Ever been frustrated learning how to use a new piece of software because of all the options and not sure where to start?
Is there any software that can switch to a "beginners" mode?
Meaning, hide the UI and buttons for more complex tasks and focus on the basics.
Would be even better if you could toggle between a few modes, adjusting how many menu options to show.
Apple Ads for the App Store have a super simple interface by default and it can be switched to an advanced one (which isn't complex either compared to something like Facebook Ads).
VLC for macOS shows only basic preferences and you can click "Show all" at the bottom to go to the insanely complex IDE-like preferences.
Thought I'd give a quick shoutout to Adobe's guided tutorials.
I believe it's close to what you're talking about and I see some of the other good folks here have mentioned their 'Learning' panel view.
I wanted to make mention in particular of their guided tutorials. I picked up all that I needed to of Premiere Pro in 1 hour of going through their 'Getting started' tutorial. I can't remember exactly what it was called but it essentially guided you click for click as you edited a video (they provided all the resources). By the end of it, I was surprisingly pleased with the execution. I thought it would be quite clunky but am very impressed with the job they did.
The first thing that came to mind here is Lightroom, where the newer Lightroom app is far simpler than Lightroom Classic, much more on the level of Lightroom for iPad. Then inside of Lightroom Classic itself, the Library view's Quick Develop tools are a great way to quickly edit photos without knowing all of Lightroom's features.
Photoshop has an option to switch between Essentials, 3D, Motion, Painting, Photography, and Web modes. Those swap out the visible tools and sidebars ... though none, including the Essentials view, are exactly easy to use.
If anything, the best option here historically has been in older desktop software that sold, say, Home and Professional editions based on the features you wanted. OmniFocus still does this; the basic version includes the core features, while the Pro version includes scripting and other "advanced" features. Photoshop partly does this with their cheaper Photoshop Elements desktop app and Photoshop for iPad. Microsoft Office's web apps fill this role, as much simpler apps that are easier to get started with (and free), with the paid desktop apps having full features. Or even free bundled apps often do this; WordPad could be seen as a simpler Word, while iMovie and Garageband are simpler takes on Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.
What is missing is, as you mentioned, software that lets you switch between simpler and more advanced modes. You can often hide toolbars and such, but that if anything is a power user move once you already know where everything is and feel comfortable hiding it. Tech journalist David Progue mentioned this idea over half a decade ago in Scientific American; maybe it's an idea who's time has come.
We are just launching our new design editor with modes - from beginner to advanced and the rationale behind it is exactly the same that we see in gaming apps. Typically while learning new games you start off with learning the basic mechanics which make the gameplay fun and teach you the core world interaction techniques. These same mechanics evolve over time and they keep the gameplay engaging for advanced and more sophisticated users.
In real world solo mode is so much more different than team-mode, teams come with interaction dynamics, protocols and custom signals and language. However, rarely do we see modern day software move with the same elegance between team flow and solo mode.
Would love to see more software embracing practice levels - much like editors of yore had done with custom plugins & shortcuts.
I’ve thought about this for a while, but this recent experience motivated me to share out…
After a decade plus of using workarounds and related apps (Google Slides, Keynote, along with standard engineering/architecture CAD software) for graphic design, I finally learned the basics of Illustrator via iPad app. Really good lesson tours. Good enough of a grasp to teach others.
Then, when I jumped to the desktop version, it felt overwhelming. I know you can set up custom workspaces (decide which panels to show) and that given enough time, I would get comfortable. It was a stark contrast between the two spaces.
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