[Design] Chandler in a Nutshell

Mimi Yin mimi at osafoundation.org
Thu Sep 22 17:15:23 PDT 2005


Hi Davor,

I just saw your question about facets on the ChandlerInFifteenMinutes  
wiki page. The relationship between Tags and Facets is subtle and  
hard to explain and even harder to understand, so I'm glad you  
brought it up.

In a way, you can think of Tags as an example of a Facet: The Tag  
Facet. So when you look at an individual item, you see a list of  
Attributes like this:

From: Mimi Yin
To: Davor Cubranic
CC: OSAF Development, Chandler Design list
BCC:
Subject: Re: [Design] Chandler in a Nutshell
Body: Hi Davor,...
Tag: Facets, Questions, Nutshell Presentation

So when in Chandler you promote a Tag value: (ie. Questions) to a  
Facet, what you're doing is applying a different Facet (ie. Issue  
type: Questions) to the Questions Tag.

So now the attribute value: Questions, is no longer a value of the  
"Tag" facet. It's a value of the "Issue type" facet.

In more goal-oriented terms, Tags are the most "generic" way to  
describe items. But as a result of their generic nature, Tags are  
also hard to manage because you can easily get way too many Tags and  
no way to differentiate them.

So, a system that allows you to define new Facets (or Attributes) and  
promote existing Tag values to become values of the newly defined  
Facet (ie. Tag: Questions --> Issue type: Questions), is essentially  
a system that allows you to better "organize" your Tags.

Some UI for this might be:

Dragging a Tag out of the "Tag: " field onto the detail view, thereby  
creating a new field with an "Untitled" field label. So back to the  
previous example:

From: Mimi Yin
To: Davor Cubranic
CC: OSAF Development, Chandler Design list
BCC:
Subject: Re: [Design] Chandler in a Nutshell
Body: Hi Davor,...
Untitled: Questions
Tag: Facets, Nutshell Presentation

You could also imagine right-clicking on the Questions tag and  
finding an option that somehow gets across the idea that you can:  
Apply a different Attribute name to this Attribute value.

If you've previously defined Questions to be a value of the "Issue  
type:" facet, you could pop up a suggestion below the Tag field when  
the user types in Questions as a Tag value.

Tag: Facets, Ques...
-----
Issue type: Questions

Clicking on Issue type: Questions would apply the Facet to the  
Questions Tag value.

Hope that answers your question.

Mimi

On Sep 20, 2005, at 4:35 PM, Lisa Dusseault wrote:

