Component Progress Indicators

John Norman john at
Fri Sep 5 15:12:28 UTC 2008

I got an offlist comment about reorderer which made me revisit the  
site and I got confused. Nico helped me out. The issue is that  
components are presented as peers, but (as Nico presented it) the  
reordered is like a parent (or container component) for two other  
components - lightbox and layout customiser. So if we are looking at  
using layout customiser, we are necessarily looking at using Reorderer.

I had not properly understood this and would suggest that the site  
presentation of all components as peers does not help discovery of  
this relationship/dependency. Reusing the lightbox image for the  
reorderer component at 
  does not help. A parent component that does not have a UI might be  
better represented by a snippet of code image.

Just a suggestion.


On 5 Sep 2008, at 14:50, Jess Mitchell wrote:

> John,
> Thanks so much for your thoughtful email!  This is great feedback  
> and we're excited to make this new tool better.
> You have indeed mentioned some of the points that we're working on,  
> namely: a template for the component pages that will have anchored  
> sections that clearly match up with the elements in the indicator  
> and the progress indicator situated within that page -- that should  
> help with some understandability.  We'll also have the progress  
> indicators living on that page eventually.
> But you also bring up some really good points that we need to  
> address:  namely "completeness" and what it means, explaining  
> "families" of components like reorderer, and how to represent  
> features of the components we haven't even thought of adding, but  
> will be added to a "complete" component?  So, we've got some work to  
> do on this.
> We look forward to working with y'all on implementation!  And have  
> Nico get in touch with us about implementation of the Layout  
> Customizer.
> Best,
> Jess
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jess Mitchell
> Project Manager / Fluid Project
> jess at
> / w / 617.326.7753  / c / 919.599.5378
> jabber: jessmitchell at
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> On Sep 5, 2008, at 4:41 AM, John Norman wrote:
>> First I want to say this is a great resource, BUT...
>> I just had occasion to actually want to *use* a progress indicator.
>> This is good news, Nico came to me saying he wanted to put the Fluid
>> Reorderer into the Sakai UX work. So first I went to look at his demo
>> of it working with the Nathan's new skin and Sakai gadgets (I was
>> worried by the clunky drag and drop I had seen when I last looked).
>> The experience was good, very familiar and ext-like so I agreed it
>> might be ready to use. But then I thought, so how finished is it and
>> what is the likelihood of a big change coming along and disrupting
>> the  UX project in some way by doing something unexpected or  
>> unwanted,
>> or it turning out to have poor performance so we had to pull it back
>> out until fixed. The progress chart seemed the obvious place to get
>> answers so I went and looked. I found myself with fewer answers  
>> than I
>> expected and thought I should share the experience.
>> 1. First problem: what component should I be looking at? There seemed
>> to be 2 possibilities Layout Customiser and Reorderer. Nico seemed
>> pretty confident that he had used the Layout Customiser so that is
>> what we looked at, but I noted that the page assumed you understood
>> what each component did - a very brief description for disambiguation
>> purposes in this case would have been useful.
>> 2. Next problem was; what does "complete" mean. Until the Flash
>> uploader incident, I would probably not have questioned this and
>> assumed that "complete" meant feature complete and fully tested for
>> heavy production load - i.e. 'production ready'. The Flash uploader  
>> is
>> "complete" but there is a massive risk associated with the Flash
>> Player 10 non-functionality that is not mentioned, potentially
>> allowing me to make a poor production decision, so perhaps 'complete'
>> does not mean 'production ready'. I looked for a definition of
>> "complete" but didn't readily find one.
>> 3. Next problem is the elements on the page (like "columns" or
>> "locked"). I wondered what they meant. There seemed to be a
>> correlation to the items listed below the colour bar, but all items
>> linked to a single specification page that did not easily correlate
>> with the names, i.e. even by reading the specification page I could
>> not tell the scope of specification that related to the name  
>> "columns"
>> and that was marked as complete.
>> 4. Finally, there was a white item marked "..." and a corresponding
>> item on the bottom of the list. I didn't know what to make of this. I
>> assumed it meant the spec scope was unfinished and there was an
>> indefinite amount of unknown work still to be done, so progress could
>> be 80% done or 5% done and there was no way to know when the  
>> component
>> might be finished.
>> So for this single example, the entry turned out to be almost totally
>> useless for *my* purpose, which was to decide if it was safe to
>> consider using the component in a production environment.
>> I wrote this down to try to be helpful, not to criticise. I  
>> appreciate
>> that it is work in progress and I would like to remind you of the  
>> good
>> news - we are thinking we might be ready to put the component into  
>> our
>> production code and built it into the UX work. I just thought that I
>> had an example of the intended use of the page and you should know
>> that in its current form it turns out to be less useful than it
>> appeared on the surface when I looked at it for the conference call.
>> Best, John
>> On 3 Sep 2008, at 21:00, Jess Mitchell wrote:
>>> I think these look awesome.  And I think it's meaningful that I've
>>> been pointing people to this page all day while having conversations
>>> about components.
>>> Wonderful work y'all.
>>> Jess
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>> Jess Mitchell
>>> Project Manager / Fluid Project
>>> jess at
>>> / w / 617.326.7753  / c / 919.599.5378
>>> jabber: jessmitchell at
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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