Archive for juillet 2007

The Big Board or why a panel?

juillet 10, 2007

I’ve look at the Big Board’s wiki, it seems that several goals are researched in this project with a lack of coherency. Mainly the purpose is to link the desktop with the rising usage of web-applications and take from them some ergonomic designs. Where this project tries to solve a problem of a different field is how to give a clue to the user at the early stage? For the instance, there are two proposals, one good and another one rather odd.
The good idea is to clearly show who is logged on the desktop, that gives a personnal touch and it could be used as an incentive to start with the system as a whole, to give a tour. The odd idea is to keep a statistic of the most used applications. If the intend there is to give a start for the user, that doesn’t work since at the beginning nothing has been used. Otherwise it’s just a global statistic proposed to the user but that seems too much for a start and don’t correspond necessarly to the user. If it’s just a replacement of the recently used applications, well, we have the same problem of an history-record and some additional problems.
How many entries should we display? Five, ten, more ? For an history-record, the more there are entries, the best it is. But a track of the most used applications is not a matter of quantity, for the user it’s a matter of importance which is not necessarly correlated to the usage. Should we track the files browser? Should we track the panel’s program itself? No, of course, excepted that there’s a pre-selection behind this idea which cannot catch what is important for the user. My point of view about the Big Board is that a panel is just a way to organize the space of the screen. One needs a launch-bar and a task-bar, the panel should be dedicated to the system as a whole and an other panel, at the opposite side, to take in account the use of web-applications along with some user’s setting like the sound, the screen resolution…On one side, the privacy, and on the other side, the network. The OLPC user interface has a similar approach.
Beside that, give a clue to the user at the beginning is nearby impossible if he or she has not a previous experience. It’s a field of research in itself, one can take some tricks from the web maybe, but a desktop has its own dynamic. At the beginning the environment could show itself where are the thing on a given request, that would be fun for a start and not a big annoyance as far as the user can disable this feature.