I have been reluctant to comment very much about RM9’s new features until I have time to investigate them thoroughly. The only general comment I would make is that the new features all appear to be important improvements that I will use extensively, but that RM9 still feels very clicky and hard to use as compared to RM7. I shall have to see how much improvement I see in RM9’s usability as compared to RM8. That will have to be determined over time. But I very much applaud all the new features in RM9.
In the mean time, I wanted to commend one subtle aspect of one of RM9’s new features. Namely, I want to commend the appearance of the new screen for the main Tools tab. It’s in a nice vertical list as such lists should be and it’s extremely well organized. I offer a screen shot of it, even though you can see it for yourself if you have installed RM9. And I offer a screen shot of a couple other screens that I find very hard to use - namely, the screen for the main Files tab and the screen for the main Publish tab.
I don’t know how to describe the style of the screen for the main Publish tab and the main Files tab, but I find both screens and any other RM screens in that style to be very had to use. Both of the screens I’m talking about would benefit enormously by being reorganized along the same lines as the screen for the new main Tools tab.
The only additional suggestion I might make for the screen for the new Tools tab is that it is so long that it needs scrolling. To that end, I think it would be helpful if each main section could be collapsed and uncollapsed by clicking on a little arrow head in the title of the section. This would be like the sections of the Sources panels in Edit Person that can be collapsed. The difference would be that RM collapses the Source panels in Edit Person even when I don’t want it to do so. So my suggestion for the new screen for the main Tools tab is that the panels should only collapse and uncollapse when the user does it, and RM should never do it for them. And the panels should remain in a collapsed or uncollapsed state even when RM is shut down and started back up.
Excellent idea. I endorse it. I have one other suggestion. If they are not collapsible, at least indent the choices under each heading. The first time I saw the screen, I wasn’t sure what was going on. Why were some lines in color and some not? It took a few minutes to figure out the color lines were headings or section dividers.
I believe you made the same comment regarding the layout of the File and Publish pages in RM8. I disagreed with you then and I disagree now. I like the horizontal line of the option buttons; it is more pleasing to my eyes than a simple list. I agree that the expanded tools tab is easy to use, however, on first open, I find all the white space on the right quite jarring.
In my opinion there is all kinds of jarring whitespace, not only that which you mention but in places such as the various settings window among others. I have been arguing against it since the advent of RM8. It is one of the major reasons why I won’t use RM8 or 9 for my main work.
It’s funny in a way. Even though we disagree on the basic concept of which layout style is easiest to use, I actually agree with you about the initial white space on the right being jarring. When I first saw it, I wondered if there was anything productive that could be displayed there until and unless you had selected an option on the panel that would cause the white space on the right being populated. I couldn’t think of anything.
An additional problem for me with the horizontal layout of the Publish page is that it contains a recent list that doesn’t remotely look like a recent list and which is not labeled as a a recent list. The recent list is just mixed in with everything else. In any case, because the contents of the recent list can change, the location of items on the page can move around. To me, that makes them hard to find in horizontal mode. Don’t move my cheese. A vertical recent list that’s labeled as a recent list and for which the order changes based on which is most recent is fine. No cheese has been moved inappropriately.
An additional problem for me with the horizontal layout of the File page is that the Tools option results in another horizontal page listing the tools. I don’t like the horizontal layout (as we agree to disagree on!), but if the horizonal layout is going to be used on the File page and its subordinate Tools page, the Tools page shouldn’t even exist because all the Tools options would fit very nicely on the same page without the extra level of drill down. They still could be grouped together and they still could be labeled as Tools.
Yes, this has made me wonder since day one. It’s not bad or anything, just different style.
So my thought is this. It’s like some of these pages function like a dropdown used to because the icons are on the side. I guess that got them away from the ‘microsoft word’ type theme.
But I keep thinking… something else can be going on under this info that I can be looking at or doing (as if we still had the dropdowns). But I also think that’s because we are used to certain program styles.
Now an Enhancment request for the new, RM9, Tools Menue tab.
Please consider making any the entries in this tab double clickable in addition to the Click+Run button. This will help recover some of the lost time and motion of the heavy click counts introduced in RM8.
Also, my similar reoccurring request, while at it, please also make the results of Count Trees double Clickable.
What a wonderful idea! It would save a click. More importantly, it would save a lot of extra mouse movement. Some of the excess clickiness of RM8 and RM9 over RM7 actually is extra mouse movement in addition to the extra clicks. This screen is prime example. Also, you should be able to scroll up and down the list of tools with the keyboard and launch the various tools with the Enter key. Keyboard access is required for Accessibility.
Unfortunately, a few of the tools would require some minor redesign because they require a bit of setup before they can run or they include a warning message. So the setup or warning message would for these tools would need to be moved off the main screen and would appear after the double click.
Here’s a summary of the tools that have these issues.
Rearrange Children - warning message before running
Rearrange Spouses - warning message before running
Delete Everyone In A Group - setup required and warning message before running
Combine And Manipulate Groups - setup required before running
Change Fact Type For Everyone - setup required and warning message before running
Remove A Fact Type For Everyone - setup required and warning message before running
Many of the tools not in the list above have warning messages or require setup, but such warning messages or setup occurs after you are in the tool, not before. So essentially all warning messages and setup would need to take place after the tool is launched and not before. It’s curious that some of the tools work one way and other of the tools work the other way.
I’m very pleased to have the new Tools tab as a separate and well organized function, but just a little tweaking could make the new Tools tab even better.