[sword-devel] User Interface design for Tyndale STEP

David Instone-Brewer Technical at Tyndale.cam.ac.uk
Tue Apr 27 05:49:21 MST 2010

Dear Chris

Yep - these responses sound good.
A few comments:
Tabs for extra views - I think the "bookmarks" already provide this.
Unclicking tabs - people are used to unclicking a button or a 
radio-button selection. Could the tab stand out like a button? But a 
simple [-] or "off" would work too
Inline scrollbars - I don't see what's wrong with these. They have 
gone out of fashion on web pages but merely because Google doesn't 
like frames.
    - I much prefer an inline scrollbar to a long webpage, cos you 
can't see everything at once. Eg, you might be looking at the bottom 
of a chapter, while trying to read the top of a lexicon definition, 
or a popout with a list of names, or the first verses of a different chapter.
Hover display - overlaying the search box and title sounds OK. I 
agree the middle area is narrow.

David IB

At 13:13 27/04/2010, Chris Burrell wrote:
>And few extra comments
>+ To increase space allocated to seeing the passage, it would be 
>good to be able to expand downwards
>+ Mobile devices would probably default to one pane with a smaller 
>set of icons on the side
>+ A pin on the sidebar would allow you to collapse the sidebar 
>further (using smaller icons as David Haslam was mentioning)
>+ Someone mentioned workspaces/virtual desktops. My flatmate 
>mentioned it as well. It would be good to find an intuitive way of 
>saving the view, or creating a new view. So that users who want to 
>see more than two panes can start flicking between their views... 
>Maybe tabs on the top of each pane? or at the very top, a banner 
>with a tab ( a bit like Google Chrome has)
>On 27 April 2010 13:06, Chris Burrell 
><<mailto:chris at burrell.me.uk>chris at burrell.me.uk> wrote:
>My comments below, prefixed with >>> (and in bold if that comes through)
>On 26 April 2010 13:00, David Instone-Brewer 
><<mailto:Technical at tyndale.cam.ac.uk>Technical at tyndale.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>Chris, these are great!
>(David, I've copied you in for your creative 'eye' - links to 
>screenshots are 
>* I love the tags along the top of the text panes, which don't take 
>up much room and dropdown to list the versions
>* I love the footprint logo at the bottom middle.
>* The Tools menu at top right is a great idea.
>* The big friendly buttons down the left are nice. They look a bit 
>mysterious to start with, but are quickly learned.
> >>> I think we can easily add some "alternative text" to let the 
> user know what the button is in a non obstructive way
>* The popout of People etc,  overlaying most of the text panes works well.
>* The people list - starting with a list at Aaron, Abaddon etc, with 
>"more" looks good as a quick way to pick the person you want
>* The idea of starting typing and filtering the results is very intuitive.
>* I like the idea of intelligence for searching, with the option of 
>telling it what to search for. So if someone looks up Aaron, they 
>can decide if they want the People database or a concordance search.
>* the Bookmarks in the middle look perfect - intuitive, and don't 
>take up much room.
>* Using the space between the panes for "Timeline", "People" etc is 
>a great idea. The "Bookmarks" could be simply one of them. - ie 
>click on one, and it turns into a list of the People, Maps, 
>Bookmarks etc which are available.
>* I like the idea of Green as a colour scheme - it fits nicely with 
>the logo and looks friendly.
>* I agree we need a config page but it can be separate
>* I agree we can use Browser back buttons
>* I too have misgivings about menus at the top. Personally I like 
>them, esp for providing keyboard shortcuts, but they make 
>applications look dated. If we have it, perhaps it could be an option.
>Some minor suggestions (most of them are further ideas which you may 
>already have in mind)
>* The bridge would look more intuitive if it touched both sides and 
>looked like one of those bridges which lift up to let boats under 
>(ie the connection between the two sides is broken)
>  >>> Yes, I couldn't find a proper bridge like that. I think that a 
> chain might be better (link / unlink). One of the problems is that 
> the picture needs to be so big since the two panes are relatively 
> speaking quite far from each other...
>* We need some indication of what version we are looking at. - ie 
>when you click on the dropdown for "English" versions and pick ESV, 
>then pick KJV on the other pane, we need to see somewhere that that 
>these are what we have selected.
> >>> Yep, so perhaps something like Matthew 8:2-13 [ESV] in the title?
>* I'd prefer tabs on the bottom boxes instead of an options button. 
