Visual filters menu: Approaching unusability

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This post has 23 Replies | 3 Followers

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 22 2016 6:23 PM

In keeping with comments I made here, let me make some similar comments about the out-of-control visual filters menu.

Here's what I see when I click the visual filters button:

Notice how small the scroll bar thumb is, an indication of how far down I might have to scroll depending on what I want to do.

Here's the same menu scrolled all the way to the bottom:

Does anyone else find it ironic that when I press the visual filters button I have to scroll to the bottom to access... visual filters?

If I may make two observations leading to a suggestion. First, I think the item groups within this menu can be organized into higher-level groups; e.g. community-related features (notes & tags), textual (discourse, etc.), documents (reading plans, passage lists, etc.). Second, there is a lot of horizontal space for buttons to the right of the visual filters tool button (in my screen shot, to the right of the "multiple resources" button. Each of those higher-level groups could have its own button, which would make interacting with the menu that appears significantly simpler.

Other suggestions:

- Allow the menu to be resized, and remember the new size.

- Allow community features to be completely disabled in "Settings" so that they don't even show up in this menu.

Once again, I love Logos. If I'm coming across harshly, I apologize that I'm not better able to express myself. I do think that usability improvements in these key areas will benefit everyone. But I've been wrong before (quite recently, in fact ;).

Donnie

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2016 7:12 PM

I agree that this menu can get quite crowded. What I have found work best is to collapse all the categories. This makes it a little easier to use.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2016 11:15 PM

Donnie Hale:
Does anyone else find it ironic that when I press the visual filters button I have to scroll to the bottom to access... visual filters?

While I strongly agree with you on the Context Menu, I don't find this menu problematic because I always keep it compressed except for the thread containing the filter I'm turning on/off.

And I apparently use the term "visual filter" more broadly than you so it doesn't surprise me that system provided filters precede user created filters. This seems to be consistent throughout the system.However, from the forums, I see a significant problem with the visual filters - users not recognizing and having no "key" the highlighting from searches, corresponding x's ... some sort of "key" would be high on my priority list.

As there are only 7 items in the menu when collapsed, I need to be convinced that further hierarchy would gain more than it loses for requiring an additional click ... so please convince me ... maybe I'll understand your concerns more accurately.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 3:57 AM

I agree with MJ. Just collapse the features you don't need:

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 6:08 AM

Mark Barnes:
I agree with MJ. Just collapse the features you don't need:

I don't know how you only have 6 groups, but I have probably 20. I do keep all groups that I'm not dealing with collapsed. It's still unusable. Part of what makes it unusable is the non-understandable apparently default behavior where unexpected items within rarely used groups are selected when a new tab is opened. That forces you to expand the groups to find out what's enabled. I'd much prefer the default behavior be that every tab opens with none of the filters enabled.

So, despite two of the most experienced Logos users and prolific forum posters disagreeing with me, I'm standing my ground. ;) At the very least, make the menu resizable and persist that size.

Donnie

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 6:51 AM

Donnie Hale:
I don't know how you only have 6 groups, but I have probably 20

Please post a screenshot so we can understand the groups you are seeing

Like Mark I only have six.

EDIT: Sorry Donnie I see you posted screenshots at the top of the thread. But I think that still just shows seven top-level groups (the additional one is for your reading plan)

Posts 1886
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 7:07 AM

Graham Criddle:
But I think that still just shows seven top-level groups (the additional one is for your reading plan)

The visual filters list I am working from is from my multiview window, which is essentially my main window for study. You can see a few differences between my list and Mark's from the screenshots I've already posted. Others include Discourse Greek, Discourse Hebrew, Community Tags... I don't remember them all, and I'm not in front of my Logos PC right now.

While I agree that if I only ever saw six groups, things would not be nearly as bad, I would still argue that the usability could be improved. Some common questions in the forums are answered by pointing people to the visual filters menu, and the reason that is a question is because it's not obvious that most of those groups are properly "visual filters."

Donnie

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 8:10 AM

Donnie Hale:
The visual filters list I am working from is from my multiview window, which is essentially my main window for study. You can see a few differences between my list and Mark's from the screenshots I've already posted. Others include Discourse Greek, Discourse Hebrew, Community Tags... I don't remember them all, and I'm not in front of my Logos PC right now.

But your visual filters in the screenshot aren't collapsed. You need to click the little arrows to collapse them, then you'll be down to five to seven groups.

Posts 1886
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 10:27 AM

Mark Barnes:
You need to click the little arrows to collapse them, then you'll be down to five to seven groups.

I already addressed this. In my screenshots, they're expanded. But normally I keep them collapsed. Collapsing a group doesn't delete it, though. My count is of top-level items, whether or not they are collapsible (e.g. Community Tags) or whether or not they are collapsed at the moment (e.g. Corresponding Words). If I counted all the individual items when a group is expanded, I'd be in the hundreds (e.g. from passage list documents and notes documents).

