Looking back at early versions of FeedDemon, it’s obvious that I was raised in the Microsoft Office school of user-interface design. Namely, fill your application with toolbuttons, the majority of which most people will never use. Here, for example, is what the toolbars in the first version of FeedDemon looked like:
What on Earth was I thinking? There were so many toolbuttons showing that I had to stack toolbars on top of each other to fit them all. At the time I thought I was giving customers the features they wanted, but what I was really doing was scaring people away by overwhelming them with far too many choices.
Each version since then has been an exercise in killing toolbuttons. By the time FeedDemon 2.0 rolled around, the toolbars were starting to look more sensible:
Much better, but really, the only toolbuttons that need to be showing all the time are the ones that most people will use all the time. The other ones can be moved to menus and keyboard shortcuts, where they’re out of the way yet still accessible.
With that in mind, I’ve pared back the toolbars yet again in the upcoming FeedDemon 2.8:
As was the case with the sharing feature I discussed in my previous post, I should’ve taken a simpler approach with FeedDemon’s toolbars from the start. I’ve learned the hard way that simplifying what you’ve already released is a lot harder than designing something simple to start with (especially since changing what existing customers have become used to is a sure way to annoy them).
PS: Power users who relied on previously available toolbuttons can always add them back – just click the “Customize” arrow at the far right of the toolbar.