New Foldit Interface

We are excited to release a new, single interface for Foldit.

One of the issues we’ve had in Foldit development is supporting both of the prior interfaces (Original Interface and Selection Interface). Not only does it take more effort to write to implement features in both interfaces, it’s also something of a user support issue, as it’s difficult for new players to come in learning one interface, and then get help from the documentation and experienced players for the other interface.

People with familiarity with the old Selection Interface will see similarities with the new interface, as we leaned heavily on the behavior of the Selection Interface for the new UI. (Selection interface is the preferred interface of a number of top users and the Foldit team, as well as allowing more flexibility for future improvements.) Most importantly, we kept the “selection” mechanic from the Selection Interface. To work on sub-sections of the protein, first select segments by clicking (and/or shift-clicking, ctrl-clicking [cmd-click for Mac] or double clicking) those sections you want, then select the action to use. Simply click the background to deselect segments and return to global actions.

Menu Panel: The Menu Panel can be accessed by clicking the Foldit icon in the upper left corner. This allows you to access overall game controls like changing puzzles, saving/loading solutions and exiting the program.

Puzzle Title: Click on the Puzzle title to go to the web page for the puzzle. (Try it on intro puzzles!)

Score Display: We’ve simplified the score display to focus more on the thing that counts -- your score.

Objective Panel: Previously, in puzzles with a large number of objectives, having the objective panel directly underneath the score meant that expanding it would block the main display. We’ve moved it off to the side, to lessen the interference when it’s expanded.

Side Buttons: For easy access, a number of panels can be accessed from convenient buttons on the left hand side of the screen: Help, Undo, View Options, Behavior Options and the Cookbook

Action Bar: Similar to the old Selection Interface, most of the actions you’ll use in working with the protein are found in the action bar. Unlike the SI, though, all the actions which are available on the puzzle should be present from the start - they may be disabled until you have the correct selection (check the tooltip on disabled actions), but they’ll be present. If you’re familiar with the Original Interface, the actions from the action popup menu and the right-click pie menu will now be found at the bottom of the screen.

No Modes: Gone are the “Modes” from the Original Interface. Instead, all functionality from the independent modes are available in the action bar. No more switching back-and-forth!

Mouse Control: The control of the view by clicking on the background should be unchanged. Use (left) click (either single or double, potentially while holding shift or ctrl [cmd for Macs]) to select residues. (Left) Click and drag does pull. Right click [control-click for single button Macs] can freeze a segment, double right click will freeze a region, and right click and drag will add a band.

View options: The behavior of the View Options menu has gotten an update. We’ve added support for view presets. This should allow you to develop your own customized combinations of view settings for different purposes, and easily switch between them. It will also allow us to put out suggested per-puzzle view settings, such that design puzzles can get a different default view from electron density puzzles or ligand puzzles.

To use a preset, simply select it from the list. You can also create a new preset from the current settings, edit the current preset, or delete your custom preset. Editing a preset brings up the customization options. These will only change your preset if you actually Save the preset, or return to the preset list (keeping the current view settings, but without changing the preset.)

The Future

We’re excited about the new, unified interface. This should allow us to more rapidly implement improvements to the program and the UI. We’re open to suggestions on how to make the new user interface more useful for all Foldit users.

Wondering where things went? We’ve put together a short guide on where various buttons and functionality have moved to.

( Posted by  rmoretti 68 377  |  Tue, 11/16/2021 - 18:17  |  17 comments )
alcor29's picture
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Questions re new UI

1 Cannot find the restore original sss function. Is the "back" button on the secondary structure icon supposed to do that? If so, does not appear to be doing that?
2 Is the tweak function (on old wheel) gone?
3.Is the only way to remove pick sidechains to hit the space bar?

Suggestion or question: Is it possible to state somewhere on the front of the gui whether we are on devprev or main? It is buried in General options menu item.

Thanks moretti.

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Answered queston one.

Reset structures now in undo menu. But then what does the "back" button do?

alcor29's picture
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Answered queston one.

Reset structures now in undo menu. But then what does the "back" button do?

