Ideas Follow-up

January 29, 2009

I was looking for different search methods and was on the Dr. Project site. Their ticketing system doesn’t need a search ability. Now that I think of it, unless the project has thousands of tickets, a search is not necessary. Then again, for a large project that might have many archived tickets, it might be convenient to go back and look through them if it’s necessary. This would also help searching through all the wiki pages as well. Perhaps we don’t need Search to be exclusively for the ticketing system.

I was also looking at what YouTube has in terms of a search. I like the auto completing (this may be a browser feature. I’m not sure). So if we do implement a Search for tickets, it might be useful to allow the user to start inputting a ticket topic and auto-complete it for them. That would be nifty. I was also looking at the tagging system. After talking to some users, they say that they don’t use them that often. I think that the search-bar with auto-complete is sufficient for our purposes.

I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to either Jason or Liz about the setting the number of tickets per page options yet. I’d like to discuss other options for that feature with them before I ask users to test it. Alone, I wasn’t able to come up with a better idea. So, hopefully, together we could come up with some.

There are several ways to display updates to users. It is still unclear which would be best. Again, waiting to talk to Jason and Liz this weekend.


Searchable Tickets and more!

January 28, 2009

So I was thinking today:

We definitely need to be able to search for tickets, but how? Right now with a “filtering” system, that makes it pretty easy to isolate the ticket that you’re looking for. However, what if you don’t remember the specifications of that ticket (i.e., who owns it, when it was modified or created, whether it’s open or closed)? What if you are looking for tickets based on a certain topic? This is where it would be handy to search for tickets based on topic! So there could be some key words. I remember back in CSC207 or CSC209, we did an assignment where we had to pick out the key words to be “topics” of an excerpt of text based on the frequency of words. That same assignment could be applied to this as well. OR we could ask the user to indicate tags for the ticket and so the search can be done by tags. I would prefer the first method mainly because it means the user has less to do, which is more convenient. This is a rough mock-up of what the search bar could look like. The image is a little faint.

Another thing I may or may not have mentioned in prior blogs is the ability to choose how many tickets to display at one time. Some people may want to see all the tickets at one time. We should provide for this. This would be an “option” of the grid box where the user can either input their own value for the number of tickets or use default values such as “all”.
I wanted to integrate the options into some sort of drop down menu, but then that would call for the user to input a value in some sort of pop-up window or something of that kind. Personally, I don’t like pop-up windows. So I used radio buttons to give the user the option to show all the tickets in one page, or select a custom amount. By default it will show 10 with the first option selected.

One thing about the “save” button. We want it to save the settings of the current grid so that when that particular user signs back in, they don’t have to change the settings again. One flaw with this is that the tickets are communal. So, if somebody closes a ticket that somebody else may have been viewing, when that other person goes back to try and find it, it may be hidden by default for being closed. I propose that if there are discrepancies between the previous log in tickets and the current ticket states, some sort of update should appear for the user so that they know, “oh yeah, so-and-so closed this ticket”. These updates could also include new tickets that pertain to the settings of that user. So if I have my grid set so that I only see tickets owned by me that are open and somebody assigns me a new ticket, I will get a notification that I was assigned another ticket. Also if somebody closed a ticket I owned, then I would be notified of that so that I’m not trying to find that ticket and know that it has been closed. This can either be achieved by a pop-up window (although I hate those), or an update box that appears either on top or underneath the grid. I think that on top is better since the user will see it right away.
This is an image of an update alert. I was thinking that the box should be a shade of red, but then realized that it would seem too alarming. Let’s face it, it’s not like the monitor is about to explode. So a light blue would be more calming.

Upon clicking the “more info” link, the window should expand (sliding the ticket grid down) and give a more detailed description of the tickets that were added or removed like so:

This is it for now! Please comment on this post. I will try to have more professionally mock-ups in the future. Perhaps even in PEN. Shocking!

CUSEC 2009

January 27, 2009

Back from Montreal on Sunday. So how was CUSEC? definitely an eye opener. A couple of general ideas I got out of it was 1) Dynamic languages is the way to go and 2) Find what you’re most passionate about and pursue it.

Caitlin Kelleher was one of the academic speakers and I really enjoyed the software she demonstrated. It was an open source project named Storytelling Alice. It’s a program that lets middle school kids write their own stories and have them animated. It also teaches them a little bit of programming at the same time without them even knowing it. I was excited to hear she was going to be speaking at the conference because I had read about her in The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, so in my eyes she was a celebrity.

Another speaker that really spoke to me was the Joey “The Accordion Guy” Devilla. He was a character. He spoke of being a Tech Evangelist. I have to admit I didn’t know what that was at first. But from what I could comprehend, it’s a person that acts like a middle man for software developers and upper management or clients. Someone who sits in the middle with people skills (not trying to imply software developers don’t have people skills). He had so many personal anecdotes that were full of adventure and comedy and all because he was following his instincts and pursued his dreams and passions. It made me seriously think about what I wanted to do.

