Difference between revisions of "Talk:Completed Proposal Non-grayed-out editing commands"

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(As already described, there is good reason to improve Select All behaviour.)
(We were discussing here scope for improving Select All)
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*'''Gale 06Nov16:''' OK. I thought you opposed it because the distinction between selecting a track and selecting all in that track was too hard to understand. It is then just Steve who I believe opposes changing it (or supports removing it).
*'''Gale 06Nov16:''' OK. I thought you opposed it because the distinction between selecting a track and selecting all in that track was too hard to understand. It is then just Steve who I believe opposes changing it (or supports removing it).
**'''Steve 06Nov16:''' Removing the option to "select all..." is not part of this proposal.
**'''Steve 06Nov16:''' Removing the option to "select all..." is not part of this proposal.
**'''Gale 07Nov16:''' Actually we are discussing here the scope for improving "Select All" behaviour.   
=== Not selecting newly recorded tracks adds to the problem ===
=== Not selecting newly recorded tracks adds to the problem ===

Revision as of 19:09, 7 November 2016

  • James 05Nov16: Default setting needs to be off for this proposal to have any point. I'm moving discussion to this talk page so that we have a clear proposal on the front page. Any aspect not specified on the main page is doer decides, e.g. any unresolved choices, and indeed doer may deviate somewhat from the plan anyway.
  • Peter 04Nov16: maybe in the message we should tell them how to make a selection, maybe like the Status bar message. I would suggest "Click and drag in the waveform to select audio". Yes there are other ways, but click&drag is the basic fundamental way ad this in no intended to be a full-blown selection tutorial (we have the Manual for that - and hence the Help button in the dialog.
  • Steve 04Nov16: If we have a help button, I don't think that will be necessary. The few people that can't guess "click and drag like every other application" can click "Help". The more text, the less likely people are to read it. Verbose messages are counter-productive.
  • Peter 25Oct16: Note that this proposal explicitly does not address the issue of precisely what the preference setting for "Select all if none selected" should make selected, that is beyond the scope of this proposal.

Gale's comments


I notice a discrepancy in the Proposal:

  • "Users are often confused that their editing commands can appear grayed-out and inoperable. This occurs when they issue a command that relies on the presence of a selection and they have not made a selection.
  • "We do not explain in the dialog how to make a selection. The few users who can't guess".
    • Peter 05Nov16 James went on to say "... can click on Help. Verbose messages believed to be counterproductive" and I agree with him. Click&Drag is such a common selection procedure in many apps including things like Word, Excel, web editors etc. that I supectct that many users can guess how to make the selection. What they don't always understand when they are newbies is that they need a selection present for many commands to work. Hence this proposal for the "educational mesaage". They will pretty soon learn and then they will likely never seee the message ever again.
    • Steve 06Nov16 If we find that users find this kind of thing (image below) confusing, then we can add the prompt for these cases too. Personally I don't think our users are so clueless they need the prompt for such ("edit") cases.
    • Gale 06Nov16: It is rare that a noob would need a full selection in document editors - how often would you want to change the font of the entire document? Currently by default the Audacity user doesn't need a selection to operate on the whole track. This proposal seeks to impose that need by default. Note that we don't force a select all to export the entire track. The users are probably thinking along those lines when applying effects.


Makes Audacity harder to use for common, simple use cases

Normally, the most user-friendly preferences in an application are on by default. Currently, users working on a single track (probably many) have the convenience of not needing to select anything to apply an effect or edit.

  • Steve 06Nov16: Your case does not follow your premise. There are many cases where selecting all is NOT convenient, even for users working on a single track, for example: Fade In, Fade Out, Delete, Crossfade clips.

Users who want to do that are not told how to do so in the proposed dialogue. This will be unexpected for established users.

Of course, verbose dialogues run the risk of not being read properly. This is exactly why we made clicking an effect when paused Stop and Do the action rather than spawn a dialogue to be read.

  • Steve 06Nov16: "Stop and Do" is not equivalent to "Select all if none selected". They are superficially similar in that both address "greyed out menu items", but in the case of "Stop and Do" it is a binary decision: Do we allow the action, Yes or No?
In the case of there being no selection, there are multiple options: Does the user wish to apply the command to the end of the track, the start of the track, the current cursor position, the entire track, just the current clip, all clips in all audio tracks, all tracks of all kinds... As you have previously acknowledged, we have no way of knowing what the user actually wants to do.

Not even telling user how to do the key thing that stopped them working is terrible. See the suggestion below.

