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UI Experiment - Panel Sections
Needs ReviewPublic

Authored by Harley Acheson (harley) on Thu, Aug 29, 2:42 AM.

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Summary

Mostly just an experiment to stare at.

This patch changes panel sections so that the titles are shown as contained inside their sections when opened. With the current behavior it can sometimes not be obvious which section belongs to each title or subtitle.

A capture explains this better. The left shows how it looks now, the right how it looks after this patch is applied:

By changing the background color of the open section title, it better becomes a title for that section. The separation is clearer, the title serves its purpose a bit better. It seems to work even better as complexity is added. It is much clearer what "Bounds" is in the right capture.

Note that I also remove the right-side "drag" handle for open sections. So you can't drag an area while open. That may or not be a big deal, but I just thought it looked nicer like that.

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For me this is worse than what we have now. I don't see it really solving any problem, and as far as I know it's non-standard in UI design in general.

Gotta agree with Brecht here. It breaks the hierarchy and makes the separation much worse IMHO. I'd rather have mouse hover highlighting of panels if there's an issue with separation.

That's how my brain sees it, so with this update, the sub-panels look a lot clearer to me.
I think it's a movement in the right direction.

How would this look with multiple sections open beneath each other? Wouldn't this make the separation between them worse?

@Brecht Van Lommel (brecht) - > For me this is worse than what we have now...

Yes might be just a personal preference based on how individuals imagine these things to actually exist in relation to each other.

...and as far as I know it's non-standard in UI design in general.

I can't quickly think of anything remotely like this in other software so standard or not might not apply. But in the general case, when content is in an enclosed area and has a title, that title is also enclosed with it. So a section consists of a block with title and content together. The right side of the following binds the two things together better:

@Julien Kaspar (JulienKaspar) - How would this look with multiple sections open beneath each other?

Here are two neighboring sections open at once. Current behavior on left, after patch on right:

To my eye, on the left I have to struggle to see what belongs to which as there are so many more background color changes. On the right it reads faster (to me anyway) because there is just two open sections so just two blocks of differing background.

I can't quickly think of anything remotely like this in other software so standard or not might not apply.

Lots of other software has panels like this, for example Maya and Modo.

A more extreme example. The current behavior on the left, after patch on the right:

For me, the left side doesn't clearly indicate which section belongs to what. The hierarchy is hard to quickly see. The right side just reads faster.

On the left it can be difficult to tell that "Layout" is not a peer of "Adjust" and "Time", for example, but that is not an issue on the right. "Shadow" is clearly a text shadow on the right. "Style" and "Layout" are clearly peers on the right.

For me this is worse than what we have now.

I agree.
It's more difficult to spot things with this change, also It's not standard.

Lots of other software has panels like this, for example Maya and Modo.

Yes, even c4d.

Lots of other software has panels like this, for example Maya and Modo.

Yes, even c4d.

Can you send me any examples of how they deal with multiple levels? So something like the Text Effect Strip / Style / Shadow example shown above? I have only seen captures that show single levels.

@noki paike (amonpaike) - my proposal...

That is clearer to me. But again, this might just be a difference in the way we see these things.

Those section rules in your mockup look awesome. I didn't play to much with that but only wanted to make sure they "added up" nicely when two adjacent sections were opened. Yours would "double up" between two open sections. Mighty be okay or might be a situation we'd have to deal with. Anything could be done.

There's no problem with the panels, there's a problem with the sub-panels whose header is not highlighted and does not look like a part of the sub-panel. See how sub-panels done in the above mentioned C4D, for example.

But yes, does look nice in the extreme case. No doubt that "Layout" is a part of "Effect Strip"

maybe it's just a matter of the separation line of a color that isn't too sharp ... just the bare minimum needed to make it clear where the panel start and end ... and maybe it's just a matter of taste :)

@noki paike (amonpaike) - ...bare minimum needed to make it clear where the panel start and end...

Your strong rules definitely improves what I was trying to address: the way open sections and subsections do not show their relationships well.

@Harley Acheson (harley) try it like this:

Add the Themes option - "Sub-Panel Header".
If it's transparent, the result will be as it is now.
But if you set it equivalent to "Sub Background", it will be as you suggest.

Leave the top level panels as they are.