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3 minutes ago, ymugmike said:

I wonder what is stopping Affinity from adopting a similar approach?

Two good reasons:
a.) Serif is still focusing on other aspects first, like bugfixing or implementing new features.
b.) Serif is more limited in manpower than an open source app might be. Consider that open source developers don't need to live by their work (~ have separate income resources) whereas in a professional (~ commercial) team their company finances the team members. So, economically Serif supports the developers financially – while a free, open source software doesn't need to finance their developing team but may rather just profit from their work.

The opinion whether Serif should focus on a specific feature first is individually quite different among users. Far not every user feels disturbed by the UI, some are missing a certain feature massively and get angry that it isn't implemented yet. Not only the various RTL threads have a bunch of furios posts, rather demanding than requesting, as if they felt a human right, not only to get their wish fulfilled but also to get it fulfilled explicitly by Serif (not by any other developer which the user might need to pay separately). Other posts even prophecy Serif economical loss up to ruin if a specific idea of a feature's urgency isn't respected and done according to their expectation.

So the bandwidth of user requests, expectations and assessments is quite wide and numeric, statistically difficult to judge, especially because most users do not appear in the forums at all. This majority can be seen as satisfied, regardless of their actual, non communicated opinions. 

Concerning UI we users don't know yet whether developers are able to "reproduce" the reported difficulties – or whether they are so familiar with their design meanwhile that they literally can't see (recognise, notice, understand) such issues.

macOS 10.14.6, MacBookPro Retina 15" + Eizo 27"

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@R C-R, okay, let's assume Serif is simply well used to their design. Then it doesn't matter if a certain icon looks like any placeholder or represents its function unambiguous … and we all can/will get used to it sooner or later, too. (not an ideal situation but in fact it might work).

@Fritz_H, yes, that's what I wonder, too. Was there at any time during development a situation especially for judging the pure look & clear 'recognisability' ? Did it happen but without noticing any need for improvement for the final UI, so just some users aren't able to see what is classified by Serif to be 'normal'? If yes, are such issues related to the age of the affected users (who possibly are represented more in the forum compared to younger users / the ratio among all clients).

Concerning contrast, especially in the dark UI, I wonder whether one can get used to differ colors of low contrast. Is it possible to train the eyes/brain to recognise subtle differences of gray which initially appear too similar? Does the Serif team see in the image below only 1 gray in the 2 fields A / B (besides knowing this meme)?

optische-taeuschung-schachbrett-illusion.jpg.f74aa3b0d4faca7b29a6beddb0e10c18.jpg

To me there are spots in the UI which cause such kind of issues. They can force me to "test" what gray is currently displayed. I need to press/hover an icon to compare its grays and detect what button state is indicated. For instance ...

How easily can one detect in the following image …

2121168081_grayf.jpg.de6e25179699632faa7baa2fbf2920a0.jpg

… if its buttons is/are pressed?
… and which of the series of possible APub button states below is a copy of the image above:

1968388897_graya.jpg.fb575c3d678a90288aa061811638e68d.jpg.624242317_graye.jpg.7f0447cc91059eb47536a5f76e06058e.jpg.1272279353_grayd.jpg.d6d6b6250a9bf6327e311ab589cb78a8.jpg.1887415574_grayb.jpg.0466c25c477ae283041666689a6f4b4b.jpg.1051101558_grayc.jpg.d3b41aa8bff4115e36f679de7b172b62.jpg

 

If it feels like an intelligence test then it's hardly useful in an UI.

