[Libreoffice] [UX] LO status bar annoyances

Sebastian Spaeth Sebastian at SSpaeth.de
Tue Nov 30 23:12:37 PST 2010

On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 22:31:44 +0100, Christoph Noack wrote:
Thanks, I am going to reply to this in 2 parts. One on the general
status bar part and one on the changed icon issue to keep them separated
and the mails readable.

> For example, the little '*' is mainly caused by the need for a very compact
> symbol - here, please think in 480px width.

Is there still a little *? I've never seen one in current LOs...

> Some more issues of the current design:
>       * The indicators mix information and invisible actions (click,
>         double-click for some surprise)
>       * Information is shown by hiding it (document changed status,
>         document signed status)
>       * It misses charm with all its "INSRT", "BLK" and "STD" (And, when
>         the block selection has been introduced, the menu has been
>         changed to introduce a bit more clutter, sigh.)
>       * It looks very dated and cluttered

That is a nice summary. If you add to it: 

  * Actions are launched by clicking on empty areas (related to hiding
  * Not only missing charm, but also missing helpful tooltips. And an
    easy link to the help page. And the help page's text is awful :).
  * It provides access to some IMHO rarely used functionalities where I
    would love to see other things in that space. Has the
    UI project collected data on how often people *intentionally* :-)
    changed from INSERT to OVERWRITE mode?

> Concerning the "dated look": The OOo guys reworked the status bar to
> remove some of the lines and boxes. Here is some discussion [1], and the
> issue [2].

As for [2], the removing of "group boxes", I would agree to remove the
apparently automatic and unavoidable insertation of them. I do think it
makes sense to be able to specify "separators" manually in the .xml file
where it makes sense, just as we do with menus nowadays.
> Concerning the weird information representation: Within the discussions
> of the "new" zoom slider, I started to add ideas how to rework the
> status bar. Today, I would have done it a bit different, but maybe it's
> interesting for you to look at antique (3 years old) data :-) [3]

Thanks for the shot, the zoom slider is actually the one thing I use
more often and which I am quite happy with. Naively, I would say you
don't need + and - buttons if you have the slider available. I could
also do away with the percentage number as long as I have the mark at
the 100% zoom level as a visual aid.

> You may notice, that the selection modes thing has been changed, and
> that all the items in the status bar got their own visual symbol to
> improve the representation. I also added "no outline level" ("Keine
> Gliederungsebene") to teach the user what the slot is used for (today,
> it is empty). This might have helped to reduce the hazzles one could
> read today on the TDF discuss list [4].

I kind of like the selection icons, what I do *not* like is that a) now
4 buttons occupy space for a rarely used function and b) there is no
visual aid as to what these do (the icons look a bit like they could
perform some alignment at first glance), so I'd propose to put the
currently selected icon in *one* button, which pops up all 4 modes in a
vertical row with a "Selection Mode" header (and a link to the help
entry) above it all.

> but we should be careful to remove something which had been
> intentionally added by Microsoft some years ago.

If we talk about being inspired by Microsoft, I would love to ditch some
items for a permanent word count as I've seen in MS Office 2010. Much
more useful status information.

To sum up my mail item: To do away with lots of my frustration we would:
- Not have inconsistent click-double click behavor
- Lose *some* of the separators/group boxes and don't reserve the space
when the status icon is not shown.
- Don't launch actions clicking on apparently empty space, or show
tooltips there.
- Either do away, or give some more clue as to what Selection Mode is.
- Change the icon of the "changed indicator" (but I will elaborate on

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 197 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/libreoffice/attachments/20101201/0cea4b8c/attachment-0001.pgp>

More information about the LibreOffice mailing list