I just downloaded Panels, and first of all I have to say that what I like most about it is the Library view: the clean white background, the pinch to zoom in and out of collections, and I REALLY like being able to view collections as stacks so that I can see more collections on the screen at once.
But I suggest these two improvements:
When in icon mode and collections are stacks of comics, print the title of the collection above or below them.
Allow toggling between perhaps three different icon sizes for the collections, so I can fit even more on the screen if I want. But don’t just make them smaller!! I’d like the current size sometimes but want to switch back and forth.
But don’t you think that it would make it easier to find one collection among many, since now we rely on reading the cover, of which there will be many many different fonts, sizes, and colors in which the titles are written, for the many different publications? I plan on importing a lot of comics.
After reading your comment I just went back and looked at the now abandoned Comic Zeal app and they print the collections name under the icons in small non-flashy font, and it doesn’t look busy at all. (Also I am not just trying to get the devs to turn this app into another app. I really didn’t remember whether CZ did that or not until just this minute.)
I’m fine with a toggle.
With respect, no. I don’t. It doesn’t really need to be any easier. You say you plan on importing a lot of comics. Take it from someone who already has (my collection in Panels is over half a terabyte), you wind up knowing your way around your own collection. Unless you are constantly changing the comic on the top of each pile (not recommended), the cover art becomes very familiar and you can speed-scroll past many, many piles and find the one you want far faster than you would trying to read your proposed undertext going by. I have many hundreds of piles and I never get lost.
One thing that is helpful in navigating a giant collection is to create dividers among the piles that delineate how you’ve organized everything. Using Panels’ font, the Apple system font San Francisco, I type text onto a comic book cover-sized image, place the image in a folder, zip it, and then rename the .zip to .cbz (magically turning it into an importable comic book file), and thusly organize my entire collection. The attached images illustrate what I’m getting at.
Between familiar cover art and my dividers, I have a tidy, organized collection that is so vast it spans much of comic book history and adding any additional visual element would actually make it less easy to navigate. The more visually tidy it is, the faster you will locate things.
Thanks for that divider tip. I’ll keep it in mind. Maybe the devs should add a built-in divider function. But keep in mind that sort order can change.
So you have found a workaround for this issue, which I think is an acknowledgement that the issue exists. And you use the same font in all of your dividers because it is easier to scan a uniform font when you are searching for something…
Here is a screenshot of CZ, as an example of the collection labeling. I really don’t think it’s too busy at all. But I do agree with you that I would prefer a toggle for the feature if it is hopefully added.
No. The issue addressed by the dividers is the lack of a second directory level. Months ago, I requested the ability to make folders of piles. Frank Miller, for example, has multiple piles: Daredevil, Sin City, Dark Knight, etc. Back then, it made sense to me that an additional directory level was necessary to organize a very large collection. I no longer feel that way. If those piles were in a folder, they would be hidden behind a generic icon, and hidden is bad. I need to see the cover art. It’s how I locate things. Now after using Panels for several months I would withdraw my request for an additional directory level. The dividers work better, and if I had a modest, normal-sized collection even they wouldn’t be necessary.
The undertext in your screenshot is too small to be readable while scrolling, and a good many of my collection names would be too long anyway. For example: “Batman • Court of Owls & Night of Owls (Multi-title Story Arc)” would not fit under an icon. Neither would “David Lapham • Stray Bullets - Sunshine and Roses” Neither would about 40% of my collection titles and I certainly don’t want the user interface determining how many characters I can use to describe a pile.
You mentioned that the sort order can change (which would change the appearance of a pile). The sort order changes only if you change it. Though sometimes when you import a new comic, it will take the top spot in a pile (I think that happens only in piles that are manually sorted). But arranging things and putting them in the correct order is just a part of the import process to me.
Oh and about the background. Just go into Settings > Themes. There are are several color schemes available. I use the one called “Hacker.” I think it should be called “Joker” due to the use of green and purple.
But you agree that scanning for your comics in icon view is made easier by having something to look for beside just the cover art, right?
I agree that always hidden is bad. But things can be collapsible/expandable right? Of course, implementation matters here.
That was just the example from CZ to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to look busy (I don’t think it does.), but the Panels devs could make the font bigger, and wrap the text too, or perhaps the info that ends in a “…” is still better than nothing.
I’m thinking that if the sort order changed then your added dividers wouldn’t work, since they’d move to unhelpful locations. I imagine they only work in alphabetical order right now, the way you have it. Which is why built in dividers that could dynamically adjust based on sort order might be something for the devs to consider I think.
I get that curation is part of the fun for some people. (For me too!) But the app now offers sort order functions (as it should) so a workaround that is nullified by a built-in app function isn’t ideal I think, though I’m glad it works for you.
Yeah thanks, I just found the settings menu. I’m dense, lol.
And I would like to add this: Although we are debating this collections label issue the most in this thread (which is fine) I want to make clear to the devs that this is not my most pressing issue. I recognize that if I am really having trouble finding my collection, then I can just tap the ‘All title’ menu and switch it to the ‘Collections’ menu, OR just switch to list view from column view and in both instances get a list of collections in text with a uniform font that makes it easier to find what I’m looking for.
If I had to choose from my two request from this post which feature would be implemented, I’d much prefer the multi-sized icons collections view (#2 above) for sure. Although when I 1st posted this I hadn’t yet found the settings menu, and now I see that there are two icon sizes, I still think that a third (or even fourth maybe?!?) smaller size would be good. I’m nearly exclusively reading on my 12.9 inch iPAD FYI.
I agree that not having any label at all in the library while in covers mode could be frustrating when trying to find a specific collection. As I mentioned here we will be adding a few changes, we could study the addition of some minimal information, but as @joecunningham suggested, if implemented, it will have a setting option to turn it on/off.
@smellythief you can also toggle the list view, which offers a bit more information for collections and files.
Or tap in All titles to reveal the whole list of collections.
About your second point, toggling between different icon sizes… this is something that came up the other day talking with @dani while trying photos app in iOS13. We might be able to do something similar. This will be low-priority for now, but don’t worry it was already in our roadmap.