfiaz> thanks for pinging me
[15:49:04] <mirek2> anyway, anything you want to talk about?
[15:49:12] <mirek2> I've been thinking about:
[15:49:14] <abhra> he was always present here. soi thought...... :)
[15:49:23] <mirek2> he is, basically
[15:49:29] <mahfiaz> abhra: Quassel IRC helps
[15:49:48] <mirek2> a) holding this IRC chat monthly rather than weekly
[15:50:02] <mirek2> b) assigning roles to design team members (long overdue, IMHO)
[15:50:21] <mirek2> what's your area of interest, abhra ?
[15:51:31] <abhra> please define "area of interest"
[15:52:02] <mirek2> in terms of the design team -- e.g. graphic design, interaction design, development, user testing, ...
[15:55:05] <abhra> basically, user testing mirek2
[15:55:34] <abhra> however, i am not able to do for sometime now because of other pressures.
[15:55:42] <mirek2> ok
[15:56:20] <mirek2> actually, that's something that we should get rolling as well
[15:57:21] <abhra> trying to send a screenshot to you
[15:57:37] <abhra> mirek2, is it working?
[15:57:46] <abhra> never tried it before?
[15:58:05] <mirek2> I'm chatting through the webchat.freenode.net website
[15:58:16] <mirek2> have never tried it before
[15:58:24] <mirek2> not sure if it's possible through the web interface
[15:58:47] <abhra> ok
[15:58:58] <mirek2> any tips?
[15:58:59] <mirek2> should I install xchat?
[15:59:06] <abhra> i will upload the image and share the file
[15:59:13] <mirek2> thanks
[15:59:43] <abhra> using xchat since the time i started using linux!
[16:00:03] <mirek2> :)
[16:00:29] <mirek2> I'll install it anyway, then
[16:02:55] <mirek_2> and now I'm on xchat
[16:03:15] <abhra> good! :)
[16:03:30] <abhra> wait, i will try the image sharing again then
[16:05:56] <mirek_2> got it, thanks
[16:06:21] <mirek_2> it'd be great if we had the style picker in the sidebar, if that's what you're getting at
[16:06:28] <abhra> ok,so it worked.good
[16:06:32] <abhra> exactly.
[16:06:55] <mahfiaz> someone mentioned it in the mailing list as well
[16:07:00] <abhra> i am using libreoffice 4.1.3.2 with xubuntu 13.10
[16:07:23] <abhra> i am not sure if its changed in the latest editions.
[16:07:41] <abhra> but i should be done to reduce mix ups
[16:08:14] <mirek_2> I definitely agree
[16:08:40] <abhra> only if style option is present in the sidebar, the formatting toolbar could be removed. all other options are already present in sidebar
[16:08:52] <mirek_2> see https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=73071
[16:09:13] <mirek_2> I'm not sure about removing the formatting toolbar, though
[16:10:09] <mirek_2> (while the sidebar might be suitable for advanced formatting needs, the toolbar is great for small screens, quick edits, and those who need two windows side-by-side)
[16:10:45] <abhra> ok
[16:11:34] <mirek_2> that's just my personal view, though
[16:11:41] <mirek_2> would be good to test it
[16:12:17] <mirek_2> translators use side-by-side windows a lot, would be good to test on them sometime
[16:12:32] <mahfiaz> in a perfect world sidebar could be dragged to the top and look like toolbar
[16:12:36] <abhra> one other thing, will it be possible to keyboard shortcuts as a separate option in the sidebar. just like navigation,gallery,properties
[16:12:58] <abhra> mahfiaz, awesome idea!
[16:13:25] <mirek_2> abhra, you mean a shortcut for opening/closing the sidebar?
[16:13:35] <mahfiaz> then again to some it might resemble ribbon a lot
[16:14:09] <abhra> no mirek_2 .list of keyboard shortcuts
[16:15:08] <mirek_2> as in, something like http://xlcalibre.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Alt-Keyboard-Shortcuts.png ?
[16:17:13] <mirek_2> on toolbars vs sidebars -- I see the toolbar as a quick-access tool, whereas the sidebar is a much more powerful tool, hopefully replacing the formatting dialogs we have in the future
[16:18:51] <mahfiaz> I like that better, but how about side-by-side workflow you mentioned earlier?
[16:19:08] <mirek_2> e.g. formatting toolbar is to http://images.macworld.com/images/news/graphics/158689-byword-screen-386_original.jpg what the properties sidebar pane is to http://www.openlogic.com/Portals/172122/images/multi-purpose-paragraph-style-resized-600.png
[16:20:36] <mirek_2> mahfiaz, all the commonly-used formatting tools should be in the toolbar (which should be user-customizable, btw),
[16:21:00] <mirek_2> so the sidebar would be needed only for advanced formatting needs
[16:21:24] <abhra> actually, i like sidebar better! but its my personal choice
[16:23:06] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: if the best UI for using styles is sidebar, then I wouldn't call it "advanced", since IMHO we should do everything to make using styles easier
[16:23:34] <mirek_2> mahfiaz, I don't think the best UI for using styles is a sidebar
[16:23:51] <abhra> no i dont either
[16:24:19] <mirek_2> I really like what Google Docs is doing with style management
[16:24:51] <mirek_2> and iWork Pages copies that behavior
[16:25:06] <abhra> what are they doing?
