a new user from etoys

Alan Kay Alan.Kay at squeakland.org
Thu Feb 6 23:38:31 UTC 2003

Hi Lex --

At 5:19 PM +0300 2/5/03, Lex Spoon wrote:
>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

Younger kids -- hundreds of them -- have never had any problems with 
the handles (both in US and Japan), so I wonder if the problems 
you've seen had to do with older kids who have used other UIs ....

>  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.

Certainly ...

>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.

I'm not quite getting this. I think the logic is very similar to both 
MS and Mac in that the menu will go away if you slide and click (or 
is this just Mac?).

>	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

sounds like a "feature"

>	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.

Again, younger kids ... Any further observations and suggestions 
would be welcome here.

>	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

This might be a good idea.

>	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?

I think this is good.

>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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