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Dev blog: UI Modernization - Icon Strategy

First post
Author
Dersen Lowery
The Scope
#81 - 2015-02-27 05:11:46 UTC
Trinkets friend wrote:
You need to divorce yourself from the ego and pride invested in your work with ISIS, and begin moving to icons for ships that are completely distinguishable from one another by shape, versus size.

e; frigate = triangle
destroyer = square
cruiser = open diamond
battlecruiser = solid diamond
battleship = hexagon (blops or marauder = solid)
capital = star (filled = carrier, empty = dread)
supercarrier = open circle
titan = filled circle


^^ This.

The overview in the sample image looks like the Default tab is weeping tears of blood, because everything is more or less the same shape, and at that scale the size difference is not much more than noise.

Proud founder and member of the Belligerent Desirables.

I voted in CSM X!

Bienator II
madmen of the skies
#82 - 2015-02-27 05:16:47 UTC  |  Edited by: Bienator II
2 pixel difference between shuttle and capsule is not enough.

If you want to stay this small you will have to work with shape recognition. You can't make it all look like triangles in this size. Take a look how homeworld solved it. They had triangles, squares, prisms, etc etc. scales perfectly.

http://s4.photobucket.com/user/Ammonra/media/Homeworld_symbols.jpg.html
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/2810/manuals/X3_Reunion_Manual_Steam_English.pdf page 24

how to fix eve: 1) remove ECM 2) rename dampeners to ECM 3) add new anti-drone ewar for caldari 4) give offgrid boosters ongrid combat value

Midnight Hope
Pator Tech School
Minmatar Republic
#83 - 2015-02-27 05:17:23 UTC
Tippia wrote:
[...]
That's not really a solution, partly because it would defeat the purpose of giving a better overview of the field since less can be seen at once; partly because, if that's what you want, you can already turn on scaling.

No, the solution is to make them more distinct, more simplistic, and crystal clear when scaled-down on a low-res monitor — then add in (meaningless) decorations at higher resolutions if need be. In other words, almost the exact opposite of what's been done here.


Come to think of it, we've been here before, and the error was the exact same back then. When they tried to change the module icons to depictions, it made the icons useless and indistinct because… well… they weren't icons any more. Instead, they were just pictures of what they were meant to represent. Iconography does not rely on absolute, accurate portrayal — it relies on clarity of conveying an idea. You make icon easily distinguishable by making them distinct, not by cramming them full of tiny details.

You do not need a ship-shaped shape to represent a ship. Anything will do, as long as you can establish that “this represents a ship” and offer something that is uniquely recognisable enough that people don't forget it. When you try to represent 30 different ship types, you need to employ more than one shape to do so. Same with the 30+ different drone types.

So, solution: broaden the visual language; step away from simple depiction; start with the tiniest possible size and work up rather than the other way around; and stay the **** away from minute details as a way to convey meaning.


Tippia nail it down. Please check her posts cause she KNOWS what she is talking about... and give the lady a PLEX.

The icons you propose are confusing and hard to read outside of your little reference pictures. It may seem easy to tell the small from the medium when they are side by side. But if I see one of them on their own I can't tell what it is. You can not rely on one shape and simply vary its weight slightly.

Also, why change some of the more recognizable icons (sun, asteroid belt, corp hangar array)? Just for the sake of changing them? What was wrong with the ones we had? They conveyed the idea. That's all you can ask from an icon. They do not have to look like what they represent. The military has been using the square with a dot inside to represent an artillery unit for ages. Does artillery look like a square with a dot inside? No. But the icon does it job not because it looks like an artillery unit, It does its job cause its *different from every other icon*.

I know all the effort you put into these, but they are not clear and different enough.
I'm utterly and terribly sorry because of all the labor and love you put into the new ones, I know, but frankly, I'd rather keep the ones we have today.
Keras Authion
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#84 - 2015-02-27 05:42:17 UTC
This seems like a good direction to improve the overview, never was a big fan of the empty brackets for every player. however, as the other prople have pointed out, the differences can be hard to spot at the small overview icon scale. We'll have to see how it looks to make the judgement but at least it won't be worse than it is now.

