[Etoys] A few notes on eToys interface

Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas offray.luna at javeriana.edu.co
Sun Apr 8 12:57:34 EDT 2007

Hi all,

I have used the Extremadura's Squeak Image with my students and the 
navigational help of the dock bar is very useful for not getting lost, 
and to have a handy place for usual operations. The Squeakland image 
have the possibility to show/hide a navigational bar, so may be is not 
so difficult on OLPC image, and would be matter of selecting the proper 
configuration options for the interface.



Milan Zimmermann escribió:
> Hi Richard,
> Your zooming interface description is a great. I am not sure I am visualizing 
> mechanism of the interaction correctly, but I like what you are describing 
> very much (get back home to the nest feels like the right paradigm).  It 
> would be cool to have a chance play with it.
> (By suggesting "unhiding" the back button + providing a "home" button, I tried 
> to describe a "minimum work" changes that would allow to "find a way back". 
> Not sure it is agreeable but it seems easy and help navigation)
> Milan

> On 2007 April 2 16:20, Richard Karpinski wrote:
>> Wild idea for geographic navigation.
>> On 2007, Apr 2, , at 9:00, Milan Zimmermann wrote:
>>>    - I think the largest potential issue is ease of eToys
>>> navigation for
>>> someone who is running the system for the first time. I am thinking
>>> how to
>>> modify the UI, without significant changes, to help a new user to
>>> not "get
>>> lost" (for example by following a few projects from the cloud
>>> menu). I think
>>> people's sense "not getting lost" is greatly satisfied when there
>>> is a way to
>>> know "how to go back" - either one step back, or all the way to the
>>> beginning. I realize this is where the "Navigator->Prev" is used,
>>> but it is
>>> not very obvious for a first time user, mostly because it's
>>> contents (the
>>> Prev button) is "hidden". I am thinking if the following would help:
>> Background - Why geographic navigation works
>> When Jef Raskin, the father of Macintosh, proposed a zooming user
>> interface for a hospital information system, it was built that way.
>> It worked well, but the part that interests me now is that utter
>> novices learned the system quickly. They became comfortable and
>> competent in literally less than a single minute. Of course, computer
>> experts took longer but they succeeded in less than two minutes. This
>> was using a mouse with two buttons designated Zoom In and Zoom Out.
>> My analysis is that for millions of years, our ancestors succeeded in
>> getting back to the nest. This imbues their living descendants with a
>> natural talent for learning to navigate in a geographic world, even
>> one where there is a lot of content in zoomable regions. I want to
>> take advantage of that native ability in an even simpler system, one
>> which uses the graphical input device alone with no keys or buttons
>> at all.
>> Utility - Why auto-zooming is good for you
>> The first  thing to notice is that there is room for unbounded
>> content if you can write it very small and zoom in to read what
>> interests you. If you showed a shelf full of products, there would
>> always be room for more detail, even a complete user manual, in a
>> region no larger than ten or sixteen pixels on a side. The rollover
>> event could be interpreted to auto-zoom into the region. The amount
>> of zooming could be arranged in the construction of the zoom world to
>> be just right for reading text or viewing images in that region.
>> Next, we can observe that rollover works the other way too. If you do
>> the natural thing to return to where you were, you will cross the
>> same region boundary in the other direction and be back there again.
>> This is so simple that nearly everyone, I claim, will discover it on
>> their own. They shouldn't have to, when less than a minute of
>> training is required, but they could, especially if they are kids and
>> not yet overly concerned with making no mistakes. Indeed, it works
>> for the preliterate as well as those who can read and compose text.
>> Beyond zooming - Making the graphical input device alone do even more
>> I would go further and devise a mouse only (or touch pad only)
>> gesture for select, and at that exact moment, make a pie menu appear
>> to permit the second half of a noun-verb command to be chosen and
>> activated. But I shall leave further discussion of such extensions
>> for future occasions.
>> Initial introduction - How to make first use painless
>> In gaming arcades, there is often an attract mode which gives hints
>> about what this game offers. For us, this includes several
>> introductory eToy projects. With the auto-zooming interface, it would
>> make some sense for the initial screen to have each of them in a
>> region with a well defined border and let folks auto-zoom in to
>> whichever strikes their fancy. Re-crossing that border, anywhere,
>> naturally returns you to the original screen contents. Rapid learning
>> can be expected.
>> Since there is always room for another help sheet or demonstration
>> video on any screen, gentle training can always be at hand. Even a
>> direct passage to the initial screen, despite violating the strict
>> geographic navigation paradigm can be arranged to be awfully clear
>> and quite effective. Any navigation problem which is discovered to be
>> common can be addressed in such a way without much time or effort
>> required to set it up.
>> Barriers - Why this scheme cannot be adopted at this time
>> We need to press forward and we already have much too much to do.
>> This would be a radical change which we have no time to consider at
>> present. It would take weeks to set this up just to see if it works.
>> Nobody needs this. It won't work. People will fall into the auto-
>> zooming regions and be lost and stuck. It is not now such things are
>> done.
>> Richard Karpinski, World Class Nitpicker
>> 148 Sequoia Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
>> dick at cfcl.com  Home +1 707-546-6760   Cell +1 707-228-9716
>> http://cfcl.com/twiki/bin/view/Karpinski
>> ps Put (or leave) "nitpicker" in the subject line to get past my spam
>> filters.
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