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Author Topic: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design  (Read 9185 times)

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Offline IgorEliezer br

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I've just stumbled upon this video at BlenderNation blog, as well I've been having a lot of fight and anger to learn Blender and other open-source tools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYiiD-p2q80

Quote
@04:51
Bottom line: user-interface design guidelines are based on human psychology

Offline sdog

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 04:23:28 AM »
last time i tried blender it was indeed a little annoying. As the utility was low i ceased to try to use it.

(instead tried to get an antique version of SolidEdge to work under wine (without success). Finally resorted to pencil and paper.)

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2013, 04:52:33 AM »
Absolutely agree, blender is a nightmare to learn.  There are too many tools available in one area and poor to no documentation on what they do (even the tool tips have useless information).  I've spent hundreds of hours using it now and it took me a long time to get familiar with it.

But it's free... and powerful once you know what you're doing :)

Offline Ters

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 05:10:37 AM »
For me, Blender was the first 3D software I actually managed to do anything beyond creating a default sphere/cube/whatever. But that was with the previous user interface, before it became more similar to other 3D software and, according to them, more intuitive.

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 07:05:48 AM »
Absolutely agree, blender is a nightmare to learn.
Ironically, Blender UI improved a lot since 2.4x. It was like Dante's Inferno back then with tons and tons of tiny-bitty buttons everywhere, requiring mind-power to memorize where each darn function was. @.@



Today's UI is visually elegant and easy-looking, but the flow is not that good.

The good news: after this video, there's some movement to actually overhaul the interface (discussion). As expected, there are some resistance from older users and the discussion is in verge of getting into a flamewar... you know, spoiled Windows and CAD users and other mortals might corrupt the holiness of some stuff. XD
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 07:28:19 AM by IgorEliezer »

Offline ӔO

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 10:45:07 AM »
At the opposite end of blender is possibly sketchup.
A very intuitive and consistent GUI, great community extensions, but quite limited in features to make it very usable as a rendering tool.


---

Luckily, simutrans doesn't suffer from this UI problem as badly.

I wouldn't say simutrans is the easiest to learn at first, but at least it is largely consistent.
I guess the only place where there isn't a great deal of consistency is hotkeys between paksets, but I know that is being worked on already.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 01:40:20 PM »
Any thoughts on whether it might be easier to draw buildings in SketchUp and import them into Blender?  Looks like a bit of a bother, from this tutorial -- http://www.katsbits.com/tutorials/blender/import-google-sketchup-kmz-models.php -- thoughts?

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 07:30:57 AM »
Fixing Blender - Part 2: Going Deeper
Following up from Part 1, in this video we discuss the 4 remaining principles of usability: Feedback, Recover from Errors, Simplicity & Goal Oriented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIedljapuz0

« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 07:47:35 AM by IgorEliezer »

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 12:24:16 PM »
This is very interesting indeed, and I agree with this very well considered approach. Some of these ideas could be applied to Simutrans, too (especially about the software guiding users to faster ways of doing things - there should be automatic tooltip addons for all shortcut keys, for instance).

Offline prissi

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 09:37:53 PM »
Every tool has a tooltip, that is already in the current implementation. (werkzeug_t  has a get_tooltip() function).

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 09:47:09 PM »
These tooltips do not automatically give the appropriate shortcut key, however. It would be helpful if the shortcut key could be shown underneath the standard tooltip.

Offline Ters

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 09:51:00 PM »
But then there are the tools that don't have a button and therefore can't show any tooltips. These are pretty much the only hotkeys I know, because I have to know them to activate these tools. It was the same in Blender (it was the old UI then), only many many many more much more important tools.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 10:23:43 PM »
I think there are simply way too many things to build in simutrans for hotkeys to work effectively.

Then again, how about cycling through the available ways with a single hotkey?

Say, "1" brings up the railroad tools, then "tab" cycles through the available tools in that toolbar.
or while a toolbar is highlighted, mouse wheel cycles through the available tools, like tab does.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2013, 11:03:31 PM »
The fact that not everything has a shortcut key is rather none to the point: any tool that does not have a shortcut key can simply not display a shortcut key tooltip; but that does not mean that tools with a shortcut key should not display the relevant tooltip, or else how are users going to find out that, in Pak128.Britian-Ex, pressing "q" will lay narrow gauge track?

Offline Ters

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2013, 07:55:55 AM »
The fact that not everything has a shortcut key is rather none to the point: any tool that does not have a shortcut key can simply not display a shortcut key tooltip; but that does not mean that tools with a shortcut key should not display the relevant tooltip, or else how are users going to find out that, in Pak128.Britian-Ex, pressing "q" will lay narrow gauge track?

But they don't really need to know either. The button is found easily in the toolbar and Simutrans isn't that fast paced. I'm more concerned about how they should know what key hides buildings, which is only available as a small toggle button in a settings window, or which keys move up and down in sliced underground view, or even activate sliced underground view.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 11:16:31 AM »
People may not need to know how to use Simutrans more efficiently - people do not need to play Simutrans at all - but it would be helpful for people if Simutrans was designed so that it was easier to use and faster to learn using the techniques suggested in the video.

Offline Ters

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2013, 11:51:21 AM »
I'm just saying that there are bigger problem than learning to play Simutrans efficiently, such as learning to play Simutrans at all. While it would be nice if I could change radio stations in my car with the press of a button rather than twist a knob back and forth, I'd be more concerned that I have no idea where the controls for the windscreen wipers are.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2013, 11:53:27 AM »
True; but that other things have a higher priority does not mean that the shortcut key tooltip issue is not an issue at all.

Offline Ters

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2013, 12:48:22 PM »
True; but that other things have a higher priority does not mean that the shortcut key tooltip issue is not an issue at all.

I just pointed out that there was a bigger elephant in the room. And that I've been playing Simutrans for at least six years without feeling the need to know what the hotkeys for building roads are. (The hotkeys I do use by the way is b, a (to turn off b), #, ", %, Ctrl+U, + and -.) Some hotkeys are actually displayed on the toolbar button itself in pak64. That works as long as the user hasn't customized the bindings.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2013, 01:01:18 PM »
It might well be useful to have hotkeys for other things, such as building depots; but I do always find the way building hotkeys very useful. I think that the help system (accessed by pressing any unbound key) was upgraded a while ago to report automatically which hotkeys are assigned to which tasks. It might be helpful if tooltips could do this too.

Offline prissi

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Re: Why Blender is broken, and a discussion about user-interface design
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2013, 09:01:03 PM »
Indeed then key help will show all key bindings and display their tooltip as indication for their function. If not properly translated, well ...