[16:25:26] <mahfiaz> abhra: pretty much the same as writer's toolbar does right now, IMHO
[16:25:52] <abhra> ok
[16:26:08] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: or did I miss something important?
[16:26:16] <mirek_2> several things:
[16:26:31] <mirek_2> a) each style has its own menu
[16:26:44] <mirek_2> which allows quick style editing
[16:27:15] <mirek_2> b) the menu also shows a keyboard shortcut for each style
[16:27:35] <mirek_2> iWork Pages goes further and allows the user to set a shortcut from the menu
[16:28:04] <mirek_2> keyboard shortcuts make using styles really efficient -- it's a huge advantage
[16:28:48] <mirek_2> c) whenever you apply hard formatting to styled text, iWork offers a prominent button to change the style based on the edits made
[16:29:31] <mirek_2> d) Pages allows creation of styles from the pop-over
[16:29:54] <mirek_2> e) both Pages and Docs list all the styles available, not just a selection
[16:30:05] <mirek_2> (they have a much narrower selection)
[16:30:16] <mirek_2> f) some styles are context-aware
[16:31:04] <mirek_2> e.g. if the highest level you're using in the document is Heading 3, the style list only offers you Headings 1-4
[16:31:17] <mirek_2> Heading 5 appears once Heading 4 is used
[16:33:03] <mirek_2> I think that's all, at least in terms of paragraph styles
[16:33:44] <mirek_2> (on a separate note, iWork is using the sidebar for formatting only)
[16:34:09] <mahfiaz> I like all the points, these would definitely make work and learning styles go faster
[16:34:19] <mirek_2> (bad wording: it's using only the sidebar for formatting)
[16:35:07] <mirek_2> there's an easyhack about the menus here: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=62081
[16:35:11] <mirek_2> would be a start...
[16:37:33] <mirek_2> tell me if you have some tips on how to get some developers hacking on this
[16:39:48] <mahfiaz> hanging out in IRC, evangelizing, giving positive feedback early, giving recognition for things done
[16:40:05] <mahfiaz> will probably take quite some time
[16:42:37] <mirek_2> yup
[16:43:13] <mirek_2> btw, if either of you want to reach out to devs, that'd be excellent
[16:45:06] <abhra> will it be possible to add a line in the startup page encouraging use of styles.
[16:45:46] <abhra> something like " do you productivity could be increased hugely by using styles for creation of documents" and then a link to the help page for styles
[16:46:16] <mirek_2> ideally, styles should be self-explanatory
[16:46:18] <abhra> "do you 'know'..."
[16:46:22] <mahfiaz> abhra: what you are talking about is "quick tips" startup dialog, which you probably are familiar with
[16:46:41] <abhra> mahfiaz, yes
[16:46:52] <mahfiaz> I myself am not a fan of these, although I have found them to be useful at times, but mostly just annoying
[16:47:20] <abhra> actually i have seen people (including myself) unaware of styles
[16:47:39] <abhra> i am using libreoffice since its beginning
[16:47:51] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: maybe renaming "Main text" style to "Normal text" and making it default style instead of default would be good (just as gdocs does it)
[16:48:01] <mirek_2> yes, but that's a problem with the presentation of styles
[16:48:14] <abhra> however, i have never used styles (or rather nothing but the default style) until few months back
[16:48:37] <mirek_2> there are a number of problems with the current LibO UI
[16:48:50] <mahfiaz> "Default" means pretty much nothing but "Normal text" seems like something worth checking out
[16:48:50] <mirek_2> styles are still much more of a hassle to use than hard formatting
[16:49:00] <mirek_2> mahfiaz, I agree
[16:49:12] <abhra> since then i am finding the benefits of styles.
