[Sugar-devel] [Design] Some XoScope-10 feedback

Anish Mangal anish at sugarlabs.org
Sun Sep 25 16:39:48 EDT 2011

Hash: SHA1

Hi Gary,

Wow! I've taken a printout of this email and pinned it down. Wonderful

On 09/23/2011 08:02 AM, Gary Martin wrote:
> Hi Anish,
> Hope you don't mind, late to the party as ever :) 

No I don't :)

> I just wanted to send some 
> feedback/suggestions for the XoScope (or insert final chosen name here, pity 
> about 'XoScope', but 'Telescope' seems a sound alternative) Activity from a 
> design point of view (my hint text wordings are only rough suggestions). Tested 
> with XoScope-10 on an XO-1 with Sugar 0.92.2 (build 874).
> Live mode:
> - Camera icon should show a help hint 'Record image'. This button needs some 
> user feedback when clicked, perhaps a count of photos taken can be shown 
> somewhere, next to the Live/Preview button? Showing a count or indicator of 
> previous photos taken would also help make it more obvious when you resume a 
> Journal entry that photos taken during a session are preserved in its Journal 
> entry for later use, see mockup [1]. FWIW this is I think where the Record UI 
> with its media tray design wins out – you immediately see you have taken a 
> photo, or many, and when you resume you can see the past photos right there 
> without needing to change modes.
> - Timer icon should show a help hint 'Timer delay'
> - Zoom icon should show a help hint 'Digital zoom'
> - For the Exposure/Brightness/Contrast palettes, the slider controls could do 
> with being at least twice as wise so it it easier to make small adjustments in 
> value (I found I was often trying to nudge a single pixel one way or another to 
> capture the most detail).
> - Live/Preview button should show a help hint 'Switch to preview mode' vs. 
> 'Switch to live mode'
> Preview mode – FWIW we spent _many_ design cycles on Record and Memorize trying 
> to make the activity mode changes/states clear, the comments here are just 
> trying to suggest reasonably incremental steps from your current XoScope design ;)
> - Previous button should show a help hint 'Previous', next button should show a 
> help hint 'Next'
> - Save image to Journal should show a help hint 'Save to Journal'.
> - Trashcan icon should show a help hint. There are two standard icons you may 
> want to re-consider, with a help hint of 'Erase' (round circle with a minus 
> sign, can be seen in the Journal and details view); or 'Clear' (rectangle with 
> an X sign, can be seen in Paint activity in the Edit toolbar). Walter does use a 
> trashcan metaphor in Turtle Art, but it allows recovering tile contents from the 
> trash if you want to rescue something.

+1 to using available standard icons.

> I am a little worried about the 'hidden' set of preview images that you need to 
> browse and save out to the Journal individually for use in other activities 
> (took me a few cycles, resumes, and many accidental images before I caught on), 
> but was happy to see that all images are autosaved in the XOScope journal entry 
> when you Stop the activity, so risk of accidental data loss is minimised – 
> especially given how painful it can be trying to capture a nice Luna image 
> through a scope! ;)
> [1] Quick mockup showing number of photos taken and an attempts to reorder or 
> the toolbar. The Live/Preview toolbutton here is moved to the left side of the 
> toolbar, just to the right of the Activity icon (both in the live toolbar mode 
> and the preview toolbar mode, so it is still in a static position in each 
> toolbar). When using text in a toolbar you'll need to keep in mind translation 
> text length and plurals. This first one might suffer from moving buttons as the 
> image number updates (unless you lock it to some safe width for expected '## 
> Image' translated text). Note the text use of grey so it looks less like 
> something to click:
> The below mockup more closely matches your current layout, but drops the 
> separator and puts the text over on the right by the mode toggle button. Be 
> aware that we are trying to preserver right button alignment (next to Stop) for 
> the case of an inline help content button (see [2], [3]) but I think the below 
> could still work if such help is added at some point:

IMHO, the second proposed layout, with the text right-aligned and the
mode-switch button to the right works better.

> One last comment on using an image counter... The Preview mode toolbar could 
> really do with a "5 of 17" type display as you browse through them, but it looks 
> like available space in that toolbar is pretty slim unless you shrink the name 
> input field (and drop the second to last separator).
> [2] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:Finance_toolbar_3.png
> [3] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:TurtleBlocks_Toolbar_6.png
> Thanks for all the effort you've put in, I manage to take some nice images with 
> the extra controls (not of the Moon through a monocular yet, but maybe soon).
> Regards,
> --Gary

My thoughts:

* +1 to all text hints you reported should be there.

* re: Showing a tray at the bottom to quickly preview captured images, I
thought about it for a while and eventually decided against it (You
might even find some commit in the XoScope git repo that enables and
later disables the thumb-tray view). IMO, there's a good reason for that
(and the digital zoom button).

The activity is meant to be used with a telescope/monocular connected to
the XO. In general, you'll wanted to exploit all the available screen
space _with_ the ability to change settings on the fly and take images.
Also, the 'digital' zoom is needed mostly to assist in manual
fine-focusing of the monocular, somewhat like the 'live-view' mode most
modern DSLR cameras offer. Having a smaller live preview window (because
of the proposed tray would go against that).

There is another explanation for that as well, and it comes from a
'somewhat limited' astrophotography experience. When you're out taking
photos at night, you potentially take a LOT of pics (with many of them
redundant), not a select few like the Record activity. To that end, I'm
also working on a 'burst' mode which takes 5, 10 images triggered by a
single shutter press. So a particular image does not hold a huge amount
of immediate preview value. One usually takes lots of pics, later sifts
through them , quickly deleting the ones that aren't required, OR runs
some kind of image processing (like stacking, dark-frame removal etc.)

After that explanation, -1 to saving images by default to the journal.
You might also find in the git logs that I had enabled saving to the
journal by default and went against it afterwards ;-)

* On your last comment about the image counter on the preview-mode
toolbar, if there is little space on the toolbar itself, would it
suffice to display it somewhere else (maybe on the bottom or top of the
image itself, but not overlaid on it)?

Thanks again, for the wonderful feedback!

- -- 
Anish Mangal
Sugar Labs

P.S. Here's something interesting. If you point the XO-camera at the
moon with zoom x 4, without the monocular attached, you might see a
grayish blob _moving_ slowly (over a period of a few seconds) across the
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