Some UI and layout flow suggestions from a pro
Hey Flipaclip. First let me say your app is nothing short of brilliant - it's a perfect companion for sketching out animation ideas on a phone and is very responsive and stable.
There are just a few things about the layout and organization of buttons and features that I feel could make things even smoother. I can only speak to my experience using a Galaxy Note 5 - usually in landscape orientation. Here's my list:
- Toggling Onion Skin - It currently requires 3 taps or clicks to toggle the onion skin. 1) options menu at top right 2) toggle onion skin switch 3) click somewhere outside menu to collapse it. I understand the need to keep the UI clutter-free but the onion skin is pretty fundamental and I need to toggle it often - much more often than i need the ruler tool, for example, which has it's own button in the main UI window. I would love to see an onion skin On/Off button, flanked on either side by sliders to adjust before and after frames - all in the main window.
- Tool Switching - Again 3 or 4 clicks just to change the tool. Personally I would be very happy with smaller buttons with more options directly available, such as tool types, current tool settings... all without leaving the main panel that includes the eraser etc. but assuming we do need to click on the tool icon to see the other tool options - why are they then displayed on another part of the screen? One would expect that the options just appear near the tip of the pen when you press the tool icon. I would recommend showing the options via smaller tool icons (they currently take up a third of my screen), which pop out directly from the tool button. Hope that makes sense ;)
- Adjustable work space color. By this I mean the overall surrounding background of the drawing area - independent of paper or loaded image. It would help maintain an intuitive sense of your frame if you could control the contrast between the desktop color and the active drawing area. When working on a white canvas similar to the current default background color - it can feel a little disorienting. In that case a darker background would help. It doesn't need to be a fully customized property but a few options of varying brightness would be great.
- Color picker non-fullscreen. When changing color it would be great to be able to still see the drawing so that you can compare. For this you'd need the color selection window to be more of a floating widget type of control.
- Direct access to palette. When clicking the color button - perhaps the palette colors could expand from the button, with a color picker option at the end. This way, switching between palette colors would be very fast but calling up the color picker would take one more click.
In general, I think you could review how many submenus and clicks we need to navigate for some pretty essential and frequently used functions. The minimalism in the UI currently is very nice - but since the UI already claims the edges of the screen, why not push a few more options to the front (at least in landscape mode where more space becomes available)?
Of course I will happily be using flipaclip regardless. Just wanted to share my observations on how I think it could help speed up my work. Thanks for reading!