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

forster at ozonline.com.au forster at ozonline.com.au
Sun Mar 22 20:56:05 EDT 2009

> I view "resume by default" as a kind of ugly hack to paper over another
> problem ...  "Resume by default" discourages users from creating
> new documents until such time as we can handle the volume of documents
> they create.

Sugar should be "low entry, wide walls and high ceiling" That is, while being easy for beginners, it should grow with them and not impose limits. 

A good example of a wide walls and high ceiling is the show source feature. It allows Sugar and Activities to be re-purposed in ways we could not predict without compromising the low entry.

Sometimes there are difficult tradeoffs between low entry and wide walls high ceiling. 

The Journal is one. It has disempowered learners, they have no control of whether they save and the workings behind the curtain, the hierarchical file system and MIME, is hidden from them.

While giving learners a low entry - they do not have to worry about when and where to save, they rapidly hit the ceiling as the Journal fills up with spam.

We naturally want to organise our knowledge into hierarchies, its how we manage complexity. (I suspect it has to do with the limitations of short term memory  and the ability to chunk information and to bring a chunk in as one item.) Tagging is good, but best for information which is impractical to structure.

Anyway, the Journal, as it is, is not good at handling complexity. It is good for beginners but rapidly imposes limits. This is because it tries to anticipate the user's needs, automate processes and hide its workings.

It would be good if it was possible to bridge from beginning learners to the needs of more sophisticated users. It might be good if the saving behaviour could be changed from the control panel, defaulting to saving everything for beginners but able to be configured so that advanced users had more control. Likewise, some bridge from a flat file system to a hierarchical file system would be good. Also a bridge to making the workings more transparent, for example viewing and editing mime type?


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