User:Benjamin Linden/Office Hours/2008-07-16

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Transcript of Benjamin Linden's office hours:

[15:10] Benjamin Linden: Dusan Writer sponsored a contest for Residents to submit designs for a new Viewer UI
[15:11] Benjamin Linden: Jacek submitted an entry and is here to present it to us for discussion
[15:11] Benjamin Linden: so Jacek, take it away...
[15:11] Jacek Antonelli: Alrighty :)
[15:11] Kippie Friedkin applauds
[15:11] Jacek Antonelli: Before I discuss my design, I wanted to give you a brief glimpse into the goals/principles behind the design. What I was -- and was not -- aiming for.
[15:11] Jacek Antonelli: #1 was to pick "low-hanging fruit". In other words, low-effort changes that yield significant benefits. That way there's a chance someone might actually implement them! :D
[15:12] Jacek Antonelli: #2 was to keep my feet on the ground (obviously something I'm not doing today). Everything in my design is feasible to implement. Each of the major changes is something a single programmer or small team could handle in about a month.
[15:12] Jacek Antonelli: #3 was to make the UI better for everyone. This is pure selfishness on my part. Why should newbies be the only ones to benefit from a change? ;)
[15:12] Jacek Antonelli: Lastly, #4 was to avoid crippling the UI. I decided early on that I wasn't going to simply cut everything out of the UI until it looked more approachable.
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: Instead, I tried to make it more approachable than the current UI, but equally (actually, more) functional and usable.
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: Those are what I _was_ aiming for.
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: One thing I'm intentionally _not_ aiming for is a color or style guide. >:D
[15:13] Benjamin Linden: lol
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: The bluish sort of theme you'll see in my mock-ups is just to give you something to look at, not a suggestion.
[15:13] Jacek Antonelli: As we've seen with Dazzle's "love it or hate it" reactions, that sort of styling stuff is incredibly subjective, so I didn't even attempt it.
[15:14] Jacek Antonelli: Besides, I'm looking forward to the day when changing colors and textures on the UI is as simple as changing colors and textures on a prim. :D
[15:14] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, now for the meat of the design
[15:14] Jacek Antonelli: If you have questions (small ones) or comments, go ahead and call them out.
[15:14] Jacek Antonelli: But I might pass on some of them for time's sake :D
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: There are 2 broad categories to the changes -- the UI overlay and the inventory window.
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: *ker-click*
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: The UI overlay is the sort of main UI -- the menus up top (File, Edit, ...), and the buttons down at the bottom (Communicate, Fly, ...).
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: My focus here was mostly on improving the approachability of the UI, but also on the overal usefulness of it.
[15:15] Jacek Antonelli: By approachability, I mean how easy and friendly it looks to use.
[15:16] Jacek Antonelli: (Right now, there are buttons and menus and whatnot all over. It looks like a friggin' nuclear power plant control panel, or something.)
[15:16] Kippie Friedkin: lol
[15:16] Jacek Antonelli: There are 3 parts to my design here: 1) the menus, 2) the toolbar / button bar, and 3) the "social corner".
[15:16] Jacek Antonelli: My work on the menus was a straight-up restructuring and reorganization.
[15:16] Jacek Antonelli: Trying to get them into a more logical order and groupings.
[15:17] Jacek Antonelli: The menus we have right now, if you haven't noticed, are a mess! A big wall of choices with hardly any logic or structure. Ick! Very intimidating, and hard to learn
[15:17] Jacek Antonelli: In the interest of time (and the interest of interestingness), I'll spare you all the details about my menu reordering. I'll have a link for you at the end if you're curious about it.
[15:17] Jacek Antonelli: But, my reordering is just a suggestion. I'm not claiming it's the best ever. :D
[15:17] Jacek Antonelli: (In fact, McCabe and I have been able to go through several iterations of actual, working menus in the time since I first wrote the design document. Hooray for XUI. \o/ )
[15:17] Garn Conover: i like it more open, not all mashed @ the bottom
[15:18] McCabe Maxsted: XD
[15:18] Jacek Antonelli: :)
[15:18] Jacek Antonelli: To give you a general idea, though -- my approach was to group related items together more closely, using fairly shallow submenus (never more than 3 levels deep).