[16:49:13] <mirek_2> we have text body, which is more fitting
[16:49:49] <mirek_2> the solution here is to improve the style UX, not to force styles on users when working with them is a hassle
[16:50:29] <mirek_2> once the style UX becomes superior to the hard formatting UX, people will switch over automatically
[16:50:38] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: "Text body" would have to be default style for the dropdown to be selfguiding
[16:50:47] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: agreed
[16:51:32] <mirek_2> take a look at the styles in Pages 2014 sometime: http://gigaom2.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/screen-shot-2013-10-24-at-7-01-47-pm.png?w=708&h=409
[16:52:13] <mirek_2> the implementation has its flaws, but styles are displayed prominently, they're simple to edit, can be applied with a keyboard shortcut, and in general just pleasant to use
[16:52:44] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: is there anything other wrong with style UX other than numbered points above? (editing could be less cumbersome, as on the last screenshot)
[16:53:24] <mirek_2> yes
[16:53:29] <mahfiaz> (just trying to trick you into giving a detailed list)
[16:53:31] <mirek_2> one problem I see has to do with themes
[16:53:45] <abhra> this is a real good implementation
[16:53:57] <mirek_2> for example, I think the only reason we have a "Default" style is so that the user can theme all the other styles easily
[16:54:29] <mirek_2> however, styles aren't really suited to take the place of themes as well
[16:55:05] <mirek_2> (btw, for those not acquainted with themes, they're basically meta-styles)
[16:55:24] <mirek_2> (you have theme colors, theme fonts, and theme effects)
[16:56:12] <mirek_2> (basically, while styles are an abstraction of hard formatting, themes are an abstraction of styles)
[16:56:40] <mirek_2> we don't have anything like themes in LibreOffice
[16:57:07] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: templates do something similar
[16:57:14] <mirek_2> which means that if you want to change your document's body font to a different one, you have to go through each style
[16:57:25] <mirek_2> mahfiaz, well, templates are all hard-coded
[16:57:28] <mahfiaz> the only problem is that you cannot apply change your template later
[16:57:43] <mirek_2> you can import styles from templates, but that doesn't work nearly as well
[16:58:05] <mirek_2> it's very messy because you have to deal with merging styles from the document with those from the template
[16:58:52] <mahfiaz> (sidenote, that mess is no different from having themed stylesets, but that's not important)
[16:58:52] <mirek_2> there's also no indicator as to what elements of the style are set and which ones are taken from the parent style or just from the defaults
[16:59:31] <mirek_2> mahfiaz, with stylesheets, at least you know which elements are themed where
[16:59:51] <mahfiaz> yup
[17:00:08] <mirek_2> it's much easier to do a find and replace of a font-family than go through LibreOffice's formatting dialogs for each style separately
[17:01:01] <mirek_2> it'd be nice if LibO allowed you to see your styles within a single document
[17:01:11] <abhra> +1
[17:01:17] <mirek_2> it would also be nice if styles used CSS as their format
[17:01:29] <mirek_2> but that's just wishful thinking
[17:02:03] <mirek_2> so, to give a list again: :)
[17:02:28] <mirek_2> things missing from the theme UX:
[17:02:29] <mirek_2> a) themes
[17:02:38] <mirek_2> (style UX, sorry)
[17:03:05] <mirek_2> b) indication of which properties are inherited, which aren't
[17:04:04] <mirek_2> c) an overview of all themes, perhaps in the same manner as CSS stylesheets
[17:05:19] <mirek_2> d) appropriate previews for different styles (e.g. page styles should provide previews)
[17:05:53] <mirek_2> e) more style options (e.g. table styles)
[17:06:21] <mirek_2> f) having the same style options across modules when appropriate
[17:07:19] <mirek_2> (Impress currently uses "presentation styles" to theme everything from text to objects)
[17:08:24] <mirek_2> g) less prominence given to hard formatting
[17:08:58] <mirek_2> e.g. the font picker should not be as prominent as the style picker, given that one should only use 1-3 fonts in a document
[17:10:32] <abhra> like pages, either go for hard formatting or styles
[17:10:35] <mirek_2> and it'd be nice if emphasis/"strong" replaced italic/bold in the formatting toolbar
[17:10:40] <abhra> i really like that approach
[17:11:03] <mahfiaz> +1
[17:11:04] <mirek_2> the pages implementation is very style-oriented
[17:11:52] <mirek_2> hard formatting is presented as a way to change the style rather than as a way to apply formatting directly
[17:14:43] <mirek_2> one more thing: a simple UI for picking custom colors needs to be implemented
[17:14:54] <mirek_2> that's very closely linked to themes and styles
[17:15:06] <mirek_2> anyway, AFAIK, nobody is currently working on styles, colors, or themes
[17:15:17] <mirek_2> you're both welcome to report further bugs and find devs
[17:16:11] <mahfiaz> mirek_2: do all your reported related bugs have ux or some specific tag?
[17:17:45] <mirek_2> the component tends to be UI, but it really depends on the bug
[17:18:01] <mirek_2> here's a subset of UI bugs: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Blueprints
[17:22:22] <mirek_2> anyway, should we end the chat?
[17:22:33] <mirek_2> would one of you like to upload the log?
[17:22:47] <mirek_2> (to https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Meetings)
[17:22:58] <abhra> mirek_2, how to do that?
[17:23:20] <mirek_2> create a page on https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Meetings/2014-03-30
[17:23:45] <mirek_2> and copy over our discussion, using the same structure as https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Meetings/2014-02-23
[17:24:15] <mirek_2> will you upload it, then?
[17:31:54] <mirek_2> abhra: or should I take care of it?
[17:32:13] <abhra> i am reading the structure.
[17:32:33] <abhra> it might be better if you do it. less chance of mistake
[17:32:48] <mirek_2> don't worry about it
[17:33:06] <mirek_2> as long as the chat log is up there, it's fine
[17:33:38] <mirek_2> I don't have the beginning of the conversation, so it'd be better if you could do it