The toolbox

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  • Our goal is to make the toolbox fast an efficient to use. To improve the ease of use of the toolbox, we need to make the buttons more easy (quick) to recognize and identify.It should also be easy to recognize active buttons from others. Therefore toolbox icons should not be too detailed, but rather have strong contours, and be good metaphors of the actions. Limited amount of the icons and visual grouping of tools would also improve the ease of use. On the other hand toolbox should not distract user from the image, cause it's the image that matters the most for the user.
  • We observed the toolbox being 'heavy', behaving like window (and not an inspector). Many of the icons were 'fuzzy' or ambiguous (Pen and Pencil have almost the same angle and colour), didn't depict the actual effect (Dodge/burn tool and Eraser), or were to detailed (Measure icon tool).

Solution models:

  • to enhance the general ease of use we need 'more lightweight', trimmer buttons, and visual separation of tool groups (e.g., 3px space; no collapsing or labelling thou). Also number of buttons should be limited.
  • toolbox should become an inspector, not another window (read analysis on windows/toolbox/inspectors)
  • some tools are represented by very similar icons, they should be differentiated; e.g., Pen and Pencil (almost the same angle and colour, at least the colour should be different), Transformation tools
  • some icons don't feat the meaning & function of the tool; e.g., Dodge/burn tool and Eraser (icons should depict the actual effect), Levels, Curves, Threshold (icons resemble their dialog windows, instead of showing the meaning)
  • icons with too many details should be simplified, to make the icons quick to recognize/identify, e.g. Measure tool (old icon was better - look at ), Ink tool (would be better represented by an icon of a nib, which is the essence of the tool), Crop tool (old fashioned two "L" shapes would probable still be better).