Remember choices and other usability issues

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I apologise for the length of this post but a stream of consciousness appeared from somewhere and needed to be captured.  Plus I think the issues are important and interconnected. 

I have been a Snagit User and staunch supporter for 15 years but it seems to me that some UX issues just don't seem to be getting better and some might say they are getting worse.

My problems mainly revolve around the behaviour of the right hand panel where effects, properties, quick styles etc appear and disappear with apparent randomness and where I constantly seem to be resetting things the way I need them (note need not want).

Example 1:
I have the effect panel visible on the right.  It occupies 50% of the panel height.  I click on a tool on the top bar and the right hand panel flips to Tool Properties which occupies 25% of the total space. By my reckoning 50 + 25 = 75%, which still leaves 25% unused space. So why aren't both on permanent display?

OK, it depends on screen size, and my screen is on the big size but technologies that are adaptive to screen size have been around for a while so it can't be impossible to reflect screen size. And if that's not possible, at least give us the ability to say whether we want to flip between panels or have both open simultaneously.

Example 2:
When I select a tool across the top menu that has an associated set of Quick Styles, then, as in Example 1, the Effects panel is replaced by the Quick Styles and Tool Properties Panels, which are resizable.  OK so at least we have two panels appearing, unlike Example 1.  But I still have acres of space beneath them in which the Effects panel could be placed,

The solution to Examples 1 and 2 is to allow all or some of the three panels to be present, or to retain the flip panel behaviour at the user's discretion (we all have different needs) .  And, just like in Example 2, the individual panels should be resizable at the user's discretion and the settings should be remembered across sessions and reboots (preference setting?), to accommodate for different screen sizes.

Big screens are very popular for graphical work.  The problem with them is that if you are focused on one area of the screen, other areas can be outside your peripheral vision, so if things change there you are unaware of them.

Example 3:
Borders can be selected in the Effects Panel on right and tool menu across the top of the screen. Why, when all other effects can't be?  OK, I can remove the Border option from the top menu. But if I can add it in the first place, why can't I add other effects?

Example 4:
There is a Magnify option in the top menu and a Spotlight and Magnify Option in the Effects Panel. They are both subtly different and partly duplicative, and from other threads here it is clear that some users don't see the one in the Effects Panel, and therefore don't realise the full potential of what's already in the product.  Why aren't these effects consolidated under one tool?

Example 5:
Choose the Border option in the top menu menu and the properties for it appear over on the Effects Panel, where you have to choose to apply it.  But if you chose Borders on the Top Menu your eye is in that area of the screen, and you see the border being applied.  Great, so you select the next tool, and the border disappears, because you didn't go all the way over to the right and Apply it.  

Why do we have to have a positive apply step. If my chosen style is known why not apply it directly?  I can always undo if I change my mind. 

Example 6
I use a tool to draw say a shape. Having drawn it, I realise it's the wrong colour, line weight etc. So I go over to the Tool properties and change the colour and weight.  I look back at the object and it's the same colour as when I drew it.  Why?  When I left it, it looked as if it was selected.  But as soon as i move away it becomes deselected.  Why? On close examination I see that there is a subtle difference between the selection indicators on just drawn and selected objects.  There is a black outline around the selected ones.  

a) it's too subtle
b) When the object is black the outline is invisible
c) Why can't the newly drawn object just be selected by default? (And if the answer is some people prefer it the way it is, then the response is, some people don't so make it a preference setting)

Example 7:
Set the border style and your choice is remembered until you reboot or change it.  Next day, boom, you're back to the ridiculous default of 8px black (as if we are all running a funeral parlour). My house style dictates a 1px orange border.  Why can't Snagit just make my choice sticky across reboots?  If I change my usual style to something else and forget to set it back to my preference that is acceptable. To discard my chosen style is not.

I know I can define a quick effect but that doesn't stop the reset on reboot issue.  I still have to remember to select the Quick Effect when I restart and anyway, Quick Effects take hardly less clicks than redefining the style (plus you have to go through some convoluted exit process to have Quick Effects remembered)

This applies across the board.  If i use a call out I will set it to my preferred style.  I would like that to be remembered during the session and across reboots because that is the style I will want to use next time.  I don't want to have to keep selecting it.

