Some UI stuff that needs to be fixed in Bongo.
First of all, UI is for Users, not for Developers. (UI, not DI)
Developer’s logic is kind of like - “Since this function functions like this, thus you need to feed it with info like so…” . But, developer’s logic is irrelevant in a UI. A user tries to achieve what HE wants and finds useful (an end), not to “feed” the software.
MOST VALUABLE OPINIONS
I still have the valuable opinions of a beginners perspective on Bongo (and Rhino too for that part). Valuable, because I can tell what to fix in order to make the software easier to learn, and so also potentially more popular. Meaning; more sale. But every intuitive attempt to do things in a “natural way” will disappear after I have finally learned to conquer the current silly interface (it’s a battle, namely). So be aware, the things below is only about basics, and if fixed it would most certainly help other new users fix their problems without having to ask things that they should be able to discover on their own, intuitively at that, either by constantly visible UI options (overview), enabled or disabled is key concept here, or or by message dialogs prompting the user to select relevant options, at least such options that are absolutely required for an attempted new command/action/setting to have success.
- Include the “Rotate Pivot” icon in the main Toolbar (0). See fig 1.
- Counter intuitive: The missing icon in the main tool bar doesn’t help new users to intuitively discover that the Pivot can be rotated, and users also get no indication of that the Pivot may need to be rotated. nor that such a command exist. That’s serious and leads to an unnecessary steep learning curve.
- Illogic: The Bongo Properties icon tools should consist of a subset of the main bar, not entirely different icons.
- Context: Since the icon should exist in the main Tool bar (0), it may by some be perceived as misleading if the icon is not disabled when no object is selected (but by being there it will still help users to discover this functionality, via mouse over etc).
- Message: If a user tries to rotate the pivot while the option “Rotate in world space” is still checked, the user should be notified about that - of course. In the message box there should be the option to immediately uncheck the option, as a means to fix the conflict (Noteworthy: I have never, no never, seen any other software being so plain stupid and lacking about basic UI things like this as Rhino. Unbelievable, really). How ELSE would a user know that any such option even exist?
- “Rotate Pivot” silently fails: When trying to rotate the Pivot while in perspective mode, the Pivot simply and silently refuses to rotate. No explanation, just dead in the water. Again, a clever little message box(!) could educate the user about the fact that someone decided that a direction cannot be set in perspective mode, in a 3D software. Counter intuitive?
- Fig 1.
- Bongo properties: DO NOT put Bongo properties and Rhino properties in the same pane since on often needs to see both at the same time (see also Fig 2.).
- Flickering & lost: The flickering of the Bongo properties pane which occurs (at best) when selecting a Bongo object is confusing. Sometimes you see Bongo related UI stuff and sometimes not, and when not then you have no idea why Bongo went hiding. It’s like a silly child’s play. I’ve never seen any such confusing UI scheme as this before. Never. It’s actually provocative.
- Object Name: Include at least the most essential (rhino) object info in the properties dialog (since you may (will often) need to know what exact object (name) you selected and currently are dealing with. For heavens sake.
- Lacking overview: The Bongo properties dialog pane does not allow seeing related info/settings without scrolling up and down like crazy (and the tools icons scrolls away, which should instead always be visible at top).
- Wasted UI space: In short: the Bongo prop. pane covers the entire height of a 1900px screen, and consists of more separator lines, group-box lines and other useless dead UI space than essential info. So, get rid of all that crap and show the info instead. Scrap all the extra lines, the wasteful group boxes and use the space for info instead. Info can be grouped without wasting so much space. What all this actually means is, make the dialog useful. Again, this silly waste of screen space - and total lack of understanding of the user’s need for overview - is provocative. Yes, provocative.
Fig 2: Tutorial on how to waste UI space (to the pain of lack of overview and more essential info) :
Fig 3. Example of how to “ShrinkUISurface” Enough context info (underlined) is still there :
Fix this. Just do it. On Monday, not on Tuesday.
And who am I to say this? Well, I designed a 10+ million dollar ERP system with the explicit requirement that users would also understand the UI Apart from being able to use it while having overview of all relevant info at all times, and without any silly flickering of windows and context all the time. (and no, it’s NOT about sticking only to “Windows standard” etc, it’s about overview and relevant info onscreen, at all times). So, make sure relevant stuff is “at rest” before your eyes at all times.
And I didn’t go to any school to learn how to achieve such an UI, all I needed to know was the need for it. And I didn’t wait until Tuesday when I realized something was not good.
Just do it.
- I plan to add to this fix list as we go. And BTW, Bongo is fine, only the UI isn’t.
- Edit: Added § 1.5.
- Edit: Added Fig 3.