[IAEP] 2 design proposals: home view, discoverable shortcuts

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Sun Mar 22 18:06:34 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Jameson Quinn wrote:
> Proposal 1: home view: "Filtered ring w/ side panels"
> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/User:Homunq/activity_ring_filters_and_sidepanes

I'm glad that you're thinking about tagging.  For all of our talk about
tags, we have yet to implement anything like a usable tagging system, and
without it we have essentially no organizational tools at all.  It should
be a high priority.  However,...

I don't like this design, though it does force me to think.  Opinions
about design are always mostly intuitive, so it's hard to justify any
particular opinion. However, let me try a few suggestions:

1.  Is this really necessary?  The tagging system's purpose is for
categorizing all Journal entries, as a student easily generates thousands
of entries.  However, the total number of Activities in existence is
relatively small (there are what, maybe about 50 that actually run in a
given build?).  Are we anywhere near the point where students have so many
Activities installed that the favorite/star system is insufficient?  Does
such a point even exist?

2.  I find these filters confusing, and I think users would do.  "Star"
makes sense; it filters the Activity bundles themselves.  "Recent" and
"Mine" seem to be filters not on the bundles, but on other Journal
entries.  I think placing them on the Home View, where the only items
shown are Activities, is tremendously confusing.  Those filters should
live in the Journal.

The purpose of the Home view is to allow users to launch new, empty
Activity instances in a convenient way.  Are you proposing a change in the
purpose of the Home view, and if so, why is your proposal better than
simply replacing the home view with the Journal?

3.  Selecting filters by dragging them is unnecessary.  A click should

4.  There is no provision for filtering by multiple tags, without which
tagging is a very weak organizational system.

5.  The distinction between "Start tagless" and "Start with current tag"
seems unnecessary and confusing.  Assigning or removing a tag should be a
trivial operation.

6.  The "Leftovers panel" does not seem to add any value.  Instead, we can
simply grow or shrink the number of items shown on the home view itself,
changing the ring into a sunflower, or eventually even a grid with scrollbars.
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