[Sugar-devel] UI experiments: pop-up menus and hot corners

Gary Martin garycmartin at googlemail.com
Sun Jul 4 18:42:34 EDT 2010

Hi Mikus,

On 4 Jul 2010, at 20:23, Mikus Grinbergs <mikus at bga.com> wrote:

>>>> some current (ongoing) future design changes will remove this issue completely with a
>>>> full screen screen dialogue for deciding new/resume. One click on a home view activity
>>>> displays a gallery/journal like display of past work or a new blank template
>> Users ended up launching new activities most of the time bringing the machine
>> to it's knees, filling the Journal with junk entries, and then not being able
>> to find what they want when they do look in the Journal to resume something.
> What this design change will do is deliberately introduce a 'pause' into
> the process of launching an Activity -- to force the user to evaluate
> "why am I launching?"  What I am wondering is whether "force decision
> before launching" is more user-friendly than simply "launch".
> If the problem is "users filling up the machine",

No, sorry if I wasn't clear in my explanation, it's not users filling up their disk space that this design effort is trying to resolve (most Sugar activities have very small Journal entries). Having 'start new' as the default home behaviour leads to many concurrently open activities, often bringing the machine to a grinding halt due to OOM. The Journal also fills up with more junk entries (making it harder to search though and find work to resume from).  

> will making it more
> difficult to launch a new instance be an adequate solution ?

The new design strives to make resuming and 'start new' behaviours of equal priority in the UI. The current version of Sugar has resume as the default behaviour (since 0.84) in an attempt to resolve the flood of deployment feedback about the above mentioned lockups due to OOM and Journal spam. We now have feedback that 'start new' is too hidden and that kids are often resuming recent work and manually erasing the canvas to start something new (I've seen this happen first hand, child asks in Paint how to make a big brush, and then paints out their previous work with white; also I've started to see requests for activities to have a clear all tool button for much the same reason). 

So the new design work will make 'start new' more visible than with the currently released Sugar.

> Will the
> kid who wants to make a new drawing on Tuesday be content with resuming
> the activity he used Monday -- thereby wiping his drawing from Monday ?

She might want to paint some more on Mondays painting, or start something new. We're trying to put that choice equally up front for her before the activity launches, though I accept this adds an extra click/decision to every activity invocation. FWIW: We could leave in the alt-click 'start new' home short cut for those expert users who know they want a fresh activity session and no dialogue.

> Forcing a decision on every launch may work -- but there still needs to
> be a user-helpful way to address "I've filled up the machine" when that
> happens -- for those who nevertheless persist in overusing "new launch".

Yes, this is a separate design issue we are not trying to fix with this specific work. There are already a couple of features. One is that a warning dialogue pops up when you've filled N% of your flash, and switches you to the Journal and asks for you to remove things — it's better than nothing but I've not found it useful so far, it keeps dragging you back to the Journal view, usually I'm trying to get back to Terminal to stop a yum, a git clone, a file curl/wget :) The other is I think something new Bernie has been experimenting with, basically a last chance saloon script that auto deletes some activities, so that the machine can at least be booted.


P.S. We keep slipping on a date/time for the next irc #sugar-meeting design meeting, folks are most welcome, Christian has some nice mockups he's been polishing up for publication. We're trying again for tomorrow/Monday, but no time confirmed just yet.

> [Would an "ultimate" design propose to make the machine be the master
> over the user -- and employ this full screen launch dialogue to refuse
> launch whenever the machine approaches "being brought to its knees" ??]
> mikus
> p.s.
> The Journal user-interface was invented, with a "filter" capability.
> Now a full screen dialogue user-interface would be duplicating what the
> Journal can show.  I myself am not comfortable with duplication.
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