While Grafpad has been slow in terms of getting visitors (as most sites initially are), those visitors have been really great about feedback and even finding creative ways to give it to me (Twitter, Linked In, forums, Email). This made me realize that I’ve made it very hard for the users to provide feedback. It would probably make sense to add a feedback box directly to the main page.
Additionally, based on feedback itself it seems like the main page needs an overhaul. From the feedback I’ve gathered, it needs to be cleaner, more sexy, and less confusing. It also needs a “Try Now” button (and I knew I’d need to add one from the start, there is no excuse why it’s not there yet).
As far as the web app itself, I’ve gotten feedback that some of the things are not as intuitive as I thought. The menus, for example, will eventually need a complete overhaul. Due to their proximity, a couple people have mentioned that they don’t associate local bar with global bar. Since local bar is directly related to the currently selected option in global bar, that can be pretty annoying to the user. It probably makes sense to combine local and global bars into one.
Another area for improvement is right clicks. Currently Grafpad relies on right-clicks to rotate figures, modify figure and page properties, as well as perform undo/redo actions (it also supports keyboard shortcuts but from what I’m seeing not as many people use them as I thought). This seemed like a non-issue before a Mac user tried Grafpad (obviously, no right-click). To remedy that, the version I will be deploying in a bit allows Ctrl+click as well for all right-click operations.
Also, some of the keyboard shortcuts I implemented don’t even map to the same keys on a Mac. Delete key for example, is replaced with Backspace (they’re the same key on a Mac). One of the users also expected the color menu to apply to the figure when a figure is selected. That’s actually a pretty intuitive feature and I’m surprised it hasn’t occurred to me.
The good news is that some of these changes are minor tweaks that I was able to implement last night. For example, I moved undo/redo options to the global bar. Color menu now applies to selected figure (or document itself when no figure is selected in selection mode). While local bar and global bar are still two separate bars, I have stacked local bar on top of global bar to let the user know right away that they’re related. I must admit, it does seem to make a lot more sense now, the users were right. I also fixed several minor bugs I never caught myself but the new users were able to find within minutes of using the app. I will be deploying a new version of Grafpad with these changes shortly. If you haven’t yet, please give Grafpad a try and if you have, please keep playing with it as I improve the interface.
Also, I wanted to thank @leonartdesign and @lucchase for helping us spread the word about Grafpad by twitting about it.