Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Hope I correctly recall where Heretic said to post some feedback on this...?

Here is a partial selection of some UI thoughts I've had, specific to the DOff and DOff Assignment UI. At least some of them are even potentially (possibly perhaps ) readily implemented in the short term, or at least alternatives could be. I haven't been on in a few weeks, but I didn't notice changes that addressed these in a quick look, though I apologize in advance for anything I've overlooked or confused:
  • Assignment summary displays (what you click on to select assignments)...I think these should be displayed differently:

    • First, I think the indications for what prevent you from starting an assignment should be made more functional for at-a-glance processing rather than mouse-over investigation, as well as perhaps being made more clear...perhaps this last is a resolution and scaling issue for me using a high-res display, but the current red graphics seem pretty illegible to me compared to almost all other graphic UI elements.


      To explain further:
      I mean that something like not having a required BOff at all should do something like put a blocking graphic outside the box as well as de-emphasizing the box color (i.e., functionally "ghosting it out" to some small degree) , and having all Assignment slots filled should have a more significant ghosting/graphical de-saturation effect for the entire Assignment list, whereas things like lack of items or a currency should have specific icons along the lines of what are currently used.
      As to why: consider conceptually dividing UI feedback between indicating "you need to get this list of things" and "you might be finished with this until some assignments are done", and the relevance of that to using the Assignment UI. I propose what I describe lends itself to processing that information quickly and clearly.

      Depending on the nuances available in the "ghosting" method (I have a few ideas, but I don't know the desired aesthetic guidelines or flexibility of the UI), something like a BOff on assignment or in sickbay could be a less prominent version of the "blocked out" graphic I describe combined with a lesser "ghosting", but if not, a clearer set of graphics and perhaps some color-coding could leave them using "inside" graphics like for the other "immediately addressable" conditions while still improving clarity.

      I could try some quick ascii art to explain some of this, but I think I'll spare everyone that unless there are specific questions to narrow the scope of illustration necessary...

    • Second, the rarity (e.g., Very Rare) should not be the prominent color element with the other info about the missions as it is currently. While it is true it is a significant factor in picking out more rewarding missions when selecting , I will point out two points regarding that:
      1. Skimming through the list for rarer assignments could be served just as well with this color indication more in the "background", since picking out a background color element or less prominent text would work just as well (i.e., the information doesn't have to be as prominent as it is currently to be easily noticeable at a glance).
      2. For Completed assignments, it is the rarity/color of the reward that matters and feeds into the positive experience of finding out you got a rare reward or other bonus success, and displaying the current scheme for consistency (I presume) actually serves to confuse determining at a glance (you have to short-circuit the reflexive perception that collecting something with prominent "purple" displayed is not relating to getting a "purple" BOff, item, etc.).

      Perhaps a rough example and suggested change might illustrated what I mean (please work with me here, substituting some imagination for my doing some Paint.Net editing and figuring out if I can inline an image ):


      Evaluate Bajoran Engineering
      Bridge Officer Applicant

      Very Rare
      Purple Quality

      Evaluate Bajoran Engineering
      Bridge Officer Applicant

      Very Rare
      Critical Success: Purple Quality
      To describe some thoughts on what is achieved: the green success/red failure cue is preserved and made more consistent ("Critical Success" is always the indication of a Critical Success), the ability to pick out rarity during selection would be enhanced by having the rarity cue in a more unique and differentiated position (won't even have to be's absence or the differing colors and shapes of the words for it would function just like a unique graphic), and now you can get the feedback of a purple reward instantly popping out at you in a list of completed assignments, whether scrolling through a bunch or not.

      This would include things like having "Time to complete" always listed last to leave blank space for the blocking condition icons discussed above to be displayed horizontally, if implemented literally as "illustrated" (remember, I'm assuming consistent formatting, so even though the completion summary I've illustrated wouldn't have those, the selection summary would just have time to complete instead of the reward listing and look similar), but I think (hope) that at least the thinking behind this suggestion is illustrated, however it would actually be done if this type of changed were considered.

