Spreadsheet + Calling = Substitute for Bad DOff UI
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Spreadsheet + Calling = Substitute for Bad DOff UI
04-02-2012, 07:37 PM
Heretic, we do love you for the DOff system and the improvements you've made to the system and especially for listening to our feedback.
The User Interface for Duty Officers is bad. I know you tried to group these things logically but this is the most complicated system currently in STO. The fact that the spreadsheet exists (and a whole DOff maintenance mechanism has sprung up around it and its development of its own terminology) means the UI leaves so, so, so much to be desired.
I work with big systems in real life, any time you have people ditching your system and doing spreadsheets or Access databases on the side, you've gotten the requirements way wrong. I know you tried though.
The current UI doesn't need to be fixed - it needs to be scrapped and redone.
Mind I am NOT looking for explanations of these things from experienced players.
Here's what's wrong from a non-expert player perspective:
It Doesn't Tell Me How To Play
: You have the overview tab with a bunch of complicated looking buttons and there's a bunch of tabs and buttons and such. This is cramming information in the user's face. Start by telling the player what to do and why they should play. Direct the users to pick up Duty Officers or what to do with the packs that randomly drop at them as they level. How do I get information about Commendations and how do they help me?
What Are All Of These Assignments and Variations?
: The assignments windows are all jumbled. Why are there so many different assignments in so many different places? I know you were going for leveraging the ship interiors but the implementation isn't clear at all. There's shipboard tab, current sector tab, department head, and now ship interior locations...and for some chains the assignment location is different...not to mention you won't even see it on "cooldown" nor do you know what the cooldowns are! This is CRAZY. Please unify this - a simple comm console won't fix all that.
It Doesn't Point Me To The Good Stuff
: Currently I have to go to the spreadsheet or randomly happen on a chain to even FIND it, and god help me find the others in the chain, where they are, what the cooldowns are, or what the rewards are (too much masking). Also there are numerous missions that seem to be designed to allow people who have already finished cxp to continue doffing...but those same missions eat things needed for chains. Point me to the good stuff so I can make an informed decision about my assignments and clearly distinguish between these types of assignments.
Looking for CXP in All The Wrong Places
: We have to criss-cross the whole galaxy looking for assignments, depending on other players reporting what's available where. This doesn't make sense in the 21st century and much less the 25th. Please put the locations with the chains so people can advance these things without having to listen to DOFFJOBS or be paged out at 12am.
Show Me a Path
: The system should do a better job of helping me find assignments if I'm interested in "grinding" a particular set of cxp, randomly wandering about and hoping for something that I want. You have started this with the Department Heads but this needs to be more clear. I want to grind up for that "Agent" title. Show me all the places where I can run espionage missions, no interpreting the Sanskrit on the spreadsheet please.
MIsnomers and Gotchas
: The Request Duty Officers tab doesn't tell me how to get new DOffs, nor tell me how to upgrade them. It shows me all the C-Store options
and lets me see incoming DOffs - I didn't even know this window worked like this for months! Request Duty Officers should mean just that - let me request them here and have to swing by SFA or a Starbase to pick them up. Also the Shipboard screen doesn't REALLY show you the assignments your Department Heads have, nor what's available in the interior. I don't get the thinking here.
What Do These People Do?
: It's not at all intuitive that DOffs improve the performance of your ship and ground, nor is it clear that different qualities of DOffs help your ship/ground in better ways. All it says is Active Space/Active Ground. What does that mean? Why do some DOffs have things they can proc and others are blank? What does it mean when I put someone on "Active" duty? Is this how my BOffs "eat" DOffs? And the other tabs like Brig and Passengers and Cargo Bay - this is just confusing. The cargo isn't organized by anything nor does it explain where this stuff is.
I Won't Improve If I Don't Know Better
: It's great that you put the DOff muncher in SFA but it's not explained anywhere that you can do that if you weren't reading the release notes for the DOff changes. It's also note explained that Blues and Purples are valuable and more useful than White DOffs. This is a missed opportunity to have people buy into the system.
This is just a start. Overall it feels this system is very (over)complicated from the outside looking in. Don't get me wrong, the system is on point, but this doesn't tell me how to play or how to scoop up assignments. I need guidance if I want the good stuff and if I don't invest the time to follow the channel and spreadsheet obsessively, I'm permanently stuck in second gear. That means I do more than I need to or I give up on it. Hopefully you have access to someone to help you with usability testing?