Table of contents for Fluid user manual

Allison Bloodworth abloodworth at
Wed Jun 4 21:46:25 UTC 2008

Nice suggestions Paul! I second your thoughts on doing some user  
testing. I'm hoping to do something similar for the Open Source Design  
Pattern Library, and I think looking at how Fluid release users  
implement components, solve design problems, and use our user manual  
would give us some great insights on how to design all our reference  
materials. Perhaps that is something we can plan to do sometime after  
the Sakai Conference in Paris? Or if anyone plans to actually work on  
component implementation *in* Paris, we could even connect with them  


On Jun 2, 2008, at 4:37 PM, Paul Zablosky wrote:

> This whole exercise of creating a virtual user manual has raised all  
> sorts of interesting questions.  I'm delighted to see these things  
> being discussed as the ToC evolves. Is it a release manual (our  
> original objective), or a manual for people using any of the  
> resources of the Fluid project (something it may be morphing into)?
> I'm inclined to let it develop a bit, but keep discussion going on  
> important issues, such as how we keep release-specific content  
> distinguished from release-independent stuff -- the issue Anastasia  
> addressed.  We'll need a few guidelines to keep things under  
> control.  I offer the following for discussion:
> Content that is associated with the Fluid software releases should  
> be readily identifiable  and easily found by the release consumers.   
> Right now we have it as the first sections of the ToC.  We should  
> keep it this way until we come up with a more logical setup.
> Annotations should give the user an idea of what's on the page  
> without clicking on it. We should always keep that in mind when  
> composing or editing them.
> Section annotations should help the users decide if the material in  
> the section is going to be generally of interest to them.
> The ToC should not have any child pages.  Pages with manual-only  
> content should be attached to a central "Manual" parent page, if  
> they have no other logical home.
> The ToC has now grown to about 2 1/2 scrollable screens in size.  At  
> some point it may become unwieldy.  I have been toying with the idea  
> of have cloakable sections but I'm not sure this is a good idea.  It  
> would mean the user having to click rather than scroll.
> What this whole scheme needs is some user testing.  Is it doing its  
> job of making the Fluid reference material more accessible to  
> consumers of the Fluid deliverables?  How can we find out? We may  
> not be ready for that yet -- we may want to do a few more rounds of  
> refinement first -- but it's something to keep in mind.
> Paul
> Colin Clark wrote:
>> Allison,
>> On 2-Jun-08, at 5:55 PM, Allison Bloodworth wrote:
>>> I think the main impetus for adding this section was that we  
>>> wanted to share out the results of the Content Management Research  
>>> as a way of reporting on the state of UX in the Fluid communities  
>>> (which I believe is one of the Fluid deliverables). After adding  
>>> this, I realized that the results of the UX Walkthroughs are also  
>>> something that we should probably share. I'm not entirely sure the  
>>> OSDPL working group belongs there, but I added it at the last  
>>> moment to publicize that effort and maybe it should be deleted. I  
>>> guess the question is, who is the audience of the manual and would  
>>> they find this information helpful (or conversely does the manual  
>>> become overwhelming for most of our audience when it is included)?
>> The audience question--will they find this particular information  
>> helpful or overwhelming?--is exactly the right question, and one  
>> which I'm unsure of the answer to.
>> The nice thing about not freezing our documentation in PDF format  
>> is that we can take some time to work out this question and change  
>> the table of contents whenever we decide. :)
>> Colin
>> ---
>> Colin Clark
>> Technical Lead, Fluid Project
>> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

Allison Bloodworth
Senior User Interaction Designer
Educational Technology Services
University of California, Berkeley
(415) 377-8243
abloodworth at

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