V4 GUI improvement by offering more freedom of panel placement

Georg D shared this idea 13 months ago
Completed

In a nutshell: Please allow spacial customization of panel to make functions easier to reach by thumb during one handed usage. Could become redundand if "alternate menu panel" can be opened not only by side panel button (see https://help.locusmap.eu/topic/28030-alternate-menu-panel-questions-concerning-usage-and-settings).


Currently, all side panel content is at very bottom and very right. I am a tall man with big hands. For me, reaching the bottom right of the screen with the thumb is a very uncomfortable & cumbersome thumb movement during one handed use of the mobile – especially when I need a really firm grip (e.g. while hiking or on a boat) and thus my thumb's base is at the device's edge at ⅓ to ½ of the device's length, so far away from the bottom right corner where bottom+side panel are "magnetically attracted" to. You can see it in the video. Thus, v4 is not an improvement in ergonomics/usability for me compared to side panel of v3 which was attracted to top right – so most of its content was easy to reach, while now, most panel conent is hard to reach.


To really improve ergonomics for all hand sizes plus for 1 as well as 2 handed operation, I would like to


  • have a empty bottom menu ending below the big "center view" button, so I can see the map instead a useless (because empty) menu band
  • freely decide at which point in device's length the side panel shall be centered (or, if it's easier to join with current implementaion, to which y coordinate it is attracted to / it starts from). So instead of always bottom in v4 and always top in v3, I could choose ½ or ⅔ of device's length, measured from bottom.
  • freely decide how many columns the side panel has instead of a fixed width of 1. This reduces the heigth (top & bottom of a tin long bar are hard to reach) while increasing the width (moving to the middle which is easy to reach)

An alternative would be a positions manager for freely distributing buttons across the screen, as mentioned in https://help.locusmap.eu/topic/make-the-bottom-panel-more-customisable#comment-14206 – which would IMHO be pretty simple to implement: Just make all function buttons selectable in the dashbaord editor 😎


A mockup of the current and my personal future layout that brings all buttons within easy reach of my thumb:519783225a324661b61f248190b61bbc

Please note the zoom buttons + and - are by intention not at the very bottom and by intention a little more to the left, because that position is much easier to reach by thumb. You can see that in the video.

Yes, I am aware that it looks not as elegant as current layout, but it is much more ergonomic. Same as with shoes – elegant high heels are usually not chosen for activity/walking but for sitting and not using them 😉

Centering & zoom buttons color in the "Light mode" (for best visiblity)

  • White, current solution
    3
    27%
  • Dark, semi-transparent like other panels
    8
    73%
Total: 11 votes
Best Answer
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@Menion: Thank you, now I understood it's "Completed" because you went through my 3 points and implemented what you see fitting to the overall UI approach. FYI, "Partial auto-hide" is not exactly what I wanted: While it causes a layout as desired by me, it does so only while hiding mode is on, i.e. only while I do "nearly nothing" – as soon as I become active and double tap the map to interact with side panel, the bottom panel has full size as if it was filled while it is in fact empty.


Still hoping dashboard approach will be taken and one handed usability will finally become really comfortable 🙂 after it became already a little less uncomfortable in the course of this topic.

Replies (9)

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Georg, I wish I could add +10 for # votes. I've mentioned a few (many) times on similar topics. I find some LM4 ergonomics a backward step compared to LM3, and the closer spacing, lower contrast of the zoom buttons very problematic with gloves hands or even fat fingers. Menion added some "ignore" space between these buttons but I never found it an improvement. Why so close together??

