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Skrooge usability survey

What is your Skrooge perception for your usage

childish
No votes
simple and intuitive
19%
powerful and efficient
50%
complex and difficult to use
13%
bloated
19%

Total votes : 16


User avatar gdebure
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Skrooge usability survey

Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:21 pm
Dear Skrooge users,

When we started Skrooge many moons ago, we decided that it would be
a personal finances manager for KDE4, aiming at being simple and intuitive
.
Now, time went by and many features have been added, and maybe the original statement has been a bit forgotten. We will spend time on refining the application usability, but for that we need your input.

I hope the choices proposed here are relevant for you, please tell me if they're not.

Please post here what you like or don't like. You may also make suggestions, either here or using the most excellent KDE Brainstorm

Thanks in advance to everyone participating !

Guillaume


Skrooge, a personal finances manager powered by KDE4
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mykurtaccount
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Re: Skrooge usability survey

Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:29 pm
One feature I would like is to have a column displaying the account balance after the operation.

This is especially useful as I input all my standing orders/direct debits at the beginning of every month so I know how much cash I have for myself after the bills.
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Re: Skrooge usability survey

Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:14 pm
This is a very valid point... However we're facing some performances issues with that when we tried it. I know other applications handle this without performance issue, so we should probably investigate a bit further.

As a workaround, skrooge will display the account balance after an operation when hovering the amount.


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devurandom
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Re: Skrooge usability survey

Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:46 pm
In fact Skrooge seems too complex to me.

What I am doing:
  • Have 2 accounts, one for cash money, one for my bank account
  • Receive payments to my bank account
  • Transfer money from bank to cash, very seldomly the other way round
  • Make payments with my cash money
  • Adjust the books to random "losses" / the current real amount of money in my pocket (there are some things I do not keep books on, which make the books diverge from reality over time)
  • Make payments from my bank account
  • View how my money gets less and more over time
  • View what the money was spend on

Skrooge is not lacking features to do that, but it makes it rather complicated.

Details:
  • When creating an account, I just want to give it a name.
  • When inserting payments, I enter the account, the date, the amount and some description, nothing more.
  • When doing the transfer bank->cash, I just enter the date, an amount and a description which is always the same. The "from" and "to" accounts are always the same.
  • I often insert several payments or transfers in a row. I.e. bank->cash transfer on the 10th, on the 26th and on the 30th. They usually have different dates and amounts, but "from", "to" and the description are the same. I just change the necessary fields and press "Add" several times.
  • When changing a transfer, I have to change both "ends" (for the bank and the cash account). That is annoying, since it could happen automatically.
  • I would expect an edit possibility to pop up when double-clicking a payment. Instead I get a filter on the payment list showing just that one payment.
  • It confuses me that I have to choose a different tab at the bottom of the page when creating a "transfer" instead of a payment ("standard").
  • I am sometimes confused and click "modify" instead of "add" when I want to insert a new payment. Generally "add" and "modify", using the same fields, are confusing. (Even though it is a clever use of space, without using dialogues.)
  • It is confusing that the text stays in the fields after inserting a payment using "add". (Yes, that makes it faster to insert multiple similar payments, but it adds to up with the add/modify confusion.)
  • It is confusing that after adding a "transfer", the tab is reset to "standard". Also, the target account is reset when clicking "add". This is different from the feeling of standard payments.
  • There is no obvious way to say "that is what is on this account right now, adjust everything accordingly". I.e. to insert the abovementioned adjustment operations, or when adding a new account to Skrooge that was not yet tracked, or not tracked for a long time.
  • The report and monthly report pages are confusing me. I found it not easy to get a timeline of events / view my money over time. There also seems no way to show a graph "that's the money you had at time X".
  • Here the papers I get from my bank every month are listing the dates, descriptions and amounts for each payment, have a "before" account-amount at the beginning and an "after" account-amount at the end. It would be nice if Skrooge could resemble that somehow. If the amount skrooge sees and the amount the user entered in that form are not matching it could warn them and offer to "insert adjustment operations aka. random losses / wins", or fix it up in some other way. Possibly it could also store these forms for later, so one could add missing payments to Skrooge and look afterwards whether that resolved the discrepancies.
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Re: Skrooge usability survey

Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:45 pm
devurandom wrote:In fact Skrooge seems too complex to me.