> I have been working on a presentation/tutorial on some of how  
> collections and facets and tags fit together for WAC on Thursday.   
> It's intended as a tutorial to bring people to understand Mimi's  
> designs and Mimi reviewed it, but my slant on that is kind of how I  
> personally came to understand (slowly) some of the nuances of that.
>
> http://wiki.osafoundation.org/bin/view/Journal/ 
> WestwoodAdvisoryCouncilMeeting20050922Preparation
> http://wiki.osafoundation.org/pub/Journal/ 
> WestwoodAdvisoryCouncilMeeting20050922Preparation/Organizing- 
> Information.ppt (warning -- large)
>
> Lisa
>
> On Sep 19, 2005, at 5:31 PM, Mimi Yin wrote:
>
>
>> I've gotten some really great feedback and questions from people,  
>> which I thought I would share with the group, as I'm sure more  
>> than one person was confused by these points as well :o)
>>
>>
>> Questions about Chandler Virtuality
>
>
>>
>>
>> Q How do collections fit into slide 13, Chandler Virtuality?  
>> Facets are attributes like from, to, status. I believe collections  
>> to be items grouped together based upon tags and attributes into  
>> things we might call projects. The slide talks about a faceted  
>> sidebar on the left as well as a facet panel on the right. I'm  
>> sorry to be so dense, but I seem to be missing something about how  
>> facets and collections fit into the window. Do you see my dilemma?
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> A Yes this is a hard concept to explain because we're sort of  
>> glossing over all of the cognitive psychology and library science  
>> stuff about how to best use hierarchies, faceted systems and tags...
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> The slide is attempting to show that our system is a Hybrid that  
>> brings in elements of all three systems. We're sort doing a high  
>> wire act, trying to exploit hierarchies for the things they are  
>> good at.
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     Shallow hierarchies are great.
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     Hierarchies are great at organizing high-level concepts  
>> that are static and unlikely to change over time.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> This is why we only have ever have 2 levels of hierarchies: Kinds  
>> and Sub-kinds, Spheres and Collections in the Sidebar and  
>> Attribute groups and Attributes.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> This is why we only use hierarchies to organize abstract concepts:
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     Attribute types: Who, What, When, Where, Status, # Values.
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     Kinds: Communications, Todos, Calendar, Resources,  
>> Media, Directories.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> And why we don't use them to organize user data (ie. tags), which  
>> is messy, heterogeneous and changes constantly.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Faceted systems in Chandler
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Which brings us to facets. We've selected 2 facets out of the  
>> dozens and potentially hundreds of attributes in the PIM domain  
>> and promoted them to be first-class navigation tools in the  
>> sidebar: Kinds and Collections...
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> (One of our complaints about facets is that while the occupy the  
>> balanced middle ground between over-structured hierarchies and  
>> under-structured tagging systems, they are overwhelming to deal  
>> with in their own right. Simply put, there are too many facets, so  
>> many in fact that most users will have a hard time knowing where  
>> to start.)
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> However, there are plans to create a more advanced, more generic  
>> faceted browser (something like the iTunes Browser interface)  
>> which would allow people to browse their data with a broader range  
>> of attributes: including Projects and People.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> But out of the box, the 2-dimensional faceted sidebar is the most  
>> basic UI for faceted browsing that all users will use.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> An elaboration on collections
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Collections fit into the sidebar in that they are the things that  
>> live in the Sphere trays in the sidebar. (Keep in mind that a user  
>> starts out with 0 trays out of the box, but can create and define  
>> their own trays over time.)
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Collections are groupings of items, just like any Tag-based  
>> grouping or Facet-based grouping. (ie. All "World cup" items or  
>> All "Date received: Today" items).
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> So it's not that Collections are Projects. It's more like, a  
>> grouping of items based on the attribute "Project: Foo" can be  
>> promoted to the sidebar to be a collection. Similarly, a grouping  
>> of items based on the attribute "Date received: Today" could also  
>> be promoted to the sidebar as a Collection.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> So in the end, what does it really mean to be a Collection  
>> grouping versus a Facet or Tag-based grouping.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Well, not much really. The difference is more cognitive than  
>> functional.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> When people Tag or describe items in terms of facets or attributes  
>> (ie. London, Foggy, Weather report OR Author: Mark Twain,  
>> Protagonist: Tom Sawyer, Publisher: Harlequin), they are:
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     explicitly describing the item and as a result of that...
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     implicitly creating groupings of items based on the  
>> description
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> It's what we're calling a bottom-up approach to grouping items.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> When people create and manage a collection, they are doing the  
>> opposite:
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     grouping items explicitly and
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     describing items implicitly
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Ergo, collections are a top-down approach to grouping items.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> And generally speaking, we've identified the following  
>> characteristics of top-down groupings:
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     You specifically want to see the grouping of items as a  
>> group. ie. A shopping list, An itinerary, A project plan.
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     It's probably something you are actively monitoring: An  
>> active project or task.
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     You want explicit control over membership through drag  
>> and drop: In Chandler, once you've promoted an item grouping to be  
>> a collection in the sidebar, you can do inclusions and exclusions  
>> that violate the rule governing the collection (ie. I might have a  
>> collection based on the attribute, Date received: Today and  
>> exclude one of the items because it's not important to me.)
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Bottom-up groupings on the other hand:
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     You don't necessarily care to see all the member items  
>> in an aggregated view together
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     You mostly use it as a way to narrow down searches
>
>
>>
>>
>>     •     You don't need to manage manually with explicit  
>> inclusions and exclusions
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Which is the long explanation for what a Collection is. In  
>> Chandler there's really only one-notion of item grouping. What  
>> toppings the user puts on that basic notion of an item grouping is  
>> really up to them: They can leave it as a tag, add a facet to it  
>> or treat it like a collection in the sidebar: whatever it is they  
>> need to organize their data as it grows and changes.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> It's sort of the Grand Unified Theory of item groupings. There's a  
>> base particle and all other "particle types" are just different  
>> instantiations of the same base particle.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> This is "as opposed to" the way most other applications model item  
>> groupings, which is more of an "either-or" experience: Either you  
>> create a Folder or a Search Folder or a Category. And once you've  
>> created it, that's what it will stay forever more.
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sep 16, 2005, at 2:59 PM, Mimi Yin wrote:
>>
>>
>>> It's been a long time coming, but I've finally managed to pull  
>>> together a Chandler In a Nutshell presentation that is relatively  
>>> short and succinct (at least by my standards.)
>>>
>>> http://wiki.osafoundation.org/bin/view/Journal/ 
>>> ChandlerInFifteenMinutes
>>>
>>> The wiki name is a bit ambitious, but a presentation in both PPT  
>>> and PDF formats can be found on that page as well as a supporting  
>>> write-up of use cases to ground some of the more abstract  
>>> concepts in the slides. (Slide #s are referenced on the wiki  
>>> write-up.)
>>>
>>> (Some of the slides have additional comments in the Notes section.)
>>>
>>> I'd be interested in feedback both on general comprehensibility  
>>> and specific points. Please feel free to add comments to the  
>>> page, either at the bottom or in-line. I expect this to be an  
>>> initial round that will be iterated on over time.
>>>
>>> Thanks!
>>>
>>> Mimi
>>> _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>>>
>>> Open Source Applications Foundation "Design" mailing list
>>> http://lists.osafoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/design
>>>
>>>
>> _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>>
>> Open Source Applications Foundation "Design" mailing list
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>>
>  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>
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