Updating the navigation in Shotgun

can I suggest the most impactful change on navigation is one you have already created?

the media page side bar that shows the project entity schema laid out as a clear folder hierarchy is what should be implemented everywhere - This is how almost everyone on the project thinks of the project schema mentally and it acts essentially as a way to quickly filter the page results to any specific ‘leaf’ in the tree and anything below - which 99% of the time is what you are trying to accomplish via ‘navigation’ - take me to this shot or this asset, or show these shots under this sequence, etc

I like the media page a lot - IMO it was the right way to develop the rest of the application but years later it still feels alien to the rest of the UI, but it’s much simpler and easier to look at.

This is similar to how ftrack does navigation - it’s very much based around a similar tree view, but it works and it makes the navigation experience so much nicer and consistent compared to SG’s clunky page view paradigm

screenshot for clarity:


…and if you added assigned users as another layer of the hierarchy (sort of parallel to the ‘object tree’) that navigation metaphor would be even more powerful.


Also: just putting more focus on things looking less cluttered and presentation in general makes a HUGE difference to people feeling comfortable vs overwhelmed in relation to the UI and navigating around.

Apologies for another ftrack comparison, but it really is a LOT easier on the eye, even if it’s also far more restrictive in terms of configurability. I kinda want the best of both worlds :slight_smile:

I am a long time SG user and quite familiar with it but even I find many pages to be an eyesore of badly formatted and laid out data. It takes way too much effort on the user side to design views around this - you can do it (one of our depts have obviously put a bunch of effort into the pages they have setup for their own needs, but they are an outlier!) but I think the default UI could do a lot more heavy lifting on this.


Thanks for this @stuart_aitken there’s a lot of really great feedback here!


It’s almost back to the roots when Shotgun looked much like a file explorer :smiley:
Personally I would love to see an approach with a schematic view UI.


Hi Stuart, when you say many pages are ‘an eyesore of badly formatted and laid out data’ – which ones in particular are you referring to?


most of our internal pages :slight_smile:

they just tend to end up like that pretty easily

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by the way of a slightly more detailed response:

I think the way SG page design conflates what information is presented structurally and how it is presented visually is partly the root of the issue, but it’s just very easy to create pages that are a bit of a mess and hard to read, unless the page admin has some fairly evolved layout skills. if there was some way to separate that out it would be helpful so we could have layout and visual side set globally and then less on individual page design

As has been pointed out in the thread it’s often the use of space in the various HTML blocks and associated style sheet stuff thats the issue as well - especially on spreadsheet views that’s quite hard to get right

I don’t know if there’s anyway of opening up CSS setups on individual SG instances? so sites could tweak the visual layout, use of borders, space given to certain blocks vs others and so on themselves at the base level that effectively underpins all of this?

Otherwise I think it’s more a case of bringing more fous to layout and presentation of information on the developer end of things. Of course allowing end user flexibility on page views can be at odds with having better control over presentation. One of the reasons ftrack is notably better at this side of things is probably because its far LESS configurable i imagine


a schematic view would work well for artists used to that way of thinking about things (eg comp guys, houdini artists) and in some cases might be a much better representation of certain entity relationships, but a straightforward file explorer type data tree is a more generally understood UI metaphor - its prevalent cos it works and is very intuitive to understand and use for a wide variety of users :slight_smile:

my concern with a node based schematic representation (if I’m picking you up correctly there) would be that it trades simple to understand intuitiveness for complexity and nuance - great for some folks but maybe not as the primary navigation metaphor?

eg even in maya the outliner (simple tree view) is a much more easy to navigate UI than the node editor or god forbid the old hypergraph! (nodal network views)

Nuke/Houdini I think its a different use case - those types of application are so node centric in everything they do, a network view is pretty much mandatory - but even there - trying to read someone elses nuke script is a nightmare :slight_smile:


Hi Stuart,

I agree with your assessment. I just wanted tho throw a schematic view option out there, even if it’s just an optional diaply only mode, to help people understand how things are related. Every time I show people how to do a deep query, or make a related field visible on apage their eyes glaze over and they don’t even want to try to understand. With an accomanying schematic, it woudl be so much easer I think. Think of it as trainer wheels for Shotgun that can come off once the penny drops :slight_smile:



Thank you @stuart_aitken and @frank for this excellent input!