Streamline settings menu

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.
The Settings menu is still quite rudimentary IMHO. I can imagine that after some more development time more Settings options pile up.

Describe the solution you’d like
I would be very much in favor of creating that categorization in the Settings menu early on, as it could prevent Settings options to be moved around when the list of menu items becomes too long for a “one-layer” menu (I mean a menu without submenu items). People usually don’t like a change of structure, so setting up an extensible menu structure right now helps with that.

For example:

  • Personalization
  • Notifications
  • Security
    • Keychain phrase
    • Pin code
    • Sharing (in the future when sharing becomes possible)
  • Account
    • Payment/subscription details (when subscriptions are launched)
    • Storage usage statistics (local and cloud backup)
  • Integrations
    • Import
    • Export
    • API

Describe alternatives you’ve considered
Have a superb search function that also searches in all settings like the command palette in VS Code so you don’t need to rely on a clear settings menu structure.

Additional context
None atm.

14 Likes

YES! I absolutely love apps that let you search settings with text strings. It’s bloody brilliant.

6 Likes

Very good suggestion. I agree with everything you have said about the settings menu. While it does look nice, I find it very inconvenient to make it strictly vertical. In the future it would take ages to scroll down to the desired entry. I think that the best settings implementation is in Elementary OS. It is also very similar in style to Anytype with its squircle icons and placement. Here, take a look:

As you can see, everything is nicely organized into categories. Screen space is used at its maximum, because not only is everything aligned vertically but also horizontally. There is also a search field just in case.

1 Like

I find these ways of organising menu-entries very messy.
A. If i look at it then I see the symbols first but without beeing sure what they mean, so i read the text underneath, which makes me to have to recognise two things (1.symbol + 2.text) instead of just one (text).
B. And also: the same symbols can mean something else in other applications.
C. And then there is no structure to lean onto, no sorting. A random person decided randomly to put “Personal” first up. And that is also the case from left to right with the symbols. So too much randomness here.
→ A simple sorting from A-Z does ist best for me (as a list).

I agree that organization in categories can be messy or unclear at first, but it allows a user to learn the structure over time. People remember to find “that one setting” under “that one category”. Windows and Android, and I think iOS, too, have had the same settings structure for years even though new features have been added over time. You can see how much backlash there is for Windows now that they are migrating away from the Control Panel: people cannot find the settings they are looking for because the location is different. For having an (eventually very) long list of settings stored A-Z has several downsides for me:

  1. Localization: if I switch languages, the setting is in a different place in the list. If you have a well though categorization, new settings can be added without affecting the place of existing settings.
  2. Scrolling: The list will eventually become too long requiring people to scroll through the list. I expect users will then start asking for some kind of grouping to make settings easier to find.
  3. Memory: I think most people find it easier to visually navigate a menu compared to textual searching. Isn’t it easier to remember a route/path to a setting compared to looking for the right word that someone chose to represent a setting (and find its approximate location in a list)?

For all these downsides, a good search function is the only solution IMHO, but if you only have a list, you would need to know what to search for. As often is the case: it’s probably best to offer both like VS Code does. There is a visual menu that allows you to navigate through a menu to find your required settings, but there also is a search function that can list (and search through) all available settings.

Regarding prioritization, I would my money in the visual search bucket first, but that is my personal preference :slight_smile:

1 Like

My wish has been granted for Android! In Anytype 0.6.1 (for Android) a new Settings menu has been introduced. I hope this is a hint to changing this for the desktop and other OSes, too :slight_smile:.

https://community.anytype.io/t/anytype-android-0-6-1-released/5478/6

  • App | New app menu (#2119)

As there is no search for the menu yet, and this is only implemented in the Android version, I prefer to not yet mark this one as solved.