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[Design Help Wanted]: Making Parley a Modern Application

Sogatori
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@ingwa
Because I believe we had some communication problems yesterday I threw together a quick picture how I approximately imagine the dashboard to be. The Field on the top will display what the student has achieved so far and give a rough estimate of how much time will remain and what lies ahead.
The student/user can then scroll down to select the collection they want to practise. This all together constitutes the dashboard.
Any objections? :)
Image
The top part is of course still pretty ugly. I'm not sure if I really want to display that much information all at once. I think it's too much information at once. Anyway, I think it give a good feeling of the direction I want(ed) to take.

Any feedback/criticism? :)

Last edited by Sogatori on Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar alake
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Very very cool mockups Sagatori! Brilliant, super fresh ideas for how to approach this visually. Thumbs up from me!
User avatar colomar
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I really like that approach, too!

Some suggestions:
The "Collections" and "Items" parts of "Statistics" scream "Pie or Stacked Column Chart!" to me, because they could show the proportions better at a glance than plain numbers.

Things like "Fault count" and "mediocre - good" appear a bit too much "grade-like" to me for something that wants to support learning rather than test, whereas the other progress measures make a lot of sense to me!
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Oh and I also wanted to say, from a visual design standpoint, your designs display an excellent use of typography and color to communicate information!
Sogatori
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colomar wrote:I really like that approach, too!

Thank you :)
Some suggestions:
colomar wrote:The "Collections" and "Items" parts of "Statistics" scream "Pie or Stacked Column Chart!" to me, because they could show the proportions better at a glance than plain numbers.

You are right. I also already experimented with it a bit, but I'm not sure which colour to give them. I'm already using to much colour in relatively little space … I don't want it to look like some colour bomb exploded on the screen :D.
colomar wrote:Things like "Fault count" and "mediocre - good" appear a bit too much "grade-like" to me for something that wants to support learning rather than test, whereas the other progress measures make a lot of sense to me!

Yes that's a tricky one. I plan to replace the "Start" and "Learned" labels on the top with some icons, because I believe some translations are going to be difficult to fit in. But if I remove these labels I'm not sure it is clearly communicated which colour represents higher proficiency. That's why I added the "mediocre - good" lable, to give the user some information. I'm not satisfied with it myself. Maybe I should experiment with some emoticon like icons.
Ideas are always welcome! :D
alake wrote:Oh and I also wanted to say, from a visual design standpoint, your designs display an excellent use of typography and color to communicate information!

Really? Thank you! :D. I at least have some trouble distinguishing some headlines from the actual content … maybe my eyes really are not the best any more (Should I apologize to Jens and his both beautiful and legible hand writing?)
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Sogatori wrote:@ingwa
Because I believe we had some communication problems yesterday I threw together a quick picture how I approximately imagine the dashboard to be. The Field on the top will display what the student has achieved so far and give a rough estimate of how much time will remain and what lies ahead.
The student/user can then scroll down to select the collection they want to practise. This all together constitutes the dashboard.
Any objections? :)
Image
The top part is of course still pretty ugly. I'm not sure if I really want to display that much information all at once. I think it's too much information at once. Anyway, I think it give a good feeling of the direction I want(ed) to take.

Any feedback/criticism? :)


I think it looks amazing, and really clarifies how Parley works at a more intuitive level. Of course, the problem with a color-based approach is that some people are colorblind. "Match Three" games, like Bejewelled, often use shape as a backup way to differentiate between item types. Not sure if shape/symbol makes sense for this usage, but it's the sorta thing we do probably want to think about.

But seriously, this is beautiful and keep up the good work.
ingwa
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Hi Sogatori and all the others,

Sorry for being late in answering. And I realize now that I screwed up when I wrote my reply and asked you "which card view?". I'm in Thailand now and due to bad (slow) internet over my 3G phone, I had configured my Mozilla to show pages without downloading images by default so I simply didn't realize that you had added a picture! Stupid me!

