I think everybody is getting hung up on the execution rather than the general idea.
Most contributors to this thread have dismissed it out of hand or gotten into mud-slinging so I can see how that would ruffle your feathers a bit. You've obviously put effort into this and nobody likes to see the fruits of their labours shot down. That said, a little restraint from you Grim would perhaps have kept the mood in the thread a bit friendlier. If people don't 'get it', try to convince them rather than flaming them back.
Darth gave you some really good, constructive, feedback
which you seem to have ignored almost entirely. Alternative interfaces really get my juices flowing and I would have loved to have seen Darth's work in action.
The main issue people have with what you are presenting is usability. I've had a play with it and I have to agree with some of the criticism.Screen resolution is an issue
I've just tried it on my iPod touch and with only 4 windows it's difficult to see much of anything. (I also could not figure out how to move the windows around on the iPod. Touching the menu bar only highlighted it)
Supporting smaller resolutions does not have to be a show-stopper. With considerate planning, Plateau (yep, i'm naming it that) could adjust the display to suit. Darth has given you a brilliant example. You could also have certain menus and panels only show at set resolutions, just like mobile websites work (often widget areas will disappear on Wordpress sites, leaving only simple navigation for example)Scrolling is a bit passe
It was said rather bluntly, but it's true that people hate having to scroll to get access to content. That is web development 101. There's nothing stopping you keeping scrolling, but again provide a slick UI to get around it. As well as manually scrolling along, couldn't there be a quick way to zip to a certain window. Look at Mac OS X with it's Launchpad and Mission Control for seeing all the applications available and those currently open.The interface is not very user friendly
The way it is at the moment, I found the menu options very confusing. I wasn't sure how to get the layout you showed in the video until I realised you had placed and enlarged those windows manually. This is one of the major usability issues and it's tedious to have to do this. I couldn't work out how to browse to any other sites other than those accessed via the menu items or by using the multi search window. I really didn't like the Search functionality at all. Why do I have the option to change the background colour here and not on on the main page itself? What is Chimpow web search? The Google search option didn't work, but the Bing and Yahoo ones did. Also the scrollbars within scrollbars look is horrible. My thoughts
I actually do like the general idea itself.
I know that modern browsers provide similar features already, but I could see this as a web application, or rather a suite of web applications. The only requirement would be a device running a modern web browser. I know you described it as an Operating System but perhaps that was a slip of the tongue. Coding a new Operating System sounds incredibly dull to me. Great if you can do it but, unless you're creating your own flavour of Linux, the other two OSes have got things covered. That's not to say I wouldn't like to see alternatives but it would be a tonne of work before you even consider the graphics.
No, I think you meant a web application. At the moment it's more like a website with the ability to drag around iframes. There are some nice touches like the windows remembering their locations, but it basically shows content from other sites and not much more. I think you could do so much more.
For a start, if it is to be a development hub, play up the 'all your applications and sites in one place' idea. And I mean applications. Showing websites is good, but you could create some cool web applications. Look at what Google Docs provides for your basic office on the go. I've also used sites like Pixlr for online image editing. Also, look at what Aviary
So as a development hub for AGS I would expect the default 'applications' to include:
A word processor with screenwriting support
A graphics program with sprite animation support
A music editor
Access to the AGS forums
Access to the AGS chatrooms
You describe it as a development hub - why stop there? Why not think in terms of workspaces and have web applications tailored to different needs: office, writers, musicians, artists, students.
Some of web applications/websites you could provide for the above would include:
Word Processor (including templates for novels, screenplays, poetry)
Calendar with reminders
Access to Webmail
Integration with sites like Amazon for product reviews and prices
University library book search
Certainly from a technical point of view, with some of these you could just pull in content from other sites rather than reinvent the wheel. But you could deliver a consistant user interface to tie them all together and easy ways to manipulate the content.
As it currently stands, I would like to see options like:
- Windows that snap into position
- One click options to rearrange the display of the windows (tile horizontally, vertically, cascade, minimise all, show all etc)
- Navigation that lets you easily see where you are and how to access hidden windows (perhaps a document tree or similar)
- An omni search or other overview tool to find a particular application
- A clearer launcher or menu bar for the available applications
- 'Workspaces' - ways to group applications for different use cases
- Style options affecting the whole user interface while also providing accessibility options
I don't think you should give up on the idea, but I do think you should make some paper prototypes to test out the usability of the website before leaping back into the code.
Don't restrict yourself to scrolling either. Experiment with different ways to present content and interact with it. What about mousing near the edge of the screen to have windows slide into view? Or collapsable nav trees or a layer hierarchy? How will it perform on mobile devices, especially those that are touch-enabled? Obviously there will be limits to what you can do in a web browser but so long as it gives the impression of more robust navigation it will work.
Who would use this? Come up with user profiles. Is this a generic tool for everyone or a specialist tool for your studio?
If I have 20 windows open and I can't remember which is the AGS forum, how do I find it?
If I open a new application, should it appear on top of the others or slot into place somewhere?
How do I tell how many windows I have open?
How can I close/reopen all windows at once?
What about offline storage?
And so on..
If it's useful for your team, stick with it. I'd actually recommend that you develop it as a prototype like that so that you can work with it and see how it would fit your workflow. If it's successful, then show to other people and see how it could benefit them.