Feature discoverability

24 Mar 2009 - 1:09am
5 years ago
8 replies
924 reads
Taras Brizitsky
2008

Greetings, guys.

After doing some testing/research we have found that some key
features of our application, DaisyDisk (www.daisydiskapp.com) are not
discoverable. )The app scans disk or folder and displays it as
sunburst diagram.) People get familiar with the map and navigation
very fast, but few can find out that one can right-click/cmd click to
reveal the context menu. Context menu is primary used for opening
target file or folder in finder.

We are currently looking for some ways to make "reveal file in
finder" (and delete) feature more discoverable.

Ideas so far:

-"Welcome" screen on start. Partially solves the problem for people
willing to read/scan it.

-"Hint area", displaying hint if user is inactive for a while. Not
really elegant and out of user's focus, but can be extended to other
feature.

-"Handler". Display handlers after hovering sector for a while.
Ugly, requires too much space (sectors can be small), hides
information behind.

-"Drag area" trash bin icon with "drag files here to delete"
hint. Requires some paradigm shift (more drag'n'drop-centric),
cannot be used for other context actions.

Comments

24 Mar 2009 - 2:13am
Harry Brignull
2004

Looks like your designers have worked hard to give the app an aesthetic
minimalism - which looks fantastic but you might have to compromise it
slightly to make the controls more discoverable.

A disk space manager app is only likely to be used every few weeks. Even
once the UI is learned, users may forget by the time they use it again.

Personally, I'd experiment with having a single left-click trigger a menu
strip to appear along the edge of the window. This could list all the
functions as words on button labels. Single click to select, double click to
drill-in, perhaps?

Not very exciting, I know, but perhaps worth experimenting with.

Good luck!

Harry

---
http://90percentofeverything.com/

24 Mar 2009 - 7:22am
Anders Ljung
2008

Your UI is interesting since it alternates information about the
current location and what the user hovers above with the mouse.

If you had one list/item for "where am I?" and one list for "what
am I hovering?", you could add the "Show in Finder" as a button or
list item to the former.

This seems to be the only item from the context menu that is not
shown anywhere else?

There is poor affordance that clicking the bullseye = go to enclosing
folder. Add an up arrow?

By the way: great app that feels really OSX :)

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24 Mar 2009 - 8:25am
Den Serras
2009

I'm a rare Mac user who regularly uses right-clicking; I find that
most (even PC-converts) look for menus and buttons before they think
to right/control click on something. And I agree with that - right
clicking is counter-intuitive and inherently invisible.

Since your map isn't like anything else, we don't come with
preconceived notions of how it should work. I haven't used your app,
but does each segment act like a button on rollover, encouraging
clicking? Do you have a "hint" area somewhere that changes
depending on where your mouse is? And once they click, why not keep
your flower-like design and have it bring up a circular context menu
- the center area acts as it does now, but it brings up a few options
in a circle around the mouse, like Maya does, but which fade if not
clicked on. That encourages that first, investigative click on an
area and then gives them options without having to figure out what to
do.

Alternatively, why not have the clicks be sticky? Once a segment is
clicked on, in the "down" state it could provide all sorts of user
information and options in an intuitive area - maybe the lower-right
below your list.

I would never rely on right-clicking. For one thing, Macs, especially
notebooks, don't make that using them intuitive at all - still no
two-button mouse. But more so because RCs are inherently a hidden
feature.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Mar 2009 - 8:53am
Renee Rosen-Wakeford
2008

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 7:25 AM, Den Serras <dennitzio at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I would never rely on right-clicking. For one thing, Macs, especially
> notebooks, don't make that using them intuitive at all - still no
> two-button mouse. But more so because RCs are inherently a hidden
> feature.

I right-click a lot as well on my Mac, but then I use XP, OS X and Linux
(Eee PC version of Xandros) on a regular basis, so it's probably more
typical of switchers than those who've used Macs for years. I've also had
Mac users comment before that they can tell I'm a switcher because I don't
use all the keyboard shortcuts and I right-click a lot.

The newer Mac laptops do allow right-clicking, but it's a bit of a kludge.
You have to use two fingers on the mouse pad and then click. I've noticed on
my newish white MacBook that it's not always reliable. Sometimes it doesn't
seem to register that there are two fingers and it performs a left-click
instead. So I definitely use it less than I used to, due to the hassle. I'm
not sure how the unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros are, but I think they
have a glass trackpad, so maybe it registers multitouch better?