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1. The back icon when pulling

1. The back icon when pulling up the assign secondary structures menu simply exits that sub pop-up menu without changing any secondary structure assignments.

2. The tweak functionality can be found by double clicking a secondary structural element. (I've added that to the changes guide - thanks.)

3. I'm not quite I'm understanding the question, but you should be able to exit out of the Pick Sidechains action by clicking the stop button in the lower left. (Using the space shortcut key should also work.)

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Another question

Will the cookbook remain the same? Was kind of hoping for something more sortable, searchable, organizable, etc.

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Perhaps in the future

One of the benefits of the new single UI is that it will make doing improvements to the interface easier. While we didn't do much with the Cookbook panel for this release, improvements in how to interact with the Cookbook is certainly something to think about.

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one player's review

I'd like to preface this by stating I'm a "top user", and I despised the Selection interface because it was not intuitive and took up too much screen real estate. Now that we're all stuck with what is essentially the Selection interface, I guess that... we're stuck with it.

First, the good points.

I'd been asking for a clickable link on the game title that takes one to the puzzle's web page. Huzzah! It's been done! Thank you.

You moved the Objectives drop-down to a less offensive location. A blessing, and greatly appreciated.

The View Options presets are awesome. I never cared for the game's default view settings (and I don't care for the new view presets). I do change my view, depending on the puzzle type, so having the ability to customize and save views makes switching from one puzzle type to another a painless procedure.

Now for the criticism.

I have no idea what half the buttons are on the Action Bar. Hovering over some only tells me what to do before I attempt to use those buttons, not what they are for.

The Action Bar can't be moved or hidden and should probably be vertical on the left side of the screen to make it less intrusive (and make the five icons already there smaller, horizontal, and tucked in the lower left corner).

You switched from "blue scores are good" in the leaderboards and Objectives to "(I think) green scores are good", without allowing colorblind mode to affect that part of the game. It looks hideous.

More screen real estate is eaten up by the Action Bar and Side Buttons, neither of which I can hide when I don't need to use them.

Does the score really need to be in 48-point type in such a huge box? Foldit is not an arcade game.

Rating: 6/10 - I don't like the new format, but the good points marginally outweigh the bad ones.

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And please...

And please put the player's current rank on that puzzle back with the score. When a script is running, I can't scroll the leaderboard to see where my score lies.

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Fully agree with you, Boots

Let me also start with a positive point: we have a hotkey for the Blueprint Panel, at last :-).

And in general, I am in favour of the idea to migrate to a single interface. It happens only too often that someone asks a question in chat, and you first have to find out which interface they are using. But I'm afraid it is not going to be easy to find an interface that makes (almost) all of us happy!

In my year and a half of folding, I have always been a big fan of the Selection interface, contrary to Boots (see above) and Angus (see But still, I fully agree with most points raised by Boots, especially the ones about screen real estate being wasted, and also the remarks about the hideous green text, and the huge font for the score. It hurts my eyes.

I also noticed that the ordering of all those Action Buttons is not fixed: when I change my window size, some buttons move to a different row, and partially in reverse order.

And then there's a few things that are not new "features", but just bugs that can be fixed (I hope!):

  • I tried finding the Backbone Pin, but up to now without success.
  • I also cannot see how many residues I have selected.
  • Each time I start a client, I have to manually uncheck "Show outlines" in the View options. Correction: in the "More View Options" panel.
  • I normally start my client with
    "gui/desired_window_width" : "1200"

    in the options.txt file. Apparently, that causes the panel with the puzzle title and the Objectives to become so small that I cannot read it, nor click it to open the Objectives panel. Only after I maximized the window, I was able to see what these three dots and a triangle actually represented!

For now, I will be switching back to the Main release, so I can place the Pin where I want it, and I do not have to count how many residues I have selected. I think the computer should be able to do that for me.

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Some things I dislike and

Some things I dislike and like about the new UI: mostly the former.

1) The icons in the Objective Panel are way too big: they take up unnecessary screen space.

