Top 10 v3 User Interface Concerns Thead

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Hi All,

I've been following the discussion regarding MtGO v3 and the concerns many of you have regarding the user interface. Unfortunately, it seems like we may be tipping the scales on the signal-to-noise ratio as many people are talking about the same problems, only in different ways.

What I'd like to do is collect a top 10 list of the concerns and issues you all have with the UI and I'll pass it onto the development team. I can't promise you anything more then the fact that the list will be read, and I am not sure how realistic (if at all) it would be to expect major, or even minor, UI changes at this late stage of development.

However, I think it will help all of you (as well as us) if we try to nail down the top concerns, so we can have them in a prominent place so everyone knows the issues have been raised. Hopefully this will help folks feel more comfortable to move on and discuss other aspects of the v3 beta that might need feedback.

I'll post a reply to this thread which I'll try to edit over the next few days to keep updated with our list. A few ground rules:

- In order to make the list, your comments must be brief enough to fit on one or two lines.
- More folks must agree with the issue then disagree (as measured by this thread)

Keep in mind that user interfaces are often a matter of taste and not everyone will agree on what is good or bad. Also, remember that most UIs require getting used to, and almost *no one* enjoys a new interface when they first try it. People like what they know and fear something new. I can't count the number of new games I've tried where I hated the interface at first, only to find myself enjoying it later after I'd really gotten used to using it. That's not to say this is the case here, but it's something to keep in mind.

Thanks!
Here's the list I'll be passing on. Let me know if you have any comments or concerns before I do.

1. Cards Hard to Read - Too small, text trailing off card edge.
2. Unreadable Chat text - Font, Textures and their relative contrast make it hard to read.
3. Ineffecient Lay Out - Borders, Mana Wheel, etc taking up needed space.
4. Verticle Chat - Very non-standard and unusual.
5. Play Area - Too small, runs off the edge, not wide enough.
6. Scaling - UI doesn't seem to scale properly to various resolutions.
7. Different - The UI is different from 2.5 and what everyone is used to.
8. Chatroom Tag Mobility - These keep moving around and making it frustrating
9. Undocked Windows - Undocked windows cannot be minimized or closed.
10. Settings Saving - UI settings aren't saved when you exit the client.
11. Sound - Sound is inconsistent with 2.5 and considered annoying to many.
12. Right Clicking - Right clicking does not have the same functionality as it does in 2.5.
13. Customizable Skins - All matters of taste could be resolved if there was a customizable UI Skin.
14. Trade Chat - Ability to chat while performing a trade.
My top 2:

1) Inefficient UI. Things like the borders, the mana wheel, etc.. are taking up very precious screen space.

2) Hard to read. The contrast between the text and the backgrounds makes it hard to read.
MTGO SVCL - Ask me for help if you're lost or confused!
1. vertical chat dock - its just anoyingly different to the rest of the universe
2. chat room tags moving. - why aren't they just stationary?
3. cards aren't readable unless you zoom in or use the card preview window
4. the play mat area has lost space - could probably be fix if scaled properly.
5 . chat backgrounds and text are difficult to read - some of the options make it better but none are great


those are my top 5 problems

I've bought the cards and made a deck Now how do I win at this?

1. Play area could be bigger.

2. Cards are often Unreadable unless zoomed. (Mana costs are unreadable, names/type-lines disappear, pending damage very hard to read.)

3. Dock should be able to be horizontal.

4. Dock tabs should not jump around when selected.

5. Dock tabs/rooms should be able to be closed.

6. Chat: Shouldn't audibly alert me for each message sent in a chat room. Shouldn't flash the taskbar whenever a chat message is received. (add chat to trades)

7. Alerts: Should audibly alert me when I have priority, a choice to make in a game, or a new PM/trade has been initiated. Also only those should trigger task bar flashing.

8. In game "ok" and "yes"/"no" buttons are unresponsive. Sometimes seems like lag, other times seems like I never pressed it when I did.

9. Save settings when client is exited.

10. More contrast needed for chat areas.

Not exactly prioritized order.
(13. Put Morphling, Serra Avatar, and Sliver Queen into Promo Tab)
1) Play is too small. Could easily be reorganized with much less wasted space.

2) Borders on everything are far too big.

3) Textures and fonts do not scale properly with resolution

4) Ability to make entire Dock horizontal on bottom.

5) Minimize undocked windows
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
The single biggest problem with the UI is that it can't be customized by the users.

I think most people agree in its current form its attrocious. The posts in this thread suggest ways to fix that, but eventually you are going to get to a place where its subjective. This could all be circumvented by just placing efforts on a customizable system, similar to the .lua system that Blizzard uses.
1) Echoing everyone else - UI

2) 32 trade limit - rediculious and unhealth!

3) Lack of 1700 + room (just my personal wish)
2) Borders on everything are far too big.

+1.

They are both ugly _and_ a waste of space. I don't need some artificial-wood(?)-material-make-me-think-i'm-playing-magic-on-a-computer-from-the-medieval-ages feel ... I want efficiency.
1) Clearly readable fonts.
2) Easy/intuitive chat format.
3) Readable Cards.
4) Adjustable/customizeable userinterface (might fix most issues in the UI area).
5) My Games - can we save replays?
Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is purely optional. Improvise (a solution), Adapt (to current situation), Overcome (any obstacle in your way) -- been working for the USMC since 1776.
Just to throw my hat in the ring as to actual improvements the UI could use.

