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Re: Indication of modifier buttons to tools and dialogs


Hi Kristoffer,

I agree that the "secrecy" of KiCad shortcuts is a pretty major issue.
It serves to make people good at KiCad think it's great, while new
users struggle (probably in silence) because they don't know there's a
better way.

Expanding documentation is important here (he says, not having
documented his new features yet) but it's unreasonable to expect users
to wade through hundreds of screens of prose to be told incidentally
that the arc tool snaps angles when you hold control.

I certainly think some sort of easily accessible (at minimum hotkey +
some sort of obvious visual affordance) method for a user to get
contextual help is very important. Ideally something that doesn't
break the user's flow. Popping a dialog that you have to dismiss is a
little clunky, I feel. Perhaps some sort of panel that appears only
while you're holding a key down?

I'm not a huge fan of the Inkscape-style status line, though it's
certainly better than nothing. It feels squeezed to me, since the
information is really more like a list of possible modifiers than a
one-liner. We do have a little area of the status bar that tells you
what tool you're in, but that's nowhere near big enough to naively
plonk screeds of text.

tl;dr agree but no ideas yet!



On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 6:34 PM, Kristoffer Ödmark
<kristofferodmark90@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hello all!
> I just wanted to highlight an emerging problem to catch it in its cradle.
> The new tool and dialog patches that has been merged are great. But they
> also introduce secret functionaly, examples:
> Ctrl + click:   highlights net ( modifier to select tool )
> ctrl + drag:    snap angles in arc tool
> shift + click:  adds/removes to selection in select mode
> shift + scroll: changes increment values in 3d-previewer
> These are the few examples I found right now, what I would like to see is a
> standardized way of informing the users to this before more tools get these
> hidden functionality.
> The way that current shortcuts are indicated I think are great ( the grey
> text next to their selection in menus Maybe we could expand on this to
> create tooltips to the menus with a list of modifier keys for the hovered
> tool in the menu.
> Another way that Gimp uses is to put this information at the bottom
> information bar, Maybe we could do that as well by modifying the current
> position information bar
> Yet another way would be to have tool specific settings given screen
> real-estate, much in the way of gimp and inkscape.
> At least I think this issue should be addressed and agreed upon before tools
> specify their different modifiers willy-nilly all over the place and you
> need a kicad-phd to remember them all. Just having an idea on how to do it
> can enable a good team-effort of supporting it.
> --
>  -Kristoffer
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