[Sugar-devel] [DESIGN] 'Resume' vs 'Start a new' Activity
simon at schampijer.de
Fri Jan 8 02:51:01 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 icon.
>>> In the Journal you can resume activities. There is no option to start a
>>> new activity from within the Journal.
>>> *** Background:
>>> 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.
>>> *** Disclaimer:
>>> 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.
>>> *** Observations:
>>> 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.
>>> *** Survey:
>>> 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 mouse
>>> One: it is quicker to use the right mouse button.
>>> Some: you get a new field/list.
>>> Many: Nothing / did not understand the question
>>> *** Comments:
>>> 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 secondary option.
>>> 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
>>> Congrats, if you made it reading that far. Comments, ideas, mockups, plans
>>> for more data I should provide etc welcome.
> Thanks for bringing this up again. Maybe we can get to consensus this time.
> There are a few related issues I want to bring up:
> (1) Getting to the Journal, especially on a non-XO machine, can be
> difficult since the Journal icon disappears from the Home View after
> first launch. This means that unless you remember the keyboard short
> cut for the Journal, you need to go to the frame, wait for it to
> appear, and then find the Journal icon in order to bring up the
> Journal, all *before* you can even begin to look for the file you want
> to resume. This is clearly too many steps and it suggests the need to
> keep resume on the Home View and/or keep the Journal icon as a
> permanent part of the Home View. (Personally, I would advocate for
> both. I never understood why we didn't treat the Journal like an
> activity to begin with.)
This is a very good point. The little survey I did showed that the
concept of the Journal for resuming an activity does work very well for
the kids. So an improvement would be to make the Journal quickly
accessible. One part is the Journal shortcut. Though, ideally it should
be more present in the UI. The Journal icon in the ring disappearing
after you start a new activity is a very good point. I agree that the
Journal icon should be part of the home view all the time. Maybe the
horizontal line in the home view with a journal icon, and then a list of
last entries from the Journal would be nice to have - like shortcuts
> (2) Some activities always want to resume. We should add a flag to
> activity.info to enable this behavior.
You mean like terminal or log. In some way yes. But I am not fully
convinced. If an activity can not start and I check the reason with the
log activity. I would probably tag this instance correctly and hope to
be able to find those logs when I resume it again?
> (3) Simply putting "Start new" at the top of the list instead of the
> bottom of the list would help a great deal.
Yeah, as you can only start new activities from the home view, the
option to do that is a bit hidden. And in class you need that option.
For example: lesson 1: a square in TA, lesson 2: a triangle in TA...
> (4) Making the Resume list the primary rather than secondary menu
> would also help.
We should try out that option, too.
> (5) We also have the outstanding Versioning issue to sort out--perhaps
> Sascha can give us an update. But if versioning were working better,
> then the notion of starting a new instance from within a running
> activity would be more facile and perhaps make the issue of Start new
> from the Home View moot.
I left this one out to keep it simple for the moment :) One of my
favorite cases is "forking": lesson 1: a square in TA, lesson 2: a
square with another color in TA. There are two ways to do that at the
moment, though they are not as clear, I think. In my opinion versions
would ease that situation so much.
I think we can make small changes and improve the current situation
quite a bit. Versions won't come in 0.88 - but we should have a good
work flow for versions indeed.
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