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evenoteuser

mac How do you use a fill tool?

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@evenoteuser - It was removed in 2.X because it was not a heavily used feature and when Skitch was rewritten for 2.x it presented some technical challenges. Fill is on our long term roadmap to bring back. We've been investigating and user testing some different concepts that would provide the same function across all of Skitch's platforms. 

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I'm fascinated to know how you know it wasn't much used? It has so many basic uses when sketching that I simply don't believe it's not considered essential by a large proportion of your users/potential users/ex users.

The problem with designing software democratically is that you end up with a dumbed down product, which never pushes the boundaries and never challenges your users to find more and more uses for it. If Apple had taken any notice of the fact that small form factor computers with touch UI's weren't used by many people, we'd have no iPad (in fact probably no tablets at all).

Not that a fill tool is pushing the limits. It's pretty much core functionality for any sketching app.

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@Southdowns - We know because of two reasons:

1) Lots of user interviews and usability studies - We talk to users constantly (not just in the forums) and gather feedback on existing and new features all the time. There are over a million Skitch user users world-wide and try and cover a lot of ground getting in depth conversations with many of them to understand what they do with Skitch.

2) We gather tons of analytics on how Skitch is used - We are constantly reviewing usage data and at a glance I can see what are our top 3 tools, colors, etc. 

 

We combine both the qualitative (1) and the quantitative (2) data to make decisions on what we work on next, what needs to change, and (if needed) what needs to be removed from Skitch. Our goal is to make the best Skitch app that we can. This might involve change and sometimes we'll get it right and sometimes we won't. When we do, awesome; when we don't we'll look and see what we can change. 

 

Trust me when we say we aren't trying to dumb down the product, we're trying to build a great Skitch app that is very focused on being a part of people's workflow so we can help them deliver an impactful message. That might mean we streamline some aspects of our app, or enhancing others. We take a lot of risks as well, just look at Skitch iOS 3.0. Lots of major changes there that many other companies might not have been willing to make.

 

Removing the fill tool as I said was both a decision based on gathered data (1 & 2) and also a decision that we're not a sketching tool, we're making Skitch. We want to bring the tool back, but we can't do it in a way that makes Skitch incompatible on platform. We have to figure out how to develop functionality to work on multiple platforms (Mac, iOS, Android, Win, and Web (via Clipper)), across all form factors, OSes, and constraints in order to work in 22 countries across a multitude of language constraints.

 

So it might sound easy to "bring back a fill tool" but it isn't an easy as it sounds when you need it to just work. 

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Hi Joe, thanks for the reply.

 

I still don't see how you know what people used to use in Skitch one before you took it over. You can tell from your data which tools people do use, but not which they would use if they existed.

 

I don't see how you can argue that Skitch as it stands today isn't dumbed down compared to Skitch 1. It's slicker I agree, but as I've illustrated to you privately, it simply cannot do as good a job of sketching as it could before. That surely is the very definition of dumbing down?

 

I'd take more tools over splitting the tool colour and width controls any day. It's nice to have separate controls back, but what's the point if the thing won't let me sketch what I want to sketch?

 

I think you also need to explain "and also a decision that we're not a sketching tool, we're making Skitch". What the heck is Skitch for if it's not for sketching (the clue's in the name)? As far as I can see, it's for visual communication, and fills (or would fill, if only it were full featured), a very specific niche within that, between paper and CAD/Sketchup/image editing. You can call it marking up, or screen capture, or whatever you want, but at the end of the day people are taking some image, and sketching on it to communicate visually. And if it IS for that, it needs a full set of tools, plus removal of some of the things that get in the way, like it used to have.

 

How do you define sketching if it's not what Skitch (nearly) does? And if the intended use for Skitch isn't somewhere along the spectrum of sketching use examples I've sent you (can I have a reply please), what on earth IS it for? What tool do you think I should be using?

 

For clarrity, I'm not pleading for the old Skitch back - I like a lot of what you've done - what I want is a Skitch that I don't have to close every other time I try to use it because it simply can't do what I need; it gets in the way of what I'm trying to sketch, whereas it should be doing exactly the opposite.

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@Southdowns 

 

Addressing your questions in order:

 

I still don't see how you know what people used to use in Skitch one before you took it over. You can tell from your data which tools people do use, but not which they would use if they existed.

 

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. We have data from pre and post acquisition. We have Keith on the team as well. We have talked with plenty of users from pre and post acquisition as well. We have plenty of data to give us good insight into making decisions. As I've said before sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't. In this particular case (Fill) we know there is a group of users who would like this feature, but even when talking with that group and asked to prioritize Fill isn't as important to some as say "Image drop shadow" or "speed of use." As I've said it's important to us, and is in our backlog to address. 

 

I think you also need to explain "and also a decision that we're not a sketching tool, we're making Skitch".

 

Sure we define "Sketching" as the act of drawing on a raw canvas, and Apple's dictionary defines it as "a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture", which is more or less the same.

 

I agree 100% we are about annotating on top of something (even on a blank canvas), but we are not is a full fledge drawing tool ala Illustrator. We aren't a replacement even for tools like Paint on Windows. Those tools are meant for actual drawing, and while Skitch could be used that way, it'd be the same as saying I can write a book in Keynote. I could, but Keynote isn't the best tool for that purpose.

 

It might sound like semantics, but it is a pretty important definition. Saying we're a "Sketching" tool could lead us down the path of building an app that is purely for "Sketching". Sometimes saying what we're not is as important as saying what we are.

