[Etoys] A few notes on eToys interface - playing with latest eToys in olpc

Yoshiki Ohshima yoshiki at squeakland.org
Tue Apr 10 03:31:53 EDT 2007


  Your suggestions were great!  I kept silence, but I was attempting
to solve some of the issues you raised.

  What we've been talking about is to have a Sugar-like menu bar for
Etoys.  There are a few ways of doing it, but I now made one in
Morphic.  Please update your image.

  With the latest change, you now have a stationary menu bar that
resembles the activities in Sugar have.  For now, the functionality is
almost just copy of our nav-bar.  If the user is familiar with the
browser activity of Sugar, he should have better chance to figure out
how to go back in EToys as well.

  Some more things:

  - I can think of adding "home" button to really go to the initial
  - I'm planning to add the tooltip or baloon help for these buttons.
  - I know that the viewer tab placement has to be fixed.
  - I have to say that the gray color looks horrible...  But for the
    general audience, similarity to the other Sugar apps should mean
    something.  (I would say that we can make it look a bit more
    playful yet the overall button design inherits the design of Sugar
  - The button size currently I use is too small compared to the other
    Sugar activities.  It should be fixed.

  Let me know what you think!

-- Yoshiki

>    - 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:
>          - By default, always show the "Navigator" toolbar 
> contents "expanded", so user can see the "New/Prev". This way it would be 
> more obvious how to go back. It seems to me this would be a nice usability 
> help for a small price
>          - Rename "Prev" to "Previous" or "Back". Add a more explicit popup, 
> instead of "Previous Project", maybe "This button will take you back to the 
> previous project"
>          - Add a "Home" button, to "Navigator". The "Home" button would take 
> user all the way to the clouds menu.
>          - The demo is "modifiable" which is nice for playing, but at the same 
> time it would be good if there was a way to revert it back to the initial 
> state. The book now has this option which I love.
>          - A bigger change, and probably overkill, would be at the time of 
> entry to any project, a popup would show for 5 second, something like "Use 
> the red Navigator button on the bottom-left to go back where you came from". 
> This would, at all times, give a small hint as to how to navigate. 
>    - In general, the popup help on various items could be more wordy. One 
> example, on "Supplies", instead of "A Source for many basic types of Objects" 
> popup, could be "Click here to find useful objects. You can drag out objects 
> to the area above and start using them". I do not mean this one thing is a 
> problem, but in general I find it helpful if popup help is a bit more wordy, 
> not sure this is the best for all ages though...
> 2) Next, about how to help more users to try OLPC eToys.  I am running  
> on "regular" Linux distro (non-olpc, Suse 10.2), by installing yum and then 
> following steps on this page: http://etoys.laptop.org/.  Perhaps a note could 
> be added to  http://etoys.laptop.org/, to explain that the steps described 
> there will allow running OLPC eToys on any (reasonably recent) Linux system. 
> (It was not clear to me, and I hesitated to install the RPMs).  Also, I am 
> thinking it would help teachers and interested people to try OLPC version of 
> eToys, if we add a few links on how to run OLPC eToys on Windows, and Mac, 
> maybe just a link to the Windows OLPC emulation page.
> Sorry this is longer than I wanted, I really love the changes and cleanup, 
> great work,
> Milan
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