Action button labels


LEOXD

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If there's place on the right for a button why not:


Z Y C
A   B
  X
or


Y C
A   B
W X
? (talking about the place of the buttons not the labels) just wondering.
Top right (the C) is impossible because there is a screw in the PCB
 

_wb_

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BTW: So far, we had 3 polls about the button layout.


In each poll, keeping the current Pandora layout won with a high advantage against any other idea here.


It seems most of the users are with me to keep the current layout... or did I miss some poll where they all voted that the current layout is bad?
That is not really true in my opinion.

Looking at the results of the first poll (which is the one which has the most voters), you can't really say that the Pandora layout wins.

Sure, there is a small majority that considers the Pandora layout to be acceptable:

  • Pandora layout + C and Z (XBZ AYC): 54 votes out of 92  (58.6%)
  • Pandora layout + two extra buttons (YABX C1 C2): 50 votes out of 92 (54.3%)

but there is also a small majority that considers a Greek layout to be acceptable:

  • Greek letters that look a bit like Playstation layout (ΔΠΩχ Φψ): 48 votes out of 92 (52.2%)
I don't think this can be considered as "the Pandora layout won with a high advantage".

Looking at preferences instead of acceptability, we have:

  • Pandora layout + C and Z (XBZ AYC): 35 votes
  • Pandora layout + two extra buttons (YABX C1 C2): 25 votes
  • Greek letters that look a bit like Playstation layout (ΔΠΩχ Φψ):38 votes
Note that both questions were multiple choice questions, so people could vote for both Pandora layout options at the same time (and probably did).

Again, I don't think you can say that "the Pandora layout won with a high advantage". Arguably it actually lost (by a small margin).

In the second poll only 59 people voted and there was some cheating going on, so it's a bit hard to conclude much from that one.

The third poll only gives one real alternative to the Pandora layout (plus an unsuccessful compromise which combines the two layouts); in that poll it's slightly less than 2/3 who would pick the Pandora layout and slightly more than 1/3 who would pick a Greek layout.

Meanwhile there have been quite a few new proposals that have not been included in any of those polls.

Also, you have to take into account that some people have voted for an extended Pandora layout thinking it would look like this:

     Z

  Y   C

A  B

  X

which at least makes some kind of sense (a bit weird, but not that bad). They may change their opinion once they realize that the button positions are not like that, so it would rather look like this:

z  Y

A     B

c  X

or maybe

   Y

A      B

  X

which makes (imo) much less sense in terms of logical sequences/patterns of letters.

Yes, changing things is always a "risk". However, as long as the buttons are still in the same positions and mapped to Home/End/PgUp/PgDn, nothing will really break if you change their labels -- if you're used to a Pandora game or application, it will still work in exactly the same way. Changing the labels would be a good incentive to give an incentive to devs to use guihints (in a way described here), such that without any effort, their program shows correct labels on both the Pandora and the Pyra, in a uniform style. This would help a lot to professionalize the user experience of homebrew applications and games. And it would fix the problems with the Pandora button labels -- not that these problems have to be exaggerated; they're relatively minor problems, but they're still something that can be improved.
 
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EvilDragon

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The confusion is fed by the fact others consoles have sames labels (x,y,a,b)in different position. Δ ,X,Π,Ω would facilitate because you will not have to think "x is y "in this game, "x is a" in this game but jump is Δ in this game and jump is Ω, you can proceed like this with a,y,x,b but when you see X you want to push X, not Y. So it would be easier with Greek letters. Also it would be so easy to play psp games.
Okay - be honest.

When playing games like Super Mario, do you always think which label is on the button when you're trying to jump?

Or do you simply know that this button is jump, regardless what label there is.

I do play games blindly, I don't look permanently on my controller to remember which one of the buttons is the B button so I can jump.

I do think everyone does that, otherwise, classic games would've had an on screen display showing the controller button layout all the time...

You said that Pyra isn't Pandora, that's why we had to chose a new name. I view Pyra as a new start, with modular stuff etc....
That was to throw away all the negativity we had before and make it clear it's a project where Craig is not involved anymore (an important topic for a lot of people).

It was also made clear that we want to keep what's good and improve what can be improved.

Confusing users even more by changing a layout and making many existing homebrew and ported Pandora games behave the same as emulators ("Press X" and in reality you have to press anything else) is not an improvement.

We can't change that issue in terms of emulation, but we can make sure we don't kill our own backwards compatibility.

Same label on buttons is fundamentally senseless, also action buttons need to stand out. Even if it isn't critical it's a design flaw that should be corrected to me .
For me, as design flaw would be using symbols and letters a game designer can't type with a normal keyboard.

I'm pretty sure the action buttons do stand out by being round and in a different area than the keyboard, with larger letters printed on them...