Your idea mockup could be refined even further to optimize screen space:

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Unlike buttons on the other panels, it is not possible to increase the size of the bottom buttons - /locus/config.cfg dev_gui_main_rescale_value=1.2 is ignored

Another idea: offer "blank" button(s) which could be used as a "spacer(s)" between functional buttons. I did have a help topic on this subject from many years ago, but lost amongst 1000's, and the help "search" system is very rudimentary.

other related topic https://help.locusmap.eu/topic/25808-add-zoom-buttons-to-list-of-function-panel-buttons

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Andrew, your reply shows perfectly that one standard layout won't satisfy everyone – you'd prefer the zoom buttons to move more to the bottom right to increase padding (useful during glove useage), while that position is exactly what I do not want. Both of us would find satisfaction if button placement was more flexible/customizable.


I like both of your ideas, so to add the zoom buttons (like in v3) as well as "blank spacers" (which is an already existing feature but in dashboards only) to the available elements of the button panel. I never really understood why some functions appear only in dashboard, some in quick settings, some in button panels,... because in the end, all of them are icons that do trigger some action if the prerequisites are met (e.g. GPS signal exists), so why not having all icons available in all customizable GUI elements?

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>I never really understood why some functions appear only in dashboard

>some in quick settings, some in button panels

just one developer trying to satisfy competing voices with limited resources?

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Hi guys,

I do not like these UI tasks too much to be true. They have two big issues

  • its complexity grows with the complexity of the existing screen (and the main app screen is already really really complex)
  • you can never satisfy everyone as you correctly mentioned

---

So, what may I do for you now?

  • firstly, did you try to reverse the screen layout in "Controlling > Panels & Buttons > Left-handed control"?
  • I also added an option to choose if the side panel should be aligned to the bottom or centered! Will be in the same settings screen in the next app version.

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Permanent reduction of the bottom panel, two vertical functions panels etc. are nice, but these changes are major and may take a few days to implement properly while keeping the existing system working. This will have to wait on the next generation of the Locus Map, sorry.

So is there anything simpler (I know, only myself may say if this is really simple to implement) that may help a lot? Are zoom buttons in the function panel that thing? Anything else?

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Thanks Menion. Only 3+6 votes, so I assume >99% of people are quite happy with current UI. I checked the left-handed setting, but still other buttons are as close to the two Zoom buttons. Centered side panel doesn't address my issue... my main issue has always been in comparison with LM3 - the LM4 Zoom buttons are now more difficult to reliably tap while riding because, they are 1) closer to each other 2) smaller 3) less contrast in sunlight.

I can't add anything to my previous post but only repeat sorry, Zoom buttons in a function panel could mean 1) wider spacing 2) larger tap area 3) better contrast 4) less wasted space.

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@Andrew Heard

> Only 3+6 votes, so I assume >99% of people are quite happy with current UI.

IMHO that is a false conclusion: 1) The vast majority of people is simply not creating an help desk account, searching for issues and voting. Even if they suffer, they raise their voice to friends only, or they switch applications. 2) The search of this helpdesk system is so bad I do not even find topics I know they exist 🙄 3) Votes are scattered across many related topics.

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@Menion:

> firstly, did you try to reverse the screen layout in "Controlling > Panels & Buttons > Left-handed control"?


Yes. The upper half of the side panel is not reachable any more, and the controls in bottom corner (map selection, 3-lines-menu, center to GPS position,...) are so much in bottom right it's really uncomfortable to reach them by thumb in one-handed-usage.


> I also added an option to choose if the side panel should be aligned to the bottom or centered!


In v4.10.0 the side panel in alignment center is slightly better for me: For two handed usage, the buttons become better reachable than clashed to the bottom 🙂 In one handed usage, the lower half of buttons are still too near the bottom right for comfortable thumb operation 😐 so I continue to push as many as possible to "alternate menu panel".


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> Permanent reduction of the bottom panel, two vertical functions panels etc. are nice, but these changes are major and may take a few days to implement properly while keeping the existing system working.


Just to avoid misunderstanding: The existing side panel can auto-grow/shrink depending on amount of buttons added to it, so I assumed the current library would make it trivial to make bottom panel wide/small depending on =1 or >1 buttons in it (1 button is always existing: The 3-lines-menu). Currently, when bottom bar is empty, it hides the map & looks like unintentional (see screenshot above), while suggested look (see "idea" in my initial post) shows more map and looks "desired".