  • Steve 06Nov16: That's a false statement on multiple counts. The thing that has "paused" (not "stopped") their workflow is that they have not selected anything for the chosen command to act on. We tell the user they need to make a selection. If they need further help to be able to do that, a Help button is provided.
  • Peter 05Nov16 I know of no application (apart from Audacity) where an automatic "select all" is made for the user - Word and Excel cetainly don't, the web editor I am using right now doesn't and there are many other examples. And as I have pointed out to you before we create a problem by giving the user no visual cue that all of the project is auto-selected. Actually the project is not really auto-selectcted unless and until a command that depends on a selection is invoked - this is not what the wording states where it says "Select all audion in project, if none selected.

    Furthermore retaining the default "on" setting for "Select all ..." would totally defeat the object of this proposed change as newbies would then be extremely likely to see it. And even newbies don't always need everything selected, they often need a partial selection. And if they do the Ctrl+A (Cmd+A on Mac) is a pretty universal "select all" in all the applications I use, so I supect that most of our users (apart from the few totally computer-naive and computer-illiterate) are likely to kow and use a lot. And nobody is trying to take the "Select all ..." preference, that you seem to find so useful, away - you'll just need to turn it back "on" again.

  • Gale 06Nov16: As previously pointed out, Wavosaur and CoolEdit (single waveform view) do select all on none. I am sure there are others. I assume DAW's never do this but USB turntable users probably don't use DAW's.
    • Steve 06Nov16: CoolEdit Pro 2.1 does not "select all" by default, not even in wave edit mode. It has an option (off by default) to select the entire audio clip (unlike Audacity, CEP's wave edit view only supports one audio clip, and no other data), but even then it only applies to the channel(s) that are selected for editing. In contrast, "all" for Audacity includes as many audio clips, channels, tracks, labels, time and note tracks, as exist in the project. I agree that "select all 'audio' if none selected" could be a reasonable option for an audio editor that only supports one single audio clip, but we're not talking about that type of application, we're talking about Audacity.
    • Gale 06Nov16: Cool Edit Pro 2.0 did select all by default in waveform view. We could improve "Select all... if none" as I already suggested in this discussion. In particular, I have suggested this Preference could have an option to work only if there is a single audio track, or just has that limitation without option. Then multi track users would not be affected.

Relationship to Stop and Do on Pause

What will happen in this Proposal if a user is paused with no selection? If user is halted by a dialogue then those users are not benefiting from Pause, Stop and Do as was intended.

  • Peter 05Nov16: Of course those users will see the "educational message displayed. "Halted" is slightly emotive language in this context - I see it as "guided" as to what to do to make it work.

Select all... if none could be made less aggressive

The two supporters of this proposal have opposed suggestions to make "Select all... if none" more useful and less aggressive. Doing that, retaining the preference on by default, is an alternative. I think such improvements to the preference should be made if "Select all... if none" is made non-default, so the preference is more useful to power users when they want to edit the entirety of their project with less clicks/RSI.

  • Peter 05Nov16: I have categorically not opposed any changes the the operation of the "Select all ...". I clearly told you I had "no dog in that race", it is not a preference I have ever had set to "on" (apart from when I am testing) so I really don't mind what you make the "Select all" do or even if you have multiple types of context-dependent "select all" as you seemed to be suggesting. And if you do go down that more complex route then that makes a further strong argument for making the defailut setting to be "off" so that newbies don't get confused. But that is not part of this proposal anyway and should be discussed elsewhere
  • Gale 06Nov16: OK. I thought you opposed it because the distinction between selecting a track and selecting all in that track was too hard to understand. It is then just Steve who I believe opposes changing it (or supports removing it).
    • Steve 06Nov16: Removing the option to "select all..." is not part of this proposal.
    • Gale 07Nov16: Actually we are discussing here the scope for improving "Select All" behaviour.

Not selecting newly recorded tracks adds to the problem

We select the Track Control Panel of newly generated or imported tracks but not that of newly recorded tracks. No one has given a rational explanation why. We probably don't want to select all in newly imported, generated or recorded tracks, but selecting the Track Control Panel of newly recorded tracks combined with a less aggressive "Select all... if none" preference that only selected all in selected tracks would go a long way to help.

  • Peter 05Nov16: This does not form part of this proposal and is not germane to it except in a very indirect way. I think you need to raise a bug or an enh on Bugzilla if it bothers you.
  • Gale 06Nov16: It bothers Steve too unless he has changed his mind. Of course it is germane. If we selected a recording's TCP and made the "Select all... if none" preference less aggressive there would be less "need" for this proposal, because users who don't like the preference would get less caught out by it. <p> Of course I see "some" educational benefit in the dialogue, if we really want another popup dialogue. We decided against a popup for selecting effects when paused. I don't see an overwhelming case for a popup in this case. If we have a popup it should not constantly interfere with or add to any user's workflow.

