User Interface Feedback

Suggestions and discussion about upcoming features in future BeerTools Pro releases.

User Interface Feedback

Postby savagesteve » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:13 pm

Not really a feature request per se, but I do have some feedback on the user interface for BTP. First, though, I want to say that the more I use BTP, the more I like it-- it's a great program and I like it a lot. This feedback is only meant to help improve an already great program. If these seem nit-picky, I apologize.

Now, the feedback on the UI. I do a lot of my work on a PowerBook with a 1024x768 screen, and some of the UI elements make working with BTP a little difficult. Other UI elements could be improved to make them more usable in general, regardless of screen size.

1. The database browser at the top of the window is nice when creating recipes, but once that's done, it's just wasted space and can prevent me from seeing all of the recipe ingredients at once, even when it is reduced to the smallest allowable size. A way to hide this section would be nice.

2. The search box (on the right side) is too far away from the database list section (on the left side). Moving those two elements closer together would make searching sections of the database a bit easier and faster.

3. The area next to the pint glass for color estimation is wasted space. Why not move some elements into this area to make more vertical room for other sections, like the ingredients section?

4. When browsing the ingredients databases, I can't double-click on an item to view the full information about it unless I add it to my ingredients list and double-click it from there. I should be able to see the full information from the database browser.

5. Clicking on a "Boil" or "Quantity" value on an ingredient to edit it feels a little awkward because the font becomes smaller and is justified to the top right corner of the editing box. Making the editing of these values feel more seamless with how it is displayed would be nice.

6. The Notes tab is too small! It is difficult to scroll through lengthy notes in such a small section. Not only would it be nice to have a larger viewable area, but what about providing date-based notes so I can easily browse through them?

7. The recipes database concept is confusing. I have all of my recipes in a folder already-- why do I need to import them into the program in order to browse them? I tried importing recipes, but I ended up with duplicates, and renaming some of them didn't go well. I'm sorry this is vague, but I only tried this a few times and gave up. I'm willing to believe that maybe these problems are my fault and that I didn't work with it enough to really understand it.

8. A shortcut key (or better yet a separate menu) for the calculators window would be nice! I use this feature constantly-- faster access would be good.

9. A graphical date picker for the "Date" field would be nice.

10. When tabbing among number fields that affect values in other fields (e.g. adding a mash schedule step) the math gets a little screwy in that rounding errors (I assume) change previously input values.

11. The "Display" drop-down menu could be simpler-- I don't necessarily need to see my ingredients broken down by type.

System: Mac Pro 2.66GHz (quad core), 4GB RAM, OS X 10.5.2 (Leopard), 23" Cinema Display (1920x1200), iTunes stuffed with a ton of Grateful Dead.
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Postby kevponce » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:05 am


I don't think Jeff and Lathe mind the ideas, at least in the time I have seen them at work, they seem to embrace it and have done a nice job increasing the programs user interface. I get the feeling Jeff has another pretty demanding job with his XYZ gig, so much like the rest of us, it gets in the way of what we really dig. Beer!

Kudos to Jeff and Lathe!

Item 1. Perhaps a tear off palate for these.

Item 4. I just click the item and hit command-I (or get info on the mac) I suppose that is alt-I on a PC. No problem. Double clickng would be nice though.

Item 5. Hey I just realized option clicking changes the fractional number. cool.

PS The only thing that I am not sure of is when I am calculating a recipe sometimes I want to check the info on another style, but to do that I have to change the pulldown then go up to the menu under style to access the info.. I would love to have a tear off for styles. But as you say maybe here i am doing something wrong.
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Font Size is too small.

Postby Malthead » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:46 pm

I concur with the issues Savage has listed.
To emphasize a few issues:
Font Size is too small. My computer is set up for some graphic programs that require high resolution. I have Windows fonts set to Large, but this does not make the BTP fonts any larger.
I request that you add an Option for variable Font Size throughout BTP.

UI is good but has room for improvement. I think Savage listed most of the major issues. Minimize the empty space, but keep it readable and try to add more user UI adjustments.

Thanks and keep up the good work.
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