a new user from etoys

Lex Spoon lex at cc.gatech.edu
Wed Feb 5 14:19:13 UTC 2003

I showed a thirteen-year-old how to do drive-a-car, and one of the first
things I showed them (after THE first thing of drawing a picture :)) was
how to bring up a halo and do things with it.  Well, for the first time
in my small experience, they actually got it about the halos and, well,
used them a bit too much.  Overall, it was fun to watch yet one more
person jumping in and gleefully playing with computational objects, 
However, there are some usability notes that we might think about.

First, halos in general can do funky things if you use them heavily. 
For amusement, try doing things like minimizing scripts with the halo's
O instead of the script's O button.  Try deleting and dragging things in
a viewer flap.  Generally, try haloing on everything, and some
interesting usability issues come up.  Squeak could probably be smarter
in some of these instances.

Other things of note:

	1. A menu popped up and wouldn't go away.  I also see this over and
over again with the college students who use Squeak at GT.  The new user
actually hit on using a halo to get rid of a menu, but that amount of
time and effort shouldn't be necessary for this.

	2. This person noticed you can get rid of unwanted scripting
paraphenalia by dropping it on a viewer flap.  Kind of a wierd way to do

	3. The viewers are a bit overwhelming.  I have no suggestions, except
to observe it.  This person got it after about thirty minutes, but there
was a lot of confusion before then.

	4. This person tried to make a painting by *clicking* on the paint tool
in the Supplies flap, instead of dragging.  Perhaps all flaps should
allow clicking to pick up as well as dragging?  Thankfully, it is no
longer so easy to drop the item back into the flap and generate

	5. It is unclear how to minimize a viewer flap.  It didn't come across
to this person as a flap.  Perhaps its related to the fact that the flap
icon is tiny.  Maybe the first four viewer faps created in a project
should have HUGE flap tabs, and the tabs should only shrink when you
create more of them?

Finally, I suggest that we do a better job of welcoming people into
their own play project.  For starters, we could simply include a blank
project labeled something like "My Own Play Area".  It was a bummer
thath the zeroeth thing I had to show was how to create a new project. 
Creating a new project is distracting and confusing for a new user.


PS -- the person did overcome all of these fine, considering that two
experienced Squeakers were there to help.  However, whenever time is
available, it is nice to make things like this go more smoothly!

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