The devil is in the details

  • 28 November 2014
  • by Gábor Ugray

With sweeping changes like a completely overhauled UI, a powerful new TM editor, or a full web-based project management interface, it is all too easy to forget about tiny little details.

With sweeping changes like a completely overhauled UI, a powerful new TM editor, or a full web-based project management interface, it is all too easy to forget about tiny little details. I’m writing this post to show you that’s not the case. In fact, thinking about the best way to lay out memoQ’s 200+ commands in a ribbon gave us a chance to take a real close look at the user interface and fix or improve small details that have been bugging us for a long time – as they have most likely been bugging you, too.

Those pesky tooltips

Tool-tips in memoQ

Did it ever happen to you that you cheerfully toured the mouse around the screen, and these tooltips for the document’s title kept showing up, blocking the source and target filters from view? They were a nasty sort for real, these tooltips: I would go back over the tab so they get a chance to hide, and just when I thought I got rid of them, they showed up again, displaying a most disturbing lack of manners.

We got them tooltips to behave now. They will not pester you again in memoQ 2014 R2 like they used to.

Close Sesame

Or, as Winnie The Pooh learned when visiting Rabbit’s domicile: entrances may work, sort of, when you’re entering, but when it’s time to leave they will have magically shrunk. I got the same feeling about memoQ projects: it’s really easy to open one, but once you want to leave, just how do you do that? The lucky ones have figured out there’s a Close Project command in the project menu, but for the majority, projects were just like Rabbit’s domicile.

So we hired a contractor specializing in exits, and now you have close buttons small and large. A small detail, but it’s all about the small details.

Project home

Keeping focused

So you have a project with a few dozen (hundred, thousand) documents sitting in it. If you are like me, you want to use the „scroll thumb” on your mouse to flick through the list easily. Try this in memoQ 2014: it won’t work. You need to click in the list first – then it works. This is called focus, the single active control in every window that receives keyboard input, and yes, scrolling.
In memoQ 2014 R2 we sorted this out. Whenever you are viewing the list of documents, the list has the focus, so you can scroll to your heart’s delight, or press the Up and Down arrows to move through the list, or press Ctrl+A to select everything – no need anymore to first click in the list.

Welcome to the space age!

As in: space matters. Unless you live in Texas, it’s scarce. On your screen, it’s very scarce. You want to see what’s relevant, and not waste space on information you don’t need. Compare the two screenshots below to see my point.

Translation grid space
Translation grid space - 02

The area right below the grid, but still above the View pane, shows infomation about the segment you are editing. If you’re in a view, it shows the document’s name where the segment is coming from. If you are translating software strings, it shows a string ID that is important context – it tells you whether you are dealing with a label or a button, which can make all the difference between “offen” and “öffnen” in your translation. And there’s some more information, like how much time you spent editing the segment, or to what extent you edited the inserted match.

But if you’re not recording your editing time, why would you care about this value? And why would you care about a magic edit distance number at all, at a time when you are busy deciding between “offen” and “öffnen”? So we optimized this area, making sure only the relevant bits of information are shown, and these take up all the available space before getting truncated.

Talking about views…

When you create one, memoQ goes over the documents in the exact order they are displayed in your list. Earlier, documents selected for a view got on board every which way, in no predictable order. That is a thing of the past: they now line up just as you tell them to.

And of course, if you sort your list by, say, the time each document was last edited, you want to see them sorted in the same way the next time you open the project. In the past, that was a bit erratic. Now documents get in line like a well-drilled troupe, at your service.

I hear someone shout out in pain, “But that last changed time, it gets updated every time I add something new to the project, even if I don’t touch a single document! It’s completely unusable!” Not so, not anymore. See for yourself.