[ggo-discussion] usability: How do I play?

  • From: mAsterdam <masterdam@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ggo-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 2 May 2003 17:07:11 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Peter, hi all,

Hmm. Posting about several topics at once on a mailing list
discussing software.
I should have known better.

I'll go for the cut in this game-position,
so this one is only about "How do I play?" 

Earlier I mumbled about replacing X O and ! in the control window
by
>> ... a tristate gadget, not unlike a traffic light.
>>--- Red    -   Open False Looking False
>>---Orange  -   Open True  Looking False
>>---Green   -   Open True  Looking True

And Peter spoke:
> ...  the forth is irrelevant unless you really intend 
> to play multiple games (who does?).

What would "Open False Looking True" mean ?

> Now, the problem with this is, people don't understand it. 
> I talked with tweet, he said that is the #1 question about gGo:
"How do I play?". 

Well, I did not have that question at any time. But if tweet is in
the know that 
should be usability issue number one immediately. Did you ask what
the people who ask the question _tried_ in order to play? (this is
a very good source for ideas on improving usability) It is a much
broader topic. 

> However, I don't want to get rid of the "!" flag and only use "O"
or 
> "not O", even if it is slightly more complicated. So maybe one
3-state
> button like you suggest is the solution. 

> ... The newbie-approach would be to remove all buttons from 
> the player list and only have "Play". 

There are more possibilities along this line of thought.

You could add a level, for instance: 
    Top-level: Info Play Action
           Info: Stats / Results / Probability / Stored / SGF
           Play: Send Match request / Send Automatch request  
           Action: Talk / Trail / Friend|Neutral|Ignore

But I do not like this approach. When I first right-clicked a
player I was 
stupefied by the long list (a nice design principle for grouping
choices: 
at one level 3-7 options are ok, 4/5 best) but clicking stats gave
me 
much more than simply the server stats. It gave a very nice 'Player
info' 
window with everything I could possibly want when clicking a player
in 
the list. Why not skip the menu step altogether and directly show
the 
'Player Info' window (maybe improved with suggestions from tweet)?
(And if you think the menu is beneficial to users it could be the 
top menu of "Player Info" - not my taste but that doesn't really
matter 
- we are talking newbie use here).      

> A "Play" button in the main window sounds stupid  because it 
> would require you to enter a name manually, which is not 
> interesting.

Alternatively It could just be the new name of the 'Players'
window.
Or second, longer road to it: first a prelude question what level
the 
opponent should have, and than the list of selected players. As
soon 
as the new user discovers the shortcut (directly to the 'Players'
window)
he feels "A newbie no more" :-)

But this is just to coin a few possibilities along these lines. 
I don't like them. A simple: "How to play" entry in the top help
menu
(even above "Manual") would be enough:
Text: something like:

To play you first have to find an opponent in the 
players list (Window.Players, there is a button on the tool-bar 
or you can press ctl-P). By right-clicking the player in the list
you get info on the player and the opportunity to invite him 
or her for a game. This player will be notified ... but wait
The other players also have this possibility. You can show that
you are interested in playing a game by ....

If somebody, say <challenger> invites you, you will be notified 
that <challenger> wants a match with you. You can then
accept or decline - (or even ignore the challenge, but please 
don't do that). 

The match request has some options 
(considering board size, handicap, time)
and if <challenger> and you agree on those the board appears.
Presto You are playing.


Oh well. Something like it. Just Howto info: only the necessary 
steps for the first time user.



>  Although my goal is to offer a client that is easy to use, 
>I don't want to dumb it down completely

Sigh of relief.

> A better manual might help,
That is to big a project - hey you might consider 
making the manual open source :-)

I think it's best to address the urgent issues first.
Kyuuba before Ooba!


> It is somewhat interesting to listen to tweets experience with
IGS 
> users. He can tell which client someone uses from the questions
he is asking. 
> And the question "How do I play?" means someone is using gGo.
However, that 
> is an interesting knowledge, as it hints where to improve the
interface.

/me nods

Sorry for the length of this message.
I didnt have the time to make a short one.


regards,
                                              mAsterdam

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