First off, the only thing that NEEDs to be improved immediately is the duel interface. The rest of it can be dealt with later. Hell, we've been living in spreadsheet hell for years anyway.

1) Higher Resolution.

You need to design the system for at least 1280x1024. The system will work but be attrocious at lower resolutions. That is fine. Anyone who doesn't have this much resolution at this day and age will not care and frankly probably doesn't even know what a resolution is.

2) Remove the Zoom.

Cards should be readable from the playmat. I should not have to mouse over a card to read it. Rely on players being able to see the artwork and know the card. If after playtesting it just can't be done, then you have to brainstorm a truly elegant solution. The giant card face in the upper left hand corner is not it.

3) Remove the question box.

There is no reason to waste this screen real estate. Questions about priority, mulliganing, etc. can be presented to the user in a much less intrusive way. My initial suggestion would be either overlaying the text on the playmat itself, or a popup window that goes away when you select your answer. If either of those solutions does not work, then you have to brainstorm a more elegant solution than the way it is now.

4) Remove/Resize the doodads

The graveyard, hand, library, mana pool, avartar, name information takes up too much room. There are a lot of different ways to display this information that woruld work. The important thing though especially with the mana pool is to have it not take up space when its not in use. A neat thing here would just be to have mana symbols with numbers in them in the upper right corner of the playmat appear when you tap lands.

The net results of these changes should be a massive increase in the size of the playmat. One of the difficult things that needs to be addressed is that you have more horizontal space than vertial, and in a typical game, vertical space seems to be valued more. These are tough issues, and the interface should not be taken lightly.
1) Wasted space on game board. (Read: the entire left hand column)
2) Unintuitive turn phase graphics--I really don't think this is a case of "not being used" to the new UI, as I don't remember any learning curve at all regarding this when I started playing v2.5.
3) Near invisible minimize/maximize/quit buttons in the top right. I've accidentally quit the client because of not being able to tell what I was clicking on...not good.
4) Vertical chat bar.
5) Fonts
6) Cards unreadable unless zoomed. (Zoom feature is GREAT though.)
7) Generally cluttered info area for games (hand/graveyard/priority...all of these things require way to much thought to figure out what you're looking at. v2.5=no thought required, so you can actually think about gameplay instead)
8) Status window during games. For some reason I find it much less user-friendly than what shows up in v2.5. I wish there were an easier way to tell instantly who has priority and where we are in the turn.

I tend to think v2.5 is kind of ugly...but after spending a week playing on v3b, I've come to appreciate it MUCH more. v3b gives me headaches from not being able to read the cards, and not being able to see buttons clearly. The games I've played have been just plain not fun...

EDIT: Just saw the thread about the "old" v3 interface and followed the link to look at pictures. It's stunning how much clearer, simpler, just plain better these pictures look. What happened??
This is like watching two trains coming at each other full speed on the same track. You can see the crash is coming but there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

With only 10 weeks left to meet the "first half of 2007" deadline, it sure doesn't give you much time to start making the TOP 10 requested User Interface fixes. Is the plan just to "push it out the door" no matter what?

From what Tyson Vonn just posted on the beta boards, it would seem like a lot of the UI problems are tied to the fact that the 3D scenes aren't working. Maybe it would be smart to take an extra month or two to fix those and you might find that the UI problems improve on their own.

I don't think it will do much good, but here's my TOP 1 UI Concern:

Fix the Scroll Bars. There needs to be a scroll button at both the top and bottom. Plus text and graphics constantly overdraw them. Standardize.
1) Echoing everyone else - UI

2) 32 trade limit - rediculious and unhealth!

3) Lack of 1700 + room (just my personal wish)

Psst. Pal. Everyone else is talking about UI because, get this, hehe, this thread is titled "Top 10 v3 User Interface Concerns Thread."
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
1. There is no obvious way to minimize pop-up zones like graveyard, RFG, and revealed cards.
2. Location of pop-ups is not stored. They always pop up in the same place in each game and I have to move them off to the side. (Would anyone actually be able to play with the pop-ups in their default location without moving them? If not, then why is that the default?)
3. There is no feedback available about what stage the other games in a tournament are or roughly how much time is left in a round once you are done with your match.
4. Chat beeps continue from all open chats rather than just the active one on top.
5. When v3 is minimised, every chat post in all open rooms highlights the program. Thus, when you've minimized a game for a disconnected or otherwise unresponsive opponent, there's no way to know when she's returned to the game without keeping the game open. I guess I'm suppose to close all the chats?
(6. Does the most recent build save your settings? I know that in previous weeks that changing chat backgrounds, and text colors (and game turn stops for that matter) was pretty pointless since the settings would not be saved from one session to the next.)
7. Everything currently in the left column and your hand should be a movable, minimizable, pop-up whose location is stored on your HD from one session to the next.
1. Play area could be bigger.