    • Steve 06Nov16: I agree with Peter, let's keep on-topic.
    • Peter 06Nov16: Once again Gale you are missing the point. The newbie users who at that stage don't realize they need a selection will soon learn and never see that message again and thus their workflow will not be impacted. Of course there is "an overwhelming case for a popup in this case" that is the whole point of this proposal - no popup educational message => no proposal. And I do realize that you would prefer it if that were the case and see no need for change, but others amongst us do - and we are thinking not of the experienced users but the newbies who need to learn. The sophisticated users, like you, who feel the need for an automatic "Selelect all ..." will still have it, you will just to need to turn it on - and that is a one-time preference setting - and thus their sophisticated workflow will not be impacted.

No Select All button

The two supporters of this Proposal recommended a Select All button but this is not part of the Proposal. We could make such a button part of the suggested dialogue.

No Audio Selected

Drag-select the audio you want to affect (or click "Select All").

[ ] In future, automatically select all when none selected

[Help] [Select All] [Close]

If the action of user selecting audio removes the modeless dialogue we could even do without the OK button, though perhaps non-standard. What is the difference between Cancel and OK?

We could also link to the preference as above as a one-step way to get rid of this dialogue.

  • Peter 05Nov16: As I have pointed out to you many times before: the way to "get rid of this dialogue" is for the user to learn from the educational message - and most of them will learn pretty darn quickly.

    I don't recall ever recommmending a "Select All" button in the dialog. I don't particularly mind if you insist on having it there but I would not really support it. And I certainly don't support the "In future, let me select all when none selected". Firstly because it clutters and overburdens the dialog and as James has said earlier "Verbose messages believed to be counterproductive" also the message is not accurate and is ambiguous the "let me ..." could refer to Me the user as in enable me to go and make a select all - or it could mean let me, Audacity, make an automatic select all for you, So tou have both ambiguiyty and lack of clarity. The place to tell them how to set "Select all" is (or will be) in the Selection page in the Manual and the Help button in the dialog is designed to drive the unknowledgeable reader to that page.

    Nor do I support the alternative for the educational message that you have provided here. I find Steve's original wording much crisper - and those that are still puzzled can click on the Help button.

    • Peter 05Nov16: I have just added an entry on the Selection page in the Manual re. auto-selection.
  • Gale 06Nov16: Steve recommended a Select All button, unless he has changed his mind.
    • My now adjusted version has three words fewer than Steve's dialogue But Steve's:
    • Does not help users find out within the dialogue how to obtain the old "Select all" behaviour (the Proposal is unclear if it will force existing users to default the "Select all" behaviour off, or only change this for new users). I assume if will force default for all users, otherwise the educational benefit will be reduced.
    • Does not make it easy (one click where your mouse is now) to select all the project. Lots of users will want to do that, just as some will not.
    • Does not within the dialogue tell the naive how to select.

    In my proposal, if the user clicks "Select All" or selects in the waveform this closes the dialogue (same as clicking "Close").

    I am trying to be constructive rather than outright oppose the Proposal. I shall continue to oppose it unless the dialogue is made more user friendly e.g. somewhat along the lines I propose. Users applying effects to the entire audio do not want to get rid of the dialogue by having the extra step of select all every single time. So yes, the dialogue should IMO link to the "Select All" preference, just like the very verbose dialogue for importing uncompressed files lets you select a preference to not show the dialogue again. I replaced "let me" with "automatically" in the preference checkbox.

    If we show that we care about making the proposed dialogue user friendly instead of saying in effect "Noob, go RTFM" then I will become 0 or maybe +0.5 on it, including making "Select all... if none" non-default.
  • Peter 06Nov16: Gale, your message version is not very accurate, in ordet to make a selection the usr must click&dran not just drag - and that's certainly what we tell them in the Status Bar message. Your proposed message would read better as "Click and drag in the waveform to select the audio you want to affect.". But I still prefer Steve's form that references the actual command the user is trying to invoke.
  • Steve 07Nov16: Telling the user to "Drag select" or "select all" assumes that the user knows what "drag select" means and how to "select all", so I don't see that this is much more helpful than the proposal as written. Also, by saying "do A or B" implies that "A" and "B" are the only options, whereas there are actually many other ways to make selections, so in this sense the message is misleading. Clearly it would be far too verbose for the pop-up message if we described all of the ways to make a selection, which is why the proposal is to have a Help button leading to a page in the manual where we can provide clear, full and detailed information.
The absence of an "OK" button makes your suggestion more disruptive to workflow than the proposal as described. (The difference between "OK" and "Cancel" is described in the proposal).