Design/Whiteboards/Better command access

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Summary

Make getting to lesser-used commands easy, intuitive, and fast.

Status

Call for Proposals Analyzing Proposals Shaping Tentative Design Implementation in Progress Implemented

Scope

In Scope Out of Scope
  • Focus on toolbar behavior
  • Make it easy to hide and unhide toolbar items
  • Mouse and/or keyboard input
  • Touch input
  • Replace the menu+toolbar paradigm

Definition of Terms

  • Hidden command: A command set to not be shown within the toolbar.
  • Overflowing command: A command set to be shown within the toolbar, but not being shown because the size of the window doesn't allow it to be.
  • Command group: A group of commands on a toolbar demarked by separators or toolbar borders.

Discussion

Personas

  • Meredith: a secretary at a pharmaceutical company. She knows the office applications she uses fairly well and in her family she is regarded as a bit of a computer guru. She usually writes letters, prepares speeches for executives etc. Occasionally, because of her reputation, co-workers ask her to edit technical documents with simple chemical formulas in them. For this, she needs to use the sub-script/super-script functionality that she otherwise doesn't access in her daily work.
  • Joe: a college student with limited funds. He takes notes on a small netbook. Screen real estate is very important to him -- every pixel counts. He uses LibreOffice for a multitude of projects, which require different sets of commands. He needs to be able to quickly customize his toolbar to show and hide commands, since he can't fit all of them in at once.
  • Frank: an artist that uses a computer only when it's necessary. He gets put off by tasks that take a long time and favors icons and live previews over long menus and dialogs. It's important to him to be able to quickly find commands he is looking for.

Proposals

Proposal by Mirek2

Mockups

Description

Action overflow

An "action overflow" would be appended to the end of each toolbar. It would contain overflowing and hidden commands, visually separated from each other.

Customization

The toolbar would be customized by dragging command groups within the toolbar or action overflow and from or to the action overflow. Dragging would be detected when a user dragged the element(s) for a specific length to avoid puzzling users with shaky hands that are only trying to select something. The active areas for dropping would be the toolbar, the action overflow, and a little of the surrounding area.

Icon

A monochrome icon with the "ellipsis" symbol would represent this menu. The dots on the icon should animate when the user is dragging command groups, to signify that commands can be dropped into this menu.

Effects on the current UI

The "Visible Buttons" entry in the toolbar's context menu should be dropped as it would be redundant.

Relevant Art