    • I think Assignments that have special rewards (like allowing other assignments), and potential special effects (like the ones that have yellow text for effects from critical success) need some better at-a-glance clarity for this, including being represented in the "Graphical Reward List" where Dilithium, "XP", and EC rewards are listed.

      At first, simply something like a "golden asterik" graphic occurred to me, but alternatives like a boxed (like other reward display icons) ellipsis or some other graphic could of course be used.

      I also thought being able to click on it to auto-scroll the text display to the bottom of the info text might maybe even be a good way to deal with the issue with the explanation text for some of the assignments being hidden, perhaps even a simple to implement one...? I do think such info hidden like that is something that needs to be addressed, and this might help. Possible?

      Also, I think it important to have some clarity for Assignments that unlock further Assignments, or any other effects along those lines. I think the text might explain it in most(?) cases, but a graphical representation of this at a glance with the rest of the info on rewards seems like it would be much clearer and perhaps relax the requirements for text descriptions in the process.

  • I find the Duty Officer operation with the "side tabs" cumbersome.

    I don't know of a simple and clear way to describe all of the issues I have when using it, but I can describe the most significant issue via a straightforward (to describe, even if not to implement) solution and explanation of one usage case it could help address:

    Usage Case:
    OK, I'm going into the Duty Officer list to get a picture of my DOff resources and make some decisions...
    OK, I'm going to check how many Projectile Weapon Officers I have. Oh, quite a few, but that high quality one doesn't have many useful properties...hmm...oh, wait, look at that special effect...maybe I should put that guy on Space Duty...
    I wonder who I have on Space Duty already (or," my Space Duty Roster is full...should I make room for this guy?" if I'm familiar with the "Put on Active Space Duty" button and find it intuitive to click on that and check, which is not the case for me personally)
    OK, *click* I have to scroll all the way through to find that guy again to compare.
    This usage case gets much worse for me when trying to shuffle DOffs and deciding how to make room for new selections, though perhaps others find the mechanics less of an issue? I will say that though I'm not swearing (out loud...that I recall...lately) when I have such issues, that this is something I find "significantly bothersome" when I do have problems with it.

    In any case, my (relatively) straightforward suggestion to address this is: some way to "carry" the filter and filter list selection, position, and status, between the applicable "vertical tab" Duty Officer areas.

    I guess the "Pinned" (or sort of "tear off and stick" to me) concept currently in the UI is taken for elements that stay when a window is closed, so I'm not sure what simple graphic could convey this filter persistence since a thumbtack is used already. Perhaps a sort of clickable "clip/clamp" effect on the right of the filter graphic, that had a similar graphical effect on the right side of the corresponding "vertical tab" buttons? Not a notch in just the top right, but maybe, for example, a vaguely notch-like solid effect symmetrically at both top and bottom right corners so the indication effect on the vertical tab buttons wasn't confusing?

    Less practical in the short term, but perhaps useful food for thought:

    I have had other thoughts, large and small, that might not be practical to implement, if they were even considered an improvement, but I will describe one possible end result "picture" of the workings of the Duty Officer section that I think might at least express some of those thoughts:
    Have the "tabs" on top more emphasized and have the UI convey the concept of a source pane where you can select (Roster/Passengers/Brig), with a secondary pane where "space" and "ground" could be displayed in positions corresponding to the filter graphic. They would have the same graphical behavior as the tabs (brightly colored "reversed" text when active) so that both being darker/unselected would be clear at a glance to allow similar behavior to current to not be confusing, but they could always be clicked immediately to set up Active Duty selections.
    Also, I've always thought Active Space selections should be per ship, but noticed it didn't seem to change when I switched ships, and the current ship name could be displayed directly under this area when it is selected if that was implemented...? I have further thoughts on that regarding Roster limits, etc., but it doesn't make sense to go into that unless something like that were actually considered.

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