This post was rated "C" for capsuleer.

VeryChic
Federal Navy Academy
Gallente Federation
#85 - 2015-02-27 05:45:31 UTC
Please do not do this. Constantly "fixing" things that aren't broken isn't necessary.
An option to choose which icons you would like to use would be nice if you are going to roll this out regardless of the opposition.
Kel hound
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#86 - 2015-02-27 05:55:06 UTC
You need a special icon for Super Carriers. Would suggest making Titan icon the S-Carrier icon and making new Titan icon from Dreadnought icon with 2 chevron through it.

Small and medium industrial icons feel too similar to destroyer and battle-cruiser icons. Suggest further blunting of tip and slight increase in the gaps to bring them more in line with large and extra-large.

Rookie ship icon also feels too similar to shuttle icon at a glance. Suggest sharpening corners by slight deepening of the cut.

Sensor dampening battery and warp scrambling battery icons appear to be the same. Suggest perhaps using the " * " icon instead of the " = " icon?



On your example screenshot all these ships appear to be NPC, yet they lack the " + " in the top right corner that should differentiate them as such. Is this intended? Will we be able to tell at a glance if what we are shooting at is a player or NPC?

On the whole I love this. The direction you have gone with for the ships feels reminiscent of the way other games like World of Tanks differentiates between different classes of vehicles. I will probably need to see for myself in-game but I feel reasonably confident that I will be able to learn the difference at a glance fairly quickly.
Komodo Askold
Strategic Exploration and Development Corp
Silent Company
#87 - 2015-02-27 06:15:53 UTC
That looks interesing! Although you'll have to concede those icons reveal a lot of things Cool... NPC capitals?
Alexis Nightwish
#88 - 2015-02-27 07:05:40 UTC
Thoirdhealbhach wrote:
The full size icons, i.e. ISIS use case, look very nice. Once they get shrunk to bracket/overview size not so much any more. As many others before me have pointed out, they are really hard to differentiate and as such not very useful.

I understand the desire to use icons, that are not just abstract boxes, circles, triangles, etc., because on the one hand, abstract icons require memorization of their meaning and on the other hand, EVE is still a game, and as such wants to and should convey a certain sci-fi style. No one wants newbies to memorize wether circles or boxes are the bigger ships, they should just be bigger...

Maybe the ship icons would be more readable if they were to be rotated 45 degrees? This way you could keep the initial design philosophy but you could also slightly enlarge the icons without distorting their general shape too much. As far as differentiation between players and NPCs is concerned: Just tilt one to the left and the others to the right (i.e. horizontal mirroring) and you are all set. With generally wedge shaped icons rotated 45 degrees you would have the added bonus that the rotation makes some more free space for those all important standing markers...
This is brilliant, and as such, will not be implemented.

Thoirdhealbhach wrote:
As a side remark: Many of those terrible icon scaling issues stem from the fact, that the main interaction/selection happens in a rather generic list box (aka "The Overview"). If the overview would be something more clever, more elegant, more adaptive to the massive differences in engagement scales, then maybe you could put those beautiful ISIS icons in their original size inside the overview.
In all honesty, simply letting me have more than 5 tabs would improve my EVE by about 9001%. I get nervous whenever they mess with the UI as everything ends up different, but not really any better. Like with the Neocom icons. The simplification was good, but the monochrome was not. And the new brackets still suck.


To the feedback on the topic at hand!

I understand you're trying to modernize the UI and that's great, but change for that reason only, isn't a good reason to do so. On the whole I more or less actually like the direction, but like others before me have said, there isn't enough to distinguish between similar ship types, seeing them on a small monitor will put a lot of money into optometrists' hands, and a lot of these icons are totally unnecessary.