Is there anything that uses both on the Pandora?
Pandora FlashlightPandora Microbes

Pandora System Info

Pandora NubNub

Pandora Image Viewer

Pandora NanoLemmings
And how many support requests did you get from users who actually were so confused about it that they weren't able to figure that out?

Yes, the Pandora layout is different from all other major consoles. And to add more confusion, you want to make the Pyra layout different from the Pandora layout as well. Does not compute.
The problem with the Pandora's layout is that it uses the same labels as established layouts, but in different positions. This leads to confusion with emulators and general navigation in apps.
So does the XBox and Dreamcast (both have a similar layout) which it totally different from the Nintendo layout.

So for Dreamcast emulation, you would need another different layout...

"A" as the standard "accept, proceed, confirm" button and "B" as "cancel, go back, deny" button is engraved in my head from playing GameBoy, N64 (or any other Nintendo console), XBOX, etc. It does not makes sense to use these buttons in the same way on the Pandora (since "A" is on the left and "B" is on the right), and in fact PNDManager uses "B" for "accept" and "X"  for "cancel" and you can probably see why this is confusion at first and only really works due to the extensive use of tiny button images (aka guihints).

Similarly in traditional games "A" is often used for "Jump", while "B" is used for "shoot, kick, attack". This also does not work well on the Pandora and while a decent game should allow rebinding of the buttons the fact is only few actually implement this feature.
This is not always true for all games.

I've played RPGs on the SNES where A is actually Cancel.

And on the PSX, X is cancel nearly as often as it is confirm.

A layout doesn't change what the developer chooses to use as confirm / cancel.

In certain emulators a game might say "Press A", but requires you to press "B" or "X". You can rebind these in most cases, though.
And what would be different when it says "Press A" and you need to press some weird symbol button?

This might be way less confusion if you are coming from the GPH heritage (since they also use this layout), but for new users it certainly is and is the reason why some people voted for adapting the SNES or SEGA layout or change it into something completely new.
When looking at the current poll, 65% of the users prefer to keep the current Pandora layout, whereas only 25% want a completely new greek layout.

The remaining % decided to choose a layout which is compatible with both, so they count for both sides.

65% is significantly more than 25%.

And do you think it would be less confusing for new users when they play Pandora homebrew and the button layout doesn't match anymore?

I do repeat:

* We CANNOT fix that issue with the emulators, as every emulated system uses a different button layout

* Changing the layout will NOT fix that issue, but break compatibility with current Pandora games as well, and make it more work for devs who want to release games both for the Pandora and Pyra

It might break backwards compatibility, but people are willing to give that up (or rather require the dev to change their app, which is fairly easy and since a repackage or recompile might be needed anyway you might as well do both) for a layout which is more akin to something used commonly in the market (and backwards compatible to some emulated consoles, which is better than the current situation).
Why do the people who are willing to give that up not participate in the vote?

Or are you talking about those 25% (compared to 65% who want to keep it)?
 

_wb_

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Is there anything that uses both on the Pandora?
Pandora Flashlight
Pandora Microbes


Pandora System Info


Pandora NubNub


Pandora Image Viewer


Pandora NanoLemmings

And how many support requests did you get from users who actually were so confused about it that they weren't able to figure that out?
I try to minimize confusion by using guihints and by carefully avoiding to use the keyboard keys A, B, X, Y  (and even L, R) for anything if I can. That strategy works. Still, it's not so nice that I have to work around the problem: there are two buttons labeled with the symbol "A" and they do different things, so if I want to use both of them, I need extra words like "keyboard key" and "action button", or guihint images, just to unambiguously make it clear which one of them I mean.

Not a huge problem, still quite annoying and not really necessary.

* We CANNOT fix that issue with the emulators, as every emulated system uses a different button layout
* Changing the layout will NOT fix that issue, but break compatibility with current Pandora games as well, and make it more work for devs who want to release games both for the Pandora and Pyra 
 

We cannot fix the issue with all emulators, but we can fix it for one of them.

The only one we can fix it for is PSX/PSP -- the other consoles all use ABXY so that does not solve the problem with the Pandora layout (confusion with keyboard keys) while it does add the problem of non-backwards compatibility.

 

 

It does not have to be more work for devs to support two different labeling layouts. My proposal is to have guihint icons in a standard location on both the Pandora and the Pyra, and devs just have to use those icons instead of including icons inside their PNDs. E.g. if you want to display a guihint for the Pandora A button and the Pyra Π button, you would just show the image "/usr/share/icons/dragonbox/action_button_home.png" -- and it is up to the firmware of the respective device to have an appropriate image there.