Btw, right now I'm in Malaysia on a 3 day trip to collect a visa so I may be slow for another 2 days. Sorry in advance for that.

But now that I see it, I must say that your idea is very close to what I had in mind when I asked for some help. In short I like it very much.

The more recent image is perhaps (as you write yourself) a little too much information to put into one page. I really like the "Active collections" and "Completed collections" parts but the top most, with the summary figures and graphic chart over the learning is perhaps better put into a "details" page that the users can call up when they like to.

One thing I wonder about is what you mean with "X items left". Is that the number of times you need to practice something until it's fully learned? If so, that is good information but not relevant to the overview. I think more relevant information is how many words are due to practice right now, i.e. that have a "practice-next-time time" which has passed. Because the learning needs to be spread out over several month if you want to guarantee a life-long memory retainment it's probably more discouraging to know that "you need to practice these words 250 times more" than to know "you should practice 22 words now".

But this is only details.

One problem that I see with the progress report is that you can add or delete collections from your active library at any time. Those events should also be reflected in the progress report, but how? Maybe we can just have the number of words and their level. I suppose you use the word "confidence" instead of the current "grade", and if that is what you're doing then heureka! You could actually have found the word that we, the developers, have looked so hard for. We just couldn't come up with a good replacement for "grade", but this is more or less perfect.

Do you agree that it's a good idea to use only your card view for the dashboard itself and have the detailed statistics on a separate page?
ingwa
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Oh, and one more thing.

I think that the "mediocre", etc could be changed to something that alludes to our main purpose - namely to put the words into memory.

I am planning to add a phase before the old "grade 1" to be used when you are learned new words for the for the first time. The current "grade 1" has a time-to-next-repetition of 1 day. That is far too much for a word that you have never seen before. Instead it should be something like 3 minutes or so, which means that when you have finished a session it will be almost due immediately because a session takes ~3-5 minutes to finish.

Then there will be intervals like 7 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours and then 1 day.

So my suggestion is that we call it "learning" for the first intervals up to, say, 1 hour, then short-term memory, medium-term memory for intervals 1 day - 2 weeks, and then long-term memory. This sounds much more like progress to me than "mediocre" to "decent". :)

And I do plan to contact some expert who knows exactly what is defined as "long term memory" and "medium term memory" so we get the intervals right even scientifically. The figures above are just to illustrate the idea.
Sogatori
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ingwa wrote:But now that I see it, I must say that your idea is very close to what I had in mind when I asked for some help. In short I like it very much.

Thank you :)

ingwa wrote:One thing I wonder about is what you mean with "X items left". Is that the number of times you need to practice something until it's fully learned? If so, that is good information but not relevant to the overview. I think more relevant information is how many words are due to practice right now, i.e. that have a "practice-next-time time" which has passed. Because the learning needs to be spread out over several month if you want to guarantee a life-long memory retainment it's probably more discouraging to know that "you need to practice these words 250 times more" than to know "you should practice 22 words now".

My idea was that it displays the amount of words that are needed to be practised until the next confidence level is reached. I know that Parley selects the 20 words randomly, but would it be possible to give words that haven't been learned yet a higher priority? Additionally I thought that there could be some kind of fresh hold e.g. the user has to have reached the next level of confidence with 70% of the vocabulary in order for the indicator that reads "X item left" to jump to the next level. The exact breakdown could be moved to the screen that's displayed once the user has finished a repetition (practise?).

But I like your idea, too! :) I'm just not too sure about the wording, because 1. I have to squeeze something like "learn X words now" into this constricted space and 2. this sentence could balloon up immensely in some languages. I see if I can come up with an idea! :)

But this is only details.

ingwa wrote:One problem that I see with the progress report is that you can add or delete collections from your active library at any time. Those events should also be reflected in the progress report, but how? Maybe we can just have the number of words and their level.