>This would indicates that all those tabs remain 'live' and 
>available, and unclicking the one which is clicked could minimise the box.
> >>> I'm not sure unclicking a tab is very intuitive? or are you 
> thinking of having a tab called "No info"
>* perhaps we could indicate "manual"  or "personal" bookmarks (ie 
>ones which the user especially wants to remember) by highlighting 
>them or making them a different colour. Or perhaps "personal 
>bookmarks" could be a separate list.
> >>> Yes, agreed. So part of the idea on one of the buttons (in a 
> later screenshot) was to have a bookmarks option so that people 
> could get to them very quickly when they come back.
>* It would be nice to have to option of opening a box at the bottom 
>of both text panes, even if they are linked, so someone could see 
>(say) both crossRefs and personal notes at the same time.
> >>> Yup. Good idea.
>* I think we could reduce the size of the search options by simply 
>having a dropdown from the binoculars. Most of the time, there won't 
>be any need to specify the kind of search, because a Reference, or 
>Strongs# is unambiguous, and we can set the default to a concordance 
>search for most other things. If they have the sidebar open at 
>People or Places we can change the default to that. So most of the 
>time people won't have to choose the search database.
> >>> Yes, although I don't understand the comment about when the 
> side bar is open. The idea is to make the side bar a temporary 
> helper to the application, which "disables" most of the application 
> behind while open.
>* Do we need a search box inside the side popouts? The main 
>searchbox could be used. Perhaps the sidebar and popout could start 
>higher up, so that the main searchbox could be incorporated into the popout.
> >>> I think we do. I think it would confuse people if we only have 
> 1: one of the search boxes is to carry out a one-off search, the 
> other one in the popout is to filter search results according to 
> what module is selected on the toolbar.
>* Could we use the bookmark space for our hover-over information? 
>I'd really like to avoid the usual problem of overlaying the very 
>text you are trying to read.
> >>> Good idea (although it's kind of narrow...). I was going to 
> suggest using the notes field at the bottom, but that wouldn't work 
> because of my comments down below. Another option is to use a 
> overlay on the top header part (covering the search boxes)
>* One of the trickiest things is typing a reference. Could we give 
>the user some help? Perhaps, when they start typing in the search 
>box, we could have an initial dropdown of Bible books (ie type "G" 
>and get "Genesis 1... /  Galatians 1..." at the top, then a 
>horizontal line and other options such as "Gad  / Gadara  / 
>Gideon... etc). This will esp help those who don't know the Bible 
>books well, or who type "Jud" for Judges and end up in Jude.
> >>> All very feasible
>* Could we add some kind of chapter selection? Perhaps, when 
>"Genesis 1..." is selected the dropdown could change to "Genesis 1 / 
>Genesis 2 / Genesis 3 / Genesis 3 / ..."
> >>> I think you mean "Genesis "  would come up with Genesis 1, 
> Genesis 2, etc. Genesis 1 would come up with Genesis 11, Genesis 
> 12, etc. I think also the Bible function on the left (maybe we only 
> need one) could server that purpose, as a drill down. So your side 
> popup would appear, you'd click Genesis, then get a list of all the 
> chapters, then click a chapter...
>* AND / OR we could put a Bible icon by the side of the Search box 
>with a drill-down Bible book & chapter selection.
>* When we implement Browser functions (like extending the page 
>downward, or using child windows, we have to remember that not all 
>Browsers are equal, esp on a phone or an iPad. We can't rely on 
>extra space and extra windows being available.
>Agreed, a comment from my flat mate however was that if we're 
>squeezing the Bible into these two panes, and they are not linked 
>(ie. different versions/passage/content) we may need to expand them 
>downwards like a proper webpage for fear of not displaying enough of 
>the passage. I'd rather avoid inline scroll bars...
>* I like the big popout area from side bar, but perhaps it should 
>cover only the left-hand text pane (and it could cover more of it) - 
>so that the user can arrange to have the passage they are looking up 
>to still be visible on the right-hand pane. Eg someone may be 
>looking up "Jehoshaphat" and they'd want to see the name while 
>searching for it.
>  - this would also help with smaller devices, on which we can 
> display either one text pane or the other, but not a wide area spanning both.
> >>> Good idea
>* That makes me think it would be nice to be able to swap the right 
>& left text panes. Can the "bridge" icon serve double purpose somehow?
> >>> Maybe dragging and dropping the pane onto the other side?
>* What about putting the left-hand buttons on the right-hand side? 
