Make alternate menu panel accessible via gesture and support secondary actions
This idea evolved from https://help.locusmap.eu/topic/28030-alternate-menu-panel-questions-concerning-usage-and-settings which is referred several times by "my point <number>"
Make the alternate menu panel also accessible via thumb gesture on the map screen, and support context/secondary actions of the buttons as already existing in side/bottom/top panels (e.g. long press on "points" allows to hide all). IMHO, that would make the alternate menu panel a great alternative to side/bottom/top panels and solve several issues at once, strengthening the advantages of Locus v4 over v3:
- using gesture, alternate menu could be called at any position on screen, while side/bottom/top panels are fixed to a pre-defined corner which causes ergonomic issues like sketched in https://help.locusmap.eu/topic/28029-v4-gui-improvement-by-offering-more-freedom-of-panel-placement and other topics – which are currently considerably (because the panels are so heavily used) reducing the power of the argument "switch to v4 because of the reworked GUI".
This would make my point 2b redundant.
- A point only important for following points and to show alternate menu has no downsides: alternate menu is floating, thus as much display space as possible is available for map, and it can be closed immediately on request in multiple ways (see my point 4) – so it's on par with auto-hiding side/bottom/top panels (show/hide with 2 taps). Also, the same actions can be added to both types of panels.
- alternate menu buttons are big by default, so easy to use with gloves, thick fingers, when your body is shaken (e.g. bike/bus/car on bad road) – to have side/bottom/top panels big, you need to somehow figure out you can add a certain line to a certain configuration file. So the hurdle to have big buttons becomes much lower, v4 becomes again a little more user friendly than v3.
- with pie menu approach, one single, uninterrupted finger movement can be made sufficient to bring up the alternate menu and trigger any of the actions and also it's context/secondary actions (my point 1) – while this is 2 taps plus wait plus finger movement plus tap [plus release plus move plus tap for secondary actions] for side/bottom/top panels when auto-hide is on (only then, comparison is fair concerning map space).
- with pie menu approach, you can trigger an action without even one look at the screen – nearly impossible with side/bottom/top panels. As you can now watch the street while operating Locus, Locus is less often causing to interrupt/pause your activity.
- All of this works fine if we continue – as Menion suggested – with 8 buttons. But there's the potential to add a setting that allows configuring the number of tiles. If we added that setting:
Default value would be 8: For backward compatibility. For support of hardware controllers. As a meaningful, intuitive starting point (everyone knows 8 directions from keyboard number block, joystick / game controller, chess, navigation prompts,...)
A setting of 4 is helpful if users have low accuracy input, e.g. a simple hardware controller supporting only vertical+horizontal but no diagonal movement, or user's body/hand is shaken thus gestures are low accuracy.
A setting of more than 8 for people that only use gestures and no hardware controller which restricts to 8. More than 8 proved to work fine with gestures over ~20 years, so we could "stand on the shoulders of giants" by looking how browser plugins solved it (4 different approaches come to my mind: circle is divided into more segments, iterative pie menu with primary & secondary circle, alternating between several circle definitions by different triggers/starts of gesture, context sensitive change of actions).
- gestures are one of the more modern interaction concepts, strengthening the coolness factor of Locus 4 😉
What investment would be needed?
- For main benefit, Locus map display must watch for a finger gesture to call the alternate menu, and we'd nee to document & promote that new possibility. To me, that seems to be merely an extension of existing stuff (Locus already perceives gestures like double tapping the map etc).
- For extended benefit, my point 1, i.e. support the already existing secondary actions also in alternate menu, either only via pie gesture, or also by right tapping, or both. To me, that sounds trivial, because all needed stuff already exists in Locus.
- For extended benefit, we'd need to add 1 setting with integer value (how many tiles?), and inside alternate menu panel, we'd need the logic to show as many tiles as configured in settings. To me, that sounds trivial.
If 1st named aproach is implemented, nothing more.
If 2nd is implemented, a piece of logic to arrange the tiles within alternate menu panel.
If 3th is implemented, inside alternate menu panel, a toggle, checkbox or tabs so user can switch between the different circles to define the actions.
If 4th is implemented, either some brainstorming which actions shall know which contexts, or some way for the user to choose/configure.
- Potentially, users may request another setting to customize the gestures. For that, we can benefit from ~20years of gesture configuration experience as written above.
Now, it's up to Locus team to evaluate whether you'd like to go for it or not 🙂 And it's up to other users to vote, extend, refine, find room for improvment, etc. 🙂