Despite my snarkiness earlier, use Thoirdhealbhach's idea. Rotate NPC icons 45* to the LEFT, and player ships 45* to the RIGHT. Why? Player ships have icons (fleet, corp, suspect, etc.) and if the icons are rotated to the RIGHT for player ships, the icon won't obstruct much or any of the ship icon.

Leave the drone icons as they are for light/med/heavy, but keep the new sentry drone icon. Give fighters the proposed rookie ship icon, and put rookie ships (which are frigates) with the rest of the frigates. Give FBs an icon that's an upgraded version of the proposed rookie icon.

Leave all the sentry turret icons alone. They're perfect. Use the new icon for batteries if you like, but leave the sentry turret icons as they are. Move the battery icons towards the bottom left corner so their type is more easily seen (puts their type near the center).

I like the new WH icon since now it'll be the only thing that looks swirly. Cool

Swap the proposed web battery and warp scram battery icons. The '#' lends itself much better to scrams as it looks something like the module icon. The web battery would need a new icon. Three lines like engine trails?

Give target painters a circle with a cross inside instead of just a circle.

Customs offices could stand to lose the little bits on the left and right sides since they're a rather vertical structure.

And lastly, get rid of those brackets in space (the four triangle thingies). Like there isn't enough clutter. Or on second thought, keep them but only for objects you have targeted.

mad mspaint skillz (doesn't have the ships rotated 45* cause mspaint can't do it Sad)

CCP approaches problems in one of two ways: nudge or cludge

EVE Online's "I win!" Button

Fixing bombs, not the bombers

Aiyshimin
Yamagata Syndicate
Shadow Cartel
#89 - 2015-02-27 07:36:54 UTC
CCP Arrow wrote:
We look forward to hearing what you think and hope you try them out on SiSi Big smile


These are well thought and definitely needed little improvements. Solid design.
McDarila
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#90 - 2015-02-27 07:36:58 UTC
Your looking at informaition over load, The Icons are too close to each other. Its not a good way to go, I see my self disabling all and depending on the overiew.
Vorstellung
Plan.B
#91 - 2015-02-27 07:51:10 UTC
awesome idea and the icons look neat and nice but u really need to change the design from "look good" to be "usefull":

right now the icons are awful! they are all way too similar. on the test picture all i see are red triangle shaped things.
if you want us to distinguish the shipsize by their icons u need find different icons!
they need to be catchy on first glance on the screen (the icons move around in space and even so in the overview when sorted by distance.

your icons for drones are fine and well designed but for the ships its imho horrible icon system
the design

u should use more defined symbols for the sizes for example:

pod .
shuttle ..
frig +
dessie +>
cruiser *
BC *>
BS O
carrier L
scarrier L>
dread 8
titan XX

this is just ascii and would be 300% more catchy on the eye...

represent a size with a specific icon, have a symbol for the "in between size like battlecruiser"

go on for industrial ships in same way.



Vintare
Perkone
Caldari State
#92 - 2015-02-27 08:08:17 UTC  |  Edited by: Vintare
Any chance we can get ability to switch between icon sizes? Because while they where just a cross with variable umph, icons are just too damn small on high-res screens (like 15" FullHD notebook). So, ability to have a bigger icons would be greatly appriciated and will make distinguishing them much easier.

Especially the drones.
Sturmwolke
#93 - 2015-02-27 08:15:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Sturmwolke
Combat ships line is passable but not ideal**.
Freighter/indy line is still a jumbled mess (more specifically L and XL). Those shapes still aren't distinct enough to pass a cursory glance and resolution issues*.
Sentry drone vs scout/hvy drone = clear distinction.
Medium scout drone vs heavy drone = blurry distinction.
Fighter vs fighter bomber = another blurry distinction that makes me seriously wonder if anyone really put any proper thought into this (wtf!?).

Structures, burn it.

* Compare these 2 lines, combat ship vs indy/freighter. Look at the L vs XL distinction for each line.
Big difference.