Another question concerns syntax / semiotic: What is the meaning of a certain gray – and is it continuous / unambiguous?
Sometimes a darkened background gray indicates the state "pressed / active" … sometimes the background doesn't change. Compare the two different kinds of lock/link icons:

905238523_lockAinactive.jpg.aab46ab6dc67578d54a9282d0c4cc30a.jpg.1339727601_lockAactive.jpg.06a480d6200b0a94e31958a0802733b7.jpg

903069511_lockBactive.jpg.d16727616c4beca6fa57d7712afbe5be.jpg.1860132978_lockBinactive.jpg.820c65294ea665fe337e217809f1e5bb.jpg

Since these are in my opinion fundamental aspects of a general concept of an UI it appears hard to believe that these were decisions in purpose.

macOS 10.14.6, MacBookPro Retina 15" + Eizo 27"

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8 hours ago, Patrick Connor said:

Please don't at me when you are talking down our products, it's like telling a musician you don't like their music to their face. You're welcome to your opinion, just don't scream it at me

Patrick: I apologize for my misuse of your "at" name. I thought it was polite and courteous to use the "at" form when quoting someone. Obviously I've misunderstood the purpose of "at" names. I did not realize that using the "at" name is like screaming, the equivalent of or worse than typing in all caps.

Thank you for editing your original reply to me. After the forum sent me the e-mail of your original post,  I was going to ask if it is customary at Serif to use obscenities when talking about paying customers who point out egregious errors in Serif products.

Affinity Photo 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6; Affinity Publisher 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6. Windows 10 Home x64 version 22H2.
Dell XPS 8940, 16 GB Ram, Intel Core i7-11700K @ 3.60 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

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As the UI thread appears to be going on, I thought that people could make their own decision from the attached PDF -

  • AutoDesk Fusion 360 - As its opens without any changes. Relies a lot on drop down menus
  • Blender 2.92 - UI increased to 1.20 in preferences
  • Affinity Designer, Photo an Publisher - All with Pen Tool highlighted, Large Font UI and Dark background

While the Affinity series will highlight certain icons depending upon which tool is selected, those that are not selected tend to fade in to the background.

 

 

 

UI compared flat.pdf

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I forgot to mention that the images in the above attachment were taken on a 27 inch iMac Retina 5K with a default resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels. Also, interesting that the tool layout on the left hand side in the Affinity suit of programs does vary and the pen tool is not visible in Photo screenshot as other tools take preference. Something you just have to learn I guess.

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12 minutes ago, ymugmike said:

and the pen tool is not visible in Photo screenshot as other tools take preference. Something you just have to learn I guess.

The last tool you used in a group will remain visible. Or you can change the layout to something you prefer better: View > Customize > Tools.

But yes, learning the applications's layout is important for each application. And for each application (Serif, or other) it's different.

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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1 hour ago, thomaso said:

To me there are spots in the UI which cause such kind of issues. They can force me to "test" what gray is currently displayed. I need to press/hover an icon to compare its grays and detect what button state is indicated. For instance ...

How easily can one detect in the following image …

That is my biggest issue with the UI -- there is just too little contrast between button states to be sure of what is enabled, particularly from just a quick glance. The UI gamma adjustment does not help with that, at least not enough to matter.

All 3 1.10.6, & all 3 V2.03 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.6; Affinity Designer 1.10.6; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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42 minutes ago, R C-R said:

there is just too little contrast between button states to be sure of what is enabled, particularly from just a quick glance.

In addition to lack of contrast, there is inconsistent use of contrast to differentiate active and inactive states of UI elements.

In dark mode, an active Tool or Toolbar button gets a darker background. A selected Studio or Document tab, however, gets a lighter background when active.

Inactive Studio tabs get a dimmer text label, but inactive docked document tabs have text labels just as bright as the label on the active tab. Floating documents have no indication at all as to which one is currently active and  which one will be saved if you click File/Save or File/Save As... or which document will determine what APhoto will do in response to other menu commands such as File/Open folder in Explorer.

Icons on the Tools Panel buttons and on Toolbar buttons have the same brightness whether or not the button or tool is active, with only a change in background to indicate which are inactive. (Of course some Toolbar buttons are toggles whereas others like Enhancement buttons cause an instant alteration of the image and so do not have different states.)

