SqueakMap project visability

Andreas Raab andreas.raab at gmx.de
Sat Apr 5 00:46:48 UTC 2003


Welcome to the wonderful world of user interface design ;-)

> Ah. That's something I can learn from. If you think I lost important
> information on the way, let me know.

No, you summed it up pretty nicely.

> The initial logic behind filter was - it should basically show you
> packages that can be installed easily and are very likely to 
> do no harm.
> The problem is, that logic is NOT self evident to all users (could you
> imagine that? ;-) at all times (when changing versions).

I think the problem is you're not getting the right model of what you see
when you first look at the package loader. Watch the label "SM Package
Loader". Where does it tell you that you're seeing a subset of the packages?
Is there any way for me to see all the packages or search for one? Not on
the screen. So the user is left with the impression that "this is SqueakMap"
which is the wrong model.

An alternative to showing all packages would be to somehow clearly indicate
that you're seeing a subset of the packages. For example, name the package
loader differently, rather than "SM Package Loader" make it "Ready to
Install Packages for X.Y" and add a visible "Show all packages" buttons (the
context menu is not visible enough).

> [Show version compatibility in bold, installation status in italics]
> Does make the information more available, at the cost of stylistic
> clutter. 

The classical problem of user interface design. At all times you have too
much information and too few pixels ;-) It's always a tradeoff. In this
particular case I think it's important to distinguish between "the contents
of SqueakMap" (the list elements) and "our view of SqueakMap" (identified by
what packages we can easily install, which ones we already have etc).

> It seems to me that part of the problem is that the state (filter
> combination) is hidden most of the time (only accessible by explicitly
> bringing up the menu). If it were constantly visible, as soon as you
> can't find a package you expect, you'll see the explanation, and prod
> the system to give you what you want. Say, a text box at the 
> top saying "Showing only package that are compatible with 3.6 AND
> are automatically installable AND for which you don't have the latest
> version installed".

It could work. As with all things in UI design you need to try it on real
users. Fortunately you got plenty around here ;-)

  - Andreas

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