Our staff is making good progress on the new interface for breakdown tables. To edit a line item, it now shows a separate window with regular fields. This design change gets us past some frustrating road blocks. It also seems like a big improvement over the current interface.
Breakdown tables are difficult. They’ve been a struggle in Goldenseal Pro, just as they were for the original Goldenseal. That’s partly because the bar is set very high for them. A big percentage of data entry happens in breakdown tables, so they need to look good, and run very smoothly.
For example, for the original Goldenseal, we spent a full week designing the little button that appears when you click in a table cell that shows a list of choices. For Goldenseal Pro we spent another full week for the same thing. The standard Cocoa popup button didn’t look good in a cell, and it’s not easy to change it.
Users need responsive action after a click in a table cell, and they’ll want to use arrow keys or tab keys to navigate. Cocoa’s NSTableView just isn’t designed to work that way.
Meanwhile, Goldenseal uses tables for more than just transaction breakdowns. Bank accounts include a little table for checkbooks, and Real Estate accounts have a table for rental units. About 30 lists also have tables. They handle stuff like payroll tax brackets, shipping costs by weight, and depreciation by year.
Fortunately, most of those tables are very simple- just 1 to 3 columns, and usually just text or numbers. Even better, they don’t get used very often. For those, we probably can still enter data directly into cells.