Near North Screenshots - Xojo app released

We have released our first Xojo application for Mac OS X: Near North Screenshots. It’s a pretty simple but super useful piece of software if you need to fill out a timesheet or do billing and have a hard time keeping track of everything you work on in a day (like I do!). Basically, like everything I’m working on lately, this is something I wrote because I really needed it while doing consulting work full time.

Hoping people can provide some feedback on the interface and fit and finish from a Xojo development standpoint, I’ve used the language for several years but never released anything publicaly so this is a bit new for me.

(p.s. hopefully this is the right channel for this kind of thing!)

On first sight, the GUI is shouting for some modern touches. MacOS users are keen on using a modern looking GUI. Do check out some apps to get an idea of a modern good looking macOS GUI.
Some suggestions:
Use macOS native toolbar icons.
Make the app light and darkmode compatible.
Get rid of the bottom grey row. If you don’t use that for displaying information, it’s not needed and will give the main area more screen estate.
Use icon buttons for left and right navigation. The current buttons are … well ugly database kinda buttons.

If you want to sell an macOS app, make sure it looks like one too. A good looking functional macOS GUI does make a difference in your sales. Trust me, it takes your app out of the ordinary 13 in a dozen.

Hi Christoph,

Thanks for your feedback, I’ve implemented the toolbar suggestions today (the image in the first post is hotlinked so it has already updated to show this) and started working on light and dark mode compatibility, though I am not running a version of Mac OS with support for that yet I am sure once I am I’ll definitely want it to work in dark mode.

It already looks 10 times better, good job! :smiley:

Yeah I am going to keep tweaking and improving my approach so hopefully it’ll get better slowly over time. RetinaKit / InterfaceKit was really useful to get the toolbar implemented quickly.

Spacing for the thumbnails has been more tricky than I expected. I think it might be as good as it can get while remaining accurate – though I do think options might be useful. Right now it tries to perfectly recreate the actual screen layout (my laptop’s “main” screen is actually positioned to the lower-right of the desktop screen I use most of the time). Which might just mean that the example layout I use when taking the sreenshots for the site needs to be more ideal to show it off better.

I don’t know what just happened to my notes - but here they are again:

Lock the tops of the multi-display images instead of the bottoms. Also, add a couple of pixels between them to differentiate.

I agree with Christoph that you should get rid of the empty space at the bottom. It looks like a mistake.

Also, I’d add a date picker instead of (or in addition to) the date popup menus.

Down show the buttons for the navigation. Just the icons will do fine.
Use a calendar popup window for setting the date.

Sadly the navigation icons looked really strange without a button around them. Basically it became really hard to tell what was what button, since there are so many chevrons pointed in each direction.

I am definitely going to add a date picker in.

[quote=406897:@Isaac Raway]Sadly the navigation icons looked really strange without a button around them. Basically it became really hard to tell what was what button, since there are so many chevrons pointed in each direction.

I am definitely going to add a date picker in.[/quote]

If you place them more close to each other without the buttons should work fine.

Also, get rid of the ‘display’ label. It’s not needed. In general don’t use labels in the toolbars.

If I may…

The goals of this design:

  • No plugins needed (date control)
  • Fewer buttons
  • Simple, intuitive, “you already know how to use it” navigation

The days being a source list shows you all available recordings, rather than making you search through dates for any recorded history. This design takes a minor inspiration from Arq’s days-as-a-source-list design.

This is just a pixelmator hack job, I’m in the middle of my own things in Xojo right now :stuck_out_tongue:

It most certainly is if you have multiple monitors.

That is an interesting approach, I’ll play around with a few ideas.

And thanks to everyone for all the feedback, very helpful.

For clarity, what I mean by “doesn’t show as progress” is that the handle resides on a bar still (so the user can tell how it moves and behaves,) but it doesn’t fill in “elapsed time” as a different color (the way the youtube player would show the bar red in those areas).

More like the scrubber in most video editors showing the playhead position.


Very much what I was aiming for, but couldn’t find the words. Thanks!

Yeah I do think taking some inspiration from video editing programs might be a good idea, I’ll have to mull it over.

[quote=406903:@Tim Parnell]The goals of this design:

No plugins needed (date control)
no plugin is needed to make a simple date picker
just a listbox and some buttons.

Consider the usage of the date. The user is not entering a date for the purposes of using it, they’re selecting the day to review the captures from that day. In this instance, it’s more useful to present a list of days with data. There may be days with no available data and discovering that via a date picker is a waste of the user’s time.

Whether or not you use a plugin for a date control, it is not the right choice of element here.

Thought of in that way, I agree with Tim. Something like the date slider in Apple’s “Time Machine”;

Create a vertical list of Days in Tim’s left pane and provide a slider that scrolls vertically through the days. Then have the days roll off the top as the user’s “oldest” entry is passed.

In summary - the vertical “scale” in the left pane would be the days and the horizontal scrubber under the screenshots would be the timeline for that day.