2. Cards are often Unreadable unless zoomed. (Mana costs are unreadable, names/type-lines disappear, pending damage very hard to read.) (This would be my #1 gripe)

3. Dock should be able to be horizontal.

4. Dock tabs should not jump around when selected.

5. Dock tabs/rooms should be able to be closed.

6. Chat: Shouldn't audibly alert me for each message sent in a chat room. Shouldn't flash the taskbar whenever a chat message is received. (add chat to trades)

7. Alerts: Should audibly alert me when I have priority, a choice to make in a game, or a new PM/trade has been initiated. Also only those should trigger task bar flashing.

8. In game "ok" and "yes"/"no" buttons are unresponsive. Sometimes seems like lag, other times seems like I never pressed it when I did.

9. Save settings when client is exited.

10. More contrast needed for chat areas.

Seconded. This list is basically exactly what I would put.

P.S. my favorite new feature: the set stops are now displayed and changeble from the play mat
1) Wasted space on game board. (Read: the entire left hand column)
2) Unintuitive turn phase graphics--I really don't think this is a case of "not being used" to the new UI, as I don't remember any learning curve at all regarding this when I started playing v2.5.
3) Near invisible minimize/maximize/quit buttons in the top right. I've accidentally quit the client because of not being able to tell what I was clicking on...not good.
4) Vertical chat bar.
5) Fonts
6) Cards unreadable unless zoomed. (Zoom feature is GREAT though.)
7) Generally cluttered info area for games (hand/graveyard/priority...all of these things require way to much thought to figure out what you're looking at. v2.5=no thought required, so you can actually think about gameplay instead)
8) Status window during games. For some reason I find it much less user-friendly than what shows up in v2.5. I wish there were an easier way to tell instantly who has priority and where we are in the turn.

I tend to think v2.5 is kind of ugly...but after spending a week playing on v3b, I've come to appreciate it MUCH more. v3b gives me headaches from not being able to read the cards, and not being able to see buttons clearly. The games I've played have been just plain not fun...

EDIT: Just saw the thread about the "old" v3 interface and followed the link to look at pictures. It's stunning how much clearer, simpler, just plain better these pictures look. What happened??

+1 from me. My thoughts exactly on all of these issues.
My biggest concern is that the people in charge haven't been publicly fired.

This thread is galling. Do you need a top ten list? Your people can't read threads and see what's important? They can't look at the beta, and compare their personal experience against the complaints? You can't navigate these boards and interpolate information, and you expect us to believe that you can fix the stinky pile that is beta? Sophmore graphic design major could tell you what's wrong with the interface. Instead, you want to see who will waste their time to document it for you? Did the concept of focus groups not make it to Washington state? Seriously, go set up a booth in the nearest mall, and pay teenage girls $10 each to spend 2 minutes looking at your beta.

Just in case you missed it:
#1. A trading card game should focus on the trading cards. Big, beautiful, clear, legible cards. The art and flavor are the heart of Magic.

#2. I'm afraid, for the first time since I joined, that MTGO isn't viable anymore. I'd rather watch TV than play Magic if I had to play it on something like the beta. The possibility of not being able to enjoy MTGO anymore bothers me a great deal.
P.S. my favorite new feature: the set stops are now displayed and changeble from the play mat

Set stops are displayed and changeable in 2.5.
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
From the Beta Boards
Show
Top 10 Requested Changes


1. Let us Move the dock or put it at the BOTTOM of the client

2. Open/Close Dock buttons are hard to find - Bug 17192

3. Ability to close the tabs on the Navigation Bar (and in the dock) - Bug 17410

4. Buttons!! (all button issues here - too small/color/placement)

5. Play/Dual area too small

6. Large screen/Wide Screen/Dual Screen support

7. Right click Context menu's (game rooms right click in the area where the tables are displayed to get the options to start a new game, etc)

8. Graphics/Art Fuzzy (includes UI/Textures for chat etc)

9. Interface Not intuitive (lack of pop-ups/extreme departure from 2.5 included in here)

10. Too much dead space (empty space in game rooms included in here)]



5) My Games - can we save replays?

IDK about how long they last or how there saved but a day or two ago I saw that I had games from 2+ weeks ago in my games tab.

2) Remove the Zoom.

Cards should be readable from the playmat. I should not have to mouse over a card to read it. Rely on players being able to see the artwork and know the card. If after playtesting it just can't be done, then you have to brainstorm a truly elegant solution. The giant card face in the upper left hand corner is not it.

I don't know what resolution you play 2.5 on but my cards are much smaller than on v3, there is no way you should be able to read all of a card from the playmat. IMO the zoom is a great feature, when I play 2.5 now I'm constantly trying to zoom my cards
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/213/466624243_a93bd81527_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/182/466502244_2c73b19d1a_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/196/466624233_fe8dde3f39_b.jpg
So the mana wheel is huge and the v3 cards are bigger than v2(at least with my 1400x1050 resolution)[which I personally don't like]

My forever unfinished blog of the 2010 MTGO Community Cup: if you're ever bored...
I don't know what resolution you play 2.5 on but my cards are much smaller than on v3, there is no way you should be able to read all of a card from the playmat. IMO the zoom is a great feature, when I play 2.5 now I'm constantly trying to zoom my cards
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/213/466624243_a93bd81527_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/182/466502244_2c73b19d1a_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/196/466624233_fe8dde3f39_b.jpg
So the mana wheel is huge and the v3 cards are bigger than v2(at least with my 1400x1050 resolution)

I agree that v3 is better, but imo it is not good enough from this perspective. My issue isn't so much with the zoom feature, because ultimatley maybe you have to have it, its the fact that the "zoom window" in the upper left is static and there even when I don't need it.
Actually, I think the cards in v3 are too big

My forever unfinished blog of the 2010 MTGO Community Cup: if you're ever bored...
My Impressions

Note: I'm writing this as I am currently going through the screens. This is not intended to be my top 10, but a brief narrative detailing what my opinion of the UI is and what needs to be changed. Some of what I may write about could just be the machine that I'm running it on. Please take with a grain of salt.

