Photoshop: Most popup alert windows should become non-intrusive "toasts"

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  • Updated 5 years ago
There has been plenty of research about popups and alert windows, and generally speaking, they should be avoided where possible because they interrupt workflow. Alerts stop you dead in your tracks, and after too many alerts, people have a tendency to bypass them without reading.

I propose a new toast-like non-intrusive popup to display the same information, and not fully interrupt the user's session. Similar to how the Android OS uses "Toasts" to display information. These are transparent overlays that display a message. They don't force you to stop what you're doing and read them, and they fade out on their own if you don't dismiss them.

Here are a few of the annoying popups that could be moved to a new, non-intrusive, toast like overlay somewhere on the screen:
- "Could not use the move tool because the layer is locked"
- "Could not use ___ tool because no layers are selected"
- "Warning: No pixels were selected"
- "Warning: No pixels are more than 50% selected. The selection edges will not be visible."
- When you alt+click while using the Spot Healing Brush
- Trying to use the clone stamp or healing brush without sampling first

Certain popups should obviously stay as is, like the one that asks you if you want to commit a crop, or save your image. These should fully interrupt what you're doing, because the software needs your interaction before it can continue.

While this may seem like a minor change, it can speed up workflow immensely! I like knowing that I have the wrong tool selected, or that I won't be able to see my selection, so I don't want to dismiss all future warnings... but I also don't want to be stopped in my tracks.
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Tim K

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Posted 5 years ago

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Chris Cox

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The last research on the subject I saw indicated that "toasts" are even more ignored.

The alerts are there to tell you something important, that you should stop and pay attention to.
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Tim K

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I see where you're coming from.

I feel like the "Don't show again" checkbox is somewhat counter-intuitive if you want someone to stop and pay attention to something.

Compromise?

What if, in addition to the "Don't show again", you had the option to enable a toast for that specific warning, so that you opt-in to not being interrupted ever again, but you can also still read the warnings as they arise?

I want to be notified if I'm doing something wrong, but I personally don't need to be stopped in my tracks and be forced to dismiss the alert before proceeding (ie: unlocking the background layer, or switching to the proper healing tool)

And when I say toast, it doesn't really have to be a toast. It could be something that shows up in the status bar (with some sort of flash-in animation that will draw your attention). So as to not block the workspace (assuming the status bar is showing).

Anything that won't stop the workflow, but still gives me some warning, should I want to know about it... rather than seeing nothing because I dismiss all future warnings.
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Chris Cox

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And all the specific examples you mentioned, mean that you were doing something wrong...

But we'll see what we can do.
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Tim K

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I want to know I'm doing something wrong, I just don't want to be yelled at and have to dismiss the warning every time. Anyway, I may be the only one who thinks this sort of feature would save them time... I'll stop fighting my point. :)

Thanks for the prompt replies! Love the software, been using it over a decade!