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Suggestion: Screen Location in MDI Tabs


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I love the tab-based multi-document user interface up at the top. As I was scrolling round and zooming on a few images today I thought it'd be handy if you could place a rectangle on the currently selected image to reprisent the section that is currently shown on the screen. An enhancement on top of that would then be to be able to move the rectangle around.

If the MDI tabs isn't the best place for this another option would be to have a new window that contains an overview with controls specificly to do with the current viewable area.

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Are you talking something along the lines of the the location box found on Google Maps in the lower right corner?

EDIT: although an interesting idea (and I'm not knocking the idea) the MDI might, and I stress might, be too small to implement such a function, and having another floating window may become too cluttered especially for smaller screen resolutions. Yes, you may close it, but, for instance, a new user with a small screen size downloads PDN and sees all these floating windows blocking his/her workspace, the user may be turned away.

A good idea nonetheless.

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If I may be permitted the audacity of citing The GIMP as an example of good UI design in this instance... :wink:

The GIMP has this little icon in the lower-right corner of the Canvas window with the same icon it uses for the active Pan tool (spacebar, as in PDN and PS). Clicking on this icon opens up a small window preview of the image, overlain with a rectangle. This rectangle represents the current viewable area at the given window size and zoom level, and can be dragged around the micro-canvas to change the viewed area on the canvas proper.

gimpan.png

I use this quite often actually when working in The GIMP, and if it's feasible to add it to PDN, I'd certainly love seeing it. Perhaps a Pan-Hand icon in the lower-right corner of the tab preview could be clicked and held to expand the tab thumbnail to a slightly larger size and overlay the viewing rectangle which could be dragged around the thumbnail and released when the desired section is in viewing range.

My two-pence, anyway. :)

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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Actually the main reason I didn't do this for the 3.0 release is ... well, there's two reason. The first excuse is, of course, time.

The second is that this feature is in direct conflict with drag-and-drop for tabs themselves (for re-ordering them). If you can drag the zoom area, then you can't really drag the tab. Part of why I didn't implement this is because I didn't know which feature was going to be more important or useful. So I did nothing, and hoped that I'd get feedback telling me which one was in more demand. Unfortunately I haven't really received enough feedback either way.

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I'd prefer a little square showing me where I am in a picture over move-able tabs any day...

(I think that counts as feedback suggesting one way or another...)

dA

Son, someday you will make a girl happy for a short period of time. Then she'll leave you & be with men that are ten times

better than you can imagine. These men are called musicians. :D

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Well it's actually possible to do both. The question is do I want users to have to hold down a key for panning (spacebar), or for drag-and-drop (ctrl)? The answer depends on which way I think is going to be more/less discoverable for users, or which feature I want to make sure that all users are able to figure out faster. If there was overwhelming demand for drag-and-drop, I would make that the feature that didn't require a key to hold down.

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How about a slightly larger preview shows up when you hover over the MDI thumbs, in which you can drag the zoom area. The default action for left-clicking on the MDI Thumb would still be the drag and drop the order of the MDI thumbs.

 

Take responsibility for your own intelligence. ;) -Rick Brewster

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...this feature is in direct conflict with drag-and-drop for tabs themselves (for re-ordering them). If you can drag the zoom area, then you can't really drag the tab...

Yeah, that is one hassle. That's why I thought to have a button in the bottom-right of the thumbnail which would activate this micro active-pan mode. Holding a modifier key such as [Ctrl] would also work well.

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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drag and drop should not require a key

panning should (or RMB or MMB?)

Sure but when you see the little rectangle showing which area is in the viewable area, your first instinct is that you can drag it around to pan.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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To be honest, I don't know why you'd want to move the tabs about. This may just be a personal thing to me but I don't really see the point in moving the picture tabs about...

dA

Son, someday you will make a girl happy for a short period of time. Then she'll leave you & be with men that are ten times

better than you can imagine. These men are called musicians. :D

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If you have multiple tabs open to the point where they won't all fit on the tab bar, you may wish to move the two closer together if you need to copy / paste between them..

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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Why not put a handle that needs to be clicked on in order to drag the MDI thumbnail? That way, neither one would require a special key in order to drag-and-drop.

Because then we end up with all these extra adornments for tabs. They add visual noise and clutter, and don't really improve usability. "What in the world is that little funny looking icon for?"

Or maybe an option on the tab drop down which opens a small window where you can organise your tabs. Very similar concept to the 'Quick Tabs' feature in IE7.

I personally haven't found Quick Tabs to be very useful. And moving the tabs around is something that you want to be fairly quick and efficient without having to open a 2nd- or 3rd-level UI dialog for. (And honestly, your example is more like "Organize Favorites" than what is used for organizing tabs.)

I'll be doing some thinking about these two features for the next release. I think it's possible to get them both in there in a way where they're both first-class, it'll just take a bit of care to ensure everything is done properly. When it comes to UX like this, it isn't the code that's difficult. It's the design that requires attention. In the meantime, I'd rather have neither feature than confuse people with poorly implemented ones.

I'll probably borrow on the concept that you can only close the current tab. I think this is something that IE7 did right and FF2 did wrong. In IE7 the 'x' is only visible and usable for the current tab, where as FF2 uses up that space for every tab and I've honestly found myself accidentally closing tabs because of it.

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Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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I've done that too Rick, but at the moment I have so many tabs open that the close button is not there apart from on the tab that you are looking at.

offtopic>

dA

Son, someday you will make a girl happy for a short period of time. Then she'll leave you & be with men that are ten times

better than you can imagine. These men are called musicians. :D

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Even more off-topic:

History -> Recently Closed Tabs

That'll recover any accidentally closed tabs for you, preserving their Back / Forward history trees. Personally, I hate the fact that I can't even choose the option to turn it on in IE7.

And I suggested including the ability to close unfocused images in PDN, but was quickly silenced. :wink:

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought I'd check back and see if there had been any replys to the post and wow! It got a better response than I thought it would :D

Having it as part of the current MDI tabs was the initial thought as the images are already there, it would work just as well as a seperate floating window of course. This adds extra clutter, but as you know these windows are optional and so can just be opened if the user finds it useful.

The handle idea is quite nice ... the way I imagained it was as having the equivilent of a title bar (please forgive my awful ascii art effort :P):

-------
|      |
-------
|      |
|      |
|      |
-------

EDIT: the message board very kindly cleans up my post and removes the spacing from this box :/ I'll try the code tags and see if that preserves the formatting

EDIT2: now theres too much space lol

most users are familiar with the concept of title bars and would probably thik they could be used for moving/reordering the tabs. As an additional visual cue to seperate the funcationality, when the mouse goes over the image itself a second "view" rectange appears (the first being the current view) which will represent where the main view will switch to when the user clicks.

I hope I explained my thoughts in a relatively clear manor.


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Perhaps this should be part of the pan tool itself. If the pan tool (or space) is selected and if the image is zoomed larger than the screen, then, and only then, a new small window in a corner opens showing the whole image plus your zoom location. With the pan tool, you could then either drag the zoomed image or the location box in the window. Of course, you should be able to disable the window if it gets in the way.

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I like the small window in the corner idea. This would give us a thumbnail of the whole image when working at large zoom levels (which I'm sure has been requested before) as well as the ability to pan in the thumbnail.

Since I would use this for more than just panning, I'd like the ability to turn it on and off - it could go under the 'View' menu with the zoom options.

For my uses, the thumbnail would be best somewhere around 200px (maintaining aspect ratio of course).

Just my $0.02 :)

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