Operator Usability Continued

OK, after opinions and debate, here’s what I’ve come up with.

I’ve combined the source view and the internal representation into one tabbed window so I only need one action to display it.

For now, that action will only be available when you are in microformats mode with all handlers displayed AND debug mode. When that is done, you will have a new menu in the handlers that says “Debug” that displays the information. I might add a keystroke/mouse action later.

When a microformat is invalid, clicking on it will display the same window (again, debug mode only)

I am going to honor the browser settings for Ctrl/Shift behavior for opening new windows. This however has me in a new quandry.

Here’s the note I sent to the Mozilla usability folk (Mike Beltzner):

I’m looking into making operator honor the browser preferences related to opening links (in tab, in tab background, in new window, etc.)

On investigating this problem, I found that there are two prefs that control this functionality;




browser.tabs.loadInBackground is used for content, and browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground is used for chrome (I’m guessing mainly bookmarks)

The user can’t change browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground easily – the pref UI only changes browser.tabs.loadInBackground.

So my question is, which preference should Operator use for opening links (what would a user expect)

Would they expect it to behave similar to content or similar to bookmarks (chrome)

Note the biggest difference here is what happens when Ctrl and Ctrl+Shift are pressed when opening a link.

Incidentally, by default these preferences are opposite which makes for a horrid user experience.

Create a new profile in Firefox 2.

Hold Ctrl key. Click on a link in content. Then hold Ctrl and click on Getting started in the toolbar – two different results. That sucks.

Thanks for your input.

More opinions welcome

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Operator Usability Continued

  1. I guess you’ll want to use the openUILink function (see chrome://browser/content/utilityOverlay.js ) which automatically handles all clicking subtleties (in the end it uses the loadBookmarksInBackground pref). See e.g. the Back, Forward and Home buttons for how this will behave.

  2. > I guess you’ll want to use the openUILink function

    That’s actually what I’m using right now, I just find that the fact that it behaves opposite of content very frustrating.

  3. Sorry, couldn’t find proper contact information or a better place to put this.

    First, I love the potential of microformats and from that follows loving the effort that you are putting into Operator.

    The one thing is that with all of that information automatically processed, I could see it being used repeatedly on a single page a lot. For example, a website has a calendar for visualizing, and then it provides microformats so you can bring it into your own calendar. To add 5 events means to go through the menus repeatedly. To add all of them would be even worse.

    Like bookmarks let you use them on the toolbar and a sidebar is accessible, I think a sidebar should also be available for those repetitive tasks. A persistent UI element is something I liked a lot about Tails.

    The other part: Im in the microformat display style. When I go to “Calendar” or one of the others, Id like the option, in addition to the others of an “All.” Doing a batch job wouldn’t work for all of the handlers, but I assume that could be something that a handler could register.
    Some possibilities:
    1) Open all webpages
    2) Intersect the tags
    3) Union tags
    4) Add to calendar
    5) Create a temp calendar for visualization purposes (like if the websites is badly done or only gave microformats and no calenda view)

    Thank you very much for what all you do

  4. Sorry for the delay in replying.

    >you will have a new menu in the handlers that says “Debug” that displays the information

    I think this is the best solution. In the past I have had to go back the Mozilla Lab’s blog post to figure out which keys would display these pieces of information, and people who don’t read the blog posts carefully (or at all) will not realize Operator can provide this information.

    It is good to use keyboard combinations for advanced functionality when you don’t want to clutter your interface. However, the microformats display mode is already targeted at developers and not end users, and they will find these features useful.

  5. I’ve thought very seriously about doing a Sidebar – it would be very straightfoward with my architecture, but I didn’t want to interfere with what Tails Export does.

    I’ve been trying to contact the author to get permisson, but have had no luck…

    As far as handlers that act on multiple items, those are very interesting ideas. I’m not sure all of the services we connect to take multiple adds though. But I will definitely look into them.