Friday 21 March 2008

Thinking about Views, particularly large ones

A few weeks ago i blogged about very large datasets in views, that post came from a desire to maximize performance without usability in a web client. Nathan Freeman amongst others pointed out that very large views should really have a filtering system in both the notes client and on the web.

Thinking about this yes the notes client does make you lazy, categorized views work are easy to get around in, users are used to them and we as developers sometimes fall prone to following the path of least (in this case user) resistance.

So over the past few weeks I have been doing some head scratching about the whole UI thing. Spurred on by posts that posted this toon about design I have tried to do some paper prototypes about a new way (for me) of looking at view navigation.

Needless to say I tried to avoid thinking about coverlfow for fear of band wagon jumping .. that and I having used it on my own iPlod the novelty lasted about a week mainly caused by to many albums to be able to recognize all the covers that and i couldn't be arsed spending the time to get the album art. The more I ignored it the more I came back to variants of the same thing as a potential good idea.

This is the idea I have is something like this:
When the control is unloaded it looks like Fig 1
The user selectes "Content" or "Actions"

Clicking "Content" loads the scroll to The first Level Document types like in Figure 2. For Example approvals , requests etc

Clicking on the scroller moves thru the choices

Clicking on the picture loads the Scroller with the next level down of categorisation.

Using keys or the mouse wheel moves the user thru the levels ... no quite sure how this would work.. prob via a cache.

There would also be a breadcrumb trail below the control So the user would have a visual representation of where they were.

Keyboarders could type "App.." and the scroller would postion the flow at Approvals and you could also use <- and -> to navigate thru the options.

Clicking on Actions would do give the user a list of actions available like .. Create new .. Email to .. etc that would be used in the same way.

Below the control there would be the space where the results of the user selection would appear in table form.

I know this is do-able with a composite application. But i am thinking of doing this all in JS so that the V6 and V7 population can us it as well.

I have the cover flow bit 70% done (for the web) the resizing animations are proving awkward in JS, but i will have a play over easter and see if I can get to grips with that. I am still not sure whether this will be a runner usability wise .. there is rather a lot of clicking

If I manage to get something working i will pop it onto OpenNtf and let the world play with it

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