First Impressions
The first thing I notice when at the login window is that when looking around the window, the minimize, maximize, and close buttons are almost illegible. Looking around the rest of the screen, I notice a green bar on the right that serves no apparent purpose at this point, makes the screen a little inconsistent in that you don't have the same bar on the left. The menu is on the bottom, odd, but not something I am totally unfamiliar with. The arrow to the left of the 'Menu' option is to lightly shaded and is hard for me to make out. The menu in and of itself is relatively easy to read, so far no problems with fonts. That is all I notice for the login window as far as UI

Logged In
Looking around the home page for MTGO I notice that the text under announcements is difficult for me to read. The shadow around them makes it easier, but it is still a challenge.

The Green marble headers next to the brown marble appears to look pretty good. I like how it is clearly separates the two, especially if you are color blind, something I have seen to many people forget to take into account on UI design.

The transparency of the Announcements and Community sections is nice, but I would think the community side would resize if you had the tabs out or not. Currently appears to always be the same size. Could make reading things very difficult if the text happens to go past the tabs.

Looking at the tabs, the icons to undock and what-not...have the same problem as the maximize, minimize, and close buttons. There isn't enough color contrast between the buttons and the background. They tend to flow together. The tabs look nice, but I first found finding the arrow to minimize them, while in an obvious place, just didn't jump out at me at first. It does now no problem.

Hovering over the tab headers brings up a pop-up help. While I like transparency as much as the next guy, transparency layered upon transparency can make the text difficult to read. However, with that said, I could read the text just fine. Just something that seems to rattle around in that hollow skull of mine.

Looking at the left and right of the screen again (with the tabs minimized) I see some wasted space. I wouldn't think I need a half inch of graphics on the left and on the right. The framed look is nice, but it could probably be slimmed down a bit.

Looking at the menu more, it seems as though some menu items are intentionally darker than others. Could just be the marble effect, not sure. It jumped out at me the most on the play menu item. Casual Play and Tournaments seemed dark while Leagues and My Games were light. Like I said, could just be the marbling effect. The black text on the green marble that seems to be lined with black can make the text a little difficult to read, at least at first impression. The number of players in the rooms is also difficult to read. To be honest the only reason I noticed them was because there was a white drop shadow on the numbers.

Collection
The look of the collection I like. I think the twine down the middle of the page to give this an old notebook type feel is very nice. I notice 3 dark brown bars on the screen looking to be between 3/4 and 1" in height. These are for Owned and For Trade. For some reason I can't help but think you don't need that much vertical space to see what you own and what is for trade.

Flipping through the menus I notice they have the same problem that the room numbers had. That is the text is non bolded and gives me an eye strain trying to read them. I didn't even notice the down arrow on the Set, Color, type drop down. It blended in to much with the background and got lost behind the text. Also, the show Non-MTGO checkbox blends in to well with the background.

Deck Editor
See the menu comments above.

Clans / Hall of Champions
I like these, I can't figure out how to get rid of them without logging out and logging back in. Should probably be a little clearer on that.

I would go through the rest of the screens....but right now I'm tired and I think I've been writing this for the past hour....Happy reading :D. This may very well be the longest post I've done one these boards....now I now why I don't do them.
My Impressions

Note: I'm writing this as I am currently going through the screens. This is not intended to be my top 10, but a brief narrative detailing what my opinion of the UI is and what needs to be changed. Some of what I may write about could just be the machine that I'm running it on. Please take with a grain of salt.

First Impressions
The first thing I notice when at the login window is that when looking around the window, the minimize, maximize, and close buttons are almost illegible. Looking around the rest of the screen, I notice a green bar on the right that serves no apparent purpose at this point, makes the screen a little inconsistent in that you don't have the same bar on the left. The menu is on the bottom, odd, but not something I am totally unfamiliar with. The arrow to the left of the 'Menu' option is to lightly shaded and is hard for me to make out. The menu in and of itself is relatively easy to read, so far no problems with fonts. That is all I notice for the login window as far as UI

Logged In
Looking around the home page for MTGO I notice that the text under announcements is difficult for me to read. The shadow around them makes it easier, but it is still a challenge.

The Green marble headers next to the brown marble appears to look pretty good. I like how it is clearly separates the two, especially if you are color blind, something I have seen to many people forget to take into account on UI design.

The transparency of the Announcements and Community sections is nice, but I would think the community side would resize if you had the tabs out or not. Currently appears to always be the same size. Could make reading things very difficult if the text happens to go past the tabs.