>I'm thinking about how this will be approached. Most users start at 
>the left and the big buttons make them think that this is what they 
>want to choose first, whereas we want the Bible text to be the 
>center and the other things to be spokes or offshoots. So if the big 
>buttons are on the right, their eyes will be drawn first to the main 
>searchbox, which is where we want them to start. And if there is a 
>Bible icon to the left of the search, this should lead them to drill 
>down to a Bible chapter. Also, if the popout is on the right, it is 
>less likely to cover the very text they have selected.
> >>> Possibly. I'll try that and post a screenshot.
>* If the popout is covering the complete right-hand text pane, we 
>should make sure that IF the two panes are linked, we temporarily 
>unlink them so that a user can scroll up and down through the 
>complete text in just the left-hand pane which they can still see, 
>while the popout obscures the right-hand side.
>* The Bible icon in the big buttons should perhaps lead to 
>commentaries rather than Bible books - ie keep the theme that these 
>buttons are all adjuncts to the text.
> >>> Yup, I was thinking that as well... Maybe a little Bible icon 
> next to the search, which would just populate the auto-suggest 
> search box at the top.
>This is really taking shape!
>David IB
>At 21:57 25/04/2010, Chris Burrell wrote:
>>Some mock ups from me are now on the Tyndale Programming blogs: 
>>Comments are welcome, whether good or bad!!! I think whatever 
>>happens, the icons would need to be harmonized (colour an style) 
>>and thought through a bit. And obviously the colour scheme would 
>>need to be chosen carefully  (do we also want to make colour blind 
>>people have easy access, etc.?)
>>The first two screenshots go together:
>>where the second one is when the user has clicked a button on the 
>>left hand side.
>>And then there's the explanations of some of the layouts if need be:
>>Finally, there's a couple of extra screenshots:
>>The first showing an alternative of the bit in the middle of the book:
>>where it would list the content we have about a particular passage
>>and then one that looks particularly green (the green from one of 
>>the logos that was on the blogs a few weeks ago: 
>>A few other remarks:
>>1st: we're going to run this thing in a browser (whether online or 
>>offline), so we can make use of the browser buttons (back and 
>>forth), most naturally to capture content change, similar to the 
>>bookmarks, going back and forth through the passages we've visited. 
>>(that is stateless, i.e. if we came back tomorrow that history 
>>would be forgotten about).
>>2ndly, it's a browser, so we can expand the page downwards (by 
>>inserting content at the top), or at the bottom. We can also use 
>>internal links to go between one screen and another.
>>3rdly: we could include some sort of menus at the top to make it 
>>feel more desktop-like. Not sure what I think about that.
>>4th: we do need a place of general configuration and user 
>>preferences (things like proxy settings, installing more sword 
>>modules/bibles, etc.). Generally most of that can be done on a 
>>separate page, but we need a way of accessing it, even if it's just 
>>one button at the top right, or something like that.
>>I think that's it from me for now...
>>Please do let me know what you all think!?
>>At 22:38 22/04/2010, Chris Burrell wrote:
>>>Just thought I'd share a few sites that have cropped up recently 
>>>from various people in the listings and outside. If we could pull 
>>>ideas off those interfaces, I think we could end up with something really good.
>>>2- http://code.google.com/p/xulsword/
>>>3- <http://www.bibleglo.com/>http://www.bibleglo.com/
>>I like lots of things in XulSword.
>>What I liked about OffLineBible:
>>* Bookmarks - click on it, and it displays the ref it is marking.
>>* different formats (no Strongs; inline Strongs, interlinear 
>>Strongs, columns
>>* the line along the top where you can pick a chapter (a bit fiddly 
>>to use, but an interesting idea)
>>* all the bling. OK, it isn't necessary, but it looks cool - well, 
>>* the add campaign (now that advertising can be free, who says it 
>>doesn't pay?)
>>OK, Here are some positive ideas:
>>I like the idea of two panes of text, as in the prototype, and in XulSword,
>>with a wide tab area for navigation on the left as in XulSword,
>>* the XulSword tabs are in two columns with a narrow left-hand 
>>column of OT/NT,
>>    and a wider right-hand column which lists of books for OT or  NT
>>    but I think we can develop that further:
>>     Instead of having just OT and NT in the narrow left-most tab, 
>> we can have other things,
>>     which bring up more things in the wider right-hand tab:
>>   - OldT - listing OT books
>>   - NewT - listing NT books
>>   - Geog - listing placenames
>>   - Hist - listing periods
>>   - Lit - listing significant extra-biblical books
>>   - Lang - listing languages
>>   - Who - listing people
>>   - Find - a search box listing results
>>With some of these, we will have to display a cut-down list, perhaps with
>>[+] at the side to open up the item into more detail, eg for people:
>>[+] Aaron
>>[+] Baalam
>>[+] Caanan
>>- giving just 26 entries displayed.
