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Subject: RE: Design strategies for CSS BOY screens
From: John Dobbins <john.dobbins@cornell.edu>
To: "tech-talk@aps.anl.gov" <tech-talk@aps.anl.gov>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:14:29 +0000
I think this is a great question. Here at our facility we've experienced the same proliferation of EDM screens over multiple monitors.  

John Dobbins
Cornell University
________________________________________
From: tech-talk-bounces@aps.anl.gov <tech-talk-bounces@aps.anl.gov> on behalf of tom.cobb@diamond.ac.uk <tom.cobb@diamond.ac.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 11:37 AM
To: tech-talk@aps.anl.gov
Subject: Design strategies for CSS BOY screens

Hi all,

We're currently evaluating CSS and BOY as an EDM replacement, and I am considering how display screens on beamlines might look in this framework.

Currently we have an EDM "Synoptic" view of the beamline, with icons that show the status of each component on the beamline. Clicking on one of these icons brings up a summary screen for the objects that make up the component (motors, temperatures, diode readings, etc.) These summary screens are mainly auto-generated from tags in the EPICS database, but a significant minority are manually created. Clicking through from one of the summary screens takes you to manually created detailed screens for that object.

All of this means that a typical desktop might look like this:
http://controls.diamond.ac.uk/downloads/other/files/EDMScreenShot.png

Multiply this by 4 monitors and 8 Linux workspaces and users have an awful lot of screen real estate to get lost in. The main synoptic typically gets buried in the background, so the users open another one, then you have multiple copies of everything and can never find what you're looking for.

Now the simplistic approach when converting to CSS BOY would be to translate every EDM screen into a BOY screen, launched in its own window. But then we aren't really solving any problems, we're just making BOY look like EDM, and it takes a lot of work to persuade eclipse not to put toolbars everywhere...

Another simple solution would be to use tabs, default action is open in current tab, with an option to open in a new tab. This solves the mess of windows, but all our EDM screens are different sizes, so if we assume a large central area for the current BOY screen, then small screens with only a couple of widgets on them mean rather a lot of wasted space.

So how have other sites designed their BOY screens? Are most of your opi screens similar sizes? Do you make use of the various different tear off tabs that eclipse offers you? Do you open multiple windows on multiple workspaces? Do you try to manage how the users perspective should look, or do you leave it to the users to dock their windows where they like?

Any feedback/screenshots gratefully received, anything that helps us get better at GUI design has got to be a good thing!

Thanks,
Tom Cobb

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References:
Design strategies for CSS BOY screens tom.cobb

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