> So is there anything simpler (I know, only myself may say if this is really simple to implement) that may help a lot?


Yes. If it is simple to make all buttons available as controls in dashboard editor instead of restricting some buttons to the side/bottom panel and others to quick settings panel, that would allow every single user to massively adapt the layout to his/her individual needs: Different screen sizes and proportions, different phone holders overlapping different parts of the screen, different text & button sizes from tiny to huge (gloves or strong vibrations like on a dirt bike), different layouts for different contexts/uses, different colors & icons for different lighting conditions and tastes,... With that, you could satisfy IMHO nearly everyone without needing more and more UI settings – thus, the approach is limiting the complexity. Of course, the dashboard editor will be used much more and thus some requests for improvement are to be expected (e.g. quicker switch between different dashboards or in dashboard editor textual search for control name), but as that feature is existing for many years, it is in principle mature.

Best regards, Georg

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2

Hello Georg,

thanks for the detailed description. The dashboard is a big topic in the second half of this year and I'll most probably spending a lot of time on it. Because there already exists an option to add active buttons (track recording control), it may be probably doable and also support the full range of functions > same as with "Function panels". I'll definitely think about it.

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Hi guys,

in the recent 4.10 version was introduced an option to align the side functions panel in the middle (a little step back to v3 version ...).

I was thinking it should be enough, but today I've decided to add one more help, mainly to the zoom system, so in the next app version will be also an option to increase the size of zoom buttons as visible on the screenshot. Hope this helps.

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Jiří M. aka Menion

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nice, although zoom buttons still frustratingly close together

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@menion in your screen shot the theme is dark right? I like the high contrast (dark) of the zoom buttons, but overall prefer the light colour theme elsewhere. Impossible combination @ present.

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I do not really understand why this topic is marked as "Completed" 🤷‍♂ I – as the original author – can not yet place the buttons in a way that they are comfortable to reach for me in one handed usage. Hence, I simply hope the topic stays visible for the dev team despite it's marked as "completed"

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Currently only the map screen Center Map & Zoom buttons are affected by the Dark Theme setting i.e. all other buttons & panels always have a fixed dark background. Could the Zoom buttons at least follow or allow the same convention i.e. fixed dark background, independent of the Dark Theme setting? Dark buttons on a light themed map provide better daylight contrast - as demonstrated @menion on your own screen capture!

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Hello guys,

@GeorgD

the bottom panel visibility may be set to "Partial auto-hide" that do exactly what you need. I've also created an option to center side function panel to the middle of the screen. And the last points > multiple columns for the side function panel is something, I do not agree with so this won't change.


@Andrew Heard

good point with the color. I'll think about it.

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@Menion: Thank you, now I understood it's "Completed" because you went through my 3 points and implemented what you see fitting to the overall UI approach. FYI, "Partial auto-hide" is not exactly what I wanted: While it causes a layout as desired by me, it does so only while hiding mode is on, i.e. only while I do "nearly nothing" – as soon as I become active and double tap the map to interact with side panel, the bottom panel has full size as if it was filled while it is in fact empty.


Still hoping dashboard approach will be taken and one handed usability will finally become really comfortable 🙂 after it became already a little less uncomfortable in the course of this topic.

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3

Hmm right, you are of course correct with the behavior of the bottom panel.

To be true, I'm slowly starting to like an idea to add any possible function into dashboard :). As I wrote in other places, dashboard is my big topic on second half of this year so I'll for sure keep this in my mind ... thanks for understanding!

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I really like the dark color of the larger zoom buttons - far better contrast in 4.10.0.8. Very subjective, so I hope there are not lots of negative comments about the change, voting for a reversal.

A fully customizable dashboard (implying zoom buttons where desired) sounds awesome.

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