>>For Languages I'd suggest an interface like 2LetterLookup.com
>>The equal sized panes of text could be like in XulSword, ie:
>>* each pane can show a different chapter of the Bible
>>   or the same chap in a different version, or they can be
>>   linked to show more of the chapter, flowing from one to the other.
>>* a raisable bridge icon  (like London Tower Bridge?) can join or 
>>separate them
>>* both panes have an identical set of tabs across the top
>>* these tabs need to be in two layers, classifying them into
>>   - English (ie PD versions)
>>   - European, (ie other language groups)
>>   - African
>>   - Eastern  (etc  as needed)
>>   - Online  (ie IFrames to NIV and other commercial version websites)
>>   - Ancient (ie Greek, Hebrew, ancient versions)
>>* at the bottom of each pane, there's a box which minimises when not in use
>>* below this box is another set of tabs determining what these boxes show
>>    (and when the box is minimised, they remain as a set of buttons)
>>* These tabs include:
>>    - footnotes (ie all the footnotes of verses in that chapter)
>>    - cross-refs (ie all the crossrefs of verses in that chapter)
>>    - personal notes (for that chap)
>>    - names  (ie all the people and places named, with links to 
>> dictionaries)
>>    - timeline (ie a minimised view of the time represented by that chapter)
>>    - vocab (ie all Greek, Hebrew and English words which occur in 
>> the chapter)
>>* between the two text panes put a column of bookmarks,
>>   with an arrow in both directions, so you can open in either pane
>>* at the top are "manual" bookmarks and at the bottom are 
>>"automatic" bookmarks
>>  - add a manual bookmark by clicking on an arrow at the top middle 
>> of each text
>>  - an automatic bookmark is added everyone a pane moves away from a chapter
>>    by any means other than scrolling
>>* the two sets of bookmarks accumulate vertically in order of setting them
>>   and when they run out of room, there is a scroll function to see 
>> older ones
>>* a "back" button at the top of each text pane keeps a history of 
>>what was displayed on that pane
>>* when you hover over a tagged word, definitions etc appear as a hover
>>* this hover does NOT appear next to the cursor, but always in the 
>>Tab area on the left,
>>    because this area is not being used once a person has gone 
>> where they want to go,
>>    whereas an overlay by the cursor obscures the exact text being studied
>>*  hover works within the text panes, and also in the boxes
>>    - hovering over a cross-ref shows the verse,
>>    - hovering over a Greek word in the text pane or a box shows a 
>> lexicon entry
>>    - hovering over a place name in text or pane or a box shows 
>> dictionary entry
>>    etc
>>* when you click on a ref (rather than hovering over it), the 
>>left-hand text pane
>>   goes to that chapter and highlights the verse clicked on
>>* when you click on a word or place or date (rather than hovering over it),
>>   the right-hand text pane shows a full lexicon or map or timeline.
>>* A Search box is permanently visible at top left, above the Tabs
>>   and results appear in the wider right-hand Tabs area
>>   - this searches for English, Greek, Hebrew, numbers (for 
>> Strongs) and Refs
>>     working out for itself what it is searching for.
>>We have LOTS of data to display, but we want to try and accommodate 
>>small screens - big problem!
>>Let's assume that phone screens will get bigger.
>>My Toshiba G910 has 800x600 pixels in eye-watering 2.5"x1.7" size, 
>>which is great for those under 40,
>>but as soon as your lenses harden, you need +3 glasses to see the details.
>>I think phones will go in the way of high-density screens, though 
>>laptops may not follow.
>>But I don't think we should assume that we will have this much space.
>>Although  we can display a lot, people can't see so much detail.
>>On small screens, we can treat the three areas (tabs on the left, 
>>and two text panes)
>>as separate screens which you drag into view as on an iPhone.
>>With small screens, the hover area will have to be near the cursor, 
>>as in most systems.
>>Can someone with artistic skills make a visual of all this?
>>David IB
>>sword-devel mailing list: 
>><mailto:sword-devel at crosswire.org>sword-devel at crosswire.org
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