Posted 05 September 2009 - 12:47 AM
With this, I was trying to put together a rough mockup of something that was a little more Os X like. I hacked together stuff from several locations, and that is why it is not the best. My basic idea is to make the window look more like a leopard textured window with tabs. In addition to that, I would just like to see some of the clutter cleaned up a bit. There are to many things that take my eyes away from the text as many of the UI elements stand out quite a bit. A window style that looks more like the Leopard Finder, in window texture and button style would make the UI elements a little less conspicuous and would make it easier for me to concentrate on the text.
The color of the window content is a light gray color (which I think is the default color for a window background in Os X such as with the background color of the ruler in TextEdit). The problem is when such colorful and high contrast elements get placed on top of that. Additionally, many of the elements are large and take up a lot of screen real estate, which makes them stand out all the more.
What would help make it so much cleaner would be to add a toolbar similar to the standard toolbar layout of os x programs (finder, mail, itunes, etc). Instead of word based buttons ("Words", "Verses", "Details"), less obtrusive icons that represent the function they have will make them look cleaner. This look is much nicer with bottom tabs, instead of top tabs. It is the difference between the tabs in Opera browser vs those of Safari. Safari looks cleaner because the toolbar and the tabs flow together without the disjointed space.
To me tabs do not represent static vs no-static content, but rather the function that I am trying to do. I have a gmail web browser tab for checking my email. I have another one for checking for software updates. In the same way, I see that the tabs in Accordance represent what I am doing in that tab. I might have a dictionary tab, an english versions comparison tab, or a hebrew to lxx tab. The behavior and state of the toolbar is dependent on what tab I am in. If in tab one I did a search for Jesus, then "Jesus" would be in the search box. If in tab two, if I looked up logos in my lexicon, if would have logos (the greek letters of course), in the search box. I do not mean to change the current function of the Accordance tabs, just merely the layout. I say all of this about the tabs, David, because I do not quite understand your critique of up versus down facing tabs (in other words I have a thick skull).
Let me tell you the motivation behind why I suggest doing a little more work on the UI. I am not really a programmer, though I do program in a couple of interpreted languages. Cocoa and Carbon is a little beyond me, so I do not have a lot of room to talk. However, I do not really have graphical skills. I am better at programming than making a UI. I made the one I did by hashing a bunch of stuff together. Those things really come from the look and style of Leopard using standard Cocoa APIs. However, I do know when something does not look quite right. When I first say Accordance, I thought it was not a good piece of software because the UI needed some work. It was only after I looked at the demo and talked to one of my friends that I was convinced that it was worth purchasing. On the other hand, Logos for Mac has come out. I was torn between which to get. Logos looks like it is a better software because the UI is a lot cleaner and crisper. With all of the buttons and information in the Accordance window I was overwhelmed. With Logos, things are cleaner and looks a bit simpler. The problem is that Accordance is the better product as far as what it can do, but it does not look that way.
Let me make a little comparison. I am not sure if you are familiar with subversion. It is a way of developers to keep track of changes made to code. There are various programs out there that allow one to interact with subversion repositories. There is a real slick program called Versions, which has a beautiful and simple interface. It is a little expensive, but I really want it. I have another program called svnX, which does the same thing, but is also free. Seriously, they both do the same basic thing because they both use the same exact backend svn commands to do what they do. svnX actually allows you to do a little more, because it gives you more control. The problem is that svnX is an eyesore. Accordance is no where near as bad as svnX. The reason why Versions actually sells, is that it looks better even though it does the same thing. svnX might actually be a bit better as it allows for more flexibility and customization than Versions, but you would not know unless you were a super geek and made the interface yourself.
I do not want the same thing to happen with Accordance. It is such a wonderful and powerful tool (plus I can actually afford it). I would just like the UI to look more updated so that it does not look like an inferior app, even though it is superior. I think most of the current UI elements can exist, perhaps in a slightly different place, or with a slightly different design. The only thing I would axe would be the six up/down buttons. If you notice in my mockup, I kept all of the buttons, but put them somewhere different except the buttons for each module. I literally "drew" my mockup on top of a screenshot that I took of Accordance. The most I altered was in what I would call the toolbar, but you seem to call the control area (tomatoes, tomatoes).
Speaking of axes, do you think you could put the (Shift-10x) in a tooltip (help) popup bubble when hovering over the up/down arrows?
I really do not want to make it sound like I am coming down hard on this app. I know you guys have worked real hard on it for a long time. I am a newcomer to the world of accordance, and as such I just want to offer some friendly suggestions. I would prefer that you guys continue to make the functionality of the app better over making the UI better. If I have sounded abrasive, I apologize.
I really like how you have made it possible to change the display of the module text. Some people find it easier to read with white on black or other strange combinations, so this is a wonderful feature. Or as I saw in some of the demo videos, it can be made to look a little more like real paper. I also like the Library panel. It is well laid out and finding things is very simple. I like having things in drop down categories. What really sold me was the drag and drop sentence diagramming and the powerful search syntax.