Dude, Where’s my UI?
We’ve just released a major UI overhaul for the desktop and mobile websites. We had two major goals with this project: first, reduce the variation between the desktop web, mobile web, and app UIs. And second, address some recurring issues around discoverability and ease of use.
The UI is now better grouped by functional area. We’ve moved your account data into the top bar, so that the left bar is dedicated to map objects, and most mapping related functions are on the map itself. We’ve also replaced the mouseover menus. An more in depth overview of the new UI with comparisons to the previous UI is found here.
Other major changes include:
- Keyboard shortcuts for commonly-used tasks
- Clicking on the map brings up info for all nearby objects – no more struggling to click on exactly the right spot
- We now have separate “Log In” and “Sign Up” actions to help people catch when they accidentally login with a new account provider
- Rendering object labels with halos instead of large white blocks, to improve label visibility on complex maps
On the left side of the map the map objects list is now solely focused on map objects including importing, exporting, and adding new objects. When minimized, the add button moves onto the map so you have more room to work!
Tasks such as printing, measuring, saving, and sharing maps have moved onto the map and menus now are based on a click instead of mouseover.
The right side of the screen remains largely unchanged, with layers listed on the left, and the preset layers at the bottom on the left side. Note many layers now have keyboard shortcuts, you’ll see those listed next to the base layer you select on the right hand side (if the base layer has a shortcut), and next to a variety of overlays on the right as well.
One of the largest changes is that the top bar is now primarily focused on account level tasks such as log in, creating accounts, managing your account or team data, and managing your subscription.
As with any update there may be inadvertent errors or omissions. We’re always here for you at caltopo.com/help and over time we’ll update screenshots throughout our excellent user guide to reflect the new UI. Thanks for supporting CalTopo!
I’m having a few problems with the new update. The most notable is that I can’t click “Add” in the Map Objects toolbar. When I click it, it opens then closes before I can select anything. Also in Map Objects, items with longer names push the buttons out of view. I can see “Profile” but not Edit. If I Ctrl+scrollwheel to make the font 90% or smaller, it fits.
I also find the halo a bit hard to read. It makes everything feel fuzzy, esspecially where objects are in close proximity. If the halo were less soft, I think it would help.
Other than those things, I LOVE the changes. It’s much more intuitive now, even though I’ll have to get used to the changes. 🙂
Thanks for the feedback, we’re working on the longer names pushing delete out of view. That pane is adjustable so easy fix for the time being but we will get that fixed.
The add issue we haven’t heard from anyone else – can you e-mail our support team so we can help you out (email@example.com)
Thanks for using CalTopo!
Nice update. The Text Halo is a bit difficult to read as mentioned above. I would also like to see a Right Click / Create Object Here / Line and for the map to center on curser on scroll zoom.
In the point menu (and in a few other places), the new colors for the links (orange and red) are a tiny bit hard to read due to a lack of contrast. Both the red and orange colors fail wcag aa (and aaa)
It’s not too big a deal as it could be a lot worse, but I just thought i’d throw it out there.
I think I’ll still miss right-click to start drawing a line. Why, when the keyboard shortcut is available? Because I primarily navigate the map using the mouse, and drawing a line used to be entirely a mouse activity focused around where I’m looking on the map. Just trying it, it feels alien to have to go to the keyboard at that point. If you’re unhappy with “line” being on your “point” menu, you might consider having it start the line at that point, perhaps snapped. That’s what I always expected with right-click, and I was always a little surprised that I had to click again to set the first point.
I don’t know if it’s new, but I just noticed the “Keep these layers” option. I like it.
Not new, but you need a rest room marker icon. Also a standard P-for-parking would be nice, but I suppose Circle-P works.
I suppose that it would be different if I was creating lots of temporary objects, but mostly the profile/edit/delete controls on the Map Objects list don’t do anything for me. I’m OK with clicking on the object or its entry in the list, and then using the popup. I’d rather have the list space available for the name of the object.
I have been able to figure out most of the new UI, which generally is very nice. However, I cannot figure out how to access the Print function. In the online UI, I don’t see a printer icon in between the measure and info icons. The icon that is there does not seem to have any function — nothing happens with a right or left click or double-click. I have a Legacy Basic account that allowed me to create custom maps for my Garmin, and geospatial GPS maps to use on my tablet. has the new UI removed those features for Legacy Basic accounts? Is the icon for Print currently not working?
For some users there was a temporary glitch where the Print button was being hidden. That glitch has since been fixed. We didn’t remove any functionality from any subscriptions or subscribers.
I’m wondering where the drawing settings have been moved to. With the old UI you could select between 1k and 10k vertices for a line, but I don’t see that anywhere now. My lines that are over 2,000 vertices say editing disabled for performance purposes (though I realize you can edit anyway). Just wondering whether this setting still exists under the new UI. Thanks.
That function had been broken for a really long time (it didn’t actually stop drawing). You’ll still get a warning for lines over 2000 vertices, with an edit anyway option.
What happened to the option for “parcel info” that used to show up on right click? I used that tool extensively and it appears to have gone away with the update. I can turn on parcel boundaries and show ownership and address, but not parcel number which is what I need.
Good catch, it was inadvertently dropped. You can still see this info via the measure menu (ruler) and then parcel info, and we’ll re-add it to the point context menu.
The UI update is nice, but respectfully, the Shift-L and Shift-M for adding the most used objects seems very poorly thought out aside from the letters matching the first character of the words Line and Marker. Both of those are awkward to use, assuming my right hand hand remains on the mouse. I have regular sized hands and those shortcuts require quite a stretch when before it was a simple right-click procedure.
Please consider letting us remap the shortcuts or doing something else to make adding lines and markers comfortable. I am a huge CalTopo fan and have been using it heavily for planning this year, but this makes it much harder to use.
Just realized I am a dumb-dumb and the contextual menu has the same options. Nevermind!
when’s android land?
The current iteration of the Android app already reflects much of this styling, we anticipate the next update to Android within about a month but that may change with our priorities.
Two things: I really miss being able to create a line using the right mouse button. Also useful was the Drag to New Location command, also using the right mouse button.
Where did my favorite snotel sites go?
They are now combined with other realtime weather and can be found as part of the “Snowpack” option