[Sugar-devel] [DESIGN] 'Resume' vs 'Start a new' Activity
simon at schampijer.de
Thu Jan 7 03:09:58 EST 2010
I have observed certain difficulties with the 'resume' and 'start a new'
activity concept. At the moment we have the following situation:
*** Current Situation:
In the Home View you can resume an activity and start a new one. The
option to start a new activity is in the palette of the activity icon. A
list of last entries from this activity type is present in the palette
as well. When you click on the icon with the left mouse button, the last
activity is resumed by default. Clicking with the right mouse button on
the icon does reveal the activity palette. The activity is revealed
after a delay when hovering over the icon, too. Since version 0.86 when
you hold the alt-key pressed and click on the activity icon you can
start a new activity. This is visually guided by the uncolored activity
In the Journal you can resume activities. There is no option to start a
new activity from within the Journal.
I teach a Sugar class of 15 students (5th and 6th grade) in a German
primary school . The classes are on a weekly one hour basis. They had
10-15 hours of Sugar by now. We use Sugar 0.84 on Fedora 11. I explained
the concept of the Journal, repeated several times how to start a new
activity and how to resume one. I explained them that revealing of the
palette is quicker when using the right mouse button.
The information below is not meant to be hard data. There are
differences in backgrounds (cultural etc), ages and quite importantly: a
difference between a first time user, a regular user and a daily user.
Some might as well question if I have chosen the right methodical way to
explain things, and be sure sometimes I do question myself, however the
data gathered might be a good basis for discussing this issue and maybe
others will provide some data, too.
Most of the kids click on the activity icon when they want to start a
new activity. Since there is a delay to reveal the palette, the learner
does not see the other information in the palette.
When they resume a previous activity, and they wanted to start a new
one, I have seen learners erasing the previous content and keep on
working in that activity.
Nearly all the kids do not use the right click to reveal the palette.
They wait for it to appear.
Last class I asked the learners in a small survey the following questions:
A: How do you do a new drawing in TurtleArt?
Some: Nothing, or did misunderstood the question.
Some: I click on TurtleArt.
One said: One clicks with the right mouse on TurtleArt and clicks with
the left one on New.
One said: Go on TurtleArt, wait, click New.
A: How do you edit a previous drawing in TurtleArt?
Many: Go to the Journal and resume there.
One: Go to Journal or right click and choose the one one want to resume.
One: Go on TurtleArt and choose the name one wants to resume.
Some: Nothing / did not understand the question
A: Is there a difference between the right mouse click and the left
One: it is quicker to use the right mouse button.
Some: you get a new field/list.
Many: Nothing / did not understand the question
The concept of using the Journal to resume a previous activity does work
very well for the kids. With adding the list of previous activities to
the activity palette in the home view we added that concept to the home
view. The issue is, it is a secondary option. There is only one way in
Sugar to start a new activity - to work from scratch. And this is a
For me it would be worth trying to test going back to create a new one
by default, as I think this is what my learners somehow expected.
Small additions to the activity palette could be helpful, too. Adding
the journal date field to the entries. And having headers like in ,
though I think there was a technical issue with this.
Another improvement could be to cut the delay, so the secondary options
are more prominent. Or, the left mouse click would reveal the palette
and the learner then needs to decide what option to choose. This would
clash with the rest of the UI I guess.
I remember we had some design mockups quite some time ago, where a
certain amount of Journal entries where displayed in the home view in a
horizontal time line. Maybe this would help to make the Journal more
accessible from there.
Congrats, if you made it reading that far. Comments, ideas, mockups,
plans for more data I should provide etc welcome.
 at the moment only in German: http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Planetarium
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