New Release: Improved Usability of Layer System

Some weeks ago I blogged about how we are redesigning pidoco. Yesterday, we finished the second iteration of Usability Tests. Although we did not yet analyze the test results in detail, our impression is that we did the right steps with this iteration and we may now continue with designing some details.

In the meantime, we started with improving the layer system of pidoco. We know of many people who struggled with the layers and needed some time to understand how pages and layers are related to each other. Another issue was the way too long list of layers that you got when prototyping for a while.

The new implementation solves these issues with just a small change: every page may contain elements itself. You can think of a special layer for each page, that is not shown in the Global Layer Repository. All elements of a page are on top of any layer that is visible on the page, but you still may rearrange the global layers among themselves. To represent this special layer (or better to say, the page) we added a new item on top of the global layer repository, which you can choose to edit the elements just as you would choose a layer:

The big advantage of this system is that if you want to you may ignore the layers completely and just work with pages. And once you are at the point that things get too complex on a page you can add layers to structure things. Without all the layers that just appear on one page the global layer list is a lot less cluttered now. An improvement we only realized while implementing this feature is that our word export now makes a lot more sense having a chapter for pages and one for global layers.

We’d be happy to know what you think about this improvement. Please feel free to chat with us and tell us whether this helps you or is just confusing you.

1 Comment

  • How do you move layers up and down the layer stack? Couldn’t find an obvious way to do this …. dragging it in the layer list appears to drop it into another layer …

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