Looking at the tabs, the icons to undock and what-not...have the same problem as the maximize, minimize, and close buttons. There isn't enough color contrast between the buttons and the background. They tend to flow together. The tabs look nice, but I first found finding the arrow to minimize them, while in an obvious place, just didn't jump out at me at first. It does now no problem.

Hovering over the tab headers brings up a pop-up help. While I like transparency as much as the next guy, transparency layered upon transparency can make the text difficult to read. However, with that said, I could read the text just fine. Just something that seems to rattle around in that hollow skull of mine.

Looking at the left and right of the screen again (with the tabs minimized) I see some wasted space. I wouldn't think I need a half inch of graphics on the left and on the right. The framed look is nice, but it could probably be slimmed down a bit.

Looking at the menu more, it seems as though some menu items are intentionally darker than others. Could just be the marble effect, not sure. It jumped out at me the most on the play menu item. Casual Play and Tournaments seemed dark while Leagues and My Games were light. Like I said, could just be the marbling effect. The black text on the green marble that seems to be lined with black can make the text a little difficult to read, at least at first impression. The number of players in the rooms is also difficult to read. To be honest the only reason I noticed them was because there was a white drop shadow on the numbers.

Collection
The look of the collection I like. I think the twine down the middle of the page to give this an old notebook type feel is very nice. I notice 3 dark brown bars on the screen looking to be between 3/4 and 1" in height. These are for Owned and For Trade. For some reason I can't help but think you don't need that much vertical space to see what you own and what is for trade.

Flipping through the menus I notice they have the same problem that the room numbers had. That is the text is non bolded and gives me an eye strain trying to read them. I didn't even notice the down arrow on the Set, Color, type drop down. It blended in to much with the background and got lost behind the text. Also, the show Non-MTGO checkbox blends in to well with the background.

Deck Editor
See the menu comments above.

Clans / Hall of Champions
I like these, I can't figure out how to get rid of them without logging out and logging back in. Should probably be a little clearer on that.

I would go through the rest of the screens....but right now I'm tired and I think I've been writing this for the past hour....Happy reading :D. This may very well be the longest post I've done one these boards....now I now why I don't do them.

It's truly remarkable how difficult it is to read tiny little text on a marble background. I kinda suspect that this guy's pulling our legs (those of us such as me, dumb enough to pore slowly over the details) just to underscore this point.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. R. A. Heinlein - 1907-1988. My (now not-so) new sig. - adopted to celebrate certain events at WOTC culminating in April 2008. Now also celebrating other idiotic events in August 2009.
I'll try to keep this brief and I agree with a lot of other people's suggestions. I think the UI is a Major issue and not just something that we should be force to get used to. A user friendly UI is especially important for new players and veterans alike and should be easy enough to do basic things without a ton of confusion. I feel like this current UI does not come close to being user friendly and it's not just the fact that I dislike it but it's also the fact that it is confusing and I feel like a lot of things were done just to be different that were not needed.(docking) Please Please fix the UI and make this the top priority. I have already had 10 times as many people quitting and selling collections today as I normally do due to the outlook of 3.0 and I know this is mainly due to the UI and poor overall look of it.

Without further ado here is my short list:

1. No Docking- IRC style is what we need and don't reinvent the wheel into a square.

2. Better button placement

3. Chat similar to a real chat program like AIM, ICQ, google talk, MSN.. take your pick they all do a great job.

4. Less wasted space with ugly borders. This goes for the play mat too.

5. The trading and marketplace areas are a complete mess and i'm not sure what direction they are headed in but so far it's a bad one.

6. Better textures... The currect textures make the whole program look like it was one of my college projects for a 300 level class.

I'm sorry to be so harsh WOTC team but I want a good program just as much and a lot more than the next guy. Much love to everyone working hard on fixing things and I hope you take these concerns serious.
PureMTGO.com
Cape Fear Games located in Wilmington, NC. Get 20% extra MTGO credit for your paper cards.
I have tried to be patient with the UI...here are my issues.

(1) The Playmat
This simply needs to be bigger. As a reference point, it must be at least as big as the v2 playmat. However, you need to shoot for bigger. No exceptions. I am here to play with my cards, I do that on the playmat. Give me some space! Things to consider to achieve this:
-removing the gaudy mana wheel and replacing it with the current veritically orientated mana symbols we have now
-vertically orientating the hand, library, and graveyard symbols+counters
-vertically orientating the phase line and moving it next to the stack space

---Edit---
Just to add to this...the artwork in MTGO has never looked better. (Especially that sweet foil animation) In certain cases (especially zoomed in) it looks like the physical card is right there on the monitor. This is another reason why the reduced playmat bothers me. I want to oooohhhh and aaaaahhhh over the beautiful artwork, not see it squashed up in a corner.

(2) Right Clicks
In v2.0 you can right click practically anywhere and a menu pops up giving you options. In v3.0 you right click...and nothing. No option to do X, Y, and Z with you card. No option for display settings or to stop replaying, no option to concede, etc. In short, you can right click and do anything in 2.0. In v3.0 you have to hunt around to achieve what you want to do. It's not nearly as intuitive...especially if you've been using v2.0 for any amount of time. I've been trained to right click...now you want me to do something totally different. It's like trying to run in water.

