[Done] Yet Another Preferences Design

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

[Done] Yet Another Preferences Design

Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:59 am

Ok, I am ready for another attempt to improve the preferences dialog :)

My brand new idea: why do we need this dedicated "add filter" input field at all? Why can't we use our inline editor?

User interface mockup (put together in Paint):
Image

Explanations:

To add a new filter you press the Insert key or choose "New filter..." from either Filters or context menu. A new line appears at the end of the "Advertisement filters" list (another possibility: below the filter you have selected) with inline editor already activated - and you can enter your filter there. Or press Esc, then this line will be removed again. Note that the OK button becomes enabled once you start typing something in the editor (this is new in Adblock Plus 0.7.0.2) so that you can press it immediately - both to add the new filter and save the changes.

Note that the inline editor has a dropdown list in this mockup - that's where the suggestions are located, so you still can access them.

What happens if you choose "Adblock" from the context menu? The preferences dialog shows up with inline editor already active in a new line containing the address in question. You can edit this address to make it a filter and press OK then - only one click. Or you press Esc if you decide not to add the filter.

Now what if you doubleclick an item in the sidebar that is already blocked? Here we will have to loose a little functionality - we can only select the filter in effect, we can't start the editor at the same time. But I don't think this creating filters from already blocked items is a particularly vital feature.

Issues:

It is probably not too obvious how to add new filters. Even worse, you can only cancel adding a filter via keyboard. Right now clicking another item or scrolling while inline editor is active saves your changes - maybe it should cancel instead. One exception needs to be made however, clicking OK still should save the new filter.

You can't scroll the list while composing a new filter. This can be alleviated if we choose to show the editor for the new filter below the currently selected one.

Adding filters with keyboard only becomes more complicated - open Preferences, press Insert, enter filter, press Enter, Tab, Enter again. As opposed to: open Preferences, enter filter, press Enter and Enter again.

Comments? Thoughts?
Last edited by Wladimir Palant on Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby IceDogg » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:35 am

I kind of like how it is now better then this. Just doesn't seem as though it would be as easy to use. IMHO but I can live with either way.
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Postby ariel » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:18 am

In general, I like the idea.
It makes the preference dialog more visually simple.

I have a few suggestions.

In the mockup you placed the new filter in the bottom of the Advertisement Filters group. And what if its an Exception filter or an hiding element? Further more, I think there should be a visual indication to how you can add a new filter at all times.

So I think that there should be a permanent list item that is not a member of any group named <new filter> that is visible even when not adding a new filter. A simple click on it switches to the inline editor.

And to cancel the adding of the new filter way not use something I had seen somewhere. A simple icon button right in the inline editor?


Image
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Postby Fox » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:48 am

I like the way it is now.
Those Issues sounds very bad and
Now what if you doubleclick an item in the sidebar that is already blocked? Here we will have to loose a little functionality - we can only select the filter in effect, we can't start the editor at the same time. But I don't think this creating filters from already blocked items is a particularly vital feature.

i like when the filter in effect is selected and blocked url is in new filter input field.

I think this Adblock is going to be little harder to use if you do those.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:28 am

@ariel: Thanks, that's some nice suggestions.

You are right, putting new filters at the very top of the list outside any groups would solve some problems. The new problem is - if you always have to add a filter at a fixed location it won't be possible to look at an existing filter at the same time (scrolling cancels the editor). So maybe it should be a combination of both approaches - if we don't click the "Add new filter" line but press Insert/use menu instead, the "new filter" line should be inserted after the filter currently selected so that it stays visible.

I was also thinking about an icon inside the editor to cancel it - in the end that's probably the best thing to do. The editor should still save the data if you click another line.

@Fox: Well, most people don't seem to like the way things are now. And issues are there to be solved ;)
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Postby Guest » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:50 am

How about a button called "Add filter"? This way there would be no need to use context menu/filter menu for adding new filters. This button would simply add a new line to the filterlist, which you can modify/edit then. This is easy to understand and avoids confusion.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:24 am

@Guest: Actually - there is a dialog button that is on the left side of the button bar in all operating systems (this is next to the Help button on Unix systems). That's used for example for the "Credits" button in "About Firefox" or in the profile manager for "Manage Profiles", so AFAICT we wouldn't be breaking any conventions here. Yes, I think this would be possible.
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Postby Fox » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:36 pm

Wladimir Palant wrote:@Fox: Well, most people don't seem to like the way things are now. And issues are there to be solved ;)

Less clicks, that is your goal.

Well this new way does not make it.
Currently i open Preferences, i type that filter, i click Add filter and then Ok.
New way:
I open Preferences, i click new filter, i type that filter and click Ok.

edit: from sidebar is 1 click less:)
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:06 pm

@Fox: Right, usually you don't simply open Preferences. The usual case when you add a filter: "Adblock Image" from context menu, adjust the filter in the editor (already open) and click OK. Two clicks, same as Adblock. Right now it is however: "Adblock Image", adjust the filter, "Add filter", "OK". One click more, and that last one is pretty annoying.

About your concern - I think if you start the editor to add a new filter it doesn't need to open empty. It should show whatever you had there when you canceled it. Saving changes will reset the editor, next time you open it it should be empty. And if you double-clicked a filtered item in the sidebar and you open the editor - it should be initialized with the item this filter was applied to.
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Postby rick752 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:13 pm

I actually like the current setup just fine. You bring in a filter ... edit it per taste ... add it (or hit enter) .... then save the changes. Basically, if you put a new filter dialogue box at the top of the filter list, you are still doing the same thing ... you have only moved the 'active' box INSIDE the filter window instead of outside of it.

The one thing that I think would make adding or changing filter strings clearer and more user-friendly would be to change the text on the "OK" button to "Save Changes" or just allow the window to automatically 'save on close'.
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Postby Fox » Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:59 pm

I really like the current way, but i think this maybe would be cool.
Add Filter -button comes active if something is typed there, and Add Filter -button also saves changes and closes preferences window.
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Postby Peng » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:08 pm

Fox: Nonono. It's already annoying enough to have to re-open the preferences window when I want to save changes (no 'Apply' button), I don't want to also have to re-open it when adding a batch of filters.

I wonder what the average is for how many people agree on a (potential) change? :P

Edit: That is, adding a batch of filters *without saving changes*, of course..
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Postby Fox » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:14 pm

I did mean 1 click and filter is saved and window closed with Add Filter-button, that is what we* want?
otherwise there is always two clicks right?
If preferences window must be left open after filter is added, then there is no point change the current way.

edit: * i dont wan't, current way is best.

edit2: i did forget that in this new design, you can also click elsewhere and then new filter -button. But then it seems that we need more clicks when we add more filters after first one. (with dropdown list**)
So the current desing is then better, less clicks.

edit3: ** i don't use it, so for me i think my idea is good:) (my previous post)
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Postby rick752 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:21 pm

Peng wrote:Fox: Nonono. It's already annoying enough to have to re-open the preferences window when I want to save changes (no 'Apply' button), I don't want to also have to re-open it when adding a batch of filters.


I agree.
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Postby VF » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:52 am

If I was inputting a filter and I alt-tabbed or otherwise switched windows with this new setup, my changes would be saved and if I wanted to finish editing it, I'd have to choose it and go back to edit mode again. If it wasn't a valid filter, it might have moved somewhere else in the list, which would make it harder to find, yet. This is the reason I don't like this idea.

How about using this interface, and using the inline tag editor when a user selects a filter on the list to edit, but having a 'Filters->add filter' menu option that opens a new dialog box? That way the interface is simplified but users who are adding new filters don't have their work interrupted when they switch windows.
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