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IMPORTANT: Sensor window redesign
#1
Dear users,

I have been thinking for a quite long time about a major redesign of the sensors window to improve appearance of monitored values allow a more conform usage and flexibility. Though the current tabular design of the window has several advantages, the amount of monitored values has grown significantly and on some systems it can be problematic to watch all values and fit into the screen. I still think that the current design might be the preferred way of showing values for some users, so I will keep it as is (maybe with slight modifications), and additionally I'm planning to create an alternate design, where it should be easy to switch between them.

The current (tab) design has the following advantages:
- Clear readability and simplicity
- Easy fit of min, max and average values

But it has the following disadvantages:
- Too tall on systems with many sensors
- Doesn't allow user-defined sensor/value reordering

Please keep in mind, that current each value measured is grouped by the sensor to which this belongs too. I'm not sure if this is an advantage or not, but I think that on some systems (i.e. with multiple GPUs), this might be useful.

My current idea is to create a flexible panel which could be resized and ordered according to user preferences. Sensor values should probably span across the screen horizontally and vertically, so that they all fit on the screen without the need to scroll.
One alternative is to group sensor values by their type rather than sensor sourced from - i.e. group all temperatures into one box, all voltages into a different one, etc. Though I think the user should know from which sensor they are sourced (maybe using a tooltip). Another alternative might be to keep the values grouped by sensors and separate each sensor into own box, which could be moved and resized...

These are some of my thoughts, but I'd like to hear from you - your opinions and ideas. Please post them here, so I hope we will come together with an ultimate and useful design.
Let me (us) know your ideas and we can discuss them.

Martin
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#2
Wink 
Hi Martin,

I kind of expected this after what I was reading yesterday. I don't have Windows 8 running yet but have had it sitting here since last year. Making my workstation like my tablet or smartphone turns me right completely off!!!! *cry* I am getting closer to setting up a multiple boot with Windows 8 in one of the partitions. Having said that and only going by what I am reading, as I understand it, there is no possibility for the Gadget which is my main way of using HWiNFO, therefore we would need to keep this in mind for the Sensor Table we come up with, for alternative ways of Viewing/Monitoring HWiNFO and our Rigs. Right now I can just glance over and see how things are but I am guessing I will have to program up the Alerts and rely more on the automation of HWiNFO in Windows 8/8.1/Blue or any of the Server packages. Another thing that one could consider is outputing this information to a tablet or smartphone app to display easily on those devices on ones Lan.

Martin, you have some good ideas for the sensor table. All I would caution is to keep it very flexible since every user will try to use it just a little bit differently, especially considering the above. Since I only use the sensor table when I am checking things on a new HWiNFO Release or if I have a (rare) problem I am not going to be more specific than that at this time but will continue to give it thought and view when I have a few moments to see if I can come up with something constructive to add. If you mean by "ToolTip", the "Hoovering Cursor", I am all for as much Tooltips as You wish to program in for everything and anything. I believe that they are totally intuitive and a tremendous idea to exercise Dynamic Helps! However, with MS NEW propensity towards a mouseless/keyboardless existence, I don't know how that will hold up in Windows 8? You also mentioned "Tab" design which got me to thinking. What about a multiple Tab approach with the current sensor window being the first Tab, similar to a multitab browser? The user could call up various organizational approaches on additional tabs, resizing the window as the user defines and retained in .ini settings.

One thing I have aways found annoying is the removal of the HWiNFO Icon from my system tray when I don't close the Sensor Window in just the right way. I prefer a simple "Exit" in the Icon's Context Menu" like all my other Tray Icons have. I would also prefer being able to open each individual window separately as well as the groupings that you have in that same Context Menu", like a one stop shop. Big Grin I have never said anything until know because I figured that you have been doing it this way for a long time. O.o Smile

My very Best Regards and good Luck with this,
It will be quite and under taking and new philosophy as well,
and as usual, I will be there for Beta testing, maybe Alpha Testing just for the Sensor Window to keep it separate for awhile?

