Re: Proposal for Nautilus help display

Dan Mueth wrote:

> One thing I was hoping to add to this is the ability to zoom in and out of
> the tree.  You can think of this as either "zooming" and "unzooming", or
> just "pan left" and "pan right".

Hmm, I can see what you're getting at (I think), but without having
tried it out, it sounds like it might be a bit fiddly and/or
disorientating to use.  The physical size of the tree control already
forces the user to see only a small part of the tree at any one time, so
I don't know how much you would gain from hiding a bunch of other things
that you wouldn't normally be able to see unless you scrolled around a
bit anyway.

It's certainly worth thinking about it a bit more, though-- tree
controls generally cause more confusion for users than most other
controls put together, so anything we can do to improve things has to be
good.  Any chance you could cobble together a couple of screenshots or
scan in a quick sketch or something to give us a clearer idea of exactly
what you had in mind?
> If the help browser is brought up by a help button in an application, we
> should have the document selected in the contents list and the "selection
> on contents tab" button checked.  This way they are just searching within
> the given document by default.  It sounds like this should work similarly
> to your case above.

Yes, that's pretty much how I'd imagined it working.

> It would be nice to be able to have a list of pre-defined and user-defined
> document groups.  

I did have this in some of the original GUI designs (what you're looking
at is the ninth iteration!), but I was asked to leave it out for now
because we thought we'd probably be a bit pushed for time.  (Actually it
introduced some more usability issues as well, but we could work our way
around those with a bit of time and effort, I'm sure.)

> Just to be clear, this would just search on document and section titles -
> ie. what shows up in the contents pane, right?  

Right now, it only searches index terms, i.e. everything that shows up
in the index list if you select "show index for all documents".  Which
is why the search controls live on the index tab rather than the
contents tab, or on their own search tab.  

Again, my original GUI designs had rather grander plans for searching,
but Mary and Laszlo wanted to restrict it to index terms for now, to
help ensure they actually stand a chance of getting all the work done 


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson ireland sun com    Desktop Engineering Group                      +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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