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-   -   User Experience / User Interface (http://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=48772)

c_r_w March 29th, 2014 05:27 PM

User Experience / User Interface
 
Hi Lone Wolf,

The technical accomplishment that is Hero Lab is astounding. The improvements over PCGen and the offical WotC 4e builder are laudable and frankly amazing.

That said, in general, the user experience / user interface, especially the new user experience, is a bit rough. When I look at your upcoming feature list, it does not include improvements to the user experience. I would strongly suggest considering UX a feature of your product.

I would start with the new user experience. The first ten-to-thirty minutes of using your product are tough on a new user. The whole licensing / update process needs to be streamlined and simplified. This should work like Google Chrome, where it just tells me when I need to restart to apply an update. Getting from choosing the system, to opening or starting a new character just needs fewer or clearer steps. The interface could probably benefit from dropping the skeuomorphic textures as well.

Next I would clean up and simplify the source file licensing catalog (this is on your web page). The source file catalog is a static list of two-liners and prices that has no navigation assistance, filtering, searching, etc. Theoretically, this is where people spend their money, it should be a place that is exciting to go check out. As it is it is a bit of a scary wall of text. I know making better marketplace and shopping experience is a tall order, but I have to believe it would help sales. Right now I buy the bare minimum I need to get the job done, with a better, more understandable marketplace I might buy modules just to play around with them.

Cleaning up these areas to start would be a huge leap forward. The actual character design experience is surprising good. Data presentation could be better but I can hardly complain compared to the above. However, it is so difficult to actually get to the character design experience, we had to sit down and force other players to use Hero Lab. No one wanted to pay for the demo because of the above experience problems. Once they get into character design, it is fine.

Don't mean to be negative, I just think if you could improve the new user experience, there would be a big upside for Hero Labs adoption.

rob March 29th, 2014 07:43 PM

Moved thread to proper forum...

c_r_w March 29th, 2014 10:57 PM

A thought occurs: it would be great to be able to set a default rules system, so you could skip that first screen entirely when you load Hero Lab. File > Switch Game System is a fine mechanism to get back to that screen. You guys know who owns what licenses (though not who is using what licenses, afaik), I am just guessing the number of people who own two different rules system licenses is a lot lower than those who own one, and the number with three is lower than that. Just a guess. If so, there is definitely no need to show that first screen.

It would also be great to de-emphasize the rules systems that are not installed. Frankly it would be even better to just not display rules systems that are not installed, as long as the call-to-action for the licensing marketplace is clear and prominent.

ChrisRevocateur March 30th, 2014 10:24 AM

Getting rid of systems you don't want to see on the system select screen is rather easy, though not obvious at all. After you have a system open, click on the "Tools" menu and go to "Explore Folders," clicking on "Program Data Folder." When the file explorer comes up, click into the "Data" folder, and then just delete whatever game systems you don't want/need.

Again, easy, but not obvious. It's rather annoying though that you have to do that every time Hero Lab updates to a new version.

nylanfs March 31st, 2014 11:13 AM

Or perhaps a right-click option to hide game system then it could simply be a preferences option unique to the machine?

Colen March 31st, 2014 11:15 AM

Thanks for your feedback on Hero Lab! We're very aware that the first-run experience could be improved, and we're hoping to be able to address some of your complaints in the coming months.

Regarding your suggestion about skipping the "Select game system" screen - this form serves an important purpose, as it indicates whether new updates are available (for Hero Lab or our game systems). If we skipped this form for users who have just a single game installed, we'd have to make this functionality more accessible somewhere else, which would add complexity there and require additional work on our part. :(

There are definitely a lot of things we can do to improve how things work for new users, and we're always keeping that in mind for future Hero Lab updates. In many cases it's a matter of figuring out the "right" solution to implement - one that works better for everyone, not just a limited subset of users (e.g. people who only have a single game system installed).

Thanks for your feedback, and hope this helps!

Farling March 31st, 2014 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colen (Post 179237)
Regarding your suggestion about skipping the "Select game system" screen - this form serves an important purpose, as it indicates whether new updates are available (for Hero Lab or our game systems). If we skipped this form for users who have just a single game installed, we'd have to make this functionality more accessible somewhere else, which would add complexity there and require additional work on our part. :(

There is already a form of doing this. The "view updates" text in the top right corner of the normal herolab window changes to something like "updates available" when required.

ChrisRevocateur April 1st, 2014 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Farling (Post 179241)
There is already a form of doing this. The "view updates" text in the top right corner of the normal herolab window changes to something like "updates available" when required.

Which then downloads and installs the updates, but you have to restart Hero Lab for those updates to take effect.

Kendall-DM April 5th, 2014 11:34 AM

The functionality could be to hide those game systems unless an update is available for it. Furthermore, there is no reason to show me game systems for which I have not registered for, just feels like useless clutter.

Farling April 5th, 2014 06:10 PM

One way to avoid the loading screen for players is to have Windows launch HL automatically when you double-click on the characters .por file in a Windows Explorer window.

This immediately loads the .por into HL without showing the update screen.


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