[Design] Alternate sidebar designs for icons and the overlay state -- last call for votes

Mimi Yin mimi at osafoundation.org
Mon Sep 25 14:31:04 PDT 2006

A couple of things to keep in mind re: the long history of the  
sidebar collection overlay icon discussions:

+ A year ago, I did some lightweight usability with the 0.6 sidebar  
collection overlay icons and the biggest problem all 3 users I tested  
had was that the mouseover effect was not obvious enough, so they  
completely missed it. Furthermore, when I did direct their attention  
to the mouseover effect, they weren't sure what clicking on the icon  
would do.


This led me to think 2 things:
1. The mouseover effect needs to be very obvious. So in my mind,  
jarring is better than easily ignored.

2. It is important that the mouseover effect clearly communicate what  
the widget does. Otherwise, users might never try clicking on it.

A few things about the current design:
+ To reiterate, the 'trompe l'oeil' we're trying to pull off is: A  
'tab' slides out from the left-side of the sidebar pane to cover up  
the collection icon that communicates as clearly as possible the  
concept: 'click on me to overlay this collection'.

+ There is currently a bug: http://bugzilla.osafoundation.org/ 
show_bug.cgi?id=6670 which subtly undermines this visual effect: a 1  
pixel gap between the tab icon and the left-hand side of the pane and  
makes it harder to read the tab as something that 'slides out' from  
the sidebar frame.

(I fully expect that we will iterate on this visually to make this  
effect more or less believable. e.g. Animation or Cross-fading would  
help smooth over the transition.)

Just to throw it out there again, would a checkmark work better as a  
mouseover effect? We were originally going to kick-off Alpha 4 with  
the eye to try it out, but perhaps we should try out the checkmark  

On a side note, does anyone use Adium? They have tabbed chat windows  
and the mouseover effect for closing the tabs is completely different  
from the active state.


PS Also remember that we will be launching Chandler OOTB with a few  
user-defined collections with 2 collections already overlayed to

On Sep 19, 2006, at 10:36 AM, Sheila Mooney wrote:

> I had a couple of Chandlers running for the day yesterday and tried  
> out all the alternatives - current and John's proposals. I also  
> like the current design best. I don't like the white space to the  
> left of the collection icon...it just looks like there's a bug. The  
> dot in my opinion makes the sidebar look visually cluttered. What  
> we have now just looks a bit cleaner.
> The "eye" icon has taken me a bit of time to get used but I don't  
> find it visually jarring. I am confident that we can iterate on  
> this with Mimi when she gets back.
> Cheers,
> Sheila
> On Sep 18, 2006, at 12:55 PM, Jeffrey Harris wrote:
>> Oops, Bryan just pointed out to me that there were two different CPIA
>> test options, I'd missed that.  And my last paragraph was  
>> incoherent, so
>> here's a re-phrasing:
>> I like the existing look, except for the eye overlay, which  
>> confuses me
>> somewhat.  I'm fine with a mouse-over for each sidebar column.
>> The alternatives seem fairly intuitive, but I don't think they  
>> look as
>> nice as Mimi's design.
>> Sincerely,
>> Jeffrey
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