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

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Tue Apr 10 09:48:26 EDT 2007

That's a great start, Yoshiki :)

Why did you make that flap unremovable? I can't even get a halo on  
it. It should be visible by default, I agree, but shouldn't there be  
a way to hide it, too?

- Bert -

On Apr 10, 2007, at 9:31 , Yoshiki Ohshima wrote:

>   Milan,
>   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
>     screen.
>   - 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
>     buttons.)
>   - 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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