Author Topic: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!  (Read 13894 times)

Marc Shenker

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2015, 04:35:09 pm »
Hi All.  I would also like to add some comments from the other end of the spectrum.

Marc - Thanks for stepping in here and hearing us out.  We really appreciate the time and effort.

I do not think UI7 is a lost cause. I for one appreciate the fresh new look and feel. In general the platform is moving forward. There are some issues but as long as there are channels to voice these, they should be sorted out in time. This forum is skewed towards "super-users" that would like to configure and have control over everything. It is difficult to balance this while maintaining a simple user friendly interface for basic users.

I would like to add a few "surface" items to this list.

- I think the states of the user interface is not obvious. When are changes submitted and applied? On some levels fields are updated "on-focus-out" events and sometimes on buttons. I never know when I did something that will make the system reload and interrupt/confuse the running scenes and I have for example left pool pumps and geysers running for extended periods when scenes were "forgotten" on reloads.

- There is too much padding on the controls. I always push for more padding on design pages as I think it ads a nice comfortable feeling to websites but UI7 is a web application built to do things (function vs form) and I think a little less padding would make it more usable.

- The Off button, On button and the percentage are all on top of each other on dim-able lights. (See attachment - This is on chrome at least)

- The On/Off buttons are not on the items in the "list" views. I often switch to the list view as I have lots of devices. This makes it easier to find the one I am looking for, but the buttons are not on there. I have to then click it to open the device page with MASSIVE on/off buttons.

- The Energy page struggles to authenticate. I always have to go to the http://mios.eemanager.net/ page to log in there and only then it starts working in the Vera UI. Then there are unnecessary scrollbars on the bottom and the side. Little annoying.

This is a feature request (I am sure this can be done but it feels like I should be able to set this up in the UI)

- I can with the GeoFencing set house mode to HOME when at least one user is at home. Can you make it set to Night mode when the sun goes down? This could just be a tickbox like the geofencing at the bottom on the presets page.

This post is getting too long, I'll stop now.

Cheers
Ben

Ben, thanks for the positive words, they are appreciated. Note, that even when I'm not commenting I am in here listening.

You make a lot of good points here; many have commented that there is too much white space in the web interface.

Geofencing. One step at a time. We intend to roll out more features and functionality in the future. Is what you are looking for more like an evening mode? So certain lights or devices will only be effected after sunset? That could possibly be achieved by setting up certain scenes to only run in certain modes. I  view of night mode as bedtime mode, lock the house up turn everything off for the night.... We do have additional ideas about modes that may address what you are looking for. You could enable Night Mode through a scene by using the HouseModes Plugin.

Energy reporting. We are aware of the authentication issues and the slow loading issues. We are working with the 3rd party who provides this functionality to resolve the issues. I'll create a Customer Care ticket for you to see if there is anything we can do on our end to resolve that issue for you until

The ON/OFF dimmer issue is specific to you. I use Firefox and have never seen that and I don't see it when I use Chrome.

ON/OFF buttons in the list view, I'm with you 100% and will pass it on to the Development team.

Ben, thanks for you thoughts and the positive feedback. I keep a running list of items that are being requested and am adding yours to it.


Offline bigzippy

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2015, 05:39:47 pm »

We do have additional ideas about modes that may address what you are looking for. You could enable Night Mode through a scene by using the HouseModes Plugin.


Hi Marc,

I do not like the new house modes, and in particular how they are inflexible and permeate in a very naive way the device variables. In a professional capacity as an architect and developer it makes me cringe. This can probably not be undone but please no more! What we need is proper state management, where WE can decide what modes (i.e. enumerated values) and persisted state is relevant. For instance, I can be asleep but not at home, I can be away but someone in the house to feed the cats.

I want to be able to handle state properly, including native support for time series of device variables. This is basic stuff, not just for advanced users. Don't pander to iPhone mentality exclusively!

Please please please have some vision of openess in the architecture. You seem to be building a more and more inefficient and closed system. It is trick play and will eventually catch you out.