These UI inconsistencies caused me a lot of grief when I first started using APhoto. I was constantly testing to see whether or not Snapping was active or which of my documents was active.

Implementation of the Toolbar and Tools panel is inconsistent. You can customize the Toolbar by either right clicking it or by selecting View/Customize Toolbar..... You can customize the Tools Panel only by clicking View/Customize Tools....

The lack of UI contrast and what appears to me as design inconsistencies cause me confusion to this day after 3-1/2 years of using APhoto. Yes, I'm an amateur. At times I don't use the software for a weeks at a time. 

Perhaps someone can explain the reasons behind what appears to me as inconsistent choices in the UI design as I continue to adapt to the APhoto way of doing things. I would like to think these obvious issues were considered during initial design of APhoto and that there are logical reasons for each choice.

Affinity Photo 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6; Affinity Publisher 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6. Windows 10 Home x64 version 22H2.
Dell XPS 8940, 16 GB Ram, Intel Core i7-11700K @ 3.60 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

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1 hour ago, Granddaddy said:

Floating documents have no indication at all as to which one is currently active and  which one will be saved if you click File/Save or File/Save As...

In separated mode on Macs, the active document is indicated by the usual (for macOS) 'traffic light' window control icons. In non-separated (tabbed) mode, the text label (document title) is brighter and (I think) the background grey is slightly brighter than for the inactive tabs, but like everywhere else in the UI where the background contrast between active/enabled & inactive/disabled items is too low, that is of little to no help.

 

1 hour ago, Granddaddy said:

Implementation of the Toolbar and Tools panel is inconsistent. You can customize the Toolbar by either right clicking it or by selecting View/Customize Toolbar..... You can customize the Tools Panel only by clicking View/Customize Tools....

I am not sure about Windows but on Macs, the right-click customize toolbar option is built into/provided by the OS. Including it in the View menu  as well makes it possible to set a custom shortcut for that, so I don't think that is such a bad thing.

All 3 1.10.6, & all 3 V2.03 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.6; Affinity Designer 1.10.6; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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I don't know if it makes sense to add another +1 to this thread because there seems to be no real response from the developers.

However, hope dies last:

I work on a high resolution windows 10 machine with a 32" monitor. I am 50+ so my sight may be not as good as that of a 24 years old programmer.

Nevertheless, I would like to work with the Affinity products and I really would like to replace my Adobe and MS applications with them.

The one thing that stops me to do that is the not really scalable UI. I first thought that I was to stupid to find the correct settings or something but after reading this thread I am a bit frustrated.

More than the icons I find the menu texts etc. far too small for relaxed working. I could accept these restrictions if there was hope for improvements in the near future but unfortunately I cannot find any announcement or even a promise that this problem will be solved in the future.

So if this helps in some way: Please, please make the UI scalable so that Affinity products can be used on modern machines, monitors and by people who are older than 25.

 

 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 2 months later...

8 month later now.

are there any news regarding the (too) small UI issue?

I really would like to kick out my Adobe subscriptions and replace the apps with the Affinity products.

Unfortunately this is not possible at the moment because of this stupid UI thing.

@the developers: If it helps I can post a screenshot so you can see how really really small the UI is on my screen. Or test it yourself on a high resolution monitor.

Thanks to everyone who is working on this issue 🙂

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49 minutes ago, GyroGearloose said:

8 month later now. [...]

Thanks to everyone who is working on this issue 🙂

I have a feeling that nobody is working on this issue. Has anyone at Serif ever even acknowledged the problem? Seems like they don't care much about the success of their product. Just checked out Google Trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=%2Fm%2F012vmjyw,adobe illustrator

Interest in AD dropped to about half since 2020. Seen the potential (technically competitive product, great price), it should have skyrocketed. I assume the terrible UI is a major part of the reason for this failure.

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2 hours ago, RalfL said:

Interest in AD dropped to about half since 2020. Seen the potential (technically competitive product, great price), it should have skyrocketed. I assume the terrible UI is a major part of the reason for this failure.

