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 "Click here to see a list of topics for module..." 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:24 pm
Posts: 418
Post "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
In my opinion, the most perplexing part of TheWord is the message that reads, "Please, select a topic to display. Click here to see a list of topics for module..." This serves a sort of "dashboard" for the user to decide where to go next at the beginning of a session. Unfortunately, the only option available is to click the one message and thereby be taken to a list of topics, but for the sake of reference, let's call it the "dashboard screen" from here out in this post.

It bothers me for the following reasons:

1. If we want to see the topic tree, we can simply choose to reveal it; otherwise, we would like to see the text itself, as immediately as possible. This message only delays the process by creating an additional superfluous step.

2. Even if we click on the phrase, we are still taken to the topic tree anyway.

I would rather be taken directly to the title page, or to the first topic in the tree, than to have an additional step of clicking on a phrase first, in order to be taken to the topic tree anyway.

Can you imagine a university library with curtains covering every bookshelf, containing the message, "To view the books behind this curtain, simply lift the curtain"?

Can you imagine a book, itself, enclosed in a manila envelope that said, "To read this book, simply open the envelope and take out the book and open the cover to any page you wish?"

How about a book that says on the cover, "To see the title of this book, please turn to page 3." Who needs a message like that? Why not just put the title on the cover?

Who needs the curtain? Why not just expose the books on the shelves for more immediate access?

Who needs the envelope? Why not just leave it out, without the envelope?

Likewise, who needs the "Please, select a topic to display. Click here to see a list of topics for module..." Why not just take the user immediately to the title page of the module and let him choose from there where to go next?

In many cases the user already has the topic tree open anyway, alongside the text, and yet he is still faced with the obnoxious message on the right panel. The less the user has to click around, the faster he can have access to the text.

Sorry to be such a critic. I still enjoy your program.

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I'm an Independent Baptist running TheWord portable v 5.0.0.1481 from an external 500GB hard drive with over 1,900 modules installed and loaded in my current module set. I'm using 32-bit Vista Ultimate SP1 with a 2.7gHz processor and 4GB RAM.
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Last edited by ErikJon on Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:52 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:56 pm
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
ErikJon wrote:
Can you imagine a university library with curtains covering every bookshelf, containing the message, "To view the books behind this curtain, simply lift the curtain"?

Can you imagine a book, itself, enclosed in a manila envelope that said, "To read this book, simply open the envelope and take out the book and open the cover to any page you wish?"

How about a book that says on the cover, "To see the title of this book, please turn to page 3." Who needs a message like that? Why not just put the title on the cover?
Can you imagine a library where every book you pick up is already turned to the topic you were looking at in the last book you've looked at, if the topic exists in that book, and if it doesn't exist in that book it tells you to look elsewhere or select another topic?

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Jeff


Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:59 pm
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
The message clarifies that you have not yet selected a topic to display. This is more important for new users, especially if they have closed the side tree.

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Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:12 pm
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
I understand. And it is good to help new users in that way. Anyway, for more experienced users, I cannot help but see it as unnecessary.

I think it would be more logical to open the topic tree automatically on first use, than to be asked whether to open the list of topics, because the topic tree can be used again and again throughout the session, while the initial message mentioned above appears only once; in other words, if he clicks on the message, he can choose only one topic anyway, and will then be taken to that topic; once he finishes with that topic, if he is a novice, he will still be just as lost as when he began, until he finally learns that there is a topic tree waiting to be used, and that it is only an icon-click away. Once he finds it and opens it, he will continue to use it for navigation. This brings us back to the point: why not just open that topic tree at the very beginning, so that it will be useful not only to novices, but useful to advanced users as well? That way there will be no temporary messages in the users way, as he goes searching for information.

In the worst case, TW could give the user the option of disabling that feature in a check-box somewhere, in the same way that TW allows the user to disable the message, "Is this what you were looking for?" from the Biblesearch window. Otherwise, he could choose in the preferences where to be directed upon opening a new book window in a new session. e.g., Option No.1: "Take me directly to the first topic in the module" Option No.2: "Take me to the most recently-viewed topic" or Option No.3 "Automatically open the topic tree on first use, instead of giving me that obnoxious message", and for diehard traditionalists, Option No.4: "Always show me the message, 'click here to see a list of topics...' because I would be lost without it.'"

