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Outliner Popovers Design
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Description

With the recent addition of synced selection and the planned changes in T68502: Outliner Sorting and T68498: Outliner: Modes & activating cameras or scenes, the outliner filter popover has become crowded with unrelated options. Some display modes like Orphan Data and Blender File use the filter popover to filter ID types. To keep consistency with these display modes, and the file browser redesign, non-filtering options could be split into a separate Outliner options popover for sorting, syncing, and drawing.

The options popover could then be drawn in the Sequences display mode to give access to the selection syncing toggle and search options.

An additional filter option to draw row icons could also be added to reduce visual clutter.

Details

Type
Design

Event Timeline

The file browser redesign which is currently in progress involved similar changes, see T62971. So the solutions chosen should be consistent across the outliner and the file browser.
This is an older screenshot, although I think not much has changed in the popovers since then:

@Julian Eisel (Severin) thanks for the suggestion. I will update the design to use two popovers for consistency.

Nathan Craddock (Zachman) renamed this task from Outliner Filter Popover Design to Outliner Popovers Design.

Here are my comments from the DevTalk thread about the current 2.81 layout (some of which are already being addressed here):

  1. There seems to be a lot of "whitespace" in the top half of the popover.

I would try something like squishing all the first four options together and removing the Search header, for example:

  • Sync Selection
  • Sort Alphabetically
  • Case Sensitive Search
  • Exact Match

That ordering and the addition of the word "search" seems sufficiently descriptive and highlights Sync Selection as the most major mode setting.

  1. What happens when "Sort Alphabetically" is off? Is it creation order, or what? There should be a tooltip that explains this (currently there's no tooltip for this option).
  1. The currently un-checked options in this panel are too dark. They actually appear disabled and it looks like you should not be allowed to select those search options for example. I was actually surprised to discover that across Blender selected checkbox text does actually get slightly brighter but it's a very subtle effect that should be used here as well.

When [ ] Objects is deselected it makes sense to show the sub-options below it as "disabled" but the drastic dimming should only be used to indicate something is actually disabled and currently not applicable and potentially not enableable.

  1. With "Sync Selection" as well as the search options, the "filter" icon feels less and less appropriate and maybe it should really be changed to a settings "gear" icon. Having filter options in settings feels more right than putting non-filter options under "filter".

In many cases I’ve seen, the Outliner header is already full. If we split the popover in two, the header will be too large and push the Add Collection button out of view in many common setups. So even though it would be nice to split them apart, it may be less practical.

Instead we could simply use a different icon than the filter, or just accept that the Filter popover includes some options that are not strictly speaking filter options. Although search at least is also related to filtering.

@William Reynish (billreynish), I think using a new icon and some reorganization would be good, then the popover could be shown in sequences view which doesn't have filtering options.

I made this mockup that uses a two column layout for a portion of the popover

in view of these new changes, can you do the search item resizable? here's how it looks on my laptop and every time I have to keep it wide to see the filter icon ..

Indeed, search could expand/contract depending on if you are actually using it or not. That would help a lot.

@Nathan Craddock (Zachman) Dual column we could do, and then have one column for Filter and another for Display.

Note that in your current dual column mockup, things are jumbled together somewhat, and we don't use the term 'Draw' unless referring to a drawing tool for making marks. Instead use Display or Filter.

In general, this popover *mostly* contains filter options, so there is also an argument to keep the Filter icon.