[Libreoffice] [UX] LO status bar annoyances

Sebastian Spaeth Sebastian at SSpaeth.de
Tue Nov 30 23:16:49 PST 2010

Part 2 on the Changed icon part.

On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 22:31:44 +0100, Christoph Noack wrote:
> A solution should:
>       * just work
>       * be unobtrusive (don't catch attention if it isn't required,
>         don't waste space)
>       * be self-explanatory (if possible)

Ideally, we would not need that status bar and change the "Save" icon
depending on whether there are changes that can be saved or not
(e.g. overlay it with a yellow asterisk or so). I am one of the persons
that agree that the save button should always work. But that doesn't
mean that the save button cannot convey information on whether it is
currently sensible to do so. (Alternatively gray it out if unmodified,
but still allow it to be pressed). This would be my favorite
solution. Putting that aside, let's work on making the status bar icon
non-annoying, our ideas are pretty much the same.

> But the current solution isn't perfect, of course. Current issues:
>       * The extended help tip still mentions the '*' for a changed
>         document.

Right, tiny issue
>       * For unsaved documents, the normal tool tip mentions "The
>         document has not been modified since the last save." (Small
>         issue, may not be changed).
I don't have a problem with that, except that I have to mouse over an
apparently empty are to see that toolbar. Why not always have an icon
that changes appearance?

>       * The red "!" is indeed a bit strange considering the importance
>         of this message.
And is the main reason of my hate for the icon :). One example of how users
sometimes get hung up at very tiny unimportant details. ;)

>       * The icon does not communicate any behavioral difference - it is
>         just a status information, but looks very similar to the view
>         mode buttons etc.

I don't have a problem with that.

>       * The "double-click behavior" is inconsistent to all platforms I
>         know of. It may even be problematic for some users ...
>         personally, I would remove it.

You are not saying I can launch an action on that one, can you? /me
tries. Uhh, never thought of that. Interesting, but pretty much

Unfortunately, the discussion has pretty much gone in a direction that
suggests I want to do away with a "changed indication" completely, which
is not the case. My 2 main objections are:

 - the horrid exlamation mark icon (I see exclamation marks in my OS
 only in case of errors or other severe warnings, not for something I
 consider the default situation.
 - if unmodified, we reserve the space showing an empty area with group
 box separators.

Your concluding advice is pretty much congruent with what would do away
with my annoyance of the issue. See below:
> But how to address the issues you raised? My personal take:
>       * Keep the status indicator where it is (in the status bar)
Fine with me
>       * If the document is unmodified, add some very subtle document
>         shape. Then, there is a reason for showing a tool tip and the
>         "What's that?!" effect may be reduced.
Which would be great. Now, if we could remove the separator to the right
(which are more icons), that would even be greater, but require more
coding assume.

>       * For the modified document, reduce the "warning" level and -
>         maybe - just show a document icon with a yellow star in it. This
>         a) is similar to the old '*', and b) is used for to indicate new
>         documents on certain platforms.

Perfect. I had thought about a faint empty doc, versus a fat-bordered
doc with text in it, but you suggestion is much better, easier to
recognize and more in line with what other editors do.
> And, just a small intentional idea - what about adding a bit more value
> to this "feature". For example, add the "Document is modified. Saved XXX
> minutes ago." time to the tool tip. If things go wrong, people tend to
> look at their data files to know how long they have been working on this
> document - so discarding any changes might then be safe.

Would be a nice additional touch if we have that information.

> Well, I hope this helped anyhow ... I don't know :-)

It sure did.

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