What I am doing:
  • Have 2 accounts, one for cash money, one for my bank account
  • Receive payments to my bank account
  • Transfer money from bank to cash, very seldomly the other way round
  • Make payments with my cash money
  • Adjust the books to random "losses" / the current real amount of money in my pocket (there are some things I do not keep books on, which make the books diverge from reality over time)
  • Make payments from my bank account
  • View how my money gets less and more over time
  • View what the money was spend on

Skrooge is not lacking features to do that, but it makes it rather complicated.

Details:
  • When creating an account, I just want to give it a name.

With skrooge, you only have to give bank name and account name.
devurandom wrote:
  • When inserting payments, I enter the account, the date, the amount and some description, nothing more.

  • With skrooge, you only have to give account, date, amount and unit (set by default).
    devurandom wrote:
  • When doing the transfer bank->cash, I just enter the date, an amount and a description which is always the same. The "from" and "to" accounts are always the same.

  • With skrooge, you can do it in one double click on a template.
    devurandom wrote:
  • I often insert several payments or transfers in a row. I.e. bank->cash transfer on the 10th, on the 26th and on the 30th. They usually have different dates and amounts, but "from", "to" and the description are the same. I just change the necessary fields and press "Add" several times.
  • When changing a transfer, I have to change both "ends" (for the bank and the cash account). That is annoying, since it could happen automatically.

  • I take the point.
    devurandom wrote:
  • I would expect an edit possibility to pop up when double-clicking a payment. Instead I get a filter on the payment list showing just that one payment.
  • It confuses me that I have to choose a different tab at the bottom of the page when creating a "transfer" instead of a payment ("standard").
  • I am sometimes confused and click "modify" instead of "add" when I want to insert a new payment. Generally "add" and "modify", using the same fields, are confusing. (Even though it is a clever use of space, without using dialogues.)
  • It is confusing that the text stays in the fields after inserting a payment using "add". (Yes, that makes it faster to insert multiple similar payments, but it adds to up with the add/modify confusion.)
  • It is confusing that after adding a "transfer", the tab is reset to "standard". Also, the target account is reset when clicking "add". This is different from the feeling of standard payments.

  • I take the point.
    devurandom wrote:
  • There is no obvious way to say "that is what is on this account right now, adjust everything accordingly". I.e. to insert the abovementioned adjustment operations, or when adding a new account to Skrooge that was not yet tracked, or not tracked for a long time.
  • The report and monthly report pages are confusing me. I found it not easy to get a timeline of events / view my money over time. There also seems no way to show a graph "that's the money you had at time X".

  • You can do a history.
    devurandom wrote:
  • Here the papers I get from my bank every month are listing the dates, descriptions and amounts for each payment, have a "before" account-amount at the beginning and an "after" account-amount at the end. It would be nice if Skrooge could resemble that somehow. If the amount skrooge sees and the amount the user entered in that form are not matching it could warn them and offer to "insert adjustment operations aka. random losses / wins", or fix it up in some other way. Possibly it could also store these forms for later, so one could add missing payments to Skrooge and look afterwards whether that resolved the discrepancies.


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    devurandom
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:14 pm
    smankowski wrote:
    devurandom wrote:When creating an account, I just want to give it a name.

    With skrooge, you only have to give bank name and account name.

    But it displays 2 fields, of which one seems confusing and redundant to a user who does not have several accounts at several banks.
    smankowski wrote:
    devurandom wrote:When inserting payments, I enter the account, the date, the amount and some description, nothing more.

    With skrooge, you only have to give account, date, amount and unit (set by default).

    Skrooge will displays lots of fields of which the meaning of most is not clear to the uneducated user. Of course I do not have to fill in all of them, but that was not my point. My point was that the complexity of the form is bigger than what appears clear to a new user.
    smankowski wrote:
    devurandom wrote:When doing the transfer bank->cash, I just enter the date, an amount and a description which is always the same. The "from" and "to" accounts are always the same.

    With skrooge, you can do it in one double click on a template.

    I have not used templates yet, as it seemed like an advanced feature and I could not immediately figure out what they were meant to accomplish or how I should use them.
    I just wanted to mention what I did and that the process felt not straightforward to me and was in the hope that someone might have an idea how to streamline it.

