Suggested improvements to the graph guru

Hey all,

Finally getting around to documenting gnumeric's fantastic new
graphing system. (Sorry Guppi, I must finally acknowledge your
passing). There's nothing like trying to *explain* how things are
organized for getting one to think about the logic behind the
organization. Hence, I have the following comments/thoughts about the
Graph Guru that appears when one clicks the graph icon.

First of all, it looks *great*! Kudos to you all for the look, and of
course for the fact that it also works. Please don't take my comments
below as disparaging the immense effort you all have put into this.

The First Pane:

1) Resizing the dialog

Until we have more graph types this is a total waste of time *except*
to increase the size of the "sample" preview. However, the preview is
the one pane of the guru that doesn't increase when the window is
resized! I would suggest changing the widgets to make that pane be the
primary one that responds when the overall window is resized.

2) The show sample button

This has been filed as a bug. It doesn't look like a button, certainly
not like the buttons at the bottom. I would suggest placing it below
the "graph sub types" and adding a little icon (an eye perhaps?) to
mimick the safety buoy, x and arrows in the other buttons.

3) Distinguishing spatially "plot sub-types" from "sub-type styles"

For each plot type, we display, in the top right portion of the
dialog, a number of "sub-types", i.e. charts with different
properties. For example, both the "Bar" and the "Column" types display
three different plot sub types. However, we also display different
display "styles" which essentially preselect some of the choices in
the next section. I would like to distinguish these cases visually and
see two alternatives:

A. Split the top part of the guru into three portions:
Type         Sub-Type        Style

B. Layout the icons in the top right pane so that sub-type is 
   in one dimension and style is in the other. Since we may
   have a multitude of sub-types, I would suggest making each
   row a different sub-type and giving users three standard 
   options for pre-set styles. (We could increase the three
   to more eventually if we expand the pane, and maybe 
   provide a way for users to define their own styles but 
   "a limited number" fits the current GNOME philosophy of 
   picking a limited number of useful options.

4) A title for the top right hand space(s)

Just as "Plot Type" has a title, I would like the "Plot Sub-Type and
Style" to have a title (or have two separate titles if option 3A were

5) Have "Show Sample" show a relevant example when no data have been selected. 

For those who have not selected any data, the "show sample" button
doesn't do much good --- it just shows the axes. Ideally, we would
show a sample of the look that exactly paralleled the icon by making a
plot from stored data. We might even overlay a "no data selected" to
explain to the users what's going on.

The Second Pane:

6) Have initial layout save screen estate

When first encountering the second pane, there is *a lot* of empty
grey. (After: (1) new gnumeric (2) click on graph icon (3) click on
The lower panel could be made much smaller. (And why does the
scrollbar appear so soon when the panel is reduced?)

7) When no data have been selected, open pane at "Series 1"

By default we always open the second pane (after clicking on
"forward") with the top of the tree object hiearchy, "Graph" selected.
Presumably users are going to first and foremost want to add data.
Could we not help them get there by pre-selecting the "Series !"

8) Titles for the top two panels

This may be a slight waste of screen estate but would sure help first
time users (I suspect). The left hand panel could be labeled "Graph
Content Hierarchy" or something simlar and the right hand panel
"preview" which of course will become obvious *after* the first change
is made.

9) Prevent the sliders from making any panel zero size

The sliders that allow the resizing of the panels currently can be
used to completely hide some of the panels. When the panels are in
this state, a users could easly think they have "lost" the other
portions. The only visual cues for what has happened are the three
little dots and the cursor changing on mouse over---enough for
advanced users but maybe not so much for newbies. The costs of
preventing the complete collapse are tiny bits of screen estate but
the benefits are the explicit maintenance of our widget layout.

Other stuff:

10) Have the graph background and outline be set, not the chart's

The base outline and background which are now set are the chart's.
This has the unfortunate side effect of allowing some of the data in
the spreadsheet to invade the space of the graph in certain
situations. Ideally, the graph would be, by default, kept visually
distinct from the spreadsheet. (Didn't we already change this? Is this
a mistaken regression?)

11) The default size of the title font is too small

By default, the size of the font for the title is smaller than the
labels on the axes. A better proportioned default size would be more

That's all that I can see for now and I think I'll be able to come up
with clear explanations for the choices available to the users. Of
course, the infinite amount of control you all have given users will
make difficult keeping my presentation concise. Such are the costs of
documenting the world's most kick a** spreadsheet. :-)

--all the best,

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