Would be the progress and history overview be part of the things you would like to move into a separate view?
I thought of it like this: The progress report shows where the user is currently at on average (if you look down you can see that the different collections all display a different confidence level). The diagram under "History" displays the confidence level of all the currently active collections. If a user adds a collection the average confidence level would drop. Maybe we could also add and indicator that displays "Collection added" at this point in time. I will try to make an picture of it later to show you what I mean.
If the users wants a similar overview for one collection only they can click on the "information" button below the collection.

EDIT Here it is. It's pretty quick and dirty, but It shows what I mean:
Image

ingwa wrote:I suppose you use the word "confidence" instead of the current "grade", and if that is what you're doing then heureka! You could actually have found the word that we, the developers, have looked so hard for. We just couldn't come up with a good replacement for "grade", but this is more or less perfect.
Haha, I'm glad I could help :D
ingwa wrote:Do you agree that it's a good idea to use only your card view for the dashboard itself and have the detailed statistics on a separate page?

I think it's definitely worth a try. Even though I'm not entirely sure about moving all the information into a separate view. But then, every collection already has a separate progress indicator … I think we should give it a shot!
So now, since the dashboard will (most likely) only consist of the card view, would you like to add something to it or to the cards themselves?
ingwa wrote:I am planning to add a phase before the old "grade 1" to be used when you are learned new words for the for the first time. The current "grade 1" has a time-to-next-repetition of 1 day. That is far too much for a word that you have never seen before. Instead it should be something like 3 minutes or so, which means that when you have finished a session it will be almost due immediately because a session takes ~3-5 minutes to finish.

Then there will be intervals like 7 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours and then 1 day.

So my suggestion is that we call it "learning" for the first intervals up to, say, 1 hour, then short-term memory, medium-term memory for intervals 1 day - 2 weeks, and then long-term memory. This sounds much more like progress to me than "mediocre" to "decent". :)

Actually, this come to a quite a good time, because I actually forgot to show you how an active but not yet started collection looks like. Its confidence indicator has a grey indicator (opposed to the standard 7 ones). So until the interval of 1 day+ is reached the indicator will be grey, then move on to black, then to red, etc.

And I do plan to contact some expert who knows exactly what is defined as "long term memory" and "medium term memory" so we get the intervals right even scientifically. The figures above are just to illustrate the idea.
This sounds quite good. But if we move the progress report into a separate details page, when should this be displayed? Should I try add it somewhere to the cards or should it also just be displayed if the user wishes to i.e. in the details page?
One risk I can see right now in adding it to the cards is that they might display too much information. But I shall see. :)
ingwa
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Sogatori wrote:
ingwa wrote:One thing I wonder about is what you mean with "X items left". Is that the number of times you need to practice something until it's fully learned? If so, that is good information but not relevant to the overview. I think more relevant information is how many words are due to practice right now, i.e. that have a "practice-next-time time" which has passed. Because the learning needs to be spread out over several month if you want to guarantee a life-long memory retainment it's probably more discouraging to know that "you need to practice these words 250 times more" than to know "you should practice 22 words now".

My idea was that it displays the amount of words that are needed to be practised until the next confidence level is reached. I know that Parley selects the 20 words randomly, but would it be possible to give words that haven't been learned yet a higher priority? Additionally I thought that there could be some kind of fresh hold e.g. the user has to have reached the next level of confidence with 70% of the vocabulary in order for the indicator that reads "X item left" to jump to the next level. The exact breakdown could be moved to the screen that's displayed once the user has finished a repetition (practise?).

Ah, ok. But "the next confidence level reached" is not defined for a collection. Remember that the confidence level is defined per word, or actually per direction per word where direction = known-to-learning or learning-to-known. So I'm not sure what figure you would actually display there.

It is also difficult to display the time that you need to let pass. If you have some words at level 6 it could easily be several weeks until you are even supposed to train them again. Then it does not help the learning much if you force the training and so the "X words until next level" gives the user information that he cannot use.