(3) Hide Windows Taskbar option
As far as I can tell, this isn't working. I have it unchecked, and v3.0 is still hiding my taskbar. This is extremely annoying. If I'm not playing in a tournament and/or seriously testing a deck, then I'm more than likely multitasking. Whether it be reading a website, screwing around in Itunes, chatting over IM, etc. I need to be able to multitask without having to jump through hoops.

(4) Work Offline Option
Where is it? Sometimes I just want to see what a deck looks like and/or what cards I need to purchase in order to run said deck.

(5) The Font
Increase the size please. While smooth, it's on the small side, and hard to read with how cramped the UI is. The zoom feature should be optional, not mandatory.

I think those are my biggest issues right now. To be perfectly honest, those issues are keeping me from spending more time with the beta. For me, it's like pulling teeth to play on the v3.0 client. I do not like it, and I do not find it enjoyable. If that's what ships when v3.0 is live, then I will use it under duress. But given the choice, well, I'd rather use v2.0 right now.

Keep in mind that user interfaces are often a matter of taste and not everyone will agree on what is good or bad. Also, remember that most UIs require getting used to, and almost *no one* enjoys a new interface when they first try it

I'd just like to touch on this. Yes, the user interface is a matter of taste, and for that reason you should definetely push the option of UI customization to the devs. For example, look at the base WoW UI. Yes, it's nice, sterile, and functional. For many people, that is all they need to dive right in and enjoy Warcraft. But for the more hardcore, the UI is junk. They go out and download a mod, or they do it on their own. They end up with something that has layer after layer of options that they can customize. Some of those mods out there are truly beatiful and jaw dropping, it's like playing a whole different game almost. Maybe the customization doesn't need to be that deep for v3.0, but it should be there for us to tinker with. Those that want to use your UI are free to do so, while for those of us who keep running our mouths saying we can do a better job...well, give us those tools and watch us fall flat on our face, or watch us succeed brillantly.

The benefits of UI customization I see are twofold:
(1) Allows the devs to focus on the UI making it as streamlined as possible for the average user
(2) It pacifies the community as they don't have to worry about the finer points of the UI...we can fix those with our UI mods once the program goes live.
I'm going to echo a lot of the statements I've made on the beta boards. Also, be warned. This is probably going to be quite long.

At this stage of the game, I should be excited to be a part of the beta testing process. I should be drooling all over 3.0 and trying to figure out what cute little things I can find and/or do. I'm not. I've tried to make myself like 3.0. I really have. But at this point, I've gone back to playing on the live server. And I've noticed that several others prefer being on 2.5 over 3.0, also -- even when the free drafts are working. More on that later, though. Your customers shouldn't be here coming up with a top 10 list about what's wrong with 3.0. At this point, we should be here coming up with a top 10 list about what we like about 3.0.

The fact that we're here coming up with this list in the first place should be your biggest concern, and that fact alone should tell you far more than any of the replies you'll get.

To try to keep on topic, scrap the UI. Remember the skin that was previewed on IGN? To refresh everyone's memory:

http://media.pc.ign.com/media/801/801185/img_3411960.html
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/801/801185/img_3411965.html
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/801/801185/img_3411962.html
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/801/801185/img_3411963.html

This skin was scrapped for being "too sci-fi", despite the fact that it was cleaner, easier to read, and simply looked better. Yes, I'm sure there were other problems as well, but I think most people will agree that going from that skin to the current 3.0 skin was a huge step backwards.

The "Too sci-fi" excuse has now gone out the window. Half your newest set has a much more "sci-fi" look than the IGN preview skin does. And I could come up with plenty of card artwork that was far more "sci-fi" oriented than fantasy oriented. Heck, you did an entire block of cards that was essentially sci-fi with a fantasy twist.

I've said it on the beta boards, and I'll say it now: Releasing 3.0 with the current skin will be a relations disaster. People will tear you apart. Seriously. I don't care how stable the servers are, they're useless if the interface is an ugly, hard to navigate, difficult to use eyesore. And that's what 3.0 currently is. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I'm being a lot nicer about it now than many of the players will be once they see what we've been waiting 3+ years for -- especially after they're reminded that the release was delayed 8 months to get where we are. "We waited an extra 8 months for THIS????!!!!???" will be a very common statement. And that'll be on the 'nice' end.

If I were to look for a new apartment, the landlord may tell me how he just upgraded the wiring and installed central heating/air conditioning. He may tell me all sorts of things he's done to the inner workings of the game. Those improvements may make living in that apartment a lot more comfortable, too. But if I walk in and the walls are painted neon green with bright purple polka dots, and I can't change it, I'm not moving in. Period. Get it?

I'm also upset that the general public has been misled about how close we are to a release. Even if you don't consider the UI, we are nowhere near as close to a release as we've been led to believe. I'd like to state at this point that I haven't been on beta in about a week, so there could have been some drastic improvements made. However, as of last week, there were several critical bugs regarding drafts, and drafts not working for days at a time were commonplace. And in the rare times they were working, drafts rarely to never went to their logical conclusion, as there were many bugs that would cause a draft to hang and crash, some of which would prevent the user from logging back in if he/she were to log off.

