|Re: WP 34S: Another poll about single letter labels|
Message #9 Posted by Paul Dale on 4 Aug 2011, 10:55 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Marcus von Cube, Germany
I really don't like option 3. It breaks consistency of the layout and doesn't really save much. LBL . X vs LBL ENTER X ENTER. The latter keeping consistency, allowing shifted characters (more labels) and extra characters (many more labels). The former confusingly allowing the . to be omitted for some keys but not others -- most people would end up always putting the . in I suspect.
The second and third options break our layout consistency in several ways which haven't been mentioned publicly. Walter can and likely will put this better than I will but I'll try...
Currently, all commands with a single alpha argument are special.
Alpha flag operations change how the device operates (or turn an annunicator on or off). They are not freely changeable like the numeric flags, they have side effects. Thus, these are special.
Alpha registers all have system defined purposes that make them not general purpose registers. Thus, these too are special. That we let users use the ones they don't otherwise require as general purpose registers is simply a bonus.
Alpha labels are our hot keys. In this way they are different to and distinct from numeric labels. Thus, these are also special.
See the trend here? Introducing these shortcut alpha labels completely breaks this internal consistency. Some labels are now general purpose, some aren't. Both Walter and myself dislike this and I'm usually the one pushing for weird and wonderful extra features and getting beaten down.
The keyboard and entry engines are very consistent currently and this makes them easy to use. I believe that this is the main reason why people are finding that the 34S is nice and easy after the initial shock of the very cluttered keyboard. Once you get the hang of things, everything is where you expect and logically arranged. I really would like to maintain this.
Adding the extra labels leaves new (and even experienced) users in a bind. Is this one special or not? Do I need the . prefix or not. We've already had one query about why no X label and that from somebody who is quite familiar with the device. Marcus thought this important enough to explicitly spell out in the description above. None of this is good.
There is another far more minor issue to do with indirect access. The numeric positions of the lettered registers vs the flags and labels don't match up currently and these proposals make things much worse. This is quite minor however.
Even Walter's alternative suggestion (which is for some of the additional letters to be usable as labels) grates with me. I'll let Walter put this forward if he so desires.