Thanks for this feedback. TIL Calm Tech! Excellent ideas there. Based on that idea, I think the designs could be “toned down” a bit.
By the way, in VizHub 1 there was no visual feedback for the timer. It just happened sort of in the background. Multiple students mentioned that it was a bit confusing that the auto-run “just happened”, and I thought there could be some sort of non-intrusuve visual feedback to inform the user about the timing mechanism. So, I think there should be something there, but I agree with you that it should not be too distracting.
Here’s another pass at the visual design taking calm tech principles into account:
Blue progress indicator for timer follows the same outline as already exists. Should not be too visually distracting as it’s only a subtle color change. No change to outline structure, but if you look directly at it you can tell it’s there and moving.
If no changes are pending, this will appear black and clicking this will resume auto-run.
If changes are pending, this will appear blue and clicking this will run the currently pending changes. The color transitions here can be made smooth, so as not to distract too much.
By the way, running and saving are disconnected. All changes are saved in real-time, and not synchronized to when the code is run here. I agree that the user should be informed of the saving status, but I think that’s a separate concern. Related: Feature Request: Saving/Saved Indicator