I would have expected that the UK editions of popular magazines that review photo editing software would at least be encouraging use of UK developed software, if not actively promoting such software on the basis of its future promise. But just a couple of weeks ago, Affinity Photo was specifically called out as lacking an intuitive interface. But let's not argue about the meaning of "intuitive". More to the point, APhoto isn't even mentioned among the several best choices for photo editing. 
https://uk.pcmag.com/photo-editing/8546/the-best-photo-editing-software

On the other hand, some reviewers think APhoto is the best for professionals.
https://twitgoo.com/best-free-photo-editing-software/

Yet even reviewers who recommend APhoto comment that it is "quite technical." 
https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/uk/buying-guides/the-best-photo-editing-software

That combination of a poor interface and technical complexity are the two main reasons I stopped recommending APhoto to my photography friends after my initial exuberance about APhoto wore off. I myself revel in the wonderful complexity of things, but most people do not. They have a job to do (editing photographs in this case) and don't want to be overwhelmed with technical details. I'd compare it to the development of the World Wide Web in the early 90s. Some people prided themselves on editing HTML markup, others stayed away until WYSIWYG web page editors appeared. Today everyone is an international publisher and author without knowing any technical details at all.

My major concern about the future of APhoto is that even the support staff at Serif admit to being in the dark about where the products are going. What do we have to look forward to in operational terms? Many seem to hope that "improvements" will be made. Thus, I've been hoping for a more usable UI and for fixes for obvious display bugs for more than four years.  No progress so far, though the .afphoto files have grown hugely in size with no benefit to me at all.

Affinity Photo 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6; Affinity Publisher 2.0.4 (MSI) and 1.10.6. Windows 10 Home x64 version 22H2.
Dell XPS 8940, 16 GB Ram, Intel Core i7-11700K @ 3.60 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

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14 minutes ago, Granddaddy said:

My major concern about the future of APhoto is that even the support staff at Serif admit to being in the dark about where the products are going. What do we have to look forward to in operational terms?

Perhaps members of the development staff at Serif are wise enough to develop the next iterations of Photo, Designer, and Publisher without advertising to the world what they are doing.  Adobe would love to know, so they can copy it as fast as possible.  The support staff, needless to say, is or should also be dedicated to supporting Serif — not Adobe — by spilling the beans.  As for magazines, no doubt they are like Google listings — they are known to praise what they are “encouraged” ($$$?) to praise and to list first what they are “encouraged” to list.

I am fine with the UI, the size of the tools, etc. They do what they are supposed to do.  Personally, I find the UI hands down a tremendous improvement over all those tickety-puckety little icons scattered over the screen in Photoshop and InDesign.

To each his own, however.  The Affinity apps have been and still are a breath of wonderful fresh air every day.  And I have been breathing air for a ver’r’r’r’r’y long time.


24" iMAC Apple M1 chip, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16 GB unified memory, 1 TB SSD storage, Big Sur v. 11.7.2.  Photo, Publisher, Designer 1.10.5;  Photo, Publisher, Designer 2.0.3
MacBook Pro 13" 2020, Apple M1 chip, 16GB unified memory, 256GB  SSD storage
,  Big Sur v. 11.7.   Publisher, Photo, Designer 1.10.5  
21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display MacOS High Sierra v. 10.13.6.  Memory 8 GB, 1TB Fusion Drive: Publisher, Photo, Designer 1.8.4
 iPad Pro 12.9 2020 (4th Gen. IOS 15.6); Apple pencil.  Wired and bluetooth mice and keyboards.9_9

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2 hours ago, Granddaddy said:

My major concern about the future of APhoto is that even the support staff at Serif admit to being in the dark about where the products are going.

The support staff have done no such thing. What they have said is there is currently nothing they can share with users about the future of the apps, other than what is in the beta versions.

