list of improvements for the interface functionality

13.08.2016, 18:20

Hi Stephan!
I understand your emphasis on the activation concept but here is a few issues that hamper ease of use of the program, and as one already has certain habits and expectations in windows-type environments, MaxQDA comes across as very rigid and cumbersome to handle.
Tasks that are needed quite frequently by the user require too many mouse clicks to be implemented.

Suggested improvements:
- To be able to select multiple codes with Shift and Ctrl, to drag them from one place in the hierarchy to another. Once you have multiple selection you can add a button or right-click menu item "activate/deactivate selected codes"

- It is very good that double-clicking a document opens it in the document window. Double-clicking a code should behave in analogous way - showing the list of retrievals as if all documents are activated. It is rather confusing in the beginning when you activate codes and just get nothing (and even later, it is still additional mileage to have to activate the the documents folder).
In fact, you just need to integrate the Coded segments window that is opened on a double click in the main interface rather than have it as overlaying pop-up. E.g. the lower right pane could have two regimes: switched between showing the Retrieved segments window or the Coded segments window (just the list).

- A single click on a code does nothing now, which is a shameful waste of signifiable actions. And against the intuition of the user who always expects a reaction to his action.
It could activate a code if it is inactive, or if activated, a few things could follow:
If the right pane is All coded segments, it should open the corresponding list. This repeats the action suggested above and then I would reserve the double-clicking for a deactivatiion of all codes and activation of the one clicked. This avoids having to move the cursor to the little icon 'Reset activations' every time you want to get rid of stuff you've looked at so far.
If the right pane is on the Retrieved segments in Table view - I'd suggest to shade in red the lines that correspond to the just selected code (another thing that is very confusing is that when you have activated a number of codes its hard to see which codings come from a particular one that interests you in the moment, you have to look carefully in the table in a column that you have to rearrange forwards and to make quite wide for even the shallowest hierarchies).
If its in the Standard view - maybe scrolling down to the first retrieval of this code. A bit fancier: every next click to move to the next instance - there could be even an indicating counter in the hierarchy window - "codeA 3/5"

- It is rather unintuitive that if one adds a new piece of text to the same code that already overlaps some of it, the old coding will be completely erased and replaced by the later selection. It should simply be expanded to include the new text. It is a frequent operation as one reads transcripts to realise the next paragraph also pertains to the part already coded but now one should go back up and start from the precise place of previous coding.
Switching with the current regime should be available as an option in Preferences, because long-term users might be disturbed.
To be able to shorten coded selections, to the list shown by the right-click menu "Display codes here" simply add "Uncode this selection". ("Uncode all" might also be nice.)

- There is problems with handling coding on images. I am not able to move or resize them once made. Also a preference should be available, how much of the context to show around what is actually coded. Often the coding rectangles are used as indicators of location rather than wide containers (e.g. if the image is a map).

- The window layout options are missing one important view: having the documents and codes also side by side as vertical columns. There are situations when this is useful: e.g. doing new coding on big list of documents and big hierarchy.

Version: MAXQDA 12
System: Windows 7
Posts: 6
Joined: 30.07.2016, 13:38

Re: list of improvements for the interface functionality

13.08.2016, 18:22

I'd say some of the above could be done quite quickly without a major new version being necessary.

Here are also some things beyond the interface:
- Focus group coding seems to work on any colon anywhere in the paragraph. Something should be done to limit the algorithm.

- An easy autocoding function could be implemented if you add the option for retrieving search results from lexical search to be from the found terms to the next place they are found.
Even better if it could retrieve text from term1 to term2, and then their next occurence. This could replace the entire complicated autocode tagging system with whatever collaborators agree to use while transcribing.

- And something that might be too fancy for now: when importing word documents with comments in them, to add them as paragraph memoes. (In the moment they just disappear.)
Posts: 6
Joined: 30.07.2016, 13:38

Re: list of improvements for the interface functionality

15.08.2016, 16:17

Hi infinito,

thanks for all your suggestions. We will consider them for the next improvements.

Happy analyzing anyway :-)
Dr Stefan Rädiker
Training, Coaching, Analysis for Research & Evaluation
MAXQDA Professional Trainer
Stefan Rädiker
Posts: 254
Joined: 12.02.2007, 10:18

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