 

Making it more attractive for devs to use standardized guihints is actually a very nice side-effect of changing the labels. We should encourage devs to use guihints and not simple text instructions like "Press X to run and Q to quit". Guihints are much more effective at showing the information at a glance, and they give a nice uniform look & feel across applications.
 

foxblock

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And what would be different when it says "Press A" and you need to press some weird symbol button?
You are implying I am pro Greek, I am not, I don't like that idea. Actually I am not really for any of the options in the third poll, I am for adapting one of the well known layouts, like SEGA Genesis (Extended-Dreamcast / Extended-XBOX) or Extended-SNES.

It's not an option in the poll, so I am not pushing for it, I am just using it as an example of what I think is most wrong with the Pandora layout.

This is not always true for all games. I've played RPGs on the SNES where A is actually Cancel. And on the PSX, X is cancel nearly as often as it is confirm. A layout doesn't change what the developer chooses to use as confirm / cancel.
Be honest here, the majority of games on the NES, SNES, XBOX, etc. follow the quasi-standard of "A = accept", "B = cancel". It actually pretty annoying when it's actually the other way around...

It's true that in the end it's mostly up to the developer. But wouldn't it be desirable to get a quasi-standard for that, so that programs use the same buttons for similar actions? Something we don't have with the Pandora, something new users actually have complained about. Adapting a well known layout would help bridge that gap.

You can't get a layout working with all emulated consoles perfectly, that's just a fact and I get that, but you can adapt a layout which is more similar to what some consoles use.

And do you think it would be less confusing for new users when they play Pandora homebrew and the button layout doesn't match anymore?
I would guess Pandora homebrew does not nearly make up the majority of games played on the Pandora (it's mostly ports and emulators). Additionally changing the button layout for a Pyra version is the easiest for homebrew, since most of those projects are open source and the developer is active in the community.

Why do the people who are willing to give that up not participate in the vote? Or are you talking about those 25% (compared to 65% who want to keep it)?
I assume people are not voting, because it's not an option in the latest poll any more.

Well that is just my point of view anyway, I would be fine with an extended Pandora layout and good firmware-integrated guihints, so I can direct people to the buttons using position and not label.
 

foxblock

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It does not have to be more work for devs to support two different labeling layouts. My proposal is to have guihint icons in a standard location on both the Pandora and the Pyra, and devs just have to use those icons instead of including icons inside their PNDs. E.g. if you want to display a guihint for the Pandora A button and the Pyra Π button, you would just show the image "/usr/share/icons/dragonbox/action_button_home.png" -- and it is up to the firmware of the respective device to have an appropriate image there.

 

Making it more attractive for devs to use standardized guihints is actually a very nice side-effect of changing the labels. We should encourage devs to use guihints and not simple text instructions like "Press X to run and Q to quit". Guihints are much more effective at showing the information at a glance, and they give a nice uniform look & feel across applications.
I agree, that would be desirable.
 

WizardStan

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But wouldn't it be desirable to get a quasi-standard for that, so that programs use the same buttons for similar actions?
What does that have to do with the labels?B can be accept, X is cancel. There, quasi-standard.
 

foxblock

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What does that have to do with the labels? B can be accept, X is cancel. There, quasi-standard.
I already explained that a few posts back.

It's not what I am used to and it's not what is used by many consoles (adding confusion by reversing the function of a button compared to these consoles, "B" in this case).

It's not a huge deal, it just takes time getting used to. However for a new user it might just look like a factory mistake where the buttons have been misplaced.

Then again, why not "fix" it if we have the chance.
 
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TrashyMG

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I can't keep any label scheme straight in my head since I hop systems so much..
 

_wb_

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yeap, me too I read that wb is mainly a PSX player...
Actually I'm not really a player of anything. I have no particular preference for PSX. It's just the only mainstream console that does not use keyboard labels for its buttons.

It does not have to be more work for devs to support two different labeling layouts. My proposal is to have guihint icons in a standard location on both the Pandora and the Pyra, and devs just have to use those icons instead of including icons inside their PNDs. E.g. if you want to display a guihint for the Pandora A button and the Pyra Π button, you would just show the image "/usr/share/icons/dragonbox/action_button_home.png" -- and it is up to the firmware of the respective device to have an appropriate image there.

 

Making it more attractive for devs to use standardized guihints is actually a very nice side-effect of changing the labels. We should encourage devs to use guihints and not simple text instructions like "Press X to run and Q to quit". Guihints are much more effective at showing the information at a glance, and they give a nice uniform look & feel across applications.
I agree, that would be desirable.
... and by keeping the old Pandora layout, devs will be lazy and just keep their text-only labels. I mean, guihints have been around for quite a while now, but they're still not very widely used. I think devs need some incentive here -- the natural thing to do is "don't fix it if it ain't broken" or rather "I'm too lazy to improve it as long as it works more or less". By making our stuff "Pyra-ready", we will get better interfaces on the Pandora too -- everybody wins.
 

fusion_power

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I'm sure the final layout will be ABXY in whatever order. For the 2 additional buttons you may choose greek letters for the geek factor but I guess even this will not happen for known reasons. I write this here on my Pandora and I have no clue how to write ALPHA or OMEGA as one of these letters. ;)

Graphical Symols etc. like PSX symbols work only if all games and apps would follow standards, no problem onto consoles but we know how most of the devs here think about unified standards for input buttons over all apps. ;) Not even possible due various emulated Systems.
 