BZ

P.S. The wants listed here are not exhaustive, even for a basic level of operation e.g. I want to specify the time to run a heal, do a backup etc. I want scenes with delayed components to continue to run after a reload. Etc.

Offline Aaron

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2015, 05:58:36 pm »
bigzippy hit is correctly but I'm not sure we can clearly explain without many examples.

I, currently, have several House Modes I create with PLEG...

Disarm
Away
Sleep
Guest
Sitter
Vacation
Spa

All of these have multiple facets including different sensors, lights, notifications, alarm panel integrations, etc.

For instance...
Motion at the Front Door - 'Sleep' has very loud notification sound & lights will turn on VS 'Disarm' has a mild knocking sound & no lighting

True automation (not control as most novices do) is complex. The only way for Vera to support this today is with PLEG or raw LUA... neither are ideal. We need a complex scene editor and then any built-in house modes will be unnecessary - they are useless for most of us even now.

Offline bigzippy

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2015, 06:24:28 pm »
bigzippy hit is correctly but I'm not sure we can clearly explain without many examples.

I, currently, have several House Modes I create with PLEG...

Disarm
Away
Sleep
Guest
Sitter
Vacation
Spa

A point I was hinting at is that Vera have closed the door on defining new modes by including new mode device variables which have numerical values assigned to particular modes. This is just dumb-ass-zero-moves-ahead design. Yes this can be construed as an insult but it is just fact.

BZ

Offline shady

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2015, 06:43:46 pm »
We need to be seriously focused on preventing feature creep and also focus on the top outstanding bugs raised by the top plug-in developers.

So no Geofencing or fancy modes or buttons.  Yes on: Core functionality, reliability, security, and some cosmetic UI changes to make it more intuitive.

I worry about MCV being too responsive to all of these user-specific requests that they will miss this opportunity to fix the outstanding issues that have been plaguing the plug-in developers.

I want the window covering controls to finally be overhauled, but it isn't as important as the outstanding bugs.

Edit:  I do appreciate everything Marc and the MCV Team are doing and have been doing, I just want to stay focused.  Eye of the Tiger.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 07:18:56 pm by shady »
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Offline rstrouse

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2015, 08:57:30 pm »
@Aaron,

I took a long hard look at HS3 when I was looking for pool control.  I have been building windows apps since Windows 286 and would have been more comfortable with C# .NET than Lua.  That being said I spent a large amount of time on the Homeseer forums.  The users there have much in common with the users here and issues there are pretty much the issues here.  Their choice in XP embedded, uggh.  That is going to be a set of lead boots in the short and long run for them.

Is the Vera hardware lacking... as a programmer there is never enough memory, cpu cycles, and storage.  If MCV came out with a more powerful device tomorrow I would buy it even at a $3k price point for HS3-PRO100 and even with UI7.  So, yes I agree that MCV needs to deliver a more capable device and as a programmer I will work hard to write gluttonous code to push it beyond it's capabilities... that's just what we do.

I don't have the HA background that you do, but really... complaints about the GUI doesn't make anyone any less of a user and I apologize if I'm twisting your point a bit.  Perhaps us something less than super users are just using it differently than you guys with the big yellow "S" on your leotard.  I haven't found a need yet where there wasn't a path to get it accomplished.  But then again, I haven't longed for Vera to put the seat down after I pee or notify the maid when I miss so maybe I am not doing "true" automation and simply doing novice "control."  On the other side of that coin though, Vera does tell me when I need to put salt in the pool, if I left the garage door open after leaving the house, and many other things related to devices that make this my home.

@Whoever is listening

In the end I really would like some of issues to be ironed out especially around the supported devices and let us (developers) help push out new functional features.  The house modes, geofencing... etc all sound great on the surface but let me add plugin device types to the Mobile App and don't steal all my precious real estate with half-baked modes, shortcuts, and goofy status bars.  Then, I'll create you a state engine and tie it to an expert system.  The underlying event logic is already there on Vera and it's hackable.  I'm not a PLEG user yet (soon after irrigation) but I would guess that is what Richard has done.

