Bug 92219 - Formula bar function wizard button should open the functions pane of sidebar
Summary: Formula bar function wizard button should open the functions pane of sidebar
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Calc (show other bugs)
Version:
(earliest affected)
5.1.0.0.alpha0+ Master
Hardware: Other All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
URL:
Whiteboard:
Keywords: needsDevEval, topicUI
Depends on:
Blocks: Sidebar-Functions Function-Wizard Calc-Toolbars
  Show dependency treegraph
 
Reported: 2015-06-21 00:41 UTC by Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired)
Modified: 2020-03-09 13:29 UTC (History)
5 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:


Attachments
excel's insert function dialog (11.14 KB, image/png)
2015-06-25 02:58 UTC, Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired)
Details

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Description Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired) 2015-06-21 00:41:17 UTC
As stated by Mirek in bug 74156, the formula bar has a function button that currently opens the function dialog and instead it should open the functions pane of the sidebar, as it has the most important features of the dialog and it takes up less space.
Comment 1 Buovjaga 2015-06-21 15:53:29 UTC
Sure -> NEW.
Comment 2 Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired) 2015-06-21 16:44:11 UTC
So instead of executing .uno:FunctionDialog, it should execute .uno:FunctionBox. Wasnt able to track down in the code where the formula bar code is found.
Comment 3 Regina Henschel 2015-06-21 17:18:02 UTC
I disagree with such change. The function dialog has the ability
- to mark a function term as matrix function,
- to see the individual tip for each parameter,
- to get a tree view of the structure,
- to get the result of each nested function
- to directly call the help for each nested function too

All that is not provided by the function list of the side bar. The function pane of the side bar not even has a button to call the function dialog.

The function list and the function dialog are very different tools.
Comment 4 Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired) 2015-06-22 02:08:47 UTC
(In reply to Regina Henschel from comment #3)
> I disagree with such change. The function dialog has the ability
> - to mark a function term as matrix function,
> - to see the individual tip for each parameter,
> - to get a tree view of the structure,
> - to get the result of each nested function
> - to directly call the help for each nested function too
>
> All that is not provided by the function list of the side bar. The function
> pane of the side bar not even has a button to call the function dialog.
> 
> The function list and the function dialog are very different tools.

Nobody is debating that the dialog has more features than the function list, as that is not the issue at hand. The issue is whether the average calc user needs to open the function dialog, which takes up 41% of my 1280x768 laptop screen and covers 64% of the visible cells on my sheet, or is the function list sufficient for most of their needs, which takes up 16% of my screen and covers 21% of the visible cells.

The addition of a button in the function list to open the function dialog would be a good enhancement to the pane, though the pane does need some reworking already.
Comment 5 Regina Henschel 2015-06-22 11:10:55 UTC
The function wizard icon has been in the formula bar from the beginning, that is for 18 years now. Can you point to complaints about it?
Comment 6 Eike Rathke 2015-06-22 15:13:41 UTC
I also strongly disagree with this change. The function list is rarely used and not much helpful unless you want to single-click insert one of the recently used functions. The function wizard button provides guidance for the inexperienced user to help along with function categories, names and parameters. Hiding that elsewhere is not good user experience.
Comment 7 mahfiaz 2015-06-24 17:23:18 UTC
I agree with the naysayers for now. The sidebar right now in 5.0.0.0.beta3 is not useful enough to make it the default.
Comment 8 Eike Rathke 2015-06-24 19:10:35 UTC
This is unrelated to whether the sidebar is "useful enough" or not; the function wizard button should bring up the function wizard, and not some plain function list in the sidebar.
Comment 9 Yousuf Philips (jay) (retired) 2015-06-25 02:58:20 UTC
Created attachment 116815 [details]
excel's insert function dialog

(In reply to Regina Henschel from comment #5)
> The function wizard icon has been in the formula bar from the beginning,
> that is for 18 years now.

