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Hi all.


I included this in a thread in the bug-report area, but it really belongs here.  I think consolidating the fill controls into a single panel would clarify their use for users.  Currently, an object's fill control presents a series of tabs that offer conflicting functions.  The tabs represent different types of fills and are exclusive of each other; therefore I submit that these fill types should be offered in a drop-down list and not as tabs.  When the user selects a fill type, the panel can display the appropriate set of controls in the panel and the appropriate on-canvas controls (like gradient angle), which currently do not appear at all when using the Fill control panel for an object.


Also, the current panel for gradients can be improved by indicating to the user that he needs to click on those circles to set colors and properties, and indicating which of the controls pertain to the selected control point and which pertain to the entire gradient.  A colored highlight makes the current selection more clear than simply having a bigger circle and smaller circle (and that size difference isn't even shown on first use of the panel; I assume this is a bug).


Users should be able to right-click in that gradient display to insert, delete, copy, or paste control points.  Currently it doesn't seem that there's any way to determine where a new one will be inserted.  All of the current buttons, except Delete, suffer from major ambiguity:  If I press Insert, where will the new point go?  If I copy one, how do I paste it?  Or does Copy here actually mean Duplicate?


Without some hint, however, I don't think users would ever guess that they could add more control points.  And then a bunch of Affinity's work would go to waste.  I vote for putting a label below the gradient display instead of the buttons, instructing users to right-click to add or manipulate control points.  It's more clear, and space-efficient to boot.


And finally, I had no idea what "stop" meant.  I guessed it was some kind of option for determining what should happen beyond the end of the gradient, but of course the functions offered by those buttons didn't seem to make sense in that context.  In any similar type of editor, I see "control point" used more than any other term.


I think the flexibility of Designer's fill function is remarkable!  Some revision of the UI will help users find it and take advantage of something that Affinity clearly put quite a bit of effort into.



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  • 11 months later...

The gradient fill GUI in Designer is, in my opinion, "acceptable".  A number of usability issues exist, and when I compare to other software, it is easy to see how it could be improved further:

  • While a gradient fill tool is available in Designer, it is rather awkward that the same tool forces the user to switch the context to stroke before the user is able to control a stroke gradient applied to the same object. And the tool icon state changes when the user switches to stroke context, which is confusing.

    It is not possible to control both gradients (fill and stroke) simultaneously. This means back and forth switching in order to make changes to both, which is time-consuming to say the very least. The user is forced to move the mouse to the tool properties bar to switch context, then make a change to either the stroke gradient or the fill gradient, and again these steps are required to change the gradient for the other context.

    The dropdown menu to change gradient context is slow to work with - perhaps buttons instead?

    An alternative method: select an object, switch to the gradient tool, and both gradients can be simultaneously controlled with similar on-screen widgets: no context switching is required.

  • Color stop colours can only be changed via the colour chooser panel and the gradient editor in the tool properties in Designer, again forcing the user to break the workflow by having to move the mouse cursor from the artwork to either the tool bar or the colour panel.

    It is not possible to double-click a colour stop, or right-mouse click a colour stop to change to a different colour.

    Allowing the user to either double-click or right-mouse click a colour stop to quickly change the colour would be much faster, and maintains control context more.

  • To change gradient type properties in Designer, again the user must work through the tool properties only.

    It would be useful to allow the user to access gradient properties such as gradient type, revert gradient, colour mode, and colour stop interpolation with a simple right-mouse click on the gradient itself, which would speed things up.

    And it is a shame Designer does not support alternate interpolation modes between colour stops - it makes working with gradients simpler and more effective.

  • When saving a gradient swatch, the actual transformation of the gradient is not saved. I can see why this is, but it is actually quite handy to be able to save the gradient transformation state in the colour swatch. Ideally both options would be available to the user, depending on the context.
  • Finally, the small stuff: it is not possible for the user to click & drag a new colour stop in one action. Colour stops cannot be simply dragged off the gradient widget to remove stops. As far as I can tell,  it is not possible to move the entire gradient with linear gradients. It would be nice to have the option to move the mid-point of a circular/elliptical gradient separately from the other control points.

Anyway, food for thought. My main gripe with Designer's gradient tool is that it feels a tad clunky and slow to work with when I want to change both the stroke and fill gradients of the same object.

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