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page: Home > PandaNet inc. > Projects > PandaNet glGo design
author:J. van der Steen
updated:27-11-2014


copyright (C) 2005 PANDANET

Client design proposal

Introduction

The IGS-PandaNet is a powerful server-client environment giving the user lots of facilities to play or watch Go and communicate with other players. The challenge in designing an IGS-PandaNet client is to make all these facilities available to the user in an intuitive way. Another requirement for contemporary client software should be aesthethic looks, making the program a pleasure to use. Finally, the software should reflect the corporate style of PandaNet.

The redesign of the IGS-PandaNet client is separated in two phases:

  1. Face-lift
    Mainly focusing on the looks-and-feel and ease of use of the client, bringing it up-to-date with contemporary standards.
  2. Functional redesign
    Revolutionary changes to both the server and client software will use the utmost facilities of internet, thus giving the user new and powerful facilities.

This document describes step 1. The images below (click on them for a full-screen version) should give an impression of the PandaNet client new style. The screens respectively shown:

  • Splash screen
    Initiating the client program
  • Welcome screen
    Enabling the user to choose the preferred account name and log on
  • News tab (default tab)
    Informing the user about events and other news
  • Rooms tab
    The room overview, showing their properties and visiting members
  • Players tab
    Display the visiting players and their main properties
  • Match window
    Display the played (or observed) games (tabbed switching between them)

Note: Not all screens have a design proposal yet. An exhaustive list of screens for an application like glGo would literally include hundreds of screens (although lots of them would resemble each other). Therefore, the most important screens are shown in this document thus giving you a fair impression of the proposed new interface.

Splash screen

The splash screen puts up the corporate image and a clear feedback about the program which is about to launch.

splash screen

Welcome screen

The welcome screen provides the user with a menu of options of top-level client facilities:

  • Do you just want to open a board?
  • Do you want to edit a local file?
  • Do you want to play against a local program?
  • Do you want to connect to IGS-PandaNet?
    And if so, with which account would you like to connect?
  • Or maybe you want to change your global preferences of the program?

In any case, you can suppress this dialogue the next time you start up the program. All options remain accessible to you of course. In this version standard icons will be used, but in future versions avatars like those in MSN Messenger can be used. These avatars should then be used on the server as well.

welcome screen

The news tab

After selecting one of the icons on the welcome screen you will be connected to the IGS-PandaNet server while the main application window will remain visible. The main window consists of a set of tabs:

  • News
  • Players
  • Games
    List of currently active games
  • Rooms
  • Messages (think of E-mail)
    Facilities to read, write and manage messages between you and other IGS users
  • Chat (think of MSN-messenger)
    Facilities to communicate with other IGS users

This tabbed mode is the default setting, but it is possible to drag the tabs out of the main window, thus creating a new window. Created windows can be 'docked' back into the main window by dragging.

Below the tabs there is a command-line and a feedback window. These two controls are optional and will not be visible by default. In the preferences the visibility of these control can be set. When the controls are set to non-visible, the tabs will occupy the entire window.

As said, the first and main tab is the News tab. This tab gives you feedback about whether you successfully logging in on the server. In addition, the News tab informs you about the latest events and headlines. Finally, a prominent link to the MyPanda service is shown. MyPanda is your personal part of the PandaNet website where you can find your game archive and statistics.

The News tab is HTML-based, thus ensuring consistency in looks and information between the PandaNet client and the PandaNet website.

news tab

The rooms tab

The rooms tab gives you an overview of all defined rooms on the PandaNet server.
Rooms are an important metaphore for an improved understanding of navigation on the PandaNet server.
There are two kinds of rooms:

  • PandaNet rooms
    PandaNet's predefined rooms [displayed in green]
  • User rooms
    Created by PandaNet admins by request of PandaNet users

The PandaNet rooms are fixed and always visible on top of the list. Selection of rooms defines the list of players and games shown in the players and games tab.
You can select all PandaNet rooms at once by checking the top check box of the PandaNet rooms list and analogue to this you can select all users rooms at once by checking the top check box of the users rooms list. Each room has an owner that can open and close the room. Closed rooms are greyed out [except for the room's owner].
In addition, another distinction between rooms is made by making them public or private, a property which is controled by the owner. A public room is accessible to all PandaNet users. A private room is only accessible for users selected by the rooms owner. This is especially convenient for private sessions and virtual go-clubs.

Clicking on the column headers will reorder the list with this column as ordering criterion. Dragging the column headers allows you to rearrange the order of columns in the table.

When right-clicking a selected a room, a contextual pop-up menu will appear with the most relevant functionality of that room.

Above the tab the contextual command bar shows several relevant options: filters for refining the rooms list and an 'apply for new room' function which enables you to send a message to the PandaNet admins to request the creation of a new room. Strict room requirements should be available on the PandaNet website but will also be enforced by the ensuing application form.

rooms tab

The players tab

The players tab gives a list of all players in the rooms selected in the rooms tab.
Players who are looking for a game are presented in a bold font. Players who are 'closed' [meaning that they don't accept challenges] are presented grey. Friends are presented in green.

The columns can be reordered and rearranged, similarly to the rooms tab.

From the contextual command bar you can filter players to 'friends only', 'available only' and 'looking only'. With drop-down boxes you can set the top and bottom boundaries for players shown. After selecting a player there is also a 'match player' button which enables you to request a game with the player.

When selecting a player, after right clicking, a contextual pop-up menu will appear with the most important relevant functionality to the selected player.

player tab

The match window

Once you start a game the match window is opened. Note that this is a separate window next to the main window. The match window can have multiple tabs for showing multiple matches for observing and multiple tabs for playing simultaneously.

Opponents 'face' each other placed on both sides of the board. At the bottom the communication bar with a feedback window is shown. These controls are docked to the bottom of this screen but can be dragged to other parts of the screen [side, top] or even as a floating pop-up window, resulting in a window lay-out where users can alter the window to their own liking: for instance maximization of the board filling the whole height of the screen.

Above the board the contextual command bar with commands like 'resign', 'add extra time' et cetera will be provided.

match tab

Conclusion

This redesign of the PandaNet client focusses on more consistency between the different screens, a modern look of the user interface with facilities which will enable users to modify the interface to their liking and thus creating a feeling of satisfaction in the user interaction process.

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