[15:18] Jacek Antonelli: On top of nicely suggesting structure and relationships between items, submenus are also nice in that they can be torn off to have that menu handy for repeat access.
[15:18] Jacek Antonelli: Moving on from the menus, we have the toolbar in the bottom right
[15:19] Jacek Antonelli: This is a customizable, collapsable replacement for the big row of buttons we have now.
[15:19] Jacek Antonelli: The customizability of it was actually a requirement of simultaneously satisfying both approachability and functionality.
[15:19] Jacek Antonelli: I realized that a set of buttons that would be appropriate and useful for a newbie, would not be appropriate or useful for a more experienced user. A conundrum!
[15:19] Jacek Antonelli: So, the button bar starts off with some items that newbies would find useful (particularly the camera and movement control windows) ....
[15:19] Jacek Antonelli: ... But you can also add, remove, or rearrange the buttons as is most useful to you.
[15:20] Jacek Antonelli: This is inspired largely by the MacOS X Dock, and the reorganizable toolbars in Firefox and other apps.
[15:20] Jacek Antonelli: For times when you'd rather have the free screen space than the buttons, you can click on the little arrow on the side, and it'll collapse / roll up into a small tab at the screen edge. Phwoosh! :D
[15:20] Jacek Antonelli: Another click will re-exand it, naturally
[15:21] Jacek Antonelli: The actual mechanism for customizing the buttons is still up in the air, but I'd really like to see a system where you can drag any item from the menu to make an equivalent button.
[15:21] Jacek Antonelli: If any of you guys have some ideas about that, do let me know :D
[15:22] Jacek Antonelli: Another cool suggestion I've gotten is to have multiple rows of toolbars, like a stack of dresser drawers.
[15:22] Jacek Antonelli: Then you could arrange toolbars for different tasks, and collapse the ones you don't need right now.
[15:22] Jacek Antonelli: So you'd get an ad-hoc sort of modal interface.
[15:22] Squirrel Wood: *thumbs up*
[15:23] Jacek Antonelli: Next we have the "social corner".
[15:23] Garn Conover: so sorta lie kthe file menu bot upside down?
[15:23] Jacek Antonelli: How do you mean, Garn?
[15:24] Squirrel Wood: fly out button bars ?
[15:24] Jacek Antonelli: yep, that's the idea, Squirrel
[15:25] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, well, I'll talk about the social corner, and we can come back to the toolbar if there's more to discuss there
[15:25] Jacek Antonelli: The social corner is a sort of evolutionary offshoot of the toolbar.
[15:25] Jacek Antonelli: It sits in the bottom left corner, and is dedicated to socializing and communicating with other people. Hence the name. So clever, right? :D
[15:26] Jacek Antonelli: The idea here was to make this prominent and easy to access, so newbies would see it and use it.
[15:26] Jacek Antonelli: SL is at its heart a social platform, so it's good to encourage that part of it, I think. :)
[15:26] Benjamin Linden: I agree Jacek
[15:26] Gabby Panacek: *nods
[15:26] Jacek Antonelli: There's also a small toolbar attached at the edge, with the Friends button in it by default.
[15:27] Jacek Antonelli: The attachment to the social corner is to suggest that you could put other social-related items there. Ones that are important to you.
[15:27] Jacek Antonelli: Maybe groups, or your profile, or such.
[15:28] Jacek Antonelli: One thing that would be important about the social corner, is that it be resizable.
[15:28] Jacek Antonelli: For the simple reason that not everyone wants or needs big old buttors there.
[15:28] McCabe Maxsted: the entire corner resizable, or the individual buttons?
[15:28] Jacek Antonelli: I was picturing the entire corner (or at least, the two circle buttons)
[15:29] Garn Conover: hehe mouseover resizable- get bigger when u move mosue over os ya can see em
[15:29] Jacek Antonelli: Do you think individual would be useful?
[15:30] Jacek Antonelli: Hehe Garn. Or make them bounce when you get an IM, like the Apple Dock icons do. Cute. :D
[15:30] McCabe Maxsted: I think so, so you're not resizing the toolbar portion, and if you use one more than the other
[15:30] Garn Conover: oooh!
