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Old 16th April 2022, 09:59 AM   #1
Almdudler
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Default zoom and other ui-/ux-habtics

most windows programs for graphics and design purpose have built a zoom function which can be handled with the mouse scroll wheel. so does ac3d.

however ac3d fights with some habtics issues, as orientation in a 3d space
can be quite challenging. Moving the mouse, moving, rotating objects around in fractions of a second needs to translate into a user's hand and brain, in a comprehensive sensitive logic way.

ac3d is well aware of this and handles it with menu icons on each of the
working windows, and no, there seems no perfect solution to it all. But sometimes little ideas result in great results that improve the working experience.
I looked at some of the issues:

1. zoom with scroll
challenge: while marking objects or polygons, the mouse pointer can no longer serve as "object handler" (mainly talking about the 3D-window). So moving or rotating the object once marked must
be done over the icons along the window border or switch to view mode. Preferably center the object
in the window by pressing "F" and then do the handling. This will not necessarily keep the object centered, especially when you start zooming in and out and rotate. What could solve this issue is giving the mouse pointer a centering function. As a result, the zoom goes whereever the mouse points to. This works on both zooming in or zooming out.
This is a common functionality in other design programs.
A helpful program for great
habtics and workspace organization is CorelDraw which i recommend as reference for any future ac3d developments. In comparison: Blender is not a good solution reference. 90% users have to learn their whole different way of interacting before they ever will be able to start with their project. interaction is one big reason why people come to AC3D.

2. move object view
second icon from left along each working window provides the "mover". If you work on the 3d window bottom right, you may face the short distance from the icon's location to the physical boundaries of the pc screen to be as tiny as you need unnumbered wipes to get the window stuff moving according your needs.
to avoid this, a solution is wanted, and here is a proposal:
undock the icons! so you get the most moving range out of your screen space.
It needs a little probing around to see what works best, since new questions may arise with any kind of new solution. So, if you unbind the icons to a centrally located new icon window, that would make the ones on each little workwindow obsolete. As a consequence, the one window you work on must be activated first. My suggestion for this type of solution is that the working process starts with clicking the respective border of the window you work on. That window instantly turns into blue marked. The downside is you lose time when jumping from icon to icon on different working windows.
A better and much simplier solution is taking the icons from the right position to the left, while the dropdowns "view" etc. would move to the right side. every window would keep its own icon bar with this solution. I primarily wanted to point on the issue and start a thinking process for the software owner. It's all about priorities, the work icons have top priority while the settings dropdowns have very low priority.

3. number fields vs. shortcuts
you may face having an incredibly bad day when entering a value into a number field, e.g. in x-plane's plug-in, where values define the amount of animation movements for objects. Make sure when adding or changing numbers while you mark the number field with the mouse, the mouse pointer never leaves that number field. If the pointer is outside the field, your physical entries of a value on your keyboard might trigger a shortcut that turns your entire screen visuals into a crazy chaos. means it changes settings. it needs as little as pressing 1 digit to find yourself in this kind of horror scenario. And it gets worse:
AC3Ds' settings surfaces do not require an OK confirmation. So clicking a checkbox or activating a shortcut would result in a perment change of whatever you entered. Closing and restarting the program will not solve the issue. It will take you on a forensic trip to investigate what happened and re-instate.
Since this is a very critical source for problems i suggest relieving all shortcut functions at the moment a number field is marked with a mouse click.

ok, this can go on and on, but more of it in a few days or weeks or months or so.

Thank you for looking into these issues and involving users like myself.
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Old 16th April 2022, 11:18 AM   #2
Andy
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Default Re: zoom and other ui-/ux-habtics

There are many ways to navigate. The view pan and zoom icons were initially put there for whiteboard users and I understand that the mouse pointer can run out of space,which is not ideal. I know other programs hide the mouse pointer but I find this a nasty UI method and it can lead to user confusion.


One method you haven't mentioned is holding the Alt key and dragging the mouse (left for pan, right for zoom). Also, perhaps try walk-mode in the 3D window (on the little menu). Then you use the cursor keys to move, or Alt+mouse to navigate.



A previous version (-very- early) tried zooming being around the mouse (rather than the center of the window) and users found it awkward to use. Once it was fixed to the center, people were much happier.


As long as a text field has focus (indicated by a blue dotted outline), all key presses should go to that. I tend to switch on "set focus on mouse over", so I have to be careful entering text. With that on, entering a view-window switches the focus to that. If you have this set to on, try switching it off.


Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.
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Old 16th April 2022, 12:42 PM   #3
Almdudler
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Default Re: zoom and other ui-/ux-habtics

zooming on mouse pointer could be added as option.

the alt functions i wasn't aware of, will try it.

not sure whether i understood the focus on mouseover for number fields,
will follow up, despite i expect this to remain a critical point.

thanks for the tips.
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