Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:55 pm Post
Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:56 am Post
antony wrote:Right, then.
"A Story Told in Time" seems a little vague; it doesn't get across well enough that the app is primarily for creative writers, and makes me think of something that's going to be presented to me, not that will help me create. As the app name doesn't suggest that either, I think it's a missed opportunity. Off the top of my head, I would suggest something more blunt, like "Time for Writing", "Time to Write", or even "Time for a Story".
Heh, or "Your Story, From Cradle to Grave."
OK, maybe not that one.
(I know you asked for suggestions for this before launching; I was away from the forums at that time. Apologies to whoever it was suggested the final subtitle!)
Are you using Sparkle (or similar framework) for automatic update checking? It would make things like ensuring people are using the latest beta version very simple. I have no idea what the logistics of this are (or if Sparkle requires a licence, which of course may deter you) but it's a very popular, mature and stable framework.
This could probably be thinner, thereby giving the central pane more room.
A title/control/function bar at the top of the window (but underneath the menu bar) could be very useful, again a la Scriv's document title bar. I understand there's a desire to maximise the space devoted to the central pane for those of us who work on laptops, but in my experience the best and most common way to do this is to turn off the menu bar itself. In Scriv, for example, I always have that bar hidden, as the only time I ever use it is when I need the search field - which isn't very often. Such a function bar (horrible name, but you know what I mean) could contain, from left to right:
- A title label for the overview timeline. "Overview" or "Master timeline", perhaps.
- A label for the central pane, perhaps "Focus" or "Detail view".
- Then, when appropriate, the story arc title (I know this functionality isn't in there yet, but when it is, it will be useful to know at a glance which arc you're looking at).
- A "Show/Hide characters" dropdown. I think this would be more intuitive than just right-clicking in the names' "invisible field" to show/hide. In the dropdown is listed every character generated. Those currently visible have a tick to the left of their name. Selecting a name shows/hides that character accordingly. I'm thinking here of the iTunes metadata dropdown.
- The filter text field. i.e. move that field from the menubar into this function bar, and place the (yet to come, I know) global search field up in the menubar in its place.
How many people have we seen in Scriv who hit delete by accident, thinking they're editing a text field or something, and delete their document as a result? I believe Keith has changed this to cmd-delete in the next version of Scriv, and - given that Aeon doesn't have a trash - I suggest doing the same here.
I also suggest a warning "Are you sure?" dialogue for when people delete a character, either from the character contextual menu (see below) or by deleting their birth event.
- "Participant"? Really? What's wrong with just "Character birth"?
- Slightly more advanced, and I don't know if this is even possible, but a very useful addition would be a third option besides "Standard Event" and "Participant Birth": "New character", where you input the data as normal but also input their current age at the time selected - and Aeon then calculates their birth date and inserts a birth event automatically. (Or, perhaps, just integrate a "Character Age" field into the "Birth" dialogue, with a pre-filled default of 0 - which would signify birth.)
The tokens field looks very cumbersome and unfriendly. I like the use of system-style tokens, but I don't think there's really a need to include tokens for separators - it makes the field busy and unfriendly, and does anyone really need more than one kind of separator? (Genuine question, if I'm overlooking something obvious please enlighten me!) I also think "Available" isn't an obvious label for selecting a new token.
I suggest removing all separator tokens from the field, and replacing the "Available" button with two dropdown menus instead:
- "Add element", in which you select a new token for Day, Month, Year, Time, etc. These are added to the end of the current token list in the field, and can then of course be dragged around.
- "Separator", in which you choose your separator symbol: comma, slash, colon, etc.
I realise this would need some extra anticipatory thought, as you obviously wouldn't want "Monday, 21, February", but I don't think that would be all that difficult...?
Are the "Time" fields at the bottom of these editable?
This is a brilliant idea, but what about "BC" style dates (e.g. 500 BC)? Does Aeon support them? Are there any plans to do so? Along with fantasy dates, this would be my highest priority request if they're not already in there. One of my existing series, which I'd love to use Aeon for, would directly require this as the "start date" isn't actually known - it's just "before Big Event" and "after Big Event".
Tab to move between events, and the arrow keys to move them, sounds unintuitive and frustrating. Did you base this on Omni Outliner? Because I hate it there, too Plain up and down arrows keys should never, in my opinion, move things around. They should merely move the selection focus. Tab could instead be used to change the field, perhaps just from the central pane to the overview timeline and back. (Why would you want to do that? Because...)
OVERVIEW KEY CONTROL
A neat addition would be the ability to move the "focus area" on the overview timeline up and down with the arrow keys. And even, perhaps, use cmd-up/cmd-down to increase/decrease the size of the focus area. I know this would replicate the zoom bar function, but redundancy is no bad thing
Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:01 pm Post
matt wrote:Thank you though - although a lot of these items reflect the immaturity of the program and places where I haven't given a lot of thought yet, or just went with the easiest available option to get the application out there, it is good to have a list of items to improve usability.
You know, you said "like in Scrivener", and I had to open up Scrivener to see what it looks like. Clearly not the part of the interface I pay any attention to.
Show/hide characters was always going to be made more user-friendly by placing it in a menu, but I like the idea of having it easily visible, as I expect this may be something users will use a lot. This would also be a good place to have buttons for 'tags' (which will act like filters, but be a little more flexible).
I will swap to Cmd-Delete. But the warning message is already there when a character gets deleted.
Heh, clumsy, innit. Trying to find a word that covers the fact that people are going to use their 'characters' for things like buildings and institutions. I still don't have an answer.
As for the separators... off the top of my head I can think of the following likely date formats.
"Mon 3 June 1997 13:00"
"Mon June 3, 1997"
"Mon 3/6/1997 13:00"
Plus variations swapping day/month in dates if you come from another country, and using "-" in place of "/".
I guess I could figure out to have a space after words, and not after numbers - but that still doesn't account for things like the comma added into "June 3, 1997".
Are the "Time" fields at the bottom of these editable?
At present, BC dates are not supported. But they are on the to-do list along with fantasy dates. I think the problem lies with the calendar selector I created - but I should be able to add a BC/AD toggle after year pretty easily.
I didn't base it on anything as such, I was just trying to find a way to make it more keyboard friendly. I am a mouse person , not a keyboard person, so getting the keyboard controls right is complete guesswork for me. I just know that some people don't like to ever move their fingers to their mouse, and I was trying to think of a way to cater for them.
OVERVIEW KEY CONTROL
There are already Cmd + and Cmd - to zoom in and out. But maybe a keyboard control for the overview bar would be possible. Although, if up/down is not used to move events, it could be available for scrolling inside the main window too.
You will be able to setup each month with a name and a number of days. And you will be able to setup the number of days in a week. So effectively, yes, although you are not specifically setting weeks to a month. The reason for that was that in our calendar, that number isn't 4, it is 4.something that changes by the month.
Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:08 pm Post
Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:29 pm Post
Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:29 am Post
Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:02 am Post
Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:17 am Post
JRP wrote:Also, as I mentioned in another brief post, I have a bit of difficulty envisioning how the vertical timeline will accommodate multiple concurrent subplots and or story elements, e.g., a war story, where the time span of a battle as a fixed element, the movement of a company of soldiers as one timeline, something occurring on the home front as another timeline, the communications of a spy as another element in the context of how it intersects with other subplots, etc.
Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:17 am Post
Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:01 am Post
Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:51 pm Post
Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:13 am Post
Mange wrote:Matt, you do realise that there's a third alternative to the orientation issue: not vertical and not horizontal, but diagonal
Lots of space both to the left and the right of the line. And to my knowledge - never been done before.
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