Grench

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yeap, me too I read that wb is mainly a PSX player...
Actually I'm not really a player of anything. I have no particular preference for PSX. It's just the only mainstream console that does not use keyboard labels for its buttons.

It does not have to be more work for devs to support two different labeling layouts. My proposal is to have guihint icons in a standard location on both the Pandora and the Pyra, and devs just have to use those icons instead of including icons inside their PNDs. E.g. if you want to display a guihint for the Pandora A button and the Pyra Π button, you would just show the image "/usr/share/icons/dragonbox/action_button_home.png" -- and it is up to the firmware of the respective device to have an appropriate image there.

 

Making it more attractive for devs to use standardized guihints is actually a very nice side-effect of changing the labels. We should encourage devs to use guihints and not simple text instructions like "Press X to run and Q to quit". Guihints are much more effective at showing the information at a glance, and they give a nice uniform look & feel across applications.
I agree, that would be desirable.
... and by keeping the old Pandora layout, devs will be lazy and just keep their text-only labels. I mean, guihints have been around for quite a while now, but they're still not very widely used. I think devs need some incentive here -- the natural thing to do is "don't fix it if it ain't broken" or rather "I'm too lazy to improve it as long as it works more or less". By making our stuff "Pyra-ready", we will get better interfaces on the Pandora too -- everybody wins.
Sorry, but this keeps coming back to an elitist 'if everyone was just as good you are' argument.

Your arguments have been that users are too stupid to know which button to push AND devs are too lazy to program the way YOU think it should be done.

So now you're disregarding your own poll results and insulting both users and developers just because you think that a bunch of random connected lines are prettier.  Greek symbols ARE random connected lines for the 90%+/- of the world population that does not speak Greek OR have a background in Eurpoean/American academic institutions.

Of course if we wanted to do it on population alone, we'd have to use Mandarin (985 million speakers).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

However, that is a bit misleading too since lumping the languages together that use Latin or derived character sets is in excess off 1 Billion people.

The Pyra will likely be a bit of an obscure device by nature.  It does NOT need to be obscure by keyboard lettering.
 

Googer

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Another all-new idea (I don't think I've something like this mentioned anyway) - how about going directional using standard Latin letters / symbols for labels?  i.e., something like

F ^

<   >

L v

Doing this avoids a problem I've had with basically every game controller ever: it's instantly obvious visually when an on-screen prompt says to push a button which button it's referring to without having to memorize (for example) that A is on the left.  Obviously the bottom-left button, being 'L' would collide with the left shoulder button(s), so rename them as well:

{ [ for the two left

and

} ] for the two right.

Or something like that. :p
 

_jr_

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Another all-new idea (I don't think I've something like this mentioned anyway) - how about going directional using standard Latin letters / symbols for labels? i.e., something like

F ^

< >

L v
Using something nicer for F/L (maybe Ins/Del or symbols) and adding a vertical bar to the left/right arrows (to indicate Home/End) this is what I've been trying to propose (and _wb_ did some renderings in this direction). I can live without the vertical bars, but I think they would be an improvement. If it is felt that backwards compatibility is mega important, than it would be easy to add A/B/X/Y or (as Exophase proposed) more stylish while keeping the appearance alpha/beta/gamma/chi.
 
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crosspoint

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I'm pretty sure every gamer and tech nerd is able to differentiate between button A and the A key. It's ridiculous how lengthy these discussions are. Just keep the Pandora layout. I'd rather prefer a software solution for the 'which button/key to press' confusion which occurs when using different menus with different button assignments. That's why I like Pandafe so much.
 
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Christoph.Krn

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I'd rather prefer a software solution for the 'which button/key to press' confusion which occurs when using different menus with different button assignments.
That's a different problem.
I'm pretty sure every gamer and tech nerd is able to differentiate between button A and the A key. It's ridiculous how lengthy these discussions are. Just keep the Pandora layout.
Once the Pyra is released, the discussion would no longer be possible, and there are some valid concerns that have been raised. It doesn't really matter whether the discussions are long, as long as they can continue uninterruptedly. At this point it's unclear whether they will have resulted in something useful in the end, but that's not a deciding factor for stopping them. If you don't enjoy these discussions, that's okay, you can just ignore them, or state that, say, you feel disturbed because they are crowding the "View New Content" page, and then it's the participants' turn to adjust accordingly.
 
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