[15:30] Jacek Antonelli: One little thing that I slipped into my design is a little chat bubble that comes up when you have new IMs
[15:31] Jacek Antonelli: Basically, the replacement for the "IM Received" button we have now
[15:31] Jacek Antonelli: But it also shows you how many :D
[15:31] McCabe Maxsted likes :)
[15:31] Jacek Antonelli: Okay, that covers it for the UI overlay. Next up is the inventory window!
[15:31] Malbers Linden thinks back to when he last saw a design with bubbles for trasient events with numbers too
[15:31] Garn Conover: now how will that btton work if u have ur local chat ripped off?
[15:32] Kippie Friedkin: Malber..LOL
[15:32] Jacek Antonelli: lol Malbers. Inspiration! :D
[15:32] McCabe Maxsted: hehe
[15:32] Malbers Linden knows that Jacek did this before she saw Notifications
[15:32] Jacek Antonelli: What I was really thinking of was my Adium chat IM on my iBook
[15:33] Jacek Antonelli: How the little duck jumps up and down and has a chat bubble that says the name of the person who IMed me
[15:33] Roxette Wise: That sounds fun
[15:33] Jacek Antonelli: The little bit of movement is nice for getting my attention. At least, when I want it to. Not so much when I'm working :D
[15:34] McCabe Maxsted: need a "bugger off" button
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: hehe
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: Okay. Let's move to the inventory, then we can come back later if we need to.
[15:34] Aimee Trescothick: distracts you from plurk too much?
[15:34] Kippie Friedkin: Maybe something you can set as a toggle or preference?
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: Indeed, Kippie
[15:34] Jacek Antonelli: Okay. My focus on the inventory was all about making it more manageable.
[15:35] Jacek Antonelli: Namely, the extraordinarily difficult task of finding what you were looking for!
[15:35] Jacek Antonelli: I love the Search bar we have now. Very accessible, it's right there, you just type in something and whoosh!
[15:35] Squirrel Wood: like, What did I get within the last n days ?
[15:35] Garn Conover: if u know its there
[15:35] Squirrel Wood: Or, what did I get on April 1st?
[15:36] Garn Conover: it took me almost a year b4 i found it lol
[15:36] Jacek Antonelli: Interesting points, Squirrel. My focus was more on stuff like "Oh man, I need to find my red dress!"
[15:37] Kippie Friedkin: Nice inventory items names, btw :)
[15:37] Squirrel Wood: Well, if you remember that you bought that dress on April 1st?
[15:37] Jacek Antonelli: Search is good for that, but if you type in "red", you'd get red everythings... red objects, red lipstick, etc. etc.
[15:37] Jacek Antonelli: Yeah, Squirrel. Mostly I'm just saying that I didn't address the date-searching with this design :)
[15:38] Jacek Antonelli: It would be a good addition, though
[15:38] Garn Conover: nice idea
[15:38] Jacek Antonelli: So if you're trying to find your red dress, but you've got all this other stuff with "red" in the name, it would be nice to filter that down to just clothes, say.
[15:38] Jacek Antonelli: In fact, the inventory already has that functionality.
[15:39] Jacek Antonelli: But it's obscure and inconvenient to use.
[15:39] Jacek Antonelli: (It's in the inventory window File > Show Filters, btw)
[15:39] Jacek Antonelli: The great thing about the search, is that it's so convenient.
[15:39] McCabe Maxsted: the filters are horribly inconvenient. I tried to teach someone how to use them and she gave up, frustrated :/
[15:40] Garn Conover: i like this filter idea Jacek has, more visable
[15:40] Jacek Antonelli: If we had, say, a quick filter menu... it would make it a lot easier and more convenient to filter your inventory by type. :D
[15:40] Jacek Antonelli: The quick filter menu in my design is simply a drop-down menu with a list of all the different item types
[15:41] Jacek Antonelli: For items that have sorts of sub-types (like clothing has pants, shirt, jacket, etc.), there's a second level menu.
[15:41] Jacek Antonelli: But you can also select the broader category, if you like
[15:42] Gabby Panacek likes that idea quite a bit
[15:42] McCabe Maxsted: what's the second level for landmarks?
