BookSmart

Feature requests after designing a 90 page book

Here’s a summary of some feature requests for the BookSmart software after I spent about 20 hours designing a 90 page book:

 My book consisted of more than 125 images and it got to be a real pain to find images I wanted in the image pane on the left side of the screen.  I was constantly having to sort and resort to find images I just added or images I needed.  For me, I really need the following enhancements to the "add image workflow":
  1. Sort by Date Taken – this would allow me to find images from a particular timeframe.  The data on the actual file is rarely meaningful to me since that only has to do with when I last touched the file with Photoshop.
  2. After adding a single photo, take me right to that photo so I don’t have to go find it again in the list.
  3. Support drag/drop so I can drag/drop images directly from Windows Explorer or Adobe Bridge right into BookSmart.  I already have those images open in another window.  But, since I can’t drag drop to them, I have to navigate to them all over again in BookSmart just to add them.  Multiply that times a hundred and that’s a lot of wasted time.
  4. Create tabs for several common sort orders so I can quickly switch between them or make presets in the sort menu that don’t require me to change both the sort criteria and the ascending/descending.  I want one click to change the order, not four.
  5. Make bigger thumbs so I can see which image is which when I have a couple versions of an image.
  6. Let me drag/drop directly from an outside app into a page (where you automatically add the image to your repository) rather than making it multiple steps like it is today.
  7. When I get an image into a page and then I realize that I need to modify it some, it’s a real pain to do.  I have to go find my original, make changes to it, re-import, delete the current one from the page, figure out which is why in the image listing, put the new one into the page.  This takes quite awhile and it’s easy to make mistakes.  I’d sure like you go find a way to make this easier.  Maybe you let me edit/replace the image in your image repository directly or let me launch an editing tool that points at that image or you support a "replace image" function that saves a bunch of these steps.  Lots of things would be better than what we have today.  Imagine a scenario where I realize the image needs to be rotated a few degrees or the color or brightness tweaked slightly.  This is a real pain today once you already have the image in the page.
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Posted by
jfriend00
Dec 12, 2007 1:25pm PDT
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jfriend00
 

 [[continued from prior posting]]  

Page/Book layout:

  1. Show binding gutters on the page to advise people what part of the image will be partially obscured by the binding process.  Many people will not even be aware of this problem until they get their first book.  I was aware of it, but really just had to guess how much to allow or whether a given image would work or not.
  2. Let me change the sizes of the photo boxes in your layout options.  There is just no way you will ever be able to possibly pre-create exactly everything we need.   You can do crawl, walk, run here without making a whole page layout program.  Why not just start by letting us drag some of the borders around to different sizes.  For way to many of my images, I could not find a satisfactory layout and I had to resort to combining multiple images in Photoshop into a single image and using that in the single image per page format.  But, many that’s 10 times as much work and a lot, lot less flexible than if you just let me start with three images on the page and move the boxes around to get the layout I want.
  3. Allow the text boxes to accept larger text.  I was doing some chapter headings and I was surprised that the text boxes gave me a text clipping warning at fairly moderate sizes.  The page was huge, the text was not – I should have been able to use a larger font.
  4. Show bleed guidelines so we have an idea what might get trimmed off in the manufacture of the book.
  5. Hard-cover books with printing on the book cover.  From the hard-cover books I’ve seen and the feedback I’ve read on them, their real weakness is that the sleeve is kind of a pain and the book cover under the sleeve is too plain to use without the sleeve.
  6. It wasn’t until I’d already spent almost 20 hours working on my book that I found a way to drag/drop an image directly from one page to another.  This needs to be made a lot more discoverable because it’s a fairly common thing to need to do when laying out a big book.  The problem is that you can only do this before you’ve "activated" oir "selected" the source image.  Once you’ve activated it, dragging it just moves it withint the page.  So, you have to click on a page and then drag/drop the image in that page to another page before you "activate" it.  Before figuring this out, I’d have to delete it from this page, then go find it again in the photo list (which is a real pain) so I can add it to the new page.

Color Management:

  1. Do some sort of gamut warning display for iimages that contain colors that don’t fit in your color profile.   While many images work fine, some will not and it seems like you should help your customers understand this.
  2. Give us an ICC profile that we can convert our images to and submit them taqged with that profile so we can fully control color without any surprises.
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Posted by
jfriend00
Dec 12, 2007 1:26pm PDT
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jfriend00
 

[[continued from prior posting]]

 

Bugs:

  1. BookSmart crashed on me 5-6 times.  Every time it crashed I was doing something with text, but I wasn’t able to ever figure out exactly what caused the crash.  I did submit logs once or twice.  Kudos to you for not losing much work when it crashes.  Once after a crash, a text field got a little messed up and once I lost the last one or two changes I had made, but no more.
  2. There appears to be a problem with one of the positioning tools.  I forget what it’s called, but it’s the tool you use when you want to expand the image to fit the page without cropping.  It appears that the first time I press it, it positions the photo to "almost" fit the page.  Then when I press it again, the image grows just a tiny bit more and actually fills the whole page.
My book order went in last night.  The ordering process was smooth so I was impressed with that.  Hopefully, I’ll be pleased with the resulting book

 

Posted by
jfriend00
Dec 12, 2007 1:26pm PDT
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jfriend00
 

Wow! Thanks so much for the detailed feedback and suggestions. We’ll take them as inputs as we try to improve our products and plan next releases. I can’t promise everything, but I think you’ll see continuing improvements in many of the general areas you listed.

One quick note:
“Support drag/drop so I can drag/drop images directly from Windows Explorer or Adobe Bridge right into BookSmart.” – This should actually work currently. You can drag an image file (jpg / png) directly from Windows Explorer into a photo container in your book layout. Please give it a try and let me know if it doesn’t work.

We do have the logs from all crashes and have pinpointed many of the bugs you outlined.

Thanks again and please keep the suggestions coming.
Cheers,
Chad – VP Product Design

Posted by
CapnScrappy
Dec 14, 2007 5:32pm PDT
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CapnScrappy
 

What a great list of suggestions.
I’d support all of those

One more thing that is tricky when dealinbg with a book with many images (I have a couple with over 400 – taken from a pool of 2000+.     I’d would be good to right clik on an image used in a page and see what the file name and/or source is.

Trust me – it would be very useful…...time and again I’ve lost track of which version of an image I’ve used in the book itself.  And I’m not that disorganised!

;-)

Posted by
tiagd
Dec 16, 2007 5:31am PDT
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tiagd
 

Next time I am working on a book, I will try drag/dropping directly into a page in the book.  I know I tried drag/dropping into the image listing on the left and that didn’t work.  I’ll have to try dropping right into a page.  That would be useful.

Posted by
jfriend00
Dec 17, 2007 11:12am PDT
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jfriend00
 

I would only add one other that I can think of – An Alternate Way to UPLOAD ie: thru Export – FTP or some other way as a backup.  i have beenr eading the forum posts and was unable to upload my 190 page book the first time due to a reported internet connection issue, finally managed to upload it….....  However there needs to be another way to upload the master file or an option to EXPORT FILE + FTP ??  My suggestions only.

Posted by
ckmetro
Dec 18, 2007 10:22pm PDT
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ckmetro