[Evolution-hackers] component information area.

Regards all.

As you know, in Evolution 1.4, we presented the user with information about her currently selected folder in a grey bar, which stretched beneath the app's main toolbar. This grey bar was called the "component information area"; refer to the following screenshot to see it in action. http://primates.ximian.com/~anna/greybar.png

In 2.0, we are lacking the functionality provided by this bar. In order to include this functionality, my team (Product Design), proposes the following.
The component information area should be used:

What the Component Info Areas is NOT for

The information area isn't going to replace the status bar. The status bar is a place to inform the user of currently running tasks such as indexing folders, grabbing mail, expunging mail etc.

It is also not an alternative to the executive summary,  which in 1.4 brought together the important information from all components into a sort of a day-view.

Sample Tasks for the Component Information Area

Albert is an unemployed plastic surgeon, with computer geekish tendencies.

Analysis -- How These Tasks are Accomplished in Evo 1.5

  1. Albert is able to see a total number of messages in a folder, a default spam vfolder in particular, by clicking the properties item in the folder context menu or by selecting File>Folder>Properties menu item. The dialog also lists number of unread messages. It may be a bit difficult to find this context sensitive dialog. To see spam received today, he needs to create a custom vfolder to match messages marked as spam and received within 24 hours. Another solution is to make sure to make all spam messages marked as read at the end of the day. That way Albert can see new spam messages the next day.

  2. It's possible to have an overview of how many tasks are pending in the tasks view of the shell. Overdue tasks are colored red and tasks due today are blue.

  3. Unless Albert wants to count them manually, there's no way to see the number of contacts or contact lists in his addressbook.

  4. Albert can use the go to today button on the toolbar when in calendar component.

Heuristic Analysis

(for a complete list of the Product Design team's heuristics, please see: http://primates.ximian.com/~anna/heuristics.html  . Basically, heuristics are principles -- they define the tenants that my team believes in. Every design we produce is measured using these heuristics, to be sure that it is appropriate.)

Consistency: There isn't a common information area in Evolution 1.5 currently. Each component has a different way of presenting the data needed for tasks outlined above.

Minimal design: N/A

Limit memory requirements: Because the properties dialog is hidden most of the time, it's required for the user to revisit it or remember the information.

Constructive error handling: N/A

Task based design: Most of the tasks couldn't be accomplished with Evolution 1.5. The 1.4 status bar works well except it requires to change the components if the user wishes to accomplish all the tasks.

Appropriate language: N/A

Help and Docs: We could not locate any data about the folder properties dialog.


Keeping the above tasks and analysis in mind, we propose using the following design to provide information about the currently selected component (and folder).


I know that this screenshot is very blurry -- I copied it from an open office document. Obviously, if this design is implemented, we will use razor crisp text, etc.

This design, we believe, facilitates the tasks discussed above, while respecting our heuristics.
What do you think ?


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