Example 8:
When you are trying to do a fine adjustment it is infuriatingly easy to draw another object instead, and not so easy to get rid of it when you have done so.  For instance, I draw a call out and realise the pointer tip is in the wrong place.  I attempt to grab the tip to relocate it and instead, draw another tiny call out. Selecting that tiny call out to delete it results in another tiny call out being drawn, And Undo doesn't work.  I have tried using the Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys in combination with the mouse click to see if they have any effect, but they don't appear to.

Example 9:
In the Snagit Capture Preferences you have options that can be applied to All-in One, Image or Video Captures.  The All-in-One options differ from the individual Image and Video options.  For instance, you can choose to apply a border in an Individual image, but not in an image captured as part of an all-in-one.  Why does it differ?  To me (and I realise I am but one person) it seems more logical to set your options for an image, set them for a video, and have the all-in-one version apply those options when the user chooses between image and video on the all-in-one 'start' screen.

Example 10:
Every new image capture has a thin black line around it.  Why?  It makes it appear as if it has a 1PX black border when it doesn't.  And if you draw a 1px border of another colour you can't see it properly.  If an image has no border then it should have no visible border.

Conclusion:
There are far too many examples of:

a) Inconsistent UX
b) Too many mouse click to achieve simple objectives
c) Forced repetitive actions to maintain a viable workspace
d) Inadequate use of screen space
e) Panels being changed apparently at random

In summary it is becoming harder to do simple things quickly.  The UI is hampering the UX not assisting it and something needs to change. I am not claiming my ideas a the answer.  They would work for me but I am only one user.  But I am an increasingly frustrated user.

I think I have said enough.  I will stop now. :)
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Paul

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  • Very, very frustrated

Posted 2 years ago

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Max Holloway

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Paul --
I agree with you on every point. The Snag-It UI is getting worst not better and there are features that have gone missing from previous versions that I NEED for my work. The Shaded Boarder being used by default is one example. Snag-It engineers: please pay attention to Paul's comments and consider hiring a UI specialist.
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revisor

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Paul,
I appreciate your effort. I believe we are not alone.

Kind regards,
Jan F
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Mike62

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Paul, you are sooo right!

Thank you for taking the time to put it all together. Thumbs up!

The UI is really horrible, sorry to say. I think they will making a lot of users happy if they would return to the 'old' v11 ribbon. Never understood why they left that.

IF... at all TechSmith will respond, I do hope they will reply in depth on the points you made.

=
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Nadia Munro

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Paul,

I 110% agree with you....I even had an update yesterday - thinking erroneously that some of my frustrations would be alleviated based on the feedback in the Community - and alas I'd say things are even worse. Your points are accurate, thorough and you are not alone.
The toolset has become frustrating, less intuitive, less efficient and definitely less flexible.
Let's hope much of what you have addressed is received by the developers.

Nadia
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h.magyar

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Hi Paul,

Thank you for your long description. 

Unfortunately I have to agree with You.

I am also a Snag-It user for many years, I introduced the program in my team, and actually we are using 10 licenses.

After the last two updates I felt similar like You do.

 

Today I got the latest update, to version 13, and honestly I lost my patience.

I start to look for a new tool for me and for my team members.


I am struggling to draw simple curves and circles over a background image, and delete the background afterwards.

Until the previous versions it was easy to delete the background by simple selections (taking care not covering the vector objects completely by selection).

In the new version the vector objects are gone together with the background, even if they are not covered by the selection completely.

(Switching off the Snap to Object is not helping, it works the same way.)


Best regards,
Henrik

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chrismc

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Thanks Paul, and the rest - I also agree -

I too am a loss to understand why these unhelpful, frustrating and time-wasting behaviors have been introduced (apart from the obvious one that if you're being paid to continually renovate the product, to sell the latest 'improved' new version - then changes become mandatory, usefulness coming a poor second place) 
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paulbarrett1952

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Thanks for all the positive feedback on my OP.