[15:42] Jacek Antonelli: Calling cards and landmarks have the menus, because they have multiple states -- online/offline, and used/never-been-used
[15:42] Kippie Friedkin: Very nice...I like that a lot.
[15:42] Jacek Antonelli: So if you want to find all the landmarks sitting in your folders that you've never used and never will.. bingo :D
[15:42] Jacek Antonelli: And of course, the filtering works in conjunction with search, etc.
[15:43] Jacek Antonelli: The second enhancement I made, was the addition of two new tabs -- Favorites and Worn
[15:43] Squirrel Wood: a "find & remove doublettes" thingy would be very convenient...
[15:43] Jacek Antonelli: Worn is pretty obvious -- it's the stuff you're wearing now.
[15:44] Veronique Lalonde: Easier than typing "worn"
[15:44] Jacek Antonelli: I think a Worn tab has been on the must-have feature list forever, so I had to have it!
[15:44] Jacek Antonelli: Exactly, V
[15:44] Roxette Wise: The worn tab gets my vote
[15:44] McCabe Maxsted: if you want to vote
[15:44] Jacek Antonelli: The Favorites tab shows any items or folders that you've marked as a favorite, by right clicking on it and selecting a menu item
[15:45] Jacek Antonelli: *ker-click*
[15:45] Jacek Antonelli: Here we have my family vacation to... wait, no. This is the inventory right-click menu.
[15:45] Jacek Antonelli: You can see at the bottom, the "Mark as Favorite" command. If the thing you right clicked on is already a favorite, it turns to "unmark", naturally
[15:46] Jacek Antonelli: Favorite items would have some subtle visual difference, like a different background color
[15:46] Jacek Antonelli: In addition to appearing in the Favorites tab
[15:46] Jacek Antonelli: By the way, if you mark a folder as a favorite, the favorites tab will show that folder and all its contests and sub-folders, if you expand it
[15:47] Jacek Antonelli: Above the Mark as Favorite, are two items for quick filtering/searching
[15:47] Jacek Antonelli: "Search this name" plugs in the item name into the search bar so you can find similarly-named items.
[15:47] Jacek Antonelli: "Filter this type" plugs in the item type into the quick filter menu.
[15:48] Jacek Antonelli: A few items above that is something a bit different -- the Send To menu
[15:48] Benjamin Linden: have you considered Gmail like labels?
[15:48] Benjamin Linden: "playlists" for clothes
[15:48] Jacek Antonelli: I hadn't really considered that, but it's a good idea
[15:49] Benjamin Linden: it would make "copy" permissions less important
[15:49] Veronique Lalonde: Sorry, Jacek, must go. Thanks for the look! I'll take a copy when it comes out. :)
[15:49] Jacek Antonelli: Adieu, V!
[15:49] Veronique Lalonde: Bye all.\
[15:49] McCabe Maxsted: symlinking to create different outfits is an oft requested feature too
[15:49] McCabe Maxsted: take care v
[15:49] Osiris Pfalz: Bye V
[15:49] Benjamin Linden: bye V
[15:49] Roxette Wise: bye bye V
[15:49] Jacek Antonelli: The stuff so far has been about finding stuff in your junk heap of your inventory.
[15:50] Jacek Antonelli: The Send To menu, on the other hand, is about making your inventory a more neatly-sorted junk heap :D
[15:50] Gabby Panacek: *coughs*
[15:50] Aimee Trescothick: yesyesyes, being able to associate a no-copy clothing item with several outfits would be lovely :)
[15:50] Jacek Antonelli: It allows you to quickly move objects to other folders, without having to drag and find, or open up a new window, etc.
[15:51] Jacek Antonelli: The first item on the menu is type-sensitive. If you click on a script, it shows the Scripts menu, for example.
[15:51] Jacek Antonelli: If you hover over that, it expands with a submenu showing the folders within that folder.
[15:52] Jacek Antonelli: Below that is access to the top-level inventory. You can follow that down through subfolders as well.
[15:52] Jacek Antonelli: Below that is a list of recently-sent-to folders.
[15:52] McCabe Maxsted: why send-to instead of cut?
