A well argued point on good gui design. The reply however seemed more dismissive. I've been watching this forum for a while but this is my first post. I've been involved in GUI design/feedback to lesser or greater extent since about 1996 for Avid Illusion, Shake, and Nuke.
There are 2 main concerns with software for artists. Features and usability. Good manuals are excellent but that relies on RTFM. There have been plenty of features in Nuke and other software that are great but impossible to fathom when they go wrong. So they become technical features rather than general artists features. That of course maybe intended as everyone has different technical /artistic abilities.
So in short good UI design, simple process is essential. Great UI design, well still waiting for that one.
How does this and the above article relate to Natron? The majority of Natron UI is Nuke. A lot of Nuke UI was Shake. However Nuke took Shake, knew the issues, and dramatically improved on them. The node graph being the first I'd seen that solved the issue of running nodes in any direction. (That's Nuke 5. Before the foundry took it, it was something you would have to have loved to use IMHO. It was not the best design. )
Where Natron is in UI is interesting. The UI so closely resembles Nuke, most artist's I know that use it are wondering why Natron hasn't been sued yet.
Where Natron differs from Nuke it is less well designed. But I hear the developers' notes on size of team etc...
There should be a project where Users could sketch up designs for nodes, UI etc that developers and the community can comment on, but the developers can ignore if they wish. Basic sketches to fully fledged drawings have been seen in the past in Nuke,( though no-one came up with a better design for the shuffle node).
I designed the UI for the Dope sheet in Nuke, through one drawing, though the real work was done by the developer at the Foundry. My design though was based on a previous bit of software that had had the best version I'd seen and I improved on it.
Good UI design makes good software great and useable. Bad UI makes good software confusing and hard work.
Natron's UI works as it has taken Nuke and copied it. It hasn't learnt from and improved on it. But all my artist's I have tried to use it hit the ground running.
HOWEVER as the core stability of the product is still in it's development stage, they hate using it because it just isn't stable yet.
I would get the core stability working so it becomes a work horse, and let the community come up with design ideas, and develop between them and then plan for a new design based on a community project. Whether or not the Foundry can sue over the UI I don't know. they after all learnt lots from Shake in the first place. But it would be good to see Natron look like something new, an improved UI based on Nuke, Shake, Cineon (just not flame) and community feedback which would in turn compliment the developers hard work making it all work in the first place.