Which gets me to my next point: Right now, 3.0 has even less functionality than 2.5 does, and not all of the functions we have even work properly. It's not even the big things we've lost. We've lost a lot of the "little" things. For example, there's no more timer in the lower right corner letting you know how long there is left in the round. There's no 20 second (or 2 minute, for PE's) countdown letting you know the next round is about to begin. When you're done with your match, you have no idea if the next round is 20 minutes away, or 5 seconds. Yes, you could never make a 100% accurate estimate of when the next round was going to start under the current setup, either. But you could make a reasonable educated guess. Now, you have absolutely nothing to go on.

We've also lost the ability to chat in trades. This is going to be a problem. More importantly, though, we've lost the ability to mark things as tradeable/untradeable once the trade is started. This is going to be an even bigger problem, and mark my words -- scammers will take advantage of this. If someone takes extra stuff, you can't mark it as untradeable. Well, you can *mark* it, but it won't make a difference. I'll say it again: Scammers will take advantage of this, convincing people who are used to the current interface that marking something as untradeable will remove it from the trade.. I've been told that this was by design, in an attempt to stop people from removing items from the trade at the last second and hoping the other person won't notice. However, the cure is worse than the disease. This will cause more problems than it solves.

And who thought up the idea of the vertical chat room? Do you know why chat rooms are set up with the list of people in the room on the right side instead of on the bottom? Because it works! It's been that way for as long as chat rooms have existed. Why change it needlessly? I understand the idea behind the current docking setup. The idea is good. The implementation was horrible.

I'm starting to get a bit off topic, though, and my hands are getting tired. There are numerous other things I could also discuss, but I'll sum things up to the best of my ability:

1) A UI needs to be desinged that has the desired functionality that 3.0 should have, but also be pleasing to the eye and easy to use. The current skin has none of that. It needs to be re-designed, again. The IGN preview skin is a good place to start. And lose the "too sci-fi" idea. The skin looks a hell of a lot better than the steaming pile we've got now.

2) 3.0 should at least start off with the same level of functionality as 2.5. You don't realize how important those little features that we take for granted are until they're gone.

3) The trade system needs to be heavily reconsidered. The lack of a chat box and the locked-in tradeability of cards will cause far more problems than they intended to solve. Whoever came up with that idea had his heart in the right place, but probably didn't really think things through.

4) Start being honest about how close we really are to a release. You and I both know that we're nowhere near as close as the blog entries have led players to believe. If you release 3.0 any time in the near future without getting the many critical bugs that it has ironed out, it will make events like the 2.0 release, darksteel crashes, and CVP seem like a typo on a word document by comparison.
(2) Right Clicks
In v2.0 you can right click practically anywhere and a menu pops up giving you options. In v3.0 you right click...and nothing. No option to do X, Y, and Z with you card. No option for display settings or to stop replaying, no option to concede, etc. In short, you can right click and do anything in 2.0. In v3.0 you have to hunt around to achieve what you want to do. It's not nearly as intuitive...especially if you've been using v2.0 for any amount of time. I've been trained to right click...now you want me to do something totally different. It's like trying to run in water.

(4) Work Offline Option
Where is it? Sometimes I just want to see what a deck looks like and/or what cards I need to purchase in order to run said deck.

Right Click problems are bugs. They intend to be fixed. Work Offline is simple: don't log in and just click on collection or deck editor like you would normally.
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
1) The Playing Area for the cards (Playmat) needs to be bigger.
The "locked in" trade thing will be awkward for me. Sometimes I'll be in a trade, find a billion cards I need, and ask if there is anything the other trader looking for.

I have cards that I won't normally trade without a good deal, for example when bot prices are too low and I get a lame value for a card. If the other trader has some nice stuff I need I'll trade it anyway. Kind of like paying a higher price for faster and efficient service.

I dislike when functionality is nerfed to help stupid users. There are too many quotes to describe this situation, but somebody is always going to be stupid. Once I didn't check my trade close enough and got ripped off. I didn't blame the program or WoTC, just myself. Program wasn't stupid, I was.
Your customers shouldn't be here coming up with a top 10 list about what's wrong with 3.0. At this point, we should be here coming up with a top 10 list about what we like about 3.0.

The fact that we're here coming up with this list in the first place should be your biggest concern, and that fact alone should tell you far more than any of the replies you'll get.

IMO I think this is good thing that They ask Us what to fix. Who else could they ask what to fix if not us - the heavy users.
They Just Really need to FIX these things we come up.

I know they will
1. The program 'needs' an API. Make the interface code modular and accessible through .lua files. The community can fix the rest. Obviously certain parts of the code will need to have access to protected only functions -- but that's possible. As many other folks have said -- that's a feature of World of Warcraft (and other games) that would really makes sense for MTGO.

2. Separate the chat function entirely from the game client. Make it moveable, scalable, hideable and have a notification function instead of popping up and forcing conversations.

3. The scroll bars. Make them more standard and less stylized. In this case, less is truly more.

Later,

Don!
A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
1. I cant read any of the cards without zooming. The font is awful and things dont fit together properly on the cards. But mainly I just cannot read them.

2. The game UI is a mess. It's more cluttered, less clear, and in every way worse than what we already have.

3. Specifically, the handling of the graveyard is awful. The phase indicators are not clear and the info panel of the left needs to be streamlined.