[15:53] Jacek Antonelli: Ah, I think I forgot to put Cut in there. It was not intentional :D
[15:53] McCabe Maxsted: ahh okay, retracted :)
[15:53] Jacek Antonelli: I often find myself sending a lot of items to the same place. Maybe it's a project I'm working on now, and I want to move all my newly-uploaded textures into the project folder.
[15:53] Jacek Antonelli: I'd only have to navigate the My inventory menu once to find the folder I want, and then it would appear in the list below, for quicker access
[15:54] Jacek Antonelli: This is a similar concept to applications that have "Recent Documents"
[15:54] Aimee Trescothick: yeah, I frequently find myself juggling multiple inventory windows to do that
[15:54] Aimee Trescothick: using up yet more screen space
[15:54] Jacek Antonelli: And that covers the inventory enhancements in my design -- and everything!
[15:54] McCabe Maxsted: have you considered customizable tabs?
[15:54] Geneko Nemeth: Cursed! I'm late.
[15:55] McCabe Maxsted: send to tab, for example
[15:55] Jacek Antonelli: I've idly considered it, McCabe, but not given real thought to it yet
[15:55] Squirrel Wood: right click a folder => show as tab
[15:55] McCabe Maxsted: so if I were working on a project I could make a SimSTuff tab, keep all my work in it, and have it persist across sessions
[15:55] Jacek Antonelli: Very interesting idea
[15:56] Jacek Antonelli: Alright, I'm done with my stuff. Looks like we've got just a few minutes for discussion :D
[15:56] Boroondas Gupte: will "Send to ..." move or copy an item?
[15:56] Malbers Linden guesses move
[15:56] McCabe Maxsted: hehe. I hope not copy. I think if we had folder counts, I'd have about 6000..
[15:56] Jacek Antonelli: I was picturing moving, for the purpose of arranging items.
[15:57] Benjamin Linden: this is great stuff, Jacek. I especially like the "social corner" and menu reorg
[15:57] Jacek Antonelli: Thanks, Ben :)
[15:57] McCabe Maxsted: what about the release keys and standup buttons, and the media controls?
[15:57] Jacek Antonelli: Ah, let me plug the link for anyone who's curious to read the design online
[15:57] Jacek Antonelli:
[15:57] McCabe Maxsted nods in agreement with grant. I keep thinking "I want to see that happen!"
[15:58] Gabby Panacek: considering my ever-expanding and poorly organized inventory, I'm most intrigued by the changes you have suggested there
[15:58] Roxette Wise: thanks jacek
[15:58] Jacek Antonelli: It has all the pictures, and a hastily, last-minute writeup that I made for the contest. xD
[15:58] Osiris Pfalz: Likewise, that inventory looks a lot easier to manage
[15:58] Malbers Linden: awesome stuff
[15:58] Roxette Wise wants a 'Worn' tab
[15:58] Ann Linden: thank you for sharing!
[15:58] Jacek Antonelli: Also I want to plug the SL-UX mailing list. If you like this UI sortof stuff, you should subscribe and post to it!
[15:58] Kippie Friedkin: This is awesome, Jacek.
[15:58] McCabe Maxsted really likes the favorite tab
[15:58] Gabby Panacek: though it might affect the sl economy, as I shop more out of frustration when i can't find what i need in my inventory
[15:59] Jacek Antonelli: lol Gabby
[15:59] McCabe Maxsted: haha
[15:59] Jacek Antonelli: "Moods rise, sales plummet after new UI makes Second Lives easier"
[15:59] Gabby Panacek: hahaha
[15:59] Boroondas Gupte: :-P
[15:59] Malbers Linden: providing poor UI is not part of our business model
[15:59] McCabe Maxsted: has duplicate searching been relegated to non-low hanging fruit status, btw?
[15:59] Benjamin Linden: thanks so much for taking the time to present your ideas here today Jacek
[15:59] Benjamin Linden: oops
[15:59] Jacek Antonelli: "Shopping therapists urge immediate action!"
[15:59] Benjamin Linden: Starax's wand strikes!
[16:00] Jacek Antonelli: hehehehe
[16:00] Jacek Antonelli: Lucky Ben! I want one :D
[16:00] Benjamin Linden: love to Jacek for great UI ideas!
[16:00] Jacek Antonelli: heee