Atlas UI on Mac needs major improvement IMHO

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Mar 1 2018 5:48 AM

So I tried to scroll around in the Atlas on a Mac, and I found it a totally unsatisfying experience because the gesturing on a trackpad is so inconsistent with other Mac apps and Apple accepted guidelines. Experienced Mac app users are going to hate interacting with this Atlas as the gesturing now sits, IMHO! Hopefully this can be changed during the beta cycle.

Normally I would use two fingers to scroll left and right on the map, to move around. I don't seem to be able to do that. See Apple user interface guidelines on continuous scrolling here:

https://developer.apple.com/macos/human-interface-guidelines/windows-and-views/scroll-views/ 

Also, pinching is somewhat of a standard to zoom in and out in the Mac OS world... I found that two finger swipe up and down zooms the map, but if this is used instead of pinching like other apps, then you have a conflict with easily moving around the map - I should be able to slide two fingers in any direction and the map moves there. Apple also recommends the use of pinching to zoom on a trackpad here:

https://developer.apple.com/macos/human-interface-guidelines/user-interaction/mouse-and-trackpad/

Note as a faulty by-product of using two finger swipe up/down to zoom, if as a user with other Mac apps, I try to move around the map by swiping LEFT or RIGHT, what I see is A LITTLE zooming - a by-product of the swipe up/down doing zooming. It took me quite a while to figure out what was going on - very confusing and non-standard!!!! I assumed swiping was how zooming worked, but I didn't know why the zooming was so tedious - then I discovered swipe up/down. Imagine also a user that is used to swiping down and up to move through their browser page or word processor document, now doing the same in the Atlas and seeing their screen zoom in or out in big jumps! This is really bad and inconsistent.

Note too, there are system preferences for the trackpad and mouse in Systems Preferences/Trackpad (and Mouse), and under System Accessibility Trackpad/Mouse (not sure why they are there) -- Apple suggests that if an app does not adhere to these user settings, it can be very confusing - in there, users have some options on how to do things like scrolling and zooming. I see evidence of those not being followed - some posts have already cropped up in here, asking for gesturing to be done in a certain way, that is their way - but not everyone's way - because in fact they have set gesturing in a particular way in their system preferences (or left it the standard way), and the Atlas doesn't adhere to their choices. Also, one of the user choices is, does swiping up move the displayed area Up or Down? The default on a Mac is actually that a swipe up moves the display area DOWN (imagine that your fingers are tracking to what position in the document you want to see, for example) - imagine the user confusion if Atlas does just the opposite!!

Here are some  relevant points from the same Human Interface Guidelines spec that I think the Atlas does NOT conform to:

In general, respond to gestures in a way that’s consistent with other apps. People expect most gestures to work the same throughout the system, regardless of the current app. On a system with a Force Touch trackpad, users expect apps to behave predictably and consistently when they force click a control to get more information or accelerate an action.

Avoid redefining systemwide, inter-app gestures.  Remember that users can customize the gestures for performing systemwide actions.

....and this note, which IMHO pertains to some of the gestures identified in the release notes:

Define custom gestures cautiously. A custom gesture can be difficult to discover and remember. If a custom gesture seems gratuitous or awkward to perform, people are unlikely to use it. If you must define a custom gesture, make sure it’s easy to perform and not too similar to the gestures users already know.

Thanks  - I really just want to move around the map or move quickly in and out, with gestures on the trackpad, as 95% of my personal map usage. I think if you do scrolling and zooming in non-standard ways on a Mac, new users will hate the Atlas because they can never get used to how to interact with it. If you want an example of user dissatisfaction about this, do an internet search on Google Maps on a Mac - they use for the most part all non-standard gesturing, and people HATE it in large numbers (and avoid using it whenever possible). 

Thanks for listening and considering!

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 2 2018 10:41 PM

Could someone from Faithlife respond here or in this thread?

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Adam Borries (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 6 2018 10:23 AM

Hi, Don, 

Thanks for your ideas, and sorry for the delay getting back to you. 

Don Awalt:
I really just want to move around the map or move quickly in and out, with gestures on the trackpad, as 95% of my personal map usage.

First of all, thanks for including what you really want. =) This is the most important part of a feature request, and it's usually the part that gets left out. People are often so eager to offer a solution, that they forget to clearly identify the problem they are trying to solve. 

Don Awalt:
I think if you do scrolling and zooming in non-standard ways on a Mac

I'm going to disagree that our controls are non-standard; scroll-wheel to zoom, and drag-to-pan are pretty standard across platforms, not custom controls. 

Having said that, you have a good point that there is room for Atlas to improve. In particular: 

  1. We should add support for pinch-to-zoom. I agree that this is the standard on both Mac OS and other platforms. 
  2. We should allow shift+scroll to pan, in addition to zooming on scroll (or possibly vice versa). 

I've filed these ideas, but our priority for now is to make sure there is no loss of functionality from the previous version of Atlas, and squash any bugs.  

Adam Borries | Product Manager, Logos desktop application

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 6 2018 11:05 AM

Adam Borries (Faithlife):
I'm going to disagree that our controls are non-standard; scroll-wheel to zoom, and drag-to-pan are pretty standard across platforms, not custom controls. 

Thanks for the reply Adam.

This comment really isn't complete - scroll wheel doesn't exist on a trackpad -- in fact newer Mac laptops don't even come with a mouse; many Mac users are trackpad only. On trackpad only Macs, zoom is by pinch, panning by two finger swiping. That is the part that is non-standard in Atlas. You can see that in the link to the UI guidelines I showed above:

Continuous scrolling Content scrolls as the user swipes the trackpad with two fingers...

This, and the setting for zoom/pan, are on the Trackpad settings panel in System preferences; that was the second link above.

I think where there is a disconnect is that Atlas may work fine on a mouse, but the UI is extremely cumbersome to trackpad users - I really wish you would present a Mac user with Atlas without instruction and watch them struggle to get the map to do anything, I have and it's not pretty and it's not a selling point to get Mac users interested in Logos. 

Thanks again for at least getting some improvements 'on the list'. I'll keep my eye out that this has been updated in future release notes so I can jump back in to using the Atlas, it looks like it has potential.

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Adam Borries (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 6 2018 11:25 AM

Don Awalt:
This comment really isn't complete - scroll wheel doesn't exist on a trackpad -- in fact newer Mac laptops don't even come with a mouse; many Mac users are trackpad only. On trackpad only Macs, zoom is by pinch, panning by two finger swiping.

I'm sorry, let me clarify. I was equating two-finger vertical swiping with a mouse scrollwheel. This action on a Mac trackpad scrolls in vertical documents, web pages, etc, so I consider it a suitable analogy. 

Personally, I use a MBP every day, but usually with a Magic Mouse, and only for the last two years; I admit I'm more of a Windows native. That's not to say that we don't have some dyed-in-the-wool Mac users around Faithlife-- but nonetheless, your perspective as a user in the wild is enormously valuable to us.  Thanks for taking the time to give us your experiences and thoughts. 

Adam Borries | Product Manager, Logos desktop application

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