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Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-dat

From: Brady Montz
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: 24 Apr 2002 09:31:13 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) XEmacs/21.5 (bamboo)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> On 23 Apr 2002, Brady Montz wrote:
> > > Sounds good, but how does a user get into the ring in the first place?
> > 
> > Lessee, we currently have:
> > 1. the help menu
> > 2. the items on the splash page
> > 
> > those seem a good start. 
> Yes, but I thought you were unhappy with the current UI that enters help, 
> including the menu bar.  I thought you were suggesting something 
> different...

I'm mildly unhappy with the current UI, in that the entry points are
fairly cryptic. That's easily fixed. The greater unhappiness is that
the help system is a bit of a maze (unavoidable), and which entrance
you take decides a lot about the route you take, and the lack of
cross-linking between the paths makes it tricky to jump from one to
the next. So, the first decision the user makes has much more weight
than it should, and it's probably the decision where he has the least
information. And it's a cryptic choice.

So, better linkage upfront, with a single help dialog box (but not
mandated). And better linkage later in case I want to wander a
different route through the help maze.

And, perhaps ironically, if we have a more fluid way of navigating the
maze, we can have even more entry points. Like tooltips.

> > 1. a button on the toolbar and/or in the menu to describe the current modes.
> > 2. "what's this?" tooltips or buttons.
> > 3. a minor mode like eldoc that makes the symbols in your elisp files
> >    clickable, just like we have for info and man pages. Click on a
> >    symbol to find out more. 
> ...like this.
> > "What's this?" might be particularly useful for the modeline. 
> Emacs 21 implements some of that with tooltips that pop up depending on 
> the area of the mode line where you place the mouse pointer.  For 
> example, place it on the "%%" marker, and a tooltip will pop up saying 
> "Read-only buffer, mouse-3 toggles".  I think this should be used in more 
> parts of the display.

Stuff like that is nice. Especially if it doesn't slow you down. I
long since turned off the "oh, you coulda typed this key instead"
because the message was inline with my action, and slowed it
down. Tooltips are nicely unobtrusive.

 Brady Montz

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