[IPython-dev] feedback on modal UI

Alistair Miles alimanfoo at googlemail.com
Fri Mar 14 06:32:01 EDT 2014

Hi all,

In case this is helpful, here is some feedback on the new modal UI after a
couple of days working with IPython 2.0.0-b1.

I'm sure I will get used to it (I had become very fluent with the old set
of shortcut keys) but for now I am having a lot of accidents from starting
to type and forgetting I'm still in command mode. I've lost count of the
number of times I've accidentally turned line numbers on or off, randomly
added new cells above or below, switched the cell from code to markdown,
etc. Often I've got through typing a number of words before realising
something is wrong, and so found several unintended things have happened to
my notebook. Fortunately there aren't many words in English with a double
d, that could be particularly confusing, maybe deleting cells should be
double [delete] key? Also having cut as a plain 'x' press is similar, maybe
cut/copy/paste/undo should need a control key modifier?

I know these problems may only be transient and when I'm fully used to the
new UI they'll happen much less.

I know this has been mentioned before, but think it might help if the
visual distinction between edit mode and command mode is made stronger. My
eyes literally can't tell the difference between the green outline and the
grey outline on most screens. I'm sure others will have better ideas, but
maybe the box outline for edit mode could be a couple of points thicker, or
the cell background could be a different colour/shade of grey/white, or
maybe lose the outline completely in command mode and indicate the selected
cell by some other means? I'm not a visual designer, I'm sure there are
better ways.

Hth, thanks for the revolutionary work!

Alistair Miles
Head of Epidemiological Informatics
Centre for Genomics and Global Health <http://cggh.org>
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
Roosevelt Drive
United Kingdom
Web: http://purl.org/net/aliman
Email: alimanfoo at gmail.com
Tel: +44 (0)1865 287721 ***new number***
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