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Redesign of images used for terminals on block diagrams

Status: New

I was looking at the terminals used on block diagrams in detail.  It seems like the current design kind of obsures the DBL label and part of the array bracket to indicate the terminal represents an array.  I started a discussion on these terminals in this thread.  Terminal images for arrays on block diagram  Why does the black arrow have a shaded background that obscures part of the text?  I think that thread had enough positive interest that I am going to propose some sort of redesign to the appearance of the block diagram terminals here.


Several ideas came up as replacements.  Here are some, the first two by me and the second two by Altenbach.




The top of the first image shows the problem with the current terminal and is enlarged on the left.  The bottom of the first image shows one proposal where the terminal is enlarged by 4 pixels in width.

The second image is an idea where the terminal does not grow.

                My second idea.    




Christian's two ideas:

Some key points were raised:


1.  Some thought the direction arrow was redundant.  In my opinion, some sort of direction arrow should stay.

2.  Changing the overall size of the terminal may cause problems for some (this happens in my first option).  It wouldn't bother me personally, but I do understand this point.

Message Edited by Ravens Fan on 08-24-2009 04:25 PM
Active Participant
I like christians Ideas, the dimension of the array right in the icon would be really awesome. However, don't you think we might be getting a little too picky here? lol
[will work for kudos]
Knight of NI

Hey, if this idea never gets implemented, I won't have a problem.  I had noticed something I had never seen before (the N-size of the array shows up in the terminal).  Wow cool!  Then I noticed, why does the block look kind of funny and one array bracket and even part of the text is obscured?  That's weird, why would the original designer of the terminal done that?  Well how could it look different?


I really like Christian's new boolean block diagram constant (vote here.)  If we are going to look at ways of cleaning up the block diagram, maybe this could be considered too.


Of the 4 ideas I showed above, I like one of Christian's ideas better.  I'm just not sure which one.

Knight of NI

> Of the 4 ideas I showed above, I like one of Christian's ideas better.  I'm just not sure which one.


I prefer the one on the right with the graphical arrays. The one with numbers is hard to read and has too much information. One icon for 3+ dimensions is probably enough.

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Keep in mind, this point could be moot if NI nukes the small terminal in favor of the icon. Does anyone have any suggestions for a better icon terminal?
Message Edited by mechelecengr on 08-24-2009 07:13 PM
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Oh, and Kudos, because out of principle I will agree that a sloppy design needs to be reworked!! Even if it just means clearing up the overlap, and not redesigning the rest of the terminal.
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Knight of NI

To be honest, I'm kind of wishy-washy on this one. I don't usually look at the icon in these cases as much as the wire, as that tells me whether it's a scalar or an array. As far as indicating the dimensions of the array, I don't know how the icon would really provide any information that would be more useful than what's already on the wire. As a programmer you would know the datatype you're dealing with, so the icon indicating it's 3D or 4D is superfluous. On the other hand, if you're looking at someone else's code having the terminal indicate the dimensions may be useful if you're trying to figure out the algorithm, but I'm not sure if the amount of "bang" you get is worth the "buck".


So, like you had said, if this idea never gets implemented, I don't have a problem. If I had to pick one of the ones presented, I think Christian's first idea is visually more informative (though you could drop the "D" in the glyph), albeit not scalable since you would need to make icons for ever increasing dimensions. On a practical level, though, I'm not sure what you would do with, say, a 12-dimensional array unless you're doing some super-string theory research.