Wolfram Mathematica, a quick analysis.

Summary — The following are suggestions based on my intial research and impressions of Mathematica’s native desktop client for macOS version

I’ve chosen to address the welcome screen and specific features for the Suggestion Bar within the Notebook interface, offering potential solutions and ideas for future development. These suggestions are from my own perspective as a new user.

Research — Before installing, I searched various Wolfram Community groups: Mathematica, Product Set Up, Know-How, and Wolfram Language to gain a better understanding of how others are using the application. I also used various video tutorials including ‘Hands on Start to Mathematica’ to learn different features and methods of interacting with the software, and referenced the Mathematica StackExchange community for insights on user behavior.

A few of the resources used for gaining a better understanding of Mathematica and its users.

As a first time user, an overwhelming amount of content is available for discovery and documentation is very thorough. Briefly, I compared features with two competing products, MatLab and SciPy, for context of where Mathematica exists in the market.

Recommendations | Welcome Screen — Mathematica’s welcome screen has been redesigned with each successive version, and but has maintained a similar information heirarchy.

Previous welcome screens and current welcome screen (bottom) displaying submenu for a New Document

In my update, I attempted to reduce the complexity and visual heft of the original by stripping away the numbered list, ‘New Document’ ornamentation and submenu, and Cloud login. Recent files have been given more real estate and are positioned at the right side of the screen, displaying their file extension to provide context. Given the number of possible file types, showing the extension is a more straightforward solution rather than using individual type specific icons beside each file. I’ve listed new document examples alongside the ‘Get Started’, ‘Documentation’, and community resources, along with more descriptive language. Wolfram Cloud login is now a prompt when choosing ‘Open from Cloud’. Finally, at the bottom of the screen, I added a search bar for an aggregate search of the Mathematica community.

Updated welcome screen

Expanding the Predictive Interface — Mathematica first introduced a predictive interface in version 9, allowing for a contextually aware commands. I propose to expand to the contextual awareness of the Suggestions Bar, allowing it to more easily style plain text. 

Above: The Input Assistant offers context-sensitive autocompletion during Wolfram Language input.
Below: The Suggestion Bar visible for modifying the output cell’s contents.

The Suggestions Bar, a contextual ribbon menu, shows suggested actions for contents within the output cell. Currently, the bar is only active when styling output. However, the Suggestions Bar could be used to style text input as well, allowing for easier formatting of Plain Text.

Currently: Styling plain text means using three separate menus

Updated: The Suggestions Bar made available during plain text input.

Other Recommendations — Recognizing how important user feedback is when building software, the Suggestions Bar includes a 'Feedback' option. When clicked, an email template is opened within the user’s default email client. I suggest building this form within Mathematica (with the applicable fields "Suggest additional predictions", "Suggest predictions to remove", "General Comments") to keep users within the app and remove friction for users that do not use a native email client.