For me, one of the most confusing parts of the user interface is the Advanced options page. The list is becoming too long to find the option you are looking for and a lot of useful options are easily overlooked.
This made me think about how the UI could be improved in a way that all existing settings are available, but are easier to find and have a more user friendly look.
First I have inventoried the backdraws of the current implementation (subjective, I know… ):
- The list of Core options is too long
- All options are listed alphabetically instead of ordered to functionality.
- When creating or editing a backup job, options can be set that do not apply to backups.
- In the Restore Wizard, custom options cannot be set al all.
- Very basic design.
After thinking it over for some time, I think these suggestions could improve the Settings page:
- Create groups that are expandable, based on functionality (Backup operations, Restore operations, Messaging, Logging, etc.)
- Combine the current settings in the Settings page with the Advanced settings. This will result in a one level tree where all options can be set (including UI, Update, Donations, Web UI Password settings).
- Give all options one or more internal tags, indicating which operations are affected by that option (Backup Restore, Find, Compare, etc). In the Backup Wizard and Restore Wizard only the options should be listed that can affect that operation.
- List all advanced options under these groups, not only the options that are set by the user. All Program default options should be listed in grey in the main Settings page. If the user wants to change a specific option, a checkbox could be clicked, which activates the text box, switch or drop-down menu. The value that is given to that option can be displayed in a marked color (preferrable the already used green color).
- In the Backup- and Restore Wizard, all settings for that operations should be listed the same way, with one difference: if the user has set a particular option in the main Settings page, that option should be listed in grey in the wizard. Example: the default block size is 100KB. If the user changes this in the main settings screen to 5MB, this 5MB should be listed in grey in the Backup- / Restore wizard.
- Slightly modify the options in the UI (for example, remove dashes between words) and remove the short descriptions, that are listed behind the options in the current list.
- hovering over an option (or clicking a question mark symbol) should show a popup with help text about that option. The title should be the option name that can be used in the command line.
- Order the options by function (not alphabetically).
- A radio button to switch to a text box containing the advanced options (just like it is in the current interface).
This is an example how the Advanced (General / Common) Settings page could look like (click on the picture to see more):
I have a list of all options that are grouped by function and added some tags to each option. It is far from complete and probably has lots of mistakes, because I don’t know which operations are affected by each option. But I can share it if you like (attachments other than pictures are not allowed here).
Hopefully this contributes a little bit to the user-friendlyness of Duplicati.