Donnie

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Eli Evans (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 10:34 AM

Donnie, we agree the VF menu is outgrowing its britches and we're looking at updating it soon. (The main area of discussion revolves around whether we should split it into multiple menus, or pursue some other strategy.) It's a similar problem to the Context Menu -- the cup overfloweth.

In the meantime, it's better to use the "Find" filter than to try and scroll through 100s of document titles. At least, that's what I find in my own use.

Posts 1886
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 10:41 AM

Eli Evans:
In the meantime, it's better to use the "Find" filter than to try and scroll through 100s of document titles.

Thanks for the reply, Eli. I know that Find is intended for that purpose - similar to "Find" when picking which resources should be searched when doing a search. Unfortunately, because I had to take one hand off my keyboard to use the mouse to click the visual filters button, using Find requires me to move my hand back to the keyboard; and once I get a narrowed list of options, I have to go back to the mouse to make my actual selections. I'm not a keyboard-only purist - the challenge is the back-and-forth to interact with the menu.

Also, I don't always remember all the items that aren't visible due to scrolling... ;)

Thanks again,

Donnie

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 12:31 PM

I wonder if an inspector model - inspired by Pages etc on a mac might be a good idea?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 12:41 PM

Eli Evans:
(The main area of discussion revolves around whether we should split it into multiple menus, or pursue some other strategy.)

I'd not be in favorite of multiple menus as I am most often in the menus to turn something off and often don't know what it is that is on. It's annoying enough to discover that it is not here but a search panel I forgot to close ... to have to look at multiple menus could really get annoying.

OT the thing that drives me crazy is that speaker and address are separated by such a distance.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 2:21 PM

Donnie Hale:

Mark Barnes:
You need to click the little arrows to collapse them, then you'll be down to five to seven groups.

I already addressed this. In my screenshots, they're expanded. But normally I keep them collapsed. Collapsing a group doesn't delete it, though. My count is of top-level items, whether or not they are collapsible (e.g. Community Tags) or whether or not they are collapsed at the moment (e.g. Corresponding Words). If I counted all the individual items when a group is expanded, I'd be in the hundreds (e.g. from passage list documents and notes documents).

But I don't understand how you have 20 groups when I only have 6. What are your extra groups? (Most of the ones you mentioned are sub-groups of "Resource".)

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 3:02 PM

Mark Barnes:
But I don't understand how you have 20 groups when I only have 6. What are your extra groups? (Most of the ones you mentioned are sub-groups of "Resource".)

OK. My mistake. I have 7, the extra one being reading plans. I don't think I ever noticed or considered collapsing "Resources" because that is my second-most used group, after Visual Filters itself. If I constantly had to collapse/expand it, it would make it even worse than it is now. ;)

In any case, Eli has acknowledged that it is unwieldy (my word, but fair I think). Hopefully they will address it in a straightforward way that supports core workflows, vs. trying to be clever. For this issue (as well as the context menu), I'd prefer local optimization of the 20% of (my ;) workflows.

Donnie

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Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 9:05 PM

Donnie Hale:

Does anyone else find it ironic that when I press the visual filters button I have to scroll to the bottom to access... visual filters?

I COMPLETELY agree !! I have suggestions multiple times that we have TWO visual filter icons. There is plenty of room in the header area for another filter icon, and then one can be for our own items (notes, VF we have created, etc) and the other could be for Logos native VFs, like community notes and such. 

I really think TWO Visual Filter icons is the best solution to the overcrowding we are seeing. 

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 9:43 PM

Myke Harbuck:
I really think TWO Visual Filter icons is the best solution to the overcrowding we are seeing. 

I understand the logic but I strongly dislike the idea because there is no way looking at a highlight to know which icon to look under. I'm very much of the one function - one place to find it school.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 56
Joel Ingram | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2016 10:40 PM

Can Logos build in a user specific monitor to prioritize (i.e., guess) filter categories. For example, could it see that I most often use/modify filter "x" and rarely use filter "y"... and either place filters "X- z" (sorry didn't start with a good letter) under VF icon 1 and "a-f" under VT icon 2 (if split)...or just "X-f" if all under one VF icon. This way - they'd be accessible - and - prioritized by frequency of use. just an idea.

Posts 1886
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 5:59 AM

MJ. Smith:
I'm very much of the one function - one place to find it school.

I'm not sure I agree with your premise - that it is one function.There are numerous functions which change what is displayed in an open Word document, but they're not all accessed via a single button.

In any event, if they want to keep it as "one place to find it", then they either need to make certain items disable-able (e.g. all the community stuff); or perhaps they could go to some kind of ribbon-like UI so that it's one location but more accessible.

Donnie

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 12:17 PM

Donnie Hale:
There are numerous functions which change what is displayed in an open Word document, but they're not all accessed via a single button.

True but aren't they always visually distinguishable?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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