The things that are a little tougher to get a handle on are the things BZ talked about.  Setting the time for heal and backups, persistent state management for running scenes, and the ability to write user data without having to restart luup.

I realize that on the grand scheme of things that I am a "Johnny come lately."  I don't bear the scars and haven't built up the anguish of some posting here.  Perhaps you may feel that I don't even have the right to comment, but perspective is a funny thing.  I don't think MCV is slighting anyone and I do believe they have some lead boots of their own they are trying to shed.  Still, responding to fear of their competition's feature set isn't a great strategy for getting back to single platform support.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll bet more users upgraded to UI7 based upon device support for the GD00Z than all the new features combined.  Imagine what would happen if the rough edges on spotty devices were fixed.
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Offline Aaron

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2015, 09:19:36 pm »
@bigzippy - I understood exactly your point, and agreed. I was trying to show how Vera's efforts to build-in House Modes was a waste of time. This was why I said... "We need a complex scene editor and then any built-in house modes will be unnecessary - they are useless for most of us even now."

@rstrouse - yes, there are a few reasons I canned Homeseer at v2. I won't go into it but their development derailed, and went to crap, after v1.7. My point about the GUI was if people are focused on giving feedback to Vera bout the UI it provides them an excuse to ignore the lingering problems with the underlying code. It is merely a distraction of the users from the problems - Vera's engine. While you are complaining about the paint job you stop complaining about the fact that 3 of the cylinders are blown in the V6.

Being new to Vera, what you don't realize is the real issues ave been lingering for years... through a dozen code releases. This is the problem.

I wish people would stop talking about the GUI and focus on fixing bugs, creating core code stability, and adding core functionality that is missing!


Offline intveltr

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2015, 07:57:24 am »
I wish people would stop talking about the GUI and focus on fixing bugs, creating core code stability, and adding core functionality that is missing!

I agree that there are pressing issues in the core (as well as a need for proper issue tracking, as mentioned in another thread), but the GUI is important for another reason: new users. 

Personally I hardly use the GUI anymore unless I need to fiddle with a scene.  Even device inclusion / exclusion is done from a mobile app.  But the GUI is what new users will see.  Some users may graduate to "power user" at some point and use Lua, PLEG, and apps instead of the default GUI functionality, but I expect that most users will stay with the vanilla UI... and get frustrated at some point.  That may not matter to us, but it matters to the viability of Vera as a mainstream product, to the company's bottom line and thus to the ability of the company to add advanced features (and the future of the product in general).
HomeWave is available in the App Store!  Turn your iPhone/iPad into an easy-to-use remote control for Vera.

Offline TC1

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Re: UI7 - MCV, Realize now that this is not what we want!
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2015, 03:05:01 pm »
Just to add to this, the whole GUI debate is MCV's fault for naming their naming their major firmware releases UI-Something. People see "UI7" and think it's just a GUI update... and it's not. UI-something = the entire product, core engine and UI.

Just another example how they mismanage and don't plan well. Sorry, but having 3 decades in the hi-tech field gives me some credentials to criticize.

I also find it disheartening that there are those criticizing or praising one product vs another, with outdated information. I think it's worthy to have well-informed debates on Vera vs other-products because competition benefits the consumer in the end. For example, HS has worked hard to decouple the software not only from the hardware, but the OS choice. HS3 can now run on the consumer's choice of hardware, virtual machine, and *any* modern version of Windows and Linux (yes the plugins have to be ported to Linux). It would be awesome if MCV took a cue from this and decoupled Vera from the limited hardware they keep trying to push onto the consumer. Then we would no longer be having the hardware debate and more focus on improving the actual software functionality.

Don't get me wrong, in no way do I believe there is a perfect sub-$1k HA controller out there. But in my 1+ years as an actual product user and the 3+ years of lurking and reading these forums before taking the plunge, it's not hard to see all the opportunities that MCV have squandered. The facts speak for themselves.

Just my lazy afternoon 2-cents.