All 3 1.10.6, & all 3 V2.03 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.6; Affinity Designer 1.10.6; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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58 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

Perhaps members of the development staff at Serif are wise enough to develop the next iterations of Photo, Designer, and Publisher without advertising to the world what they are doing.

It is unusual for commercial software manufacturers to announce what will be in the next releases in advance. Instead, this happens more in the open source scene, where many volunteers have a say or vote.

1 hour ago, jmwellborn said:

Adobe would love to know, so they can copy it as fast as possible.

😄, not sure on that because competing Adobe products are in contrast relatively feature-complete. So Adobe's Achilles heel is here more their cloud and therefore high price pressure in the long run, this is where Affinity undoubtedly beat them (no need to ask).

Ads, advertisments in magazins etc.? - Yeah there is always no business like show business, aka "... our product mows the lawn, can wash the car and of course beside cooks coffee!", wow all I ever wanted and searched my whole life for, c'mon take my money. 😉

UI size? - It's always also highly a matter of personal taste and of getting used to. - Further plain developers/coders do mostly concentrate overall more on other things than specific UI usabillity/accessibility aspects here. The later is typically more the domain of designers, who then take care of human usability and accessibility aspects here. The later then tell the dev what's bad or good and that this and that etc. has to be changed in order to be more end-user friendly. But not all companies have specific guys for such tasks (...especially smaller ones with little teams often don't). - Other than that, for very high resolution monitors the UI size can generally also be influenced by OS settings here (as far as UI elements, icons, buttons etc. are too small).

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Just adding my two cents and keeping an eye on this topic because I love the layout of Affinity Publisher and the only thing that inhibits me from using it more is that I have to use the Windows accessibility magnifier to see UI clearly. I do use reading glasses when I'm on my laptop. Though I have managed to increase the font size of the text in the Windows UI, it doesn't seem to change Affinity Publisher at all. With that said, thank you, developers, for the wonderful software. I hope in the future that the UI icons and font size will be adjustable.

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13 hours ago, v_kyr said:

[...] UI size? - It's always also highly a matter of personal taste and of getting used to. [...]

In my case, at least, it is absolutely not a matter of taste or getting used to. On my large high res screen it is very difficult to distinguish the tiny low contrast icons. Creative work on a PC should not be an exercise in pain tolerance. And it should not be necessary to use a magnifier, like one commenter mentioned. Increasing the size of everything with Windows settings is not an option: it would mess up everything else. Just for Affinity? Not worth it. 

This was my last comment in this thread. This nonsense is also not worth it. Either Serif gets their stuff together or they don't. Adobe programs are great, it would just have been nice to have an alternative, to have serious competition. Affinity programs are neither, sadly.

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32 minutes ago, RalfL said:

In my case, at least, it is absolutely not a matter of taste or getting used to. On my large high res screen it is very difficult to distinguish the tiny low contrast icons. Creative work on a PC should not be an exercise in pain tolerance. And it should not be necessary to use a magnifier, like one commenter mentioned. Increasing the size of everything with Windows settings is not an option: it would mess up everything else. Just for Affinity? Not worth it. 

I agree that Affinity's UI settings could ideally be more flexible in this regard, let's say in a similar manner as some other software provides ...

ui-sizing.jpg.09e7210642bff655e366690ea8c11ac3.jpg

... for overall UI sizings. - Low contrast icons are something which seems to be fashionable in general, or everywhere, these days. Though it could also be addressed by providing some more different UI themes, which clearer distingish between enabled/disabled states and the like.

So there is always room for improvements, which can be offered/handled in future versions.

 

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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15 hours ago, v_kyr said:

😄, not sure on that because competing Adobe products are in contrast relatively feature-complete.

It did happen in the past though. Adobe took away much of its modal UI design once Affinity Photo had demonstrated how fluid photo editing can be if you don‘t have to confirm every tiny step in the process. The correlation is pretty obvious in at least some UI behaviors (e.g. layer scaling) where Photo had it first and then Photoshop followed.

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