I am embarrassed to confess that Stephanie Spong caught a gross user interface design blunder on my part: the handling of user input for taxes and subsidies. In lockstep conformance with the design of the rest of the program, these inputs are handled separately, each one with its own page. Stephanie observed that the game would work more smoothly if all the inputs were put on a single location. Well, duh! Once again, it’s time for me to recite my age-old mantra: “You snivelling fool!"
The implementation of this idea, however, is none too simple. First, after much experimentation, I determined that I cannot reduce all tax and subsidy inputs to a single page. Each input has two direct consequences; there are eight tax inputs and five subsidy inputs. That would mean that the Consequences box would have 26 items in its list. That’s way too many items to be practical. There is enough screen space to pull it off, but that Consequences box would become unusable, so I decided to keep them separate. One trick, however, greatly eased the problems: I merged Sulfur Dioxide Tax, NOx Tax, and Particulates Tax into a single page called Air Pollution Tax. This reduces the tax count from eight to five.
There will still be lots and lots of ramifications of this change. The two new pages will have to be custom-coded; fortunately, my display software can handle the change. In the process, I’ll get rid of the eight taxation pages and the five subsidy pages, but I’ll have to connect all the consequences of those pages to the amalgamated tax or subsidy page. And of course I’ll have to rewrite the text for the amalgamated pages.
Also, I’ll want to alter game so that it proceeds automatically to the taxes page at the outset of the game. That should be trivial to do.