Re: [Evolution-hackers] Appointment and Meeting Editors -- 2.0 Thoughts

Hi Anna,

Overall the dialogs look nice. I have a few suggestions/questions

Sincerely, Tim
On Tue, 2003-09-30 at 16:39, Anna Marie Dirks wrote: 
> Hello everyone. 
> For some time, I have been working to simplify the user interfaces of
> the appointment/meeting editors (collectively known as the "event
> editor"). With the upcoming release of Evolution 2.0, we have a great
> opportunity to bring those interfaces into compliance with the HIG,
> and to improve their overall usability. 
> My goals for this work are: 
> 1. To make it simpler for the user to get an "at a glance" view of an
> event. 
> 2. To create a better match between the event editor UI and the other
> Evo editor interfaces. 
> 3. To create a better match between the event editor UI and the way
> that information about an event is displayed in the Calendar. 
> 4. To make the event editor completely compliant with the HIG and the
> Accessibility guidelines.
> 5. To emphasize recognition over recall in the user interface. That
> is, to increase the visibility of the user's options/possible actions,
> instead of relying on the user being able to remember where in a
> complex system of tabs a given choice is located. 
> 6. To create a better match between the language used in the real
> world, and the language used in the event editor.
> 7. To remove any extra or irrelevent information from the event
> editor, creating a more minimalist design.
> With these goals in mind, I wrote a prototype of a new design for the
> event editor. I have taken some screenshots of it in action, and will
> use these to describe my proposal to you. 
> Screenshots: 
> 1. The event editor, as started from the File->New menu:
> As you can see, the overall number of tabs has been reduced from a max
> of 5 to a max of two. I adopted a design which is somewhat similar to
> a standard party invitation; the user is asked to specify where, when,
> what, and why an event involves. My hope is that this creates a better
> match between the info Evo is requesting, and a common object from the
> real world.
> NB: The toolbar items shown here are placeholders more than anything
> else. I added them to express the idea that we could use a toolbar
> there to make common operations easily accessible.
Looks nice, but the middle of the dialog seems a little crowded with all
the different controls. Could you  move some of them to the bottom. I
think that might also help people who tab through the dialog by keeping
the most often modified fields near the top.

So for example:
What:  [           ]
Start: [8/13/2003] [11:00]  End:  [8/13/2003] [12:00]  []All day event

Where: [          ]

Why:   [           ]

Alarms: [None]         Repeats: [Never]

Calendar: [       ]  [x]Mark me as busy

[Public] [Categories:                              ]
For me this orders the fields from top to bottom by how often I make
entries in or modify them. I'm not sure how we're handling the Calendar
field, I'm assuming it would have the calendar you were viewing when you
created the appointment. 

There are no timezone buttons for the start and end times. Was this

It might be nice if there was some way of indicating in the initial view
whether this is an appointment just for me or a multi-person meeting.
I'm not sure what the best way to do that would be, maybe change the
appearance of the Scheduling tab?

One of my pet peeves, are we going to fix the time drop down lists so
you don't get this huge long list of times that goes to the bottom of
your screen. 

> 2. The "Scheduling" tab of the appointment editor:
> I think that this tab should always be shown, regardless of whether an
> event is an appointment or a meeting; this eliminates the need to
> provide an appt <-> meeting switching mechanism. In the case of an
> appointment, only the user's schedule (if available) will be shown in
> the colorful-sliding-schedule-pane. If you were to zoom in on that
> pane (by pressing the "Zoom" toggle), then it would look like this:
> NB: The colors in the colorful-sliding-schedule-pane look rather poor
> because I hacked them up in the gimp. In reality, we'd probably
> continue to use the same color scheme as we've been using.
To be honest I have never liked the table view with horizontal rows for
each persons free/busy information. I find it hard to navigate,
especially when zooming in/out or trying to move between different days
or weeks. The scrolling can get very laborious! I have had the thought
for a while that presenting the free/busy information in the regular
day/week/month views would be much better. 

Something like


[list       ]
[of         ]
[attendees ]

|  calendar day/week view 
|  with attendees F/B information

[meeting start time]  [autopick]
[meeting end time]
Though that would however require more screen space :(. 

Anyway some suggestions/question for the current view

- Are we dropping the Role and RSVP fields?
- Will F/B automatically refresh at some interval? There used to be a
- There were options for Autopick ( All people and resources, Required
people, etc. ), are we dropping that as well. I personally never changed
those options ( except when testing them ) so I won't miss them. 
- There does not appear to be a way to change the organizer of the
meeting. Will that now strictly be based on what calendar the meeting is
created in? Or will you be able to change that in the list of attendees?
If I recall correctly the Organizer does not have to be an attendee?
This is the way Evolution used to work, we changed that for SunOne. Also
having the organizer in a separate field made it easier to quickly see
who had created the meeting. If this gets put back in, it might go
better in Appointment tab ( see may earlier note about telling the
different between appointments and meetings ).
- Will the + button open the "Select contacts from address book" dialog?
If it will then the "Address book" button seems somewhat redundant. Also
which addressbook will it open, since I thought we were moving away from
having default folders.
- It might be nice to have ways to navigate the F/B information besides
just scrolling. A jump to next day/week or select date button?
- Have the date in the date row of the F/B table "float". Right now the
date seems to be anchored to the start of the day. Currently with the
view zoomed out and show non-working hours displayed you can scroll the
date out of view. 
- dan's question about zooming out, does it include non-working hours.

> 3. The dialog used to specify recurrence:
> This dialog is launched by pressing the repeat button in the "Repeat:
> Never" area of the appointment page. By making this a separate dialog,
> we accomplish two things: we don't force the user to switch notebook
> tabs when she specifies recurrence (hence obscuring all the data about
> the appointment that she has thus far provided) , and, we are allowed
> more flexibility wrt how we organize the recurrence settings (since
> they don't have to fit into the notebook structure of the event editor
> any more.)
- I agree with Dan's suggestion to add back the preview calendar, with
the addition that it would be nice to be able to add exceptions right
from the preview calendar. For example have the "Add exception" button
be deactivated until the person clicks on a date with a meeting
recurrence in the preview calendar.
- If you have more than one exception how will they be listed? The old
UI had a table view.

> When recurrence has been specified, the event editor looks like this: 
> 4. The dialog used to specify alarm settings:
> This dialog is launched in the same manner as the recurrence dialog. I
> believe that separating alarm options into their own dialog has the
> same basic benefits as moving the recurrence options. 

> When alarms have been specified, the event editor looks like this
> (deja vu): 
> . 

> 5. The mechanism (or something approaching it) for selecting which
> calendar to add an event to:
> This is launched by pressing the [...] button next to the "Calendars"
> entry, if the desired calendar is not in the entry's history. This
> dialog is optional.
I you have a calendar already selected do you bypass this dialog?
> So. What are your reactions to this work? What other information do
> you need from me to consider this design? For what it is worth, I
> started from scratch and had little problem writing this gui -- I
> don't think that for an experience hacker, making these changes would
> be very difficult, at all. 
> Thanks,
> Anna
> ps. Just FYI, the next steps for me are: 
> * Incorporate feedback from you guys, and refine the design based on
> issues you raise (and on resource-allocation information from
> Christine and Ettore.)
> * Create a functional specification for this design as I did for the
> list view in the calendar. 
> -- 
> Anna Marie Dirks <anna ximian com>

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