Just because something has been there for a long time doesnt mean that it cant be removed or replaced. We used to have a help button in the toolbar for a similar amount of years, but now we dont.

> Can you point to complaints about it?

I have stated the complaints i see with it in the description and in comment 4. Can you please let me know the advantage of opening the wizard over the list if i forgot the name or syntax of the basic/beginner function, e.g. ROUND().

(In reply to Eike Rathke from comment #6)
> I also strongly disagree with this change. The function list is rarely used
> and not much helpful unless you want to single-click insert one of the
> recently used functions.

The function list is used within the function wizard, so why would the function list in the sidebar be any less useful. According to the OOo stats for the menu bar, the function wizard is only selected 3 times as much as the function list.

> The function wizard button provides guidance for
> the inexperienced user to help along with function categories, names and
> parameters. Hiding that elsewhere is not good user experience.

I am an inexperienced excel/calc user, only function i use is SUM() :D, so i dug up the most commonly used functions in excel from various sources listed below and didnt find a benefit from using the dialog over the sidebar. I dont even find the dialog much of a wizard as pressing the Next button simply inserts the selected function into the formula textbox, which could easily be achieved by double clicking the function name in the list or even better yet having an Insert button. The dialog has some benefits when making nested functions, but i dont expect inexperienced users to be doing this.

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/commonly-used-excel-functions.html
http://www.answers.com/Q/Most_commonly_used_functions_and_formulas_in_Excel

I believe that the function sidebar needs improvement to make it more useful and the design team has already begun looking into it like providing better search functionality, syntax highlighting of the structure, argument descriptions, etc.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FXeKpcP3x-WdvnzI7xtxHujDQClaKb7fCoJC6xSn0jA/edit
Comment 10 Philippe Jung 2015-06-25 07:14:27 UTC
My point of view on this:

1) The distance (in term of mouse movement) between the toolbar button and the sidebar is longer than the distance between the toolbar button and the popup. When you will have to select cell ranges, your mouse will have to go to the sheet, back to the sidebar, back to the sheet, back to the sidebar...

2) When you are editing a formula, the use case is rather "modal". You select a cell, edit the formula, press enter, go to next cell. You end the action when everything is completed, all parameters given with correct value. From my point of view, the sidebar is more oriented to single, atomic, "asynchronous" operations such as apply a style (you click, the operation is done). Here we have several consecutive operations: select a function, select parameters by hidding the dialog to select cell ranges and so on. What happens if only half of the parameters are ok when you change cell selection ? I believe the cinetic of the sidebar is not adequate.

3) From a need / use case point of view, my experience with the fx button (if we are really speaking of the fx button :-) ) :
- I don't need a dialog box to do completion or pre-evaluation of the parameters
- I would like inline completion of the formula in the formula bar, tooltips, syntax coloring
- I click fx button when and only when I have no f**ing idea of the name of the function that does what I want to do. My (the?) real need is to type a keyword and get a list of functions that are related to this keyword. Exemple of keyword: regression, loan, average, prediction, total, month, trend
Comment 11 mahfiaz 2015-06-29 09:03:23 UTC
Eike, no, these are not unrelated. If sidebar does the same as function wizard, then it's the matter of taste which one is opened.

Furthermore, Philippe pointed out that the mouse travel would be longer. I see it as suitable cost for the most important cells in the middle not covered with wizard dialog (which I happen to value more).

As for the sidebar kinetic, good point. If taking into consideration your typical usage (which happens to be how most people use it), improved sidebar could suit your needs quite well.

I added a "depends on" bug #92416 to split the discussion of sidebar improvements and changing button behavior apart. Comments are mostly welcome there.
Comment 12 Robinson Tryon (qubit) 2015-12-13 11:24:14 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 13 Xisco Faulí 2020-03-09 13:29:01 UTC
Please add keyword 'needsUXEval' and CC 'libreoffice-ux-advise@lists.freedesktop.org' if input from UX is needed.