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

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 16:14:36 EDT 2012

2012/3/8 Manuel Quiñones <manuq at laptop.org>:
> Here is a mockup I did for the same activity with this ideas:
> http://dev.laptop.org/~manuq/simple_help_mock.png

I really like this work track. Manuel and Gonzalo's proposed examples
are, IMO, good to be options for activities.

The central goal is _a starting place for users to explore the UI_.
The users that need it the most are 6 to 8 year olds, and _teachers_.
The first group won't do very well with text, so text-based help is
only appropriate for activities where text is central.

Our UI has moved in the right direction (for the younger users) when
we moved to icon-based toolbars. This simplifies understanding the UI
for younger users, and enormously simplifies localization.

Now we need to "break the ice" when a user opens a new activity. "What
do I do first?" is the question we have to provide "hooks" for.

So I believe we should define some possible "getting started help"
options for activities, provide (simple) API support, and (great)
example implementations in the core activities. So the options, IMO,
should be along the lines of:

 - Where possible and relevant, avoid the empty canvas, show some
pre-selected content. Example: GetBooks, Browse, Wikipedia.

 - Images showing initial actions (as per Manuel's screenshot). Yes,
this seems more work up-front, but it is a ton less work in
localization, and is approachable for younger users. Of course, not
appropriate to all activities.

 - A brief animation (example: Implode).

 - A text help when appropriate. For example, it may be appropriate in Pippy.

It is important that we prioritize what is good for our users. We
spend a ton of effort in things that are invisible to our users (hi
commit msg and variable name nitpickers :-) ), we have to spend
similar effort in things our users see.... if we want happy users.


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- Software Architect - OLPC
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

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