Sunday, March 4, 2012

Taking Care for Details

Frank Reininghaus already wrote about all the 4.8.1 Dolphin-bugfixes we've done, so I'd like to talk about just one specific fix: It is "only" about some visual improvements regarding the layout of items when turning on the grouping-feature, but the interesting thing is what happened behind the scenes.

It started when Martin Zilz from kreativkonzentrat wrote me an e-mail a few weeks ago with some suggestions how to improve the look of group-headers. The base of discussion was the following state:

Beside the group-headers Martin also recognized other issues with the layout and it required several internal adjustments in the view-engine to achieve what Martin suggested. But after sharing a lot of e-mails with updated screenshots and doing some finetuning in the code I'm really happy with the end-result:

But beside the icons-view we also adjusted the group-header for the other views. Before the changes the compact view looked like this:

After following Martin's suggestions it looks like this:

The details-view is something where I'm still not 100 % happy, as the alternate backgrounds don't work well together with the grouping from my point of view. However I'd say the look still has improved from:


The main reason why I've written a blog-entry about this bugfix is that it should be an example of how an application can get improved when working together with skilled designers. As developer it is tricky to think outside the boundaries of your own implementation. E.g. I never thought about the vertical lines in the compact-view as the height of the group-header widget was only around 20 pixels. Martin was able to think outside those boundaries and in the end it was not tricky to implement. I had similar experiences when working together with Nuno and Hugo from the Oxygen team. Although many users probably won't see the difference in the first sight I believe those details matter to have a comfortable user experience.