Canvas For One Note

November 21, 2009

Just installed office and thought I’d look into Canvas for One Note. I know it’s still in development stages but I must say the interactions are just not agreeing with me.

There is an invisible wall on the upper and left sides of your canvas. Sure, you can grow your canvas out to be as large as you need, but you can only do so and navigate to the right and down. I thought that was a little irking especially because there are no visual clues that you can’t pan above or to the left. A canvas border would be useful here. I then managed to grow my canvas so large, all my content was tiny in the upper left corner when I zoom out. Looking for a “shrink” option, there isn’t one. You have to restart canvas. Sections and pages themselves are also only expandable in the right and bottom directions. I definitely think you should be able to expand and explore everything in all directions and pan and zoom so that your content is framed and centered. Or have canvas view automatically detect where content is and zoom out framing all the content. I don’t need to know that my canvas is gigantic, but only the top left corner is being used.

One click zoom in and out is also sometimes frustrating. If I have many pages in a section without much open space, it’s difficult to zoom in to the section and not a specific page. I think that there needs to be a stage of zoom. So if I click anywhere within a section, then it will zoom into the section and I have to click again to get a specific page. Or have the user double click on the page that they want to see from any level of zoom to zoom into that page.

I think the idea behind this software is really cool and I can see myself using it since I’m a very visual person. However, it has to work out the navigation kinks.


June 8, 2009

So I’ve spent the past week fiddling with the dashboard and I think it looks pretty snazzy now.


The first image is the dashboard upon entering a project. The second image shows what happens when users click on ‘details’ for each graph. Things to note:

  • Navigational bar above the main content area. There is still some debate about what ‘Home’ should be. I think that it should be the project home, Florian said it should be the project list. Any input on the matter will be helpful.
  • Only the 10 most recent events get displayed and there is a link to see all the events in the events page. The events page has not been modified as of yet, but I am in the process of redesigning it.
  • When the user clicks on’details’ it opens up the detailed graph with dates just as it used to be and pushes the events down.
  • This is the screen that users will see if they are logged in. However, what should the user see if they are NOT logged in (i.e. an unknown user)? Should this information still be available if the project is public? I’m going to assume that there will be public projects that anyone can see as well as private projects that only registered members can see. SO, in the case of private projects, users not registered to that project shouldn’t even see the project in the ‘Home’ project list. For public projects, non-registered users should still see activity and the dashboard.
  • Another questions is whether the login and user preferences are now in the right place. Personally I think that they’re fine where they are on top of the search bar. However, that can be debated.

There are some other areas of concern now though. The following is what the ‘Home’ page looks like.


Because the navigation and search bar is project specific, the ‘Home’ page now looks very bare and lonely. Now imagine that nobody is logged in, that’s another thing that is taken out from the home page.

Clearly, there are several new issues that have surfaced. Any and all input is welcome. Thanks!

Basie Dashboard – Go!

June 4, 2009

So this week I’ve started working on the Basie Dashboard. I’m picking up where Heather left off essentially. Although I don’t know much about the flot library or java scripting, so manipulating the graphs is going to be tough. I have added a recent events table and a list of quick links for users. I think these are very important especially to get a quick overview of the most recent things that has happened on the project. 

Here are some things that i think could make the graphs useful to users:

  • hide/show ability -> this way users can choose which graphs they want to see. I think that having the overall graph visible at all times is useful. This we can toggle the more detailed graph, which is the one that takes up the most space. 
  • I want to have some way of changing the graph styles to be either lines or bars for each user. I know people like to see the totals as breakdowns of individual users in different colours (personally I like line graphs). I’m just not sure how managable that is especially if the project has a lot of developers on it.

As far as the ‘quick links’ go, I added it to the dashboard, because if this is going to be the screen that users see once they sign in, then it is important to be able to navigate away from there. That being said, we still don’t have an easy navigational system for other parts of Basie. At the moment, users have to click ‘back’ or on the breadcrumbs we added to the top of the pages. I think adding a ‘quick links’ widget to each page would be best. 

So far the dashboard is also project specific and not user specific. In the future I would like to have the dashboard user specific, which will display data and news relevant to that user across all the projects they’re in. This may be a v3.0 feature.