Crysta
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#3
(05-15-2013, 08:45 AM)Martin Wrote: ...
One alternative is to group sensor values by their type rather than sensor sourced from - i.e. group all temperatures into one box, all voltages into a different one, etc. Though I think the user should know from which sensor they are sourced (maybe using a tooltip). Another alternative might be to keep the values grouped by sensors and separate each sensor into own box, which could be moved and resized...
...
I use it to primarily monitor temps & fan rpm's, so "by type" would suit me.
OS's are WinXP & Win7-64. WinXP is dual-monitors, Win7 is laptop with EC.
The 1 most important sensor, I display in the tray, i.e. CPU temp on one machine, fan rpm on the other (EC app monitors cpu temp).

Additionally:
While in sensor monitoring mode, is there any way to display System Summary without re-configuring, quitting & restarting? Then doing it again to reset?
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#4
Thanks for your thoughts so far, I'll think about that.

It also brought me to one more important requirement to sensor window/panel - it needs to be light on resources and fast response. So no extensive elements can be used which might cause higher system load/latency.

(05-16-2013, 06:44 PM)Cmp_Cmndo Wrote: Additionally:
While in sensor monitoring mode, is there any way to display System Summary without re-configuring, quitting & restarting? Then doing it again to reset?

I'm afraid, this is not possible - sensor-only mode is optimized for faster start-up, where certain system components (not needed for full mode) are not examined.
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#5
(05-16-2013, 08:38 PM)Martin Wrote: Thanks for your thoughts so far, I'll think about that.

It also brought me to one more important requirement to sensor window/panel - it needs to be light on resources and fast response. So no extensive elements can be used which might cause higher system load/latency.

I agree. Keep the light resources, low cpu usage.

I'd like to see:

1. add ability to delete empty rows and group titles. blank rows separating the groups and having titles are nice in the beginning to understand what each value is, but after using it for a while, we understand the values and want to cram as much info on the screen. we don't need titles or blank rows.

2. add ability to add empty rows.

3. add ability to remove columns not used... such as average values.

4. add ability to reorder the values up and down the list (please also make sure rivatuner osd follows the same order as the main order list)

5. allow more than 1 column of values. Rather than scroll down to see more values, it would be great if we can just maximize the screen horizontally to put all the values on the screen at the same time.

6. add ability to rename group titles.

7. add ability to change the color (of both the font and box fill color) for any row, so we can highlight our important values.

thats it for now. if i think of more, i'll add more.

BTW, keep up the great work. This is a nice nifty program you have here.
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#6
OK, so a fresh idea that just came to my mind... If there's a will to keep the existing tabular design, I could redesign the Sensor/Configure window:
  1. Use a multi-tab window for separating options into multiple tab screens. This would make it easier to navigate and configure. i.e. the Alarms would be on a separate tab, etc.
  2. Create a new tab which would act like a design page for configuring appearance of the main sensor window. This would allow to move items up/down, remove/add items, rename, etc. Should be more intuitive to use...
  3. Ability to define custom row colors (foreground, background). Based on thresholds defined in Alarms, or static...
  4. Ability to show/hide columns.
  5. Be able to span sensor values into multiple tabs in the main window. Exact details how to do this are TBD.

So that would be one option. Another would be to perform layout/design changes straight in the main sensor window - drag&drop rows, dynamically adjust table width/count based on window size.. This would probably require more effort.

I seem to like the 1st idea more, let me know your thoughts...
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#7
(05-17-2013, 09:12 AM)Martin Wrote: OK, so a fresh idea that just came to my mind... If there's a will to keep the existing tabular design, I could redesign the Sensor/Configure window:
  1. Use a multi-tab window for separating options into multiple tab screens. This would make it easier to navigate and configure. i.e. the Alarms would be on a separate tab, etc.
  2. Create a new tab which would act like a design page for configuring appearance of the main sensor window. This would allow to move items up/down, remove/add items, rename, etc. Should be more intuitive to use...
  3. Ability to define custom row colors (foreground, background). Based on thresholds defined in Alarms, or static...
  4. Ability to show/hide columns.
  5. Be able to span sensor values into multiple tabs in the main window. Exact details how to do this are TBD.