And I think the word you are looking for in the last sentence is "session". :)

Sogatori wrote:
But I like your idea, too! :) I'm just not too sure about the wording, because 1. I have to squeeze something like "learn X words now" into this constricted space and 2. this sentence could balloon up immensely in some languages. I see if I can come up with an idea! :)


How about "X words due"? That should be short enough.

Sogatori wrote:
ingwa wrote:One problem that I see with the progress report is that you can add or delete collections from your active library at any time. Those events should also be reflected in the progress report, but how? Maybe we can just have the number of words and their level.

Would be the progress and history overview be part of the things you would like to move into a separate view?
I thought of it like this: The progress report shows where the user is currently at on average (if you look down you can see that the different collections all display a different confidence level). The diagram under "History" displays the confidence level of all the currently active collections. If a user adds a collection the average confidence level would drop. Maybe we could also add and indicator that displays "Collection added" at this point in time. I will try to make an picture of it later to show you what I mean.
If the users wants a similar overview for one collection only they can click on the "information" button below the collection.


I don't like the "on average" aspect. The reason for that is that progress will seem slower and slower the more words you learn. If you instead have the absolute numbers then progress will be just as fast when you know 500 words and learn 10 more as when you know 10 and learn 10 more. And most people are interested in absolute numbers ("I know 1000 words now!!") rather than the average. That said, I don't mind having a separate chart to show the average if we can think of a good reason to have it.

And the problem of showing the addition of new collections would disappear because you would add them with all words at grade (or confidence) 0 so they wouldn't add or delete anything.
Deleting is another matter, though.

Sogatori wrote:Actually, this come to a quite a good time, because I actually forgot to show you how an active but not yet started collection looks like. Its confidence indicator has a grey indicator (opposed to the standard 7 ones). So until the interval of 1 day+ is reached the indicator will be grey, then move on to black, then to red, etc.


Hmm, I didn't see anything here. Did you forget to add the picture?
Sogatori
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ingwa wrote:Ah, ok. But "the next confidence level reached" is not defined for a collection. Remember that the confidence level is defined per word, or actually per direction per word where direction = known-to-learning or learning-to-known. So I'm not sure what figure you would actually display there.

I know. Hmm, how to word it (I'm really not good with words). We know the absolute level for each word, and we know how many words there are. So we know how many words have reached confidence level X.
Let's imagine we have collection that the user has only recently started. So far the words are only spread over 3 confidence levels: F (which accounts for only 20% of the word count), C (which accounts for 33,3% of the word count), and V (with ~47%). Whereas V is the "worst" and the F the "best" confidence level. To keep clutter out of the way the progress indicator now only chooses the two confidence levels with the most words in them, in this case CV. The progress indicator would look like this:
[(→→→C→→→) =======V======)]
The discrepancy between the confidence level of the two direction can be solved by simply using the smallest common denominator for the progress indicator (after all this is just a small visualisation, if the user wants an exact breakdown then they can access the specific information page for each collection), so if word X has a confidence level of V for the direction "known-to-learning", but a confidence level of F for the other, then this word is counted as confidence level "V" for the progress indicator. [Progress indicator = coloured progress bar on the cards, which is specific to each collection]
I hope that clears up what I mean. I don't know if the idea is feasible at all. If not then I think we should scrap the progress indicator all together from the cards.

ingwa wrote:It is also difficult to display the time that you need to let pass. If you have some words at level 6 it could easily be several weeks until you are even supposed to train them again. Then it does not help the learning much if you force the training and so the "X words until next level" gives the user information that he cannot use.
Ok, then we'll change it to your suggestion. As in "X words due" :)

ingwa wrote:I don't like the "on average" aspect. The reason for that is that progress will seem slower and slower the more words you learn. If you instead have the absolute numbers then progress will be just as fast when you know 500 words and learn 10 more as when you know 10 and learn 10 more. And most people are interested in absolute numbers ("I know 1000 words now!!") rather than the average. That said, I don't mind having a separate chart to show the average if we can think of a good reason to have it.

