[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] RFC:Simple Help widget for activities

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Wed Mar 7 07:53:47 EST 2012

On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 7:37 AM, Gonzalo Odiard <gonzalo at laptop.org> wrote:
> We receive many times request about adding help in the activities,
> and if is true Sugar propose a exploratory approach,
> not all the people learn in the same way,
> and there are people who prefer a little guidance.
> For the development we need a simple api, and easy i18n,
> and a non obtrusive experience for the user.
> Inspired by the DescriptionItem, I was experimenting with a widget to add
> simple help to activities.
> This is not:
> * A manual
> * Lessons
> * Tips
> Is a short startup help for the activity.
> Use only text and the icons already used by the activity.
> A example can be seen here:
> http://dev.laptop.org/~gonzalo/images/simple_graph_help.png
> In the activity we only need do:
>     helpitem = HelpButton()
>     toolbar.insert(helpitem, -1)
>     helpitem.show()
>     helpitem.add_section(_('Basic usage'))
>     helpitem.add_paragraph(_('First you need add data to create the
> graphic'))
>     helpitem.add_paragraph(_('You can add data with this button'),
>             'row-insert')
>     helpitem.add_paragraph(_('...or remove data with this button'),
>             'row-remove')
>     helpitem.add_paragraph(_('To change the graphic title, just change the
> activity title'))
> ....
> This proposal is late for sugar 0.96, but may be we can try it in one or two
> activities,
> and start thinking about this topic.
> I really like the help in the Implode activity, but have the following
> problems:
> * I don't know if apply to other type of activities.
> * Is modal
> * need a lot of code to implement it.
> Comments?
> Gonzalo
> _______________________________________________
> Sugar-devel mailing list
> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel

I am busy working on my 4th generation of help for TA. None of the
previous attempts have been satisfactory to date:

(1) FLOSS Manual and very extensive wiki page : no evidence that our
users are aware of these pages or have access to them;
(2) Hover help : really annoying to have pop ups all the time -- maybe
I could have adjusted the time outs, but it never seemed very good.
(3) Hover help where the messages appear on the toolbar : the help
toolbar must be selected at the time or the help messages are not
available -- not sure it is discoverable;
(4) Using mallard to generate an indexed manual. Not sure yet how I'll
integrate this into the activity, but is uses the strings from #2 and
#3 which are already in Pootle and artwork generated by the activity.

The advantage of the mallard approach is at least we'll get a help
manual that will work with yelp/browse even if the in-activity
experience is not better.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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