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Preferences panel - Prev & Next keys don't work


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Windows 10
Affinity Photo 1.6.4.104

Edit > Preferences

A main panel shows (a) large buttons for each section, (B) two caret-arrow-keys on the top left, (C) a "main panel" button that comes back to the main panel, and (D) a drop-down list to choose a specific section.

Normally, I would expect the caret-arrow-keys to allow me to easily navigate section-by-section so I can discover what is available or locate a specific adjustment. But no. When Preferences is first opened and the main large section buttons are displayed, clicking a caret-arrow-key does nothing.

If I enter some section (eg, General) via the drop-down list or clicking a large button, then the right-caret-arrow-key does nothing and the left-caret-arrow-key brings me back to the main panel (which I could just as easily summon by clicking the specific "main panel" button).

If I enter another section (eg, Color), again the right-caret-arrow-key does nothing and the left-caret-arrow-key brings me back to the main panel.

However, once I have returned to the main panel from a section, then the right-caret-arrow-key button will take me back to the section I was just in. I have no idea when this might be useful.

To visit each section to locate interesting settings, I am forced to either continually return to the main panel (by clicking the left-caret-arrow-key or the "main panel" button) and then click a different section button, or, more sensibly, I can use the drop-down list to choose another section from whatever section I am in. But still, in these days of automation, to make me manually choose each section seems unnecessary. And to make the left-caret-arrow-button merely duplicate the "main panel" button seems a waste of resources.

It seems natural to me that this behaviour is a bug. The caret-arrow-key buttons should always take me to the next or previous section. The sections are clearly in some specific order on the main panel and the drop-down list. The left-caret-arrow-key should provide "the previous" section (which would be "the last one" if I am looking at the main panel with no sections open). The right-caret-arrow-key should always take me to "the next" section (which would be "the first one" if I am on the main panel). Then we could easily browse the preference sections to find the one we need instead of having to laboriously and intentionally choose each one.

Thanks for listening.

 

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It appears that when you're in a specific panel of the preferences, < will take you back to the "home" panel. Once there, > will take you back to the specific panel you just left, in case you realize that you need to check something else.

I agree that it seems counterintuitive, and might be done differently. I'm not sure it's a bug, though, unless it does work differently on Mac.

-- 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.
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      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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15 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

It appears that when you're in a specific panel of the preferences, < will take you back to the "home" panel. Once there, > will take you back to the specific panel you just left, in case you realize that you need to check something else.

I agree that it seems counterintuitive, and might be done differently. I'm not sure it's a bug, though, unless it does work differently on Mac.

Yes, as I documented in my post, the caret-arrow-keys do that, and only that.

Those actions can also be performed with other actions. When you are on the main page, there are two other ways to call up a specific section, so once you have visited a section and returned to the main page the right-caret-arrow-key makes a third way to get to that section. By performing this redundant action they are completely unnecessary here. Other programs that offer such directional keys on a multi-page settings panel use these keys to progress through the individual panels in turn. That is logical. This situation is not. Therefore I suggest it is a bug. Buttons that do something they are not originally designed to do are not properly coded, regardless of how they behave on a Mac. The bug could easily be in both systems.

If the original designer actually intended that there be two ways to get to the Colors section when Preferences is first opened, and three ways to get there if it has just been visited, the designer has a bug and should be questioned as to why this real estate has been wasted and the customer intentionally set up for confusion.

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Ah, I see. If I bother to open the Preferences panel and use the drop-down list to visit each section panel in turn, WITHOUT going again to the main panel, THEN when I am on the last section panel, I can use the little arrow buttons to move back through the panels I have already visited, and forward again through that list, without seeing any of the panels I forgot to add to the list. I must learn to carefully prepare the Preferences dialog for use, and I must be very careful to never click one of the big section buttons on the main panel, because if I find myself on the main panel and click a section button, the arrows completely forget all the other panels I have been on and now remember only the main panel and the section I opened with a click.

With all due respect and a friendly smile, I suggest the current implementation is absurd. It is so close to what it should actually do, and yet it does not do it unless I prepare it and carefully tend to it.

Affinity could easily preload the buttons with the knowledge of every panel, and we can click click click our way through each panel in turn when we don't know exactly which panel we're looking for.

I have seen preferences panels that make it easy to walk to every section in turn, forward or reverse, by pressing buttons that look very much like these.

I have never felt the need for the peculiar service these buttons provide.

Thanks for the experience.

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28 minutes ago, Rpen said:

I have seen preferences panels that make it easy to walk to every section in turn, forward or reverse, by pressing buttons that look very much like these.

 

Hello @Rpen,

 

I stumbled over this some time ago, too, and learned that those 'Forward' and 'Backward' buttons are more like a 'History-Navigation' and not a 'Flip through the available Preferences'. I settled with this.

 

After reading your post I think it's not a perfect solution as it is. It is misleading and hopefully will be made more intuitive in the future.

 

I know that the Affinity developers are spending a lot of time into how they implement functionality. So there must be some idea of user friendliness with it. But obviously we didn't get it ;)

 

d.

Affinity Designer 1 & 2   |   Affinity Photo 1 & 2   |   Affinity Publisher 1 & 2
Affinity Designer 2 for iPad   |   Affinity Photo 2 for iPad   |   Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad

Windows 10 21H2 (19044.2251) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
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9 hours ago, owenr said:

The annoying Affinity preferences navigation is copied from the System Preferences of macOS.

 

I did not know this since I am under Windows (forever). This might be an explanation for source of inspiration.

d.

Affinity Designer 1 & 2   |   Affinity Photo 1 & 2   |   Affinity Publisher 1 & 2
Affinity Designer 2 for iPad   |   Affinity Photo 2 for iPad   |   Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad

Windows 10 21H2 (19044.2251) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
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