And the problem of showing the addition of new collections would disappear because you would add them with all words at grade (or confidence) 0 so they wouldn't add or delete anything.
Deleting is another matter, though.

Agreed. I think your suggestion to move everything "on average" into a separate statistics view that has to be requested by the user is the best way to go.

ingwa wrote:Hmm, I didn't see anything here. Did you forget to add the picture?

Yes I did. Is it OK if I focus on the dashboard (the card view) for now? It'll incorporate the missing colour in the not-yet-started collections.

Oh, before I forget: If I might draw your attention to the pictures of the individual cards. How feasible would it be to incorporate a function that can create these word clouds of collection into Parley? It would have to run only once, when the user downloads/installs the collection. But I know that generating good looking word clouds is an art by itself.
If this is not feasible we might provide a collection of different Pictures that the user can assign to a collection, I'm not sure yet.
ingwa
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Sogatori wrote:I hope that clears up what I mean. I don't know if the idea is feasible at all. If not then I think we should scrap the progress indicator all together from the cards.


Yes, it did clear it up a bit. I'm not sure what I think about the details yet, but I'm very much in favor of *some* form of progress indicator in the cards.

Sogatori wrote: Ok, then we'll change it to your suggestion. As in "X words due" :)


At least for now. In software nothing is carved into stone. :)

Sogatori wrote:Agreed. I think your suggestion to move everything "on average" into a separate statistics view that has to be requested by the user is the best way to go.


Agreed. :)

Sogatori wrote:Is it OK if I focus on the dashboard (the card view) for now? It'll incorporate the missing colour in the not-yet-started collections.


Yes, definitely. That's where we have started programming anyway and what we want to finish first. If I try to be realistic, I don't expect us to be able to finish many other things than this until next release.

Sogatori wrote:Oh, before I forget: If I might draw your attention to the pictures of the individual cards. How feasible would it be to incorporate a function that can create these word clouds of collection into Parley? It would have to run only once, when the user downloads/installs the collection. But I know that generating good looking word clouds is an art by itself.
If this is not feasible we might provide a collection of different Pictures that the user can assign to a collection, I'm not sure yet.


Hmm, I hadn't seen that. I thought the pictures was a neat idea but I thought that perhaps we could include an icon into the files. But this is even better. And I think it's completely feasible. How good looking it will be is another matter, though. :)
Sogatori
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ingwa wrote:Yes, it did clear it up a bit. I'm not sure what I think about the details yet, but I'm very much in favor of *some* form of progress indicator in the cards.
Ok, then I'll simply leave it as-is in the mockups for now. These are only mockups anyway XD.
Sogatori
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Here's a little update on the colour issue:


As you can see, the overall issue is not that the colours are not distinguishable next to each other, but it's very hard to figure out which colours are displayed in certain cases. I don't think it would be wise to add some kind of geometric coding as information. Instead I'd propose to have some kind of configuration menu somewhere where the user can select different colour palettes ( for protanopia, tritanopia, achromatia and maybe also for deutanopia). This should, in theory, resolve the issue of mistaking "verdant green" as "beware orange" and vice versa in the case of protanopia.

What do you think?
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Sogatori wrote:Here's a little update on the colour issue:


As you can see, the overall issue is not that the colours are not distinguishable next to each other, but it's very hard to figure out which colours are displayed in certain cases. I don't think it would be wise to add some kind of geometric coding as information. Instead I'd propose to have some kind of configuration menu somewhere where the user can select different colour palettes ( for protanopia, tritanopia, achromatia and maybe also for deutanopia). This should, in theory, resolve the issue of mistaking "verdant green" as "beware orange" and vice versa in the case of protanopia.

What do you think?


I'm not sure if we should solve this issue separately for each application. There should be some global setting where people could specify that they have a certain color vision problem and then applications would use that information to adapt their color pallettes.

 
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