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Feedback [Feedback - Feature Request] Better Project window navigation controls

Discussion in 'Editor & General Support' started by tonycoculuzzi, May 1, 2019.

  1. tonycoculuzzi

    tonycoculuzzi

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Posts:
    301
    The Project window saw a major UI overhaul somewhere between Unity 3 and Unity 5 (I can't quite remember) and this was a great change, but I think it's time we added a bit more functionality to the Project window to bring make it easier and more efficient to use.

    Issues with the current Project window
    I use the Project window in the Two Column Layout about 99% of the time. These are a few problems I have with the current Project window functionality:

    1) I'm always clicking on the breadcrumb by accident. This forces me to re-navigate all the way back to the file/folder I was looking for. This is a massive annoyance. (I just did it again like 5 minutes before writing this post. It happens at least 3 times per day, and I finally decided to write something about it hahaha!)

    2) Often, I find myself wanting to return to a previous folder. For example, say I navigated to a sub folder to copy a file, and I wanted to go back to a parent folder to paste the file. I always have to re-navigate to the previous folder, it's a pain. The breadcrumb is always never wide enough to view the full path either, so it often provides no help.

    3) Navigating between folders is just a big hassle, really. In the Windows and OSX OS file explorers, you can just alt-tab between multiple instances of the program, but you can't do that in Unity.

    4) Clicking create with a folder selected will create a file in the selected folder, instead of in the current folder being viewed by the Project view. This is slightly annoying, as either you need to move your file back into the correct folder, or you have to scroll down to your folder in the left panel until you find the folder, right click the folder, and create the object through that context menu. In the file explorer, when you create a file, you always expect it to be created in the currently viewed folder, instead of the

    5) The default min-height of the Project window is too large. This can cause the window to take up more than 25% of screen space, depending on your monitor setup. (For example, old monitors with lower resolutions, or monitors with 200% DPI, etc)



    How can we solve these issues?

    1) Add back+forward buttons (like in a web browser, and file browsers)
    This would solve the whole "Ugh, I accidentally clicked on something else. Now I have to re-navigate to the thing" issue, and make navigating between folders SO much more efficient. Again, having to re-navigate to a folder you were just viewing previously is such a huge pain.

    2) Move the breadcrumb from the right panel, to above both panels.
    This will allow the breadcrumb to extend far enough for it to be actually useful when navigating deeper than 4-5 folders.

    3) Change the "Create" button's file location, and move it to the bottom of the right panel
    This would make it known that you're creating a file in the current folder's context, instead of guessing/forgetting where the file is actually going to be created.

    4) When multiple Project windows are open, change the tab names to the current folder's name
    This would allow for users to have multiple Project windows open at once, and easily tell which one is which.

    5) Reduce the Min-Height of the Project window
    This is a small change request, but it'd really help for people with lower-resolution displays and setups. Having the Project window take up so much space in some situations makes it very unwieldy.

    6) Shorten the search bar, and organize the search buttons by context
    The search bar currently takes up a lot of space, which in my opinion is unnecessary. Also, the Type and Labels buttons allow you to modify your search, but the Star button allows you to save the search. They should be separate in order to clarify that they do different things (for example, grouping the Star button near the Type and Label buttons makes it look like that button allows you to search for favourites, instead of saving a new favourite. Moving it to the other side of the search bar allows users to know it provides different functionality)


    New UI Mockup
    I tried mocking up what the modified Project window might look like:


     
    petrknedlik3 likes this.
  2. tonycoculuzzi

    tonycoculuzzi

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Posts:
    301
    I feel like it's really hard to get Unity employees eyes on feedback/feature requests now.. :/
     
    euden_one and petrknedlik3 like this.
  3. willgoldstone

    willgoldstone

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Posts:
    794
    Hey Tony,

    This stuff is awesome, thanks so much for posting and sorry for not seeing this thread sooner. Really interesting suggestions for Project panel, let me address them one by one -

    1. Yes, agreed, and this is actually part of our future design for other panels like the inspector. I'd also like us to add selection to the undo chain so that you can step back easily. This is a point we're likely to put in.

    2. Not massively strong feelings on this but I can see why you're suggesting it, it does give an overview of the whole window which makes more sense and would align better with our other panel designs, so still a thumbs up.

    3. This one I'm unsure on. Create is one of the most important parts of the panel and it feels like you're hiding it in a lower position. I definitely understand your rationale in terms of 'doing something in this space' but I'm not sure this is the right solution from a UX standpoint, I wonder if better highlighting of the location you're about to push to would solve the same issue?

    4. This is interesting and speaks to some conversations we're having about Document Model and Workspaces in our future plans at present. Can you tell me your typical usage of several project folders open at once? I want to hear how you use them and how it feels switching at present? are they part of a differing task, how frequently do you switch?

    5. Makes sense, not a difficult fix in future. More on this below.

    6. Again, sensible, good design consideration I agree with.

    As for the 'in future plans' ambiguity above - we're doing a bunch of things here to make sure we can improve workflows for the future. One big part is UI Elements, our new underlying UI tech we're rebuilding all of the unity editor with, that's something we're slowly replacing windows with, which will allow us to more easily modify their behavior and styling (the new system being driven by a CSS like language).

    Keep firing these in our direction and if you'd like to take a call and discuss more workflow stuff I'm happy to do it, just ping me on will [at] unity3d dot com.

    Cheers!

    Will
     
  4. tonycoculuzzi

    tonycoculuzzi

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Posts:
    301
    Awesome, thanks for the reply Will!

    3. Fair enough, I think it definitely needs to be made more clear where the created files are ending up though.

    4. For example, say you want to move a few things which are scattered around the project, into one folder. Currently, you have to find each file, navigate to the destination folder in the left panel, and drag them into that folder, individually.

    With tabs, it could be possible to:

    a) middle-mouse-click on a folder to open a new tab in the same editor window panel at that folder's location
    b) allow drag and drop on tabs to place in the tab's folder.

    Also I think this might be an easier to use solution than the Favorites features? I personally don't use Favourites at all because I find them tedious to navigate to and from (I think the left-panel itself feels tedious to me? I'm not sure why though) so having multiple always-visible tabs at different locations would be great.

    Alternatively, tabs within the actual Project View could work too, though I figured why waste the space.