Connection Type Redesign

Connection Type Redesign

In a kinopio space, the lines you draw between cards are called connections. Connections have a type which groups multiple lines under the same label/color/name.

Currently, the default is to create a new connection type for each card you’re connecting. You can override this to always use the last type, with a user setting or with by setting a default connection type.

Issues with the current behaviour

current default of new color per line has issues:

  • discourages associating color/type with meaning. e.g. spaces with 20+ unnamed connection types
  • encouraging spaces that are harder to read/maintain, more cognitively messy than they need to be. e.g. the color of connections often don’t match their spatial relationship/hierarchy

Issues with the current ConnectionDetails UI

in other dialogs, changing a color changes a single entity (e.g. user color), but in connectionDetails it changes all of that type which is currently unclear. Adding a new type color sometimes feels like it should be map to adding a new color causing confusion, so this distinction could be made clearer.

Screenshot of Sublime Text (8-6-21, 2-35-12 PM)


Even though creating new connections as semantically useful, I usually prefer to use new connections because I like how having many different colored connections looks. For the majority of my spaces, I don’t name my connections or turn on labels. Just the line is good.

I definitely appreciate the fact that connections can encode more semantic information. I don’t find myself using that very much though.

(this is not to say you shouldn’t redesign things, just adding my experience)

I’m interested to see how you tackle this. Aside from not really feeling the need to, getting my connections named and grouped is a bit tedious, so I agree with your assessment.

Can you elaborate what you mean? I’ve never found this dialog/behavior confusing, so curious what the lack of clarity you are referring to is. :slight_smile:

I’ve observed people intending to change the color of just a single line, changing all their lines because the distinction between current line and line type is blurry here

so colors for you are just decorative? and then the main reason you’d change the color is if you aesthetically don’t like it?

relatedly - or alternatively:

maybe i should move the setting for [x] Use Last Connection Type from User → Settings to ConnectionDetails instead?

(this would also address that other reported issue about wanting a faster way to be able to toggle this setting)

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That’s interesting that someone’s mental model would be that the color dialog applies to the specific line because presumably in this situation, they are reusing a connection type, so wouldn’t they be aware of this? Ohh, but if they have the [x] Use Last Connection Type setting, then they could easily be unaware…So they could be operating in a mode where every connection is the same, and then they want to go change one of them. I see now :slight_smile: (sorry, hope my thinking out loud was not confusing).

Yeah, that might help folks establish a more accurate mental model.

For most spaces, the colors are just decorative. And I get along fine without using named connections. But, if I do change the color, it is for semantic or visual reasons. Not sure if that makes sense…

an experiment,

  • moving user setting ‘use last connection type’ to connectionDetails.
  • also removed the button/ability to set a Default connection, because it might be completely redundant now

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using ‘+ type’ and previewing the new connection color to make changing types more understandable/intuitive

Screen Shot 2021-08-06 at 3.50.38 PM

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it’s live now, try it out :eyes:


Should the naming be consistent?

Ah, after I sent that I realize I should have checked new connections. You renamed it moving forward :slight_smile:

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I think the new implementation works great.

One thing I’d still love is a “Last Connection From This Card” option.

Whether or not “Use Last Type” is selected, if I could do Shift + CMD + Connect to use the last connection type that was connected to that card specifically it would be amazing.

I’m sure it’s more work than it’s worth, but I come across this situation all the time.

Say there are five “Header Cards” where each has it’s own connection type. Using the “Use Last Type” only helps for one of those really. But as I’m adding cards and connecting cards to those different headers intermittently, I always want to start from the header and use the same connector that was used from it previously.

One of the great things about Kinopio is I don’t have to think through one header at a time, but can bounce around the space as new ideas come and being able to quickly connect them in a clean way without having to think about tapping an existing connection so I can use it again would be amazing.


+1 I think maybe 75% of the time it is the case that when I use a specific connection type, I am also using a “header” card that all the related cards are connected to. The header card and corresponding connection type reinforce the same semantics of, all of these cards are related to this topic. Another way to describe what @kordumb is saying I think is setting a default connection type for all connections from a specific card.