Isabela Presedo-Floyd's profile

napari viewer Plugin and Installation Managers

Mockup derived from image by designwarrior on Freepik
napari viewer Plugin and Installation Managers

napari is an open source multidimensional image viewer with users in biomedical and astronomy research fields. napari’s ecosystem includes a desktop app and a growing plugin community to extend the project’s capabilities for more use cases.

In the open, we added features to the existing plugin manager and created a new installation manager. This is the start of formally addressing feedback about making the project more approachable to scientists who spend less time writing code; instead of having these features only available through the command line, they will now be a part of the desktop app.

Skills: User flows, UX design, UI design, Prototyping, Collaborative design review
Work for this project was done as a part of napari’s bundled app/packaging working group. This team’s larger goal is to provide a way to install the napari desktop app without the command line. Once the command line is no longer involved, the desktop app lacked a way for users to manage the application at a high level; we needed to add UI to update, troubleshoot, manage plugins more accurately, and uninstall napari.

Broken up by region, this included making changes to the existing plugin manager, making changes to the existing application settings, and making a new installation manager outside of napari itself. In user-facing features, this covers installation, updates, uninstallation, and detailed plugin installation.
With a balance between new and old, we aimed to thoroughly understand where we were, learn from what had and hadn’t worked well in the past, and make updates looking towards the future. This included
    •    Iterating towards a design that is as clear for organizing existing features as it is capable of extending to new features in the future.
    •    Seamlessly integrating with the existing napari interaction and visual design.
    •    Investigating and documenting the current user flow for installation and management before proposing improvements and identifying gaps.
    •    Collaborating regularly with the community. Designing with them as much as possible is key, especially for sustaining the project longer term.
    •    Accurate UI interpretation of the the underlying conda infrastructure where relevant.

The design of the new Installation Manager thoroughly followed this strategy from sketching per design iteration, to finding where it was best aligned in the existing interface, to ensuring that our feature scoping was properly mapped.
For the plugin manager, this included
    •    Collaborative design review sessions of the current interface and command line capabilities.
    •    Informal user interviews about plugin installation and updating issues.
    •    Reorganizing and adding new feature UI to existing plugin manager cards.
    •    Adding missing UI such as local file browsing for plugins, warnings for plugins that are incompatible with the current napari install, and error messaging for installation failures.

For the installation manager, this included
    •    Current and proposed user flows for non-command line napari installation. It covers installation, updates, and the beginning of uninstallation.
    •    UI updates to preferences, menus, and dialogs to accommodate the new updating flows and features.
    •    The addition of the installation manager UI to handle limited napari versions and dependencies.

Facilitating regular critique in both public and internal spaces was required for all deliverables at every stage.
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napari viewer Plugin and Installation Managers

napari viewer Plugin and Installation Managers


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