4. Generally the game is not intuitive at all. Buttons are scattered randomly and I have no idea how I am meant to use it. Some of that is likely the newness, but I think its also badly designed.

5. The dock doesn't seem like the best idea to me. It definetly needs more options for customisability. Right now I don't really understand why I want it to be there.

6. It's too dark and dreary. You'll never please everyone, so more customisation options would be good, but the default skin should be more neutral.

7. I don't think card art is as good a resolution as it should be. The art is definetly not as good as that found in the gatherer, for example.

8. I don't understand why some things scale when resized, and other things don't. Some things seems like they should work one way but don't.
IMO I think this is good thing that They ask Us what to fix. Who else could they ask what to fix if not us - the heavy users.
They Just Really need to FIX these things we come up.

I know they will

Maybe I should be a little bit more clear.

We should not be coming up with this sort of list at this stage of development. This discussion would have been far more appropraite 6 months or a year ago.

If WotC's timeline is to be believed, 3.0 is going to be launched within the next two months. At this stage, they should be ironing out the last of the minor bugs that can be easily found. We shouldn't have features that are working intermittently, if at all. We shouldn't have a UI that's almost universally hated, to the point where some people are asking for it to be scrapped or heavily reworked. We should be using a client that's almost ready to go. We're not.

We should not be at this point at this stage of development. We should be discussing how great 3.0 is, while pointing out the last of the easily noticeable bugs and griping over our own personal pet peeves.

That's what I meant. The fact that we're having this form of discussion at all speaks more than the individual points raised in it.
To add to my original concerns, and give some ideas on how to fix them:

1) Scrap the current borders and replace them with a few pixel wide border. The border graphics are inefficient and likely part of the problem with the scalable interface since they appear to be hard coded (at least from what I can tell based on the names they're given). This will free up at least an inch of horizontal space in the client while navigating and using the deck editor and collection screen, as well as many other parts of the interface will get more room to be used. This is the biggest concern for me right now. Mostly because if we get more space for the screens, the cards can be made a bit bigger, which should also make them easier to read.

2) Lighten the background textures. Or better yet, don't make a textured background the default. I understand that you want it to feel 'fantasy'-ish, but please understand that we want to be able to easily read the text.

3) Fix the mana costs on the cards. Use sharper images for the mana costs. They are very difficult to read unless you zoom. That shouldn't be the case. The zoom is a good feature, but it shouldn't be necessary to just read the card.

Once those are fixed, I think that the client would be 'usable' in a normal way. Although that still doesn't fix the inefficient play screen. That needs to be addressed. But I'm not so good with graphic design (which is what that screen really needs).
MTGO SVCL - Ask me for help if you're lost or confused!
Font scaling does not work correctly in a wide screen aspect ratio and text is unreadable.
Cards teleport everywhere instead of "gliding (as in v2)"
This is something that is very off-putting, but many cannot put their finger on what's wrong until its pointed out. Now that i've pointed it out, can i get some agreement?
Mostly want to echo the total disappointment in v3. I also was excited to be in the beta. But now logging on just makes me sad because I suspect that WoTC is going to push it out the door soon and unless some BIG changes are made its pretty much unplayable.

1) I run at 1600x1200 I understand not everyone does but right now v2.5 does a pretty good job of scaling up to that size. I think I read somewhere that v3 was made on purpose for 1 resolution. I am not sure if that is true but when I go full screen with it things just look blocky. At my resolution all cards should be readable without zooming in on the card. I don't have a problem with the zoom but I should not be forced to use it if I am running at a high enough resolution.

2) I understand that some parts of the UI need to change that is fine but v3 should be 90% common with v2.5. This is not a new game, this is a new version of an existing (and popular) game why force us all back to square one on the learning curve?

3) I would not suggest taking it for a focus group at the mall. Take it to the next Pro Tour. I know a lot of the Pros use MTGO for testing decks, go show them what you have planned. (But have extra security because you might start a riot) Maybe if you hear this same message from magic players good enough to have their faces printed on cards you will realize just how badly you have messed things up.
I'd like some more obvious cues when you get priority. The small, gray OK button just doesn't do it for me. I often sit and play big multiplayer games, and watch the screen out of the corner of my eye while I watch TV, in case I have to do anything. When I get priority in V3, I often don't notice, and I feel bad, because I don't like wasting other people's time in-game.
1) Personally, I would like the Playing Area (Playmat) to be much WIDER .

It seems that the width of the left hand side (including arrangement of icons for hand/library/graveyard, color mana wheel, etc.), the borders and the chat/game info area on the right hand side are having an undesirable impact on this.

I don't find the actual interface too bad, in terms of how easy it is to play a game. I've gotten used to it pretty quickly and it's fairly easy to understand what's happening. It's just that the lack of width for the playmats gives it a cramped/claustrophobic sort of feeling. Give me that Movie Widescreen effect!!

Actually, I just found out that you can close off the right hand side which makes the play area look considerably better! Now if they can somehow reduce the width of the information on the left hand side too ...
My #1 concern is that 3.0 will be released. It seems like it's taking a large step backwards in usability and I don't know if I'll be interested in playing anymore. I may use the new client to sell off my collection I guess...heh