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UI overhaul

I've been using SkySafari for a few years now (previously SS5 Pro, now SS6 Pro) and really love the functionality and detailed information.
SkySafari is currently the best app for any astronomer on the go.

What kind of bugs me though is the UI.
I realize that UI/UX is quite the beast in itself and is lower in priority than general features.
And you probably currently have no dedicated UI designer.
Still I would like to see a overhaul of the menus and usability of the app, since it just kind of feels clunky most of the time.

Not only would a streamlined UI make work a whole lot faster and easier, it would also help market the app.

Some optimizations i can think of off the top of my head:
1. Implement a search over the settings so it's possible to find options buried anywhere
2. Make the UI consistent
    Example: "Done" should probably always mean you're done with the current step, not done with all settings
3. The time menu could use a slider in addition to the arrow buttons
4. Options under settings should probably be reordered. Often I find myself searching for settings in one folder while they are actually in another because the names are sometimes misleading.

Those are just some examples, and a UI/UX designer would definitely do a better job at finding problems and good solutions to them than me.

Would love to see some improvements on that side.

4 comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Bill Tschumy

    Thanks for your comments.

    1. Yes, we are getting a fair amount of settings.  Some discovery mechanism may be necessary eventually

    2. I think Done always returns you to the main chart view.  That is what is supposed to happen.  Can you point out a case where that is not true.

    3. We've considered this.

    4. I think that is going to happen no matter how we reorganize them.  Do you have a specific example where you think something is in the wrong place?

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    TheNeicul

    1. Great

    2. Yeah I guess I worded that wrongly.
    My main gripe with the Done button is probably in the Observe submenus, under Scope Display and Equipment for example.

    Done stays visible even if you try to edit an entry (a FOV entry for example), and I usually absentmindedly try "Saving" my settings by pressing Done.
    Normally I would expect just to get back to all my entries, kind of like the Back button does.

    This can probably be fixed by simply hiding the Done button.
    But implementing that change comes down to the desired UI philosophy, I can understand both solutions.
    It just didn't (and still doesn't) feel natural.
    But since the FOVs get updated in realtime I guess you don't really need to go Back all the time and sometimes just want to go straight to the main view.

    3. I think something like they did in StarWalk 2 would work for SkySafari, too. The two things I don't like about their system is 1. you can't simply go one day back or forward and always have to use the slider and 2. the slider seems to simply go on forever without stopping. That could be fixed by using a normal scroll functionality. Or maybe make that optional?

    4. Well I feel like Appearance & Behavior, Horizon & Sky and Milky Way are thematically similar since they all in some way change how things are displayed.
    I guess what I'm going for is for example if I just want to hide all stars or constellations or whatever I need to find the specific item, go to the submenu, then disable it.
    To an extent that could probably be fixed by putting a checkbox or something on each entry so you can enable or disable every item with just one click.
    (also, I feel like Satellites, Comets and Asteroids deserve their own checkbox, in that scenario, and should not be hidden under Solar System.)

    Another thing are the displayed magnitudes. I probably want to mix them so I get a good overview of the important objects at a glance.
    If I want to level them correctly I have to go back 2 levels, find the next item, drill down 2 levels, change that, go back etc.

    In general there's quite a few settings under each of Milky Way, Stars, Solar System, Deep Sky etc that are very similar and should probably be found in one place.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Bill Tschumy

    2. When editing (say) a FOV indicator, the Done button both saves the changes and returns you to the main screen.  The back button will save the changes and return you to the previous screen.  This is exactly as I wanted it to be.  I don't see the confusion.

    4. We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this.  Our team likes the arrangement as it is although I fully agree it is a subjective call.  Nevertheless, I will keep you comments in mind if we ever revamp this.  Thanks.

  • 0
    Avatar
    TheNeicul

    2. Yeah, I'm mainly confusing myself there. I guess I will have to just learn to press the correct buttons :P
    I don't know why but I just always seem to press Done instead of Back. 🤷

    4. Yeah, understandable. I guess that could also be fixed by introducing a search feature, so not that big of a deal. Thanks!

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