GUI requests

I have a few GUI requests. Implementing these would improve Zotero for me quite a bit, and would be a deciding factor in choosing to permanently focus on using Zotero for my research. I don't know how many other users would like these features (I would think that quite a few would, but I understand that not everyone wants the same things I do).

Anyway - I know you may or may not implement any of these, so please excuse that I am writing this as a "this is what you should do" command -- they really are just suggestions of what would make Zotero better for me personally and some people I know. Thanks!

1. Tab-dependent visibility

I think I've seen somewhere else around here a request to be able to put Zotero into a tab. I second that request. Sometimes I want more room to work, so I want fullscreen, but that doesn't mean I don't want access to all my other tabs at the same time. Most specifically, I would like the "state" of Zotero (visible/fullscreen) to be *tab-dependent*. So all tabs start out with Zotero not visible. Then I can, for individual tabs, make Zotero visible or even full-screen.

The main reason for this is that I want Zotero when I am researching, but not when I am taking breaks between research to read blogs... Also, I want more "height" for Zotero in some cases (which I will talk about below), and not when, as stated, reading blogs.

2. Configurable visibility for fields in "Info" tab

I would like the ability, for each type of publication, to set which fields are visible in the pane. I don't necessarily want to *delete* fields, but I frequently don't need to see them. For example, the items related to "Series" I generally don't need. I only need one of Journal Name and Journal Abbreviation (the abbreviation should be associated with the journal--it's not like I would use a DIFFERENT abbreviation for the same journal that depends on the article...) I don't need to see "Language", "Rights", etc. These fields just mean that I have to scroll to see the ones I'm actually interested in instead of being able to glance to see them.

3. Rearrange tabs and "ungroup" them.

When I use a widescreen monitor, I want to be able to see multiple of the tabs at once, side-by-side. I'd like to be able to do this so that, again, I can see more of the info I care about at a glance without having to click back and forth. I would also like to be able to "stack" tabs. For example, I may want "attachments" always visible at the top, and then the remainder of tags grouped like normal below that. Or if I am using a high enough resolution monitor, I may want the tags and attachments, but then switch between the info, notes, and related.

4. I'd like "Abstract" as a separate tab that I can move/rearrange as per #3 above.

5. Really, what would be ideal would be to have a "default" arrangement of tabs, but let us override it with some sort of primitive GUI definition (even as an XML file that we can write out).

Different people want to see different data in different ways. I personally would like to divide the right panel in three, where the middle is a bigger section than either the top or bottom. The top has the paper's citation in my chosen format, so I know what I'm looking at. It also has room for a single attachment, that is assigned in the same area as the metadata (currently the Info tab). Almost all of my items in Zotero only have a single attachment - a paper PDF. I find it uncomfortable how "separate" the PDF is from the reference because it's a separate item. The bottom part of the right column is the list of tags applied to the current citation (left) and a button that brings up the current tag cloud for adding more (existing) tags or creating a new one.

The center of the right column is a group of tabs: Abstract, Metadata, and Notes. The Notes tab also contains the Attachments and Related information that is currently on separate tabs. (These tabs aren't generally, in my case, very "full", so it feels like there's a lot of wasted space. Plus, these concepts do seem to me to be very related to "notes").

The Metadata tab is basically the current Info tab, but changed as requested above. Again, the "special" attachment that appears at the top of the column is set here (and is generally the only attachment I'd use...).
  • Thanks for taking the time to outline these suggestions. In the long term most of these (1,3 and 5) will be solved through plans to abstract the Zotero interface. There is a old ticket for 2, see this discussion for more info ( 4 makes a lot of sense once we get the abstracted interface, once we get that there will probably be a few other individual panes that would make sense. For example one that displays attached images in a pane like album artwork in iTunes.

    All of these are exciting, and important, but for the time being our dev team is knee deep in working on equally exciting features for 1.5 and 2.0.
  • Thank you for replying - I have been traveling, so have not been checking. I'm happy to hear that these things will be possible. I take it that the abstracted interface won't happen until after 2.0?

    Looking forward to new features. I'll reiterate, though, that item #1 has a significant impact on Zotero's usability in my research flow, so it would make me very happy if it were implemented sooner rather than later.

  • I'll add my vote to this series of sensible GUI requests. It seems to me these interface-related issues are among the most frequent feature requests made around here.
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