These are great comments. I appreciate them and thank you for taking the time. I have actually thought about these issues, and so I will give my thoughts in more detail.
Regarding the “new” button, I could add an arrow (“new->” or “new>”) to lessen the disappointment. But I want to make sure I understand the “new recipe” procedure being suggested and what the consequences are, as this seems to be a major criticism. It is suggested that the button (or whatever) says “new menu” (or just “new”). After clicking I now have (say) a very general popup with fields for the following: a book, a link to an online recipe, links to photos (to upload when this is in a server), ingredients, instructions, and the common fields (name, comments, keyWords).
Say the user wants to create the simplest recipe - containing a link to an online recipe - and so fills in the link field. She (say) enters the link text, and somehow types something in the instructions or ingredients field (say because she thinks adding more salt is important, which belongs in comments, but she is confused), and clicks an OK button. Now (per your suggestion) the program is deciding what type of recipe to select from the filled in fields. Since both fields cannot exist in a single recipe (the text recipe has no need of a link field, the link recipe has no need for an ingredients field), an error message has to appear. I am now up to two clicks, some extraneous typing, an error screen and no new recipe has yet appeared. And this is a simple example! I can think of much more confusing and complicated situations from a naive user. Why, the naive (but logical) user may ask, do I have an ingredients field if all I want is to add a link to an online recipe, a couple of comments, a couple of keywords, and goodbye.
Say the “new” menu pops up a check list, where the user checks off what fields they want. Let’s say the user actually realizes that a link recipe does not need ingredients etc, and that the name, comments, keywords fields are common. (BTW, if you think about it, this will NOT be obvious to someone who does not read instructions.) Anyway, then the user must first click “new”, then click a checkbox for link (after finding it in a list), then click OK - three clicks as opposed to two. For a text field, 5 clicks are required. Besides the fact that this is already a lot of reading (reading checkbox labels), I think this would become seriously aggravating to a user after a while, and the current scheme of four choices (and two clicks) would be a relief.
Anyhow, the complaint is that the “new” menu leads to another (awful) menu with 4 choices. But in these comments, it leads to either a very complex screen or a popup with check boxes. Where’s the clarity?
I’m just trying to envision the process here. Maybe you had something more streamlined in mind. Believe me, I’m open to suggestions, but I am a detail person. Anyhow, is this better than selecting from four simple templates? Aren’t people used to templates, from word processors or spreadsheets?
You may be right that the user experience may not be good. I have had several people look at the app so far and have received no complaints. They saw the issues right away. Perhaps a naive user will be easier to satisfy than an experienced one.
May I suggest that people who use recipes to cook (as opposed to people who have memorized recipes, or simply throw stuff in a pot) are very much used to reading instructions. It is impossible to use a recipe without reading instructions.
My observations of people who read help screens and people who don’t read (please don’t take this personally - it is just an observation) - developers in particular are notorious for not reading any instructions, thereby wasting both time and money on what is essentially either an ego trip, laziness or the consequences of dyslexia (I have observed all of these, sometimes in the same person). Imagine learning something real simple like SQL, say, by sitting down and typing!
I agree that the close/cancel problem may be confusing.
Your comment about the book recipe is apt, and I worried about it quite a bit. The problem is that books are common to many recipes. I think this is an issue with no real resolution. A very organized person, like my wife, has an existing set of cookbooks, and will enter the books initially (or at least her favorites, initially) before embarking on adding recipes from the books. For her, this structure is logical. In addition , if you’re entering a book recipe, it makes sense that you have added the book first. Therefore, an “enter book” selection from an individual recipe screen (rather than from the main screen) might be confusing or illogical. On the other hand, a less organized person may want that. I think I’ll await comments from my beta users.
Re comments on the “display” button, the choices are are a logical group. If I separate out “search” I have yet another button.
Again, thank you. It’s great to make all this explicit.