[Chimera-users] ergonomics

Tom Goddard goddard at sonic.net
Mon Jul 8 15:58:49 PDT 2013

Hi Matt,

  Thanks for the suggestions.  It is impossible to make the user interface best for everyone because people use different features of the program.  Here are my thoughts on your suggestions.

  1)  The "View All" button is not on the bottom row of buttons because those bottom row buttons are shared by all the tabs of that dialog and View All only pertains to the Side View (and could work with Camera) tab.  Long ago we planned to clean up the buttons on side view, for instance, getting rid of the rarely used "Surface capping…" button.  But somehow that never got done.  By "x", "y", "z" buttons I guess you mean those would rotate the scene so the named axis pointed out of the screen.  For most users who look just at molecular models where the coordinates are usually crystallographic, that is rarely useful.  Maybe useful for density maps though.

  2) I'm not sure why you like putting the preference saving button at the bottom of the volume viewer dialog.  That button is almost never used -- so it is only in the menus.  The reason it is at the bottom of the side view dialog is because side view has no menus, so even though it is rarely used, there is no where else to put it.  With the volume dialog I tried to show the most often used controls, and keep those to a minimum and leave the rest to the menus.

 3) On a Mac there is almost never a menu on an application window.  The menu is only at the top of the screen.  Chimera hacked in menus on its windows because it has different sets of menus for different dialogs and it seemed convenient to have them on the dialog (like on Linux and Windows).  When you click on a Chimera dialog that has its own menus, those also appear at the top of the screen.  I guess you want instead to keep the Chimera graphics window menus at the top of screen always.  While I see that would be useful or your setup with the graphics window on one screen and dialogs on another screen, most users don't operate that way.  My observation is that most Mac Chimera users use the top of screen menu -- not surprising since essentially every Mac app except Chimera only offers that.  So I think putting the menu for the currently active Chimera dialog at the top of the screen as it is done now is the right way to go.  It might be possible to have a preference to override this.  It would require hacking the Tk window toolkit that Chimera uses, because it is setting the top of screen menu whenever a new Chimera window gets the focus, and there is no option in Tk to override that.


On Jul 4, 2013, at 4:53 PM, "Dougherty, Matthew T" <matthewd at bcm.edu> wrote:

> a few suggestions on placement
> 1) on viewing dialog, change the location of "view all" from the sideview window, relocating it to the bottom next to reset/restore/etc buttons.
> having additional orthogonal buttons (x,y,z) would be avoid having to do a lot of text commands.
> 2) on the  volume viewer dialog, saving dialog preferences is accessed through its pulldown menu; having it act like other dialogs would be helpful (ie, at the bottom like viewing dialog).
> 3) the main 3d graphics window when dominant , causes the default pulldown menus to appear such as when chimera starts up.
> when accessing volume viewing, the overall chimera pulldown menus change.  The only way to get the original/main pulldown to return is to put the mouse on the 3d graphics window and doing a left click twice.  Since the volume viewing has its own pulldown menus, getting this overall switch of pulldown menus eliminated would help avoid a lot of unneeded mouse movements, particularly for  the situation when two displays are used, one dedicated to 3D graphics, and the other having the viz controls.
> Matthew Dougherty
> National Center for Macromolecular Imaging
> Baylor College of Medicine
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> Chimera-users at cgl.ucsf.edu
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