    I already imagined was some way to keep the contents of all the fields after pressing insert and easily jump to those which I need to change, press insert again, ...
    Possibly accessible by keyboard in a quick way. I.e. tabbing through a small list of fields?
    </brainstorm>

    smankowski wrote:
    devurandom wrote:The report and monthly report pages are confusing me. I found it not easy to get a timeline of events / view my money over time. There also seems no way to show a graph "that's the money you had at time X".

    You can do a history.

    I saw that drop-down-field, but spoting it in the first place was not easy. As I said, it is not that Skrooge would be lacking the features, but more that it does not represent them in an intuitive way to new users. (Especially if they are not used to financial applications, but just think that visualising their accounts using a PC prog might be a clever idea.)

    Also Skrooge was not easy to setup to show a history of the overall amount of my accounts.
    It also lacks a graph with connected points (instead it shows several bars for each month, in every configuration I tried).
    The issue here again is complexity of the form, if the user just wants to accomplish a "simple" task.
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:30 pm
    @devurandom
    First, thanks for taking the time to provide us with such a detailed feedback. This is exactly the kind of things I was looking for, things that users find confusing or that are not very discoverable.

    @smankowski
    devurandom does say that skrooge can do all he needs, just that sometimes things get overly complicated for simple tasks. We have to take that kind of experience into account to make a better UI 8)

    So I'm not saying we can find a solution for everything listed here, but there is certainly room for improvement, and we'll work on it !


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    devurandom
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:08 pm
    gdebure wrote:@devurandom
    First, thanks for taking the time to provide us with such a detailed feedback. This is exactly the kind of things I was looking for, things that users find confusing or that are not very discoverable.

    It's been a pleasure.

    gdebure wrote:@smankowski
    devurandom does say that skrooge can do all he needs, just that sometimes things get overly complicated for simple tasks. We have to take that kind of experience into account to make a better UI 8)

    Maybe not "overly" complicated, but just a little bit too complicated to shy inexperienced users away. The bit of intuivity that makes the difference between "nice expert tool, I'll do it on paper" and "breathtaking".
    Gumper
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:45 am
    If possible I'd like to see the "Operations" at the bottom of the ledger view simplified if possible. To me it seems a little confusing. When an account is opened in the ledger view it would be nice if the program would check to see what type of account it is, stock, bank, credit, etc, and then set the operations accordingly. If done this way you could eliminate the "units" area because this should always be the same for the account. This is something that Kmymoney does and to me it works much better this way. It's much easier to enter the information in Kmm.

    One place where Skrooge excels in my opinion is with the reports. This feature is really one of its strong points.


    Gumper, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Oct.
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:40 pm
    Aha - I just found this thread!

    I myself wanted to do some _very_ simple finance management - just the ins and outs of cash from different locations and able to categorise these transactions. I installed Skrooge a while back and had a half hour free to start things up. I started Skrooge and was lost immediately.

    It took me quite some time to figure out how to add a bank account (clicking the standard at the bottom). I don't know - what bank and account should I put for that little piggy bank I have in my room? ;) (I like to record my daily spending)

    Adding a bank account should not be done through that tab thing on the bottom.
    Deleting bank accounts should not be through a checkbox, without a confirmation dialog, as part of a list of accounts
    I didn't find the "bookmarks" or "history" section (there is an undo at the top!) at all useful - perhaps disabled by default? I still haven't figured out what the "properties" section is.
    If this "search and process" tab is really what I think it is - that is, a search, it shouldn't deserve a tab of its own.
    What are these "units", "simulations" and "trackers"? Am I doing forex or simply recording my own humble transactions? (What are "trackers", incidentally?)

    Quite honestly this is the first KDE program I've ever felt the need to read the entire documentation before feeling confident enough to use it.

    Image
    Just looking at this form to add an "operation", it's incredibly messy. Look's like somebody vomited a load of input fields. Why does the Unit field have to be so huge? What is the "Mode" and "Number" field meant to be? What's a "tracker" again? - and what gave this thing the idea that I might want to go start buying and selling shares?

    In general most of the forms around the application give a very cluttered and disorganised feel.

    Maybe not "overly" complicated, but just a little bit too complicated to shy inexperienced users away. The bit of intuivity that makes the difference between "nice expert tool, I'll do it on paper" and "breathtaking".


    Very well said!