Basie Dashboard

May 27, 2009

Some questions about the dashboard for anyone who wants to discuss it. When Greg first hired me for the month, he said that I’d be working on the dashboard for basie. Now that the first couple of weeks are over, I can safely say that I know my way around the application code structure and have been looking into the dashboard code (just learning what I can about it). I know this wasn’t on the list of 7 things that Greg wanted to have done for v0.2, but I think it’d be fun to work on.I would like to work on it during some spare time over the rest of my summer before I leave and possibly while I’m in Japan after I get settled in.

1. What is the dashboard supposed to be? From my understanding, a dashboard should be what the user sees when then they first log into a project or their account.

2. What content should be displayed? I think for now it will be sufficient to have it project based to keep things simple, but I think it’s important to also have a dashboard that spans several projects. Right now, it is just a series of pretty graphs, which is nice, but I think that encorporating recent events would also be userful and then have navigation to the mail or wiki apps.

3. Does anyone object to me working on this? Since I will likely be working from home and completely during my free time so progress may be slow, does anyone feel uncomfortable with that idea?

Well that is all for now. I just wanted to post this and I’ll wait until Greg returns to Toronto to ask him about it I suppose.

Week 2 on Basie

May 22, 2009

Shortened week this week and what did we accomplish? Lots!

  • I did my first screencast EVER. That was fun, but you can hear people talking in the background. It’s posted up on the Basie Blog
  • Have a better understanding of the code structure and can make small modifications to test things on my own without bothering the guys too much.
  • Read code reviews just so I can get a feeling of what’s expected and what’s considered good/bad code.
  • Closed pretty much all the mail tickets in the Basie Summer project. Yay! Actually, the last thing was waiting on some code from Florian. He finished that so I started looking at it and basing the mail hiding system on that. Turns out there’s a bug in it and also Eran started on the mail app anyways. That was a little disappointing. But I’m looking at the Wiki app to try and fix that bug for now. Yay! Otherwise, the Wiki is done. Yay!
  • Met with OLM team about the source browser. That was lots of fun to design the code structure and see what they need compared to what we need now and in the future. Very interesting ideas thrown out there.
  • Did some usability testing for OLM team. I got to play around on their test system. Found a few bugs, gave them some suggestions to make it more usable. All-in-all lots of fun and they seemed to really appreciate it, which was nice. My comments are on their site Wiki page.

Time for weekend of…not sure what i’m doing. Hopefully something interesting OR some relaxation. Either or is fine by me.

It’s been so long

April 30, 2009

Hello world!

Everyday I learn that there are more and more people reading my blog. Thanks to everyone who does! I’ve been off the map for a couple of weeks now. I blame exams and nice weather mostly. There are lots of other things that need to get done before leaving for Japan, but everything has to happen one step at a time.

First things first, finishing up my time at the Princess Margaret Hospital. I’ve been cleaning up my files and organizing them so that my successor will be able to comprehend my cryptic labels and filenames. Looking back at my time here, I’ve definitely learned a lot about medical imaging, and working closely with my boss with him being the ‘client’. It’s interesting to see all the features of the application  that are no longer needed, but kept around because we might need it later. I do feel like I learned a lot more about code style, development, and mathematical theories during third year that would have been useful to have prior to beginning this job.

Second, working for Greg and Karen for the next month. Doing UX design is always fun. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be working on, but I’m sure it will be interesting. They’ve promised to work me hard, so let’s hope I survive.

Third, preparing and going to Japan. I’ve been waiting for my certificate of eligibiliy from Japan, and I can’t really do much until I get that. So I feel like I’m in limbo. I’d like to get all my preparations done and a flight booked, but I can’t and it’s driving me nuts.

Things to do along the way:

  • Extend driver’s liscence (it’s supposed to expire in August, but I’m not going to be in the country. I hate driving)
  • Get VISA from Japanese consulate
  • Book flight to Japan
  • Seeing all my friends before I leave for the other side of the world
  • Go to farewell party for Mrs. Xuereb (I really want to attend this event, but it’s on June 19th and I’m afraid I might not be here for that 😥 )