Mike62 said "IF... at all TechSmith will respond, I do hope they will reply in depth on the points you made."

Well we're 4 weeks on from the OP and all we have heard from TechSmith is the sound of silence. That doesn't bode well.  Like others have said, it may be time to start looking for another solution. If someone at TechSmith would say 'Sorry but we're not doing this because....' I might be able to live with that but they seem to be turning into an Adobe - deaf to customers' requirements while turning out new features that no-one asked for.  Too many software companies are caught in this trap - in the rush to bring us shiny new toys they forget to make the ones we already have work properly.
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi Paul;

Per our new community processes feature requests (threads that have been created under the "Idea" type) are rounded up on the 15th of each month (see here) with the idea that users can see what existing feature requests are here for the month. On the first of every month I take the feature requests, sort them by votes/follows and then bring them to the attention of the appropriate product development team leadership. From there the most popular threads may get responded to and in the case of this one it may be that a member of the product team responds after the first of the month (assuming this topic is a top idea based on vote count). It is entirely possible that there are other threads this month that the community is more interested in getting a response on, or it could be that this is a leading thread; once the 1st rolls around, I will know more, so please stay tuned for a potential response regarding the community process surrounding feature requests.

-Robert
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Nadia Munro

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Hi Robert - I think some of the frustration on this thread stems from changes that have already been made, virtually none of us are introducing new enhancements or suggesting feature requests. What we have moreover been wondering is why changes were made to existing functionality when the new model now requires more work, more clicks, seems less intuitive and certainly less streamlined. I believe most of us are aware of your new features round-up. Long-standing users just want to know why the changes (to good, solid, longstanding features) were made in the first place....
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi Nadia and thanks for commenting;

This is some excellent feedback and to an extent I completely agree. In fact I'm working on various ways to bring more information about changes to applications and while I cannot promise that we can, or will even consider, explaining every decision made, I can promise that I will absolutely fight for clarity. I know that isn't the grandest of answers, but it is what I have right this moment. Having well-thought out and reasoned feedback (like what is found in this thread) helps me drive action internally, which will then trickle back down to the users.

The new community process here is still quite new and is evolving; for instance at the end of this week I will be updating this month's Round-Up with current vote-counts. Are there other thoughts that you might have in terms of the process? If so, hop on over to this thread and let me know.

-Robert
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paulbarrett1952

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Hey Robert

I don't want to labour the point that Nadia has made so eloquently.  There is hardly a new idea amongst the suggestions here so the new process is not really appropriate.  And to use it in reply to these concerns just rubs salt into the wounds.

Our issue is that changes seem to be being made for change's sake without due regard for a consistent UI and a workable UX, with simple things becoming harder and harder to do.  

We should not need to suggest these things as IDEAS.  Instead these principles should be at the heart of everything you do.  

You asked for other thoughts on the process. UX / Usability needs to be key and a substantial part of every release needs to be devoted to making existing functionality work better (see example above for starters).  

Please remember that for each customer who uses the product daily and constantly, every unnecessary mouse click soon adds up to thousands of wasted clicks or time. And OUR time is OUR money, not yours.  If you don't stop spending OUR money the way you are we WILL go and spend it on a competitor's product, and will consider it money well spent.

I apologise for being so blunt, but users have been saying these things for quite some time now and nothing much seems to be changing.

As one of my bosses told me a long time ago, you only win a debate with an ex-customer.

No malice intended, please take this as criticism from a loyal fan who wants their team to carry on succeeding.

Best Regards

- Paul
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Mike62

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Robert, no doubt TechSmith made a summery of the reasons as to why long term users returned, or hang on to the older versions, instead of being 'thrilled' about the new one.

The question remains: what is TechSmith going to do to make the old time users happy again?

=
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chrismc

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paulbarrett1952

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Add a dash of this:

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/29135/user-experience-ux

And a soupcon of this:

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/3887/user-acceptance-testing-uat

(Pay particular attention to bullet point 3)