When the Layers panel implements the new behaviour of retaining the input focus, these keys would be used for navigation and manipulation:
(list of keys. see earlier post)
It's important to note that all those layer navigation functions would require the press of only one key.
< and > keys: I see a pain point with this method. The user may not be certain which mode Photoline is currently in. Even if the main view is selected, the user may hit the main view key once again, just to make sure she/he is working in the correct mode. This will result in uncertainty on the part of the user, and pointless additional key strokes.
It may very well result in a workflow where the user feels he/she must ALWAYS press the main view key, just to be on the safe side of having that view selected. This already happened to me with the previous version: I kept clicking the main view after switching back to Photoline, because I was unsure whether I had been working in the layer panel, or the main view, or vice versa.
this is a real issue with having the separated workflow.
It DOES result in more work and user stress.
ESC key for visibility: just a bad idea. ESC is generally used to escape and/or cancel a current operation. Mapping visibility to that key defies common usage patterns for that key.
I do agree with one thing: I would like to see more layer navigation functionality myself. Funnily enough I mapped jumping in and out of layer groups with <al>cursor left and <alt> cursor right myself, and navigating up and down the layer stack with <alt>up and <alt> right.
Eight of those keys are in the bottom right corner of the keyboard, at least here on my Thinkpad W541. The other keys, except for the "Esc" key, are along the righthand edge of the keyboard. This means that only one hand is needed for navigation, and that hand does not have to move very far at all.
Wow! That would be a very sweet way to navigate even the most complex documents, especially those containing 30,000 layers and groups (or whatever the PhotoLine maximum is).
I am beginning to understand why you like your own suggested layer workflow so much: I believe you mentioned before in other threads that you work predominantly with a trackpad, correct? It makes some sense within that workflow: keys and trackpad are all close together, and controlling the mouse cursor with a small trackpad such as yours is less precise (or at the very least slower to work with in a precise manner) than a mouse and graphics tablet. Thus a mostly keyboard oriented workflow would suit you best. Unfortunately, that is not how most people work in a mouse-oriented environment.
In short, I'm proposing that the Layers panel become a powerful and convenient layer navigation tool instead of merely being part of the Move tool.
This is the part where I think your are mistaken: the layers are not merely part of the move tool at all: layers and the main view are integrated seamlessly, rather than fragmented into an artificial separation between the layers panel and the main view window. We can already delete layers, hide layers, activate layers, move through layers, etc. with shortcut keys and without the need to shift the focus from the main view and the layer panel, and vice versa. The option to move things efficiently and instantaneously with the cursor keys just happens to be one of the main advantages of the current workflow. And that action almost any user will intuitively grasp, and is used even by the most ardent anti-key shortcuts user. While using the cursor keys to navigate the layer panel is hardly going to be used as often by users. Especially seeing that the industry standards (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) also avoid the cursor keys to navigate the layer stack, and most users will be accustomed to that behaviour (whether we like this or not!).
As for your 30.000 layers case: Have you ever tried navigating a long list with just cursor keys? It is slow and cumbersome. Using the mouse is much faster and precise in those cases anyway.
- You still (after me asking you twice now) have not demonstrated that your suggested workflow would be more efficient and faster than the current one. Yours still takes more key strokes. With a mouse-only approach yours also takes more clicks and often many more mouse actions.
- And you have not given any rebuttal or response to my point that many users do NOT want to use keyboard shortcuts at all. How do we switch conveniently back to the main view without risking deselecting the layer(s) we just selected in the layer panel and without being forced to precisely click very specific small GUI areas, and/or panning and/or zooming out the main view? This is not important to you, it seems, since you do not work that way. But many people do. This must be addressed first and foremost!
As long as your proposed new workflow cannot address these two points in a satisfactory fashion, your method will remain more long-winded, more prone to selection errors when switching back to the main view with the mouse), and require more key presses, as well as be predominantly keyboard oriented.
And this will lead quite possibly to user frustration (which was never the case before, and only started with the inclusion of it in the previous version). Even Krita users have submitted a bug a while ago (2012) which is related to the cursor keys being used as a way to navigate the layers in the layer panel, and they thought it was a bug - since they wanted to move the layer content, NOT navigate the layers!
Less efficient, and slower
: how can that be called progress or improvement?