Not liking the new plug-in browse/download UI

I'm not sure what problem the new UI is trying to fix, but I much preferred the columnar layout where I could quickly scan the columns to see what's new, or the category it's in. Now that the information is embedded in a second line, and not lined-up in any easily-scanned way, I find it harder to use.

17 comments

Ted, did you sort by some columns or just drill down through the whole list? What do you mean that you search for "what's new": do you check this way new versions of installed plugin or sort by date and look at the latest ones or ...? Thank you

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I would typically sort by date (newest at the top), and would then skim the list until I hit a row where the date was the last time I looked. For example, the last time I checked for new plug-ins was last week, so I'll scan the list until I see a row with a date of 10/27/2011. Once I see a row with that date, I stop scanning.

With the new layout, it takes me longer to scan because the date isn't in the same horizontal location. You can see how my eye scans the new layout (follow the red arrows), vs. the old layout (follow the green arrow).
IDEA11-Plugins.png
IDEA10-Plugins.png
;ted

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+1

If you create an issue in tracker, you have my vote.

Jens

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when that is the only problem it is surely can be somehow resolved. E.g. this way
plugins.PNG

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i do not understand why do you want to replace fine table with this.
clicking on drop down choice insted of table header is not improvement, just the opposite.

and what about number of downloads and category? i want them in a column too.  

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+10 for a columnar layout.

Currently this ragged ragged text is _much_ too hard to read.

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Column layout != table. Currently it is possible to include additional information (e.g. installed status) whithout loosing space for all other plugins.
Anyway how do you use Category/Downloads columns?

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"Installed" status (or status in general, e.g. installed/outdated/updated/disabled) could be conveyed through a single icon. That's an extra 16 pixel-wide column in a table and I could live with that.
Nobody mentioned that the new layout doubles the amount of vertical space used and hence doubles the scrolling distance.

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Does this mean that you scroll the whole list to find the desired plugin?
BTW Icons are not self-descriptive and that is not so easy to distinguish them from one another.

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ok, i will call it Column layout from now on.
when i was new user i just sorted plugins by downloads and installed some of most downloaded plugins, same thing with category and last update.

what would be nice, is to include rating column and with ability to rate.

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Well, yes sometime I just scroll the list and watch out for interesting names and categories while paying particular notice to plugins with high download numbers.

The most important scenario by far for the list is browsing which is much, much easier when the texts are aligned.

On the other hand when I want to install a specific plugin, then I don't care for the list at all. I just enter the name in the find/filter field.

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Same as Stephen, sometimes I want to browse the entire list, first having sorted it by one of the columns.
If I know exactly what I am looking for, or if I want to search for some keyword, I use the "quick search" text box.
In my opinion, the new layout contains too much repeated text (Category/Updated/Downloads on every second line, instead of once in the table header), which does not add value and simply clutters the list. Properly designed icons *should be* self-descriptive and distinctive. Icons consume much less screen space and are easier on the eye that the corresponding text.

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anet wrote:
Anyway how do you use Category/Downloads columns?

In the old UI, I liked to sort by the number of downloads and then take a look at the ones with a high number of downloads. If a lot of people are donwloading it, I figure it's worth taking a look at. I've found some good plug-ins that way. While in the new UI I can still sort by the number of downloads, it's more awkward. I can't quickly scan down the list to see the counts. Similiar to what the O.P. was saying about the dates.

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I've filed an issue for this here: http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/IDEA-76499

btw, I'm still curious as to what usability or technical problem the move to the new layout fixed? i.e., why was it changed?

;ted

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