 

By the way Skitch does not equal "Sketch". The name actually has nothing to do with "Sketching", and as Keith has often said to me, it's been on of the biggest sources of confusion. 

 

As for you PM, I'll get back to you, the forum tool didn't update that I had a new message. I'll look for it.

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What I'm trying to say Joe is that I prefer developers who make their own decisions. Those that say, for example, that in order to be the best visual communication tool out there, we need a fill tool, even if only 4% of our users know they need it at the moment; the rest will come to love it. I'd expect any developer to be able to listen to just one well reasoned plea for a given feature, and say "you know what, that's a damn fine idea, and doesn't get in the way of anything else we offer, so lets do it even though we've just had the one request". THAT is how you produce software that pleasantly surprises people, which in turn gets them talking about it, whereas the only surprises we get from Skitch in my experience are of the "where the hell has that gone" type.

 

Skitch new releases are a constant source of frustration, whereas they should and could be a constant source of delight. Can you honestly tell me that separating colour and width settings while removing pdf markup and the library is likely to delight anybody? Do you honestly think that is worth a full version jump, even if it did add Mavericks compatibility as we should all expect anyway?

 

I don't know about others, but I don't want a full drawing tool; I want to be able to sketch in as advanced a way as is necessary to communicate visually, in the least time and with the least effort possible That means having a full complement of appropriate tools to hand, even those I only touch once a month. I'm very very aware of when full drawing programmes become appropriate (engineering drawing in my case), and it is NOT for the sort of stuff I use Skitch for.

 

Honestly Joe, despite everything you've said, all of which I can promise you I've read carefully and thought about, I can't for the life of me see what it is that you DO want Skitch to be if it's not a cross platform, multi-page pdf compatible, Evernote integrated version of what we had in Skitch 1? I still think you fail to understand just how perfect that was for it's intended purpose, and how much of it's been lost, even if it was single platform, and even if some bad monetisation decisions were made along the way.

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By the way, I meant to say that I understand you can't do everything at once, so if you're being pulled in two directions (fill vs shadows for example), something's got to give. So please stop wasting time playing with the UI and removing stuff, calling that a major upgrade, and concentrate on getting as many of the desired features in as possible. I'll live with a few rough edges if it means I can have stuff that's actually useful.

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i have just spent a very frustrating hour trying to find the fill tool after *finally* updgrading -- took me awhile since last upgrade was also miserable

 

it was key to my use of skitch -- it adds huge value to the annotation tools -- now i might as well import the photo immediately into my ppt and do my changes there -- now i have to create successively smaller rectangles to fill the same purpose

 

this is ridiculous to suggest that people aren't using this, if you are annotating images, the fill tool is nothing less than an eraser -- it is critical

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Joe, PLEASE... reinstate this feature. Annotating architectural drawings/diagrams etc... this feature was great as I could easily blank out items and areas that I didn't want to see or interfere with communication.

 

Also need to block on colour on walls etc... to indicate to interior guys what to do... quickly.

 

I now need to do this in another program which makes SKITCH not so useful... (at the moment).

 

Regards, Pete

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It's also worth noting that this is important from a security standpoint. Redacting information via pixelation is certainly more secure than a standard Gaussian blur, but if you have some idea of what's been pixelated (i.e. it's written text in a particular font and size based on other items on the page) it's not particularly hard to write a script which generates all the possible texts, pixelates them in the same way and correlates that with the original image. Blanking out the area with solid colour is the most reliable redaction tool.

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As I software developer, I've gone through many diagramming and presentation tools, and I have to say that I find how expressive and lightweight skitch is to be refreshing and empowering. I long ago abandoned UML for the simplicity of whiteboard sketches and various other approaches that convey ideas simply and effectlvely -- easy for others to digest and remember, and easy for me to create. I appreciate the effort being made to keep skitch as lightweight as possible and to preserve a consistent cross platform experience.

 

I also don't find it especially onerous to use the marker to fill boxes, but I do think it would be great to have this feature. I also wouldn't mind if it could fill with a few nice patterns like keynote, and I sure wouldn't be disappointed with a drop shadow and a straight line tool...  ;-)

 

Love using it with EverNote and publishing to pistach.io  -- thanks for the great tools!

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... oh, and I almost forgot ... I would LOVE to be able to have a numbered stamp tool (instead of showing icons, it shows a number that can be used when referencing it in a document)!  :-)

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To try to actually sell that people "don't" use a fill tool as fact is simply insulting, Joe.

 

It's pretty bad when you make me sometimes pine for MS Paint.

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On 10/30/2013 at 8:26 AM, Southdowns said:

I'm fascinated to know how you know it wasn't much used? It has so many basic uses when sketching that I simply don't believe it's not considered essential by a large proportion of your users/potential users/ex users.

The problem with designing software democratically is that you end up with a dumbed down product, which never pushes the boundaries and never challenges your users to find more and more uses for it. If Apple had taken any notice of the fact that small form factor computers with touch UI's weren't used by many people, we'd have no iPad (in fact probably no tablets at all).

Not that a fill tool is pushing the limits. It's pretty much core functionality for any sketching app.

I would say, I actually took the time to login to these forums for the first time in a long while just to say, if I had a usability study that told me to remove the fill feature from any pain or photo editing style app, I would take those results and throw them in the trash, because they are inaccurate, tainted or otherwise, screwed up.  You can't trust a study in which people tell you they are not going to need a solid color fill.  nonsense, Skitch just become worthless in so many situations and the workarounds I can think of are painful.

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