** And round we go back to the Homeworld-esque type of ship icons.
Why did you discard a working model?

Edit:
Finally, skimmed all pages. Gist is pretty much what Tippia articulated in post #35.
Form practically took over and shaped the entire design approach, over function. Despite numerous iterations, it's still a mess. Take a hint?

To add, I'm not fan of the Neocom icons either. Several of them suffers from this "blurry distinction" issue.
Zappity
Kurved Trading
#94 - 2015-02-27 08:15:30 UTC  |  Edited by: Zappity
Icons are too similar for small screens. The differences are too small for easy learning. Need to be memorised rather than intuitive. Not enough use of colour to distinguish.

Zappity's Adventures for a taste of lowsec and nullsec.

Dixie Mason
ZERO TAX MERCS
#95 - 2015-02-27 08:15:53 UTC
Trinkets friend wrote:
You need to divorce yourself from the ego and pride invested in your work with ISIS, and begin moving to icons for ships that are completely distinguishable from one another by shape, versus size.

frigate = triangle
destroyer = square
cruiser = open diamond
battlecruiser = solid diamond
battleship = hexagon (blops or marauder = solid)
capital = star (filled = carrier, empty = dread)
supercarrier = open circle
titan = filled circle


Everyone who plays this game understands the need to get fast and clear overview what's around. Scaled down representation of ships defines it. Make it simple
Pak Narhoo
Splinter Foundation
#96 - 2015-02-27 08:36:53 UTC
And yet again CCP surprises us with a redundant unneeded not asked for add on/change.

It's all been said by the why/unneeded/it works now fine camp so I have nothing to add but that I'm happy that those who designed this have zero sight problems.

Seriously 1 pixel differences between icons that ALL look the same?



Oh well you cramm it down our throats anyway, what's the point in asking to redesign/reconsider this?

Zappity
Kurved Trading
#97 - 2015-02-27 08:39:39 UTC
Trinkets friend wrote:
You need to divorce yourself from the ego and pride invested in your work with ISIS, and begin moving to icons for ships that are completely distinguishable from one another by shape, versus size.

e; frigate = triangle
destroyer = square
cruiser = open diamond
battlecruiser = solid diamond
battleship = hexagon (blops or marauder = solid)
capital = star (filled = carrier, empty = dread)
supercarrier = open circle
titan = filled circle


Please just do this. And leave the pod icon alone. My pod is never a wreck. Ahem.

Zappity's Adventures for a taste of lowsec and nullsec.

Thebriwan
LUX Uls Xystus
#98 - 2015-02-27 08:42:36 UTC  |  Edited by: Thebriwan
+1000

Awesome!

Edit: After reading some of the other comments:

That "I can not distinguish them from another" sound like bullshit to me. Why?

a) The new icons are MUCH better, then the ones we have now.
b) Small screen anyone? Get a life! (Ahem a new display?)
c) I need so memorize the different shapes! Seriously? Go play WoW!

There was a time when the line "Harden the f*** up" was what defined an eve player.
To much wining today!
Vegare
Bitslix
Lolsec Fockel
#99 - 2015-02-27 08:58:06 UTC
So how are these new icons going to work together with colortags and bracket backgrounds? Seems to be alot of information on very few pixels.
Zappity
Kurved Trading
#100 - 2015-02-27 08:59:19 UTC
Thebriwan wrote:
+1000

Awesome!

Edit: After reading some of the other comments:

That "I can not distinguish them from another" sound like bullshit to me. Why?

a) The new icons are MUCH better, then the ones we have now.
b) Small screen anyone? Get a life! (Ahem a new display?)
c) I need so memorize the different shapes! Seriously? Go play WoW!

There was a time when the line "Harden the f*** up" was what defined an eve player.
To much wining today!

You heard it folks. Get a life by, um, getting a bigger screen for your computer game.

"Harden the f*** up" doesn't sound like good design practice to me. Out of interest, was this run past the CSM?

Zappity's Adventures for a taste of lowsec and nullsec.