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    devurandom
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:47 pm
    Moult wrote:I myself wanted to do some _very_ simple finance management - just the ins and outs of cash from different locations and able to categorise these transactions. I installed Skrooge a while back and had a half hour free to start things up. I started Skrooge and was lost immediately.

    +1 for everything my previous speaker mentioned.
    It is possible to figure everything out (or just don't, like I just ignored almost all the fields in the "operation" dialog), it just is not ordered from simple to expert, but instead just hits you all at once and thus, by overflowing one with lots of unknown input, is little self explanatory.
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:56 am
    Thanks everyone for participating in this ! I'm trying to work out the most prominent issue, namely the operation panel :

    http://gdebure.blogspot.com/2009/11/working-on-skrooge-usability.html

    Comments welcome, as usual :)


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    dwr777
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:32 pm
    I ran into something perhaps interesting. I had imported several months of data for several accounts and was in the process of reconciling one account to the statements for each month. After reconciling one month statement, I started on the next month and entered the statement balance. I then checked each operation listed on the statement and the info ares indicated a Delto of -0.00 (dollars) the correct expenditure and Income, but the check mark remained greyed out and I could not reconcile the statement. If I unchecked the operations from this statement and again entered the ending balance from the previous month, the delto is again -0.00 and the Expenditure and Income amounts are correct and the check mark is green. If I click on the check mark, nothing happens. I see no way to continue reconciling this account. Can you think of a reason why this would happen? Did Skrooge run itself out of memory? Is there some veriable indicating this account has exceeded the program's capability?
    User avatar gdebure
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:49 pm
    This is a bug that used to appear on old Skrooge versions... Which version do you use ?


    Skrooge, a personal finances manager powered by KDE4
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    drewkeller
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    Re: Skrooge usability survey

    Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:34 pm
    I've been using KMyMoney for the last year. I heard Skrooge mentioned and thought the new year would be good time to try out something new. My comments are for Skrooge 0.5.5.

    As I was setting up the categories, there were a number of times I hit the Add button when I meant to hit Modify, and vice-versa. In the categories, this isn't too bad of an issue, but the interface logic is similar in the operations tab. I can see this being a bigger problem there.

    So why is that confusing? I'm not the only one with this confusion; it was mentioned a few posts up. The KDE guideline is itself somewhat contradictory. It says the noun should be used first and then gives an example where the menu is set up so the user actually selects the verb before then noun (Insert, then Page break, etc.) (http://developer.kde.org/documentation/ ... nverb.html). Personally, I think I know that I want to add something before I really decide the details about what I'm adding. Or again, I know that I want to modify something before figuring out the details. I haven't used KDE software much, so maybe that just the way they are. Or perhaps some other KDE software use some other method that is more straightforward?

    Apparently I have to double click on an operation object in order to select it. Standard behavior for programs I'm familiar with is to select something via a single-click. Double-click would perform some kind of operation on the item (such as open its details for editing).

    I am confused by the "hide checked operations" box. Is it supposed to hide operations which have been checked? What is meant by "checked"?

    Here's one example of how terms need to be used consistently. I clicked on the status column of some of my operations. A checkmark appeared in the checkbox. I figured this meant the item was checked; wrong! According to the tooltip, the checkmark means the item is "pointed" but not "checked". The tooltip says the reconciliation mode can "validate" "pointed" operations. Doesn't say anything about how to "check" something. The docs use the word "confirmed" and don't say anything about "checked", "validated", or "pointed". So I'm left with a lot of confusion about what these terms mean and what process Skrooge expects me to use on them.

    There are a number of places where odd words are used (due to translation?).
    * "editioning panel" - "edit panel" or "editing panel" (further, if we are going to use a word based on the root word "edit", shouldn't the action button be called "edit" rather than "modify"?)
    * "account position" - seems like this should be the "account balance"?
    * "pointed" - ???
    * I wasn't writing them down and now I don't remember all of the oddities.

    Is there a way to set a starting balance for an account? Creating an operation for it makes it look like the starting balance is income when it is NOT income.

    There should be a confirmation before deleting an object.

    KMM's word completion is very nice. To use category Transportation > Auto > Jeep > Fuel, I can simply start with "Fuel" and then select from various matches, whereas in Skrooge, I have to start with "Transportation" and parse through the whole tree down to correct "Fuel" category.

     
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