--
Renée Rosen-Wakeford
reneerw at gmail.com
Twitter: @lilitu93

24 Mar 2009 - 9:27am
Taras Brizitsky
2008

Greetings, Den.

You can refer to this video for interaction details:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs9D26VG7Uk

We used the following solutions to encourage clicking the map and
Info panel:

- sectors start pulsing on hovering
- Info panel items get highlighted
- central part (level up) of the map also slightly pulses

Nevertheless there's absolutely no visual clue for context actions
which seem to be my fault as interaction designer.

I have also pointed several possible solutions above, but none of
them look elegant enough yet. Hint area is mentioned there, but I'm
unsure it would be useful enough. Probably quick test could help :)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Mar 2009 - 5:31pm
Den Serras
2009

Unfortunately, I am not a beneficiary of the new multitouch trackpads as I am mobile-computer free! (for the moment). It's always been a little weird about Mac and right-clicking, like it's some kind of hack. But I really understand why, at least from an Apple POV. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere in their UI guidelines that no task should be invisible, and that's why right-clicks are only for shortcuts.

Funny, I wonder how the UI semantics will change with multitouch. Right now, double-click = open, single click= activate, etc. But will a program have to teach us how to activate a tool? Oh, to get that, you need to use TWO fingers... Etc. Sorry, off topic...

________________________________

I right-click a lot as well on my Mac, but then I use XP, OS X and Linux (Eee PC version of Xandros) on a regular basis, so it's probably more typical of switchers than those who've used Macs for years. I've also had Mac users comment before that they can tell I'm a switcher because I don't use all the keyboard shortcuts and I right-click a lot.

The newer Mac laptops do allow right-clicking, but it's a bit of a kludge. You have to use two fingers on the mouse pad and then click. I've noticed on my newish white MacBook that it's not always reliable. Sometimes it doesn't seem to register that there are two fingers and it performs a left-click instead. So I definitely use it less than I used to, due to the hassle. I'm not sure how the unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros are, but I think they have a glass trackpad, so maybe it registers multitouch better?

24 Mar 2009 - 5:41pm
Den Serras
2009

aak, it lost the separator between my comments and Renee's coming
through email.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Mar 2009 - 12:32pm
Brian O'Neill
2009

Hi

Great topic. I've just been through the same thing and we actually
usability tested affordances around double clicking (indirectly) on a
topology diagram one of my clients has. We used four users, three of
whom were regular users, one of whom hadn't touched the product in
awhile and gave them tasks that would require them to see information
supplied in popups to complete their task. The existing topo they use
now had right-click functions (exposed through "training sessions")
but no double click functionality. Two of them accidently (I assume)
found out we had integrated these detailed popup windows via double
click in the version they were being studied on, but there were no
hints given in the UI that this existed. My analysis was that due to
some other bugs and/or frustrations while using the (in beta) new
topology diagram, the users were clicking around quite a bit and were
running across things accidently - like the double click. Either that,
or they were already double clicking as some people do on the web
unnecessarily. I was surprised that any of them actually found this
feature given it doesn't exist in their existing version of the app.

Anyhow, our attempt to make the affordance better around
double-clicking was to consider one of these two options:

Option 1: When this new feature gets released into the topology,
the first click interaction (of any kind) interrupts to inform people
of the added double-clicking features, using a popup or some type of
diagram/screen shot directly above (z-index) the topology. You'd
have the typical "don't remind me again/remind me again in a
month" kinda stuff as your dismissal commands.

Option 2: We put the same instruction content (mentioned above)
ABOVE the topology map and pushing it down to give high visibility to
this info . (the non z-index/stacking approach where the content is
just there automatically right after the upgrade is made to the
software.)

This is hardly a new invention - many apps give "tips"
(Dreamweaver anyone?) that you have to eventually dismiss. Those are
ok, but often out of context (right info at the wrong time).

In our case, hovering on an item already reveals more data (if you
hover on an object, it's name goes from truncated to fully-spelled
out). The pulse thing is interesting and worth exploring.

thanks! Open to other's suggestions...

Brian

User experience and interaction designer (Boston/NYC)
http://www.rhythmspice.com

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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