Dan Ingalls’s demonstration of the Lively Kernel was very impressive. I sat in my seat with awe and just amazed by what can be produced on the web. There were so many creative ideas that went into the Lively Kernel and I seriously wanted to just go back to the hotel room and play with it for the rest of the night (unfortunately hotel bandwidth was insufficient to allow me to play…apparently homework is more important).

I also really enjoyed Leah Culver’s talk. She is a very inspirational speaker. I think that it was also nice to see a female in her mid-twenties giving a talk based on her successful career. She was a co-founder of Pownce and had been on the cover of two magazines. She is definitely a role model for me now. She said during her talk “What’s the worst that could happen?” and I definitely think that those are words to live by. I don’t take nearly as many risks as I should. I’m too afraid that they’ll be stupid. But what the point of being right all the time? There’s no adventure in that. She also had a good point in how to make money. “Use what you already have at your disposal”. She had a laser etching machine and contacts at several companies. So she got a free laptop by asking those companies if they wanted ad space on her laptop for only $50-100. I thought that was a great idea. So what do I have at my disposal? Me.

Giles Bowkett also had a very interesting talk. His main idea was to take stupid risks and combine all the things that you’re passionate about and make it work for you. He also had lots of crazy stories and interesting slides to go along with them. I think that he also had the most swearing in his presentation.

All of the speakers were generally very good and interesting. These are only a few that stood out to me.

Summary of last 3 weeks of designing

January 23, 2009

Different ways to show the date created:
– A ticket should display the date that it was last modified instead of the date that it was created
– It seems more useful that the ticket’s last modified date and time is more useful to the owner of the ticket and if the ticket was never modified, then the date and time would actually be the date and time it was created. It also allows other users who are tracking that ticket to know when things are being modified to be able to determine if work on the ticket is actually progressing.
– In relation to the date and time, the ticket could also show who last modified the ticket, which may or may not be the original creator or the owner of the ticket.

How to represent age:
– using icons instead of text (Note: this could also work for ticket priority). For time, a symbol like a snail travelling and leaving a trail of goo would be cute, but perhaps too childish. I have pictures drawn in my notebook, that I will post up in a bit. Another issue with icons is it may not be specific enough for users.
– Using the actual date/time stamp. This could also be cryptic to read since this is the format for the events page.
– Using more “natural” English to tell the date and time would be most intuitive to users. Phrases such as “# minutes ago”, “# hours ago”, “yesterday”, and “# days ago” (up to 7) would be fairly intuitive to users. Any older, and the ticket will just show the date. Preferably in “Jan 14, 2009” kind of format instead of numbers.

– Depending on how many levels of priority is necessary. I think that 3 levels of priority is sufficient and simple to have them colour coded (red, yellow, green) where red is the highest priority.
– If icons are used, they could be stars and go up to 5.
– I think that colour coded is best because it doesn’t require an extra column in the grid display.

– What should be allowed in one edit? If you modify the wiki, does that change the date and time modified in the ticket?
– Using in-line editing is most convenient for users.

Results Thus Far:
– The “save” button at the bottom of the grid should allow users to save their preferences for filtering and column ordering. This should also be the place where all edits are saved. This way all the tickets get edited at the same time, so users can change multiple fields in multiple tickets and it will all count as one change per ticket.
– Grid layout with filtering options in the column headers.
– Wikis are created upon clicking the “more information” button on that ticket. So if you need more information, then you can create it the first time and if you just want to know if there is a wiki, then you should be able to roll over and get a small text bubble to tell you if it exists already or not (like a handy hint small text box attached to the mouse tail. I’m not sure what those are called)

Future Features:
– Drag and Drop columns and adjustable size columns
– Editable number of tickets shown per page
– Wiki ticket title synch
– Have a drop-down menu next to the column headers space to allow users to customize the columns that they want to look at.

This is just a summary and images of my mock-ups will be up soon.

A new path…

January 22, 2009

After listening to a talk from Leah Culver I just realized that I’m not doing what I love. I love design and creating user interfaces. I think this is mostly because I am usually the user of a piece of software that struggles to use it. So if I can help make someone else’s experience with software easier and less hair pulling.

My new dilemma is now how do I do it? How do I get myself out there to get noticed?

Must find designers and get help. Make more prototypes. Get all my ideas documented here. Then maybe I will be found.

’09 Begins

January 15, 2009

And so here’s another year. I feel so pumped for ’09. Ken’s motto for the year is “’09 is MINE!” and that seems appropriate for my attitude as well. I definitely think that this is going to be my year. Deadlines are quickly approaching though. There are job application deadlines, assignment deadlines, CUSEC is coming up, and I am defeinitely trying my hardest to stay on top of everything!

This is also going to be the place I start writing about my adverntures is User Interface Design for Basie. I have some notes written down in a notebook because it was convenient at the time, but I’ll transfer them in here soon (possibly this weekend).

This is going to be the most hectic and exciting semester ever!

’09 is Mine!