So that would be one option. Another would be to perform layout/design changes straight in the main sensor window - drag&drop rows, dynamically adjust table width/count based on window size.. This would probably require more effort.

I seem to like the 1st idea more, let me know your thoughts...

Hi Martin,

It sounds like you are formulating some good ideas out of our suggestions!!! Big Grin

Your second idea sounds like it might be a tad resource heavy and then one would loose the integrity of the Main Sensor Screen to fall back on if we wanted to see the whole picture on occasion. That's why I like your first approach better and it meets one of your earlier criteria of maintaining the the complete view to fall/come back to. I like the tabbed approach alot anywhere it is used but a menu on the left side can accomplish the same thing as well if the screens are constant(ie: System Explorer, where I found out about HWiNFO). The tab system accomplishes a more flexible identity and variation as well as self defined windows like I believe we are looking for. So therefore Martin, I am with you on the first approach. Big Grin It seem like you have everything I can think of a the moment summed up nicely in the first approach, too! Tongue

Best Regards and have a Great Evening/my morning,

Crysta
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#8
I have just released Build 1940, which includes the 1st phase of the redesign - especially the Sensor configure window + ability to hide/show sensor titles only.
From now on, if the user chooses to hide a sensor title, only that title is hidden (not the entire sensor hidden+disabled).
Working on the next phase... Wink
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#9
New Beta Build 1945 continues this effort and adds some more features:
- Ability to show/hide columns
- Extensive internal changes to processing and displaying of sensor values

Though you won't be able to change the order of sensor items yet, this build embeds several internal features which will allow this soon. I have also broken the binding of sensor values to particular sensors, so you might experience a slightly different behavior when hiding/showing back values. Since the changes released with this build are quite intensive it might need more testing. Please report any issues found.
The next feature (user-defined value reordering) is now in the works...
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#10
Information 
Hi Martin,

It is installed and all appears well..... Big Grin

Best Regards,

Crysta
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#11
New Beta Build 1950 allows you to change position of any sensor item (move up/down, add empty row).
Please report any issues found.
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#12
Layout Observations
1. It appears all settings are saved to Registry, correct?
2. If "Reset Values", all layout is lost. Need to use "Restore Original Order" on Layout tab. Reset Values is a global reset?
3. Not possible to move adjacent items up/down as a group, i.e. move voltages normally grouped? As in highlighting a range of cells in Excel by using shift key, then moving.
4. "Add Row" icon is not obvious, might want to add label above, to right of "Order".
5. Sensor Status remembers location on desktop, Sensor Settings does not, i.e., always opens on top of Sensor Status.

(06-18-2013, 09:41 AM)Martin Wrote: New Beta Build 1950 allows you to change position of any sensor item (move up/down, add empty row).
Please report any issues found.
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#13
1. Yes - all layout and user-defined sensor settings are stored in registry.
2. "Reset Values" clears min/max/average values only and starts counting them new. I haven't been able to reproduce that this would reset the layout too.
3. That's true - currently it's only possible to move single items.
4. Yes, the Add Empty Row button might be better described.
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#14
Thumbs Up 
Hi Martin,

I am impressed, it looks really good!! I am curious are you finished? Or are you going to explore a tabbed sectional group view as well as the complete sensor layout list like now. I am thinking of Windows 8, which I am just getting into(dual boot). As you know it doesn't have Gadgets so a smaller footprint would be nice on the screen and then one could just flip through the group tabs. I'd guess if this is to much, one could resize and scroll....... Big Grin I will leave it in your hands.