2) Similarly the Score Panel is also too big: the panel to its left which displays the filter scores gets partially obscured. Meanwhile the Wiggle Progress Icon or whatever it's called gets relegated to an obscure location in the bottom left of the screen.

3) I like being able to group together various View preferences as collections but think it should be implemented from the View Options menu itself: as things stand you have to click twice to get to the View Options menu whereas previously once was sufficient.

4) I don't like green on black.

Preferences in UI are a very individual thing and I've always used the original interface which tended to emphasize text over icons. Still if this is what's necessary to move things forward...

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frankly, i'm pissed. the

frankly, i'm pissed. the selection interface has always been primitive and inefficient compared to the original. the only occasionally useful thing about it was the ability to 'select'...a feature that could've been added to the original interface.

as it stands, i'm quitting the game, after having been playing on and off for several years. i'm extremely disappointed. i can't play this 'new' interface. it's a giant step backward for foldit.

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We're open to constructive suggestions

We're sorry to hear you hate the new interface. Are there particular things about the selection interface which render it primitive and inefficient for your play style? We are making notes of everyone's suggestions and complaints, and are interested in further refining the new interface to work for everyone. While bringing back the original interface is not something which is in the cards, if we knew more about what you like about the original interface in comparison to the new interface, we can certainly think about improvements which would make it less inefficient for you.

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the original interface had

the original interface had menus, not a bunch of confusing icons in boxes. it wasn't cluttered with unnecessary buttons taking up screen space. right clicking brought up a a convenient menu wheel full of functions.

to call what you've done a new interface is ridiculous. all you've really done is remove the original and alter some cosmetic stuff, and not necessarily for the better.

what you've forced me to do is use the selection interface, which i never liked. i shouldn't have to make selections before wiggling or idealizing, etc. the original interface proved that wasn't necessary.

for example, selecting should be something done by pressing ctrl+left click. freezing should be done by pressing alt+left click. they should not be the default functions for the major mouse buttons. that is a complete waste of the mouse. and i've no idea how to push/pull anymore.

i could go on. i just don't understand why i should have to. i'm sorry for how i may sound, but this stuff seems to me to be completely obvious. 5 major universities now involved in foldit and it seems like amateurs are still doing the programming.

seriously, you'd be a lot further along right now if you simply added the selection ability to the original interface. is that so hard to do? does nobody agree or see that that would be a much better working environment? if i'm really alone in my thinking then i guess i don't belong here anymore.

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no reason to remove

I cannot see a reason to remove the original interface either.
It looked very nice, although I always liked more the ability to select residues.
Therefore, a combination of both would have been a more elegant way instead of removing one of both...

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Like i said in veteran chat,

Like i said in veteran chat, i've been using the selection interface for years. For me, it's more intuitive and easier to use which is not true for everyone. I like the new layout but agree with spvincent: the color choice--it's distracting (but i can live with it). and, agree with boots: it's nice that the objectives panel is no longer in a prominent position.

Would it be possible to switch the objectives panel with the group comp/soloist comp panel? On the puzzles with many objectives, i find that this panel, when open, is obscured by the running script panel. This is not a huge issue and i can live with this as well--especially since i can resize the objectives panel.

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action bar iconography

In the new interface, the action bar tool icons are always present, but they are grayed out if they can't be used at the moment. Some of the tools require a selection, some require bands.

It would be clearer if the hover help always identified which tool is which. For example, the remix tool says "Remix!" if a suitable selection is present, but only "Needs a continuous selection between 3 and 9 segments" otherwise. The little test tubes in the icon don't really provide that much of a clue.

A message like "Remix! (needs 3 to 9 continuous segments selected)" would be clearer.

Also, the remove bands and disable bands tools should probably be located next to each other.

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Making a poll?


It seems that people don't like that the original interface is missing in the new design... (I always preferred the selection design, but I would react the same way if it was abolished).
So why not ask people via a poll what interface they prefer before releasing a new design?
You might loose a bunch of players...

In general, you made quite big changes and you probably have a list of these changes.
So in a bigger poll you can e.g. say: we made new icons on the left hand side. How much do you like them from 1 to 5? What would you like to improve there?

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
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