BTW, I am sure you have heard all the controversy over there about W 8 and what 8.1 will do......
If you one wants to come up on the desktop right away, before W 8.1 just leave a system window open, set the system to open unclosed folders on startup, and it will jump right to the desktop. Don't blink or you will miss the Start Screen. I leave the Windows Update window open since I only check them manually, evening and morning. Big Grin

Best Regards,

Crysta
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#15
No, I'm not yet finished. There still remain a few improvements, most important is to stretch the sensor values horizontally (as you already noted), but I'm not yet sure how to do this.. Maybe configurable 2-3 tables next to each other might do this, but I'm not sure if this would be the best idea. I also need to think about how to setup such screen, so it would be easy and intuitive... Any ideas are welcome...
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#16
Tongue 
Martin,

I understand the need for thought and an intuitive approach. It is difficult to know how you are visualizing the windows/panes without seeing some graphics sketches, in words or otherwise. My visualizing would not need horizontal adjustment, just a series of tabs across the current sensor pane:

- One tab for what you have now that would stretch the pane vertically to the maximum USER setting. "All Entries Monitored"
- a series of tabs for each group(?user defined?). Each tab's pane would shrink the window from the USER maximum length to exactly what that group would need in vertical and horizontal length and width depending on any other settings established. In other words some users may want more or less columns and less entries monitored per each group, thus establishing the screen footprint for what would be monitored on an ongoing basis, thus crafting a virtual gadget useful in W 8.

Which brings to mind, a user may want different setting for each views for the separate groups in tabs than for the "All Entries Monitored" tab.

Anyway Martin your doing well and I have no doubt you will come up with something acceptable!!! Big Grin

Best Regards,

Crysta
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#17
Thanks for your thoughts Crysta..
One of my ideas was that if the user would stretch the sensors window to the side and there would be enough room for another tab pane, it would automatically create such pane next to the previous one and move sensor values according to space in both tabs.. But I'm not sure if this wouldn't maybe create more confusion...
I'm still thinking about this, but this feature probably won't make it into the next release planned sometime the next week...
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#18
(06-18-2013, 08:43 PM)Martin Wrote: 1. Yes - all layout and user-defined sensor settings are stored in registry.
2. "Reset Values" clears min/max/average values only and starts counting them new. I haven't been able to reproduce that this would reset the layout too.
3. That's true - currently it's only possible to move single items.
4. Yes, the Add Empty Row button might be better described.

2. I thought I clicked somewhere else & it changed everything back. I must be mistaken, sorry.

Is there no way to change the name of Groups, some of them are very long, i.e. graphics card:
[GPU[#0}; nVIDIA GeForde GT620; nVidia Internal]

Now I just say, don't show. If I change back to show, it ends up at the bottom of the list instead of original position.
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#19
Shocked 
(06-19-2013, 02:38 PM)Martin Wrote: Thanks for your thoughts Crysta..
One of my ideas was that if the user would stretch the sensors window to the side and there would be enough room for another tab pane, it would automatically create such pane next to the previous one and move sensor values according to space in both tabs.. But I'm not sure if this wouldn't maybe create more confusion...
I'm still thinking about this, but this feature probably won't make it into the next release planned sometime the next week...
I agree with your concerns but it still sounds like a good idea for those who want a dual horizontal pane footprint(not for me though, I like narrow vertical for ongoing glance at, virtual Gadget for W 8) A wide solid red line separator might help? Martin maybe it is the time for a novice/advanced switch??? Smile

Martin, how much are you into W 8? Are you considering a W 8 Metro tile for HWiNFO? Or are you going to stick to W 8 Retro, legacy mode? I have to admit, for the amount of time I have spent in W 8, I have spent less than 0.01% of my time in Metro and have not even explored the apps there. O.o Big Grin

Crysta
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#20
(06-19-2013, 04:26 PM)Cmp_Cmndo Wrote: Is there no way to change the name of Groups, some of them are very long, i.e. graphics card:
[GPU[#0}; nVIDIA GeForde GT620; nVidia Internal]

Currently this is not possible. You might remove the entire sensor name and embed a description into particular values.

(06-19-2013, 04:26 PM)Cmp_Cmndo Wrote: Now I just say, don't show. If I change back to show, it ends up at the bottom of the list instead of original position.

Yep, this is now the different behavior of hide/show procedure, since I have removed the binding between sensor names and their values once the user decides to hide values, or change their positions.
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