Lots of programs allow the user to disable the splash-screen at start-up, and even those that don't, often allow disabling of the dashboard window that appears at start-up, in which the user can select whether to open a new document, open an existing document, etc. (Adobe programs generally allow that to be disabled, but OpenOffice does not). They also allow lots of warning messages and reminders to be disabled, so that the user can decide for himself can decide whether he needs to be babied, and can remove all the clutter, to make his work more productive and efficient.

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I'm an Independent Baptist running TheWord portable v 5.0.0.1481 from an external 500GB hard drive with over 1,900 modules installed and loaded in my current module set. I'm using 32-bit Vista Ultimate SP1 with a 2.7gHz processor and 4GB RAM.
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Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:23 am
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
Thanks for your thoughts.

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Jon
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Word 5 Bible Software
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Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:42 am
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:24 pm
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
And while my library analogy above may not be perfect, I think it was reasonable.

On the other hand, Jeff seems to suggest that asking to be taken directly to the table of contents or title page (in the topic tree) is comparable to finding the desired book out on a table and opened to the desired chapter, immediately after walking into a library. No, that is an exaggeration of my simpler analogy, and not a fair one, either. I was not asking for the module itself to be selected for me, nor for anything to be researched inside the module for me, upon launch, nor for TW to take me to any particular chapter inside the module, but only for TW to take me directly to the module text itself, rather than to a dashboard link to the same (which, in itself, must be clicked upon in order to get to the module). However, by taking me to the first topic in the module (we assume that it would be a title page) the user would already be inside the text from the very start of each session.

However, the more I think about it today, the more I think that this proposal of mine (of being taken directly to the first topic) would still require the reader to open up the side-topic-tree (table of contents) in order to select where to go beyond the that first topic, unless he happened to know some keyboard navigation shortcuts to accomplish the same.

Consequently, rather than simply eliminate the dashboard screen, I think TW should do the following: (1) take the user immediately to the title page (or first topic) and (2) simultaneously open up the side-topic-tree also. From this view any user--experienced or novice--would immediately know where to go from there, without any instructions. Moreover, he would have an immediate overview of the entire text of the module by merely glancing at the topic tree without having to click anything or open a new window.

By the way, I would ask that the topic tree open automatically only by about two inches--which is typically enough to view most of the topics (horizontally speaking). Otherwise, if the topic tree opens by five inches or more, those users who use narrow bookview windows will find themselves constantly resizing either the window itself or the topic-tree window within it, to keep the focus on the body text. In fact, TW could be set to learn the user's preferred topic-tree width by simply applying the last-used width as the new default for all new Bookview windows.

_________________
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I'm an Independent Baptist running TheWord portable v 5.0.0.1481 from an external 500GB hard drive with over 1,900 modules installed and loaded in my current module set. I'm using 32-bit Vista Ultimate SP1 with a 2.7gHz processor and 4GB RAM.
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Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:15 am
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
Thanks again.

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Jon
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Word 5 Bible Software
OS for testing; Windows 10
Beta Download ------Beta Setup Guide------On-line Manual------Tech doc's and Utilities------Copyright Factsheet


Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:19 am
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
Part of my point is that I believe there may be programming issues that we're not aware of. If we have a topic on a certain verse, then generally the other modules are set to open if they have the same topic, or a similar topic that is selected by "fuzzing matching" or something. By giving the user the message it does, it makes it clear that there are no matches for that topic in that module, instead of guessing where the user may want to go instead.

In the library analogy, I did not compare it to finding books in the library already open to the page your looking for immediately upon walking into the library, but all the other books opening to the same topic you are looking at in another book, which is what theWord software does. Even when you walk into a library, you generally have to open a book before you find the table of contents. What you're comparing it to sounds more like every book in the library already being open to the table of contents when you walk in.

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Jeff


Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:12 pm
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Post Re: "Click here to see a list of topics for module..."
Thanks, Jon. I know that you are busy handling phone calls from TW users around the world, and reading other posts in Chinese, Swahili, and so on, so there is really no need to reply to this post anymore. After your first thank-you I wrote additional details for the sake of other future readers, but not really for you anymore.

As for library analogy, I think that Jeff and I are wasting our time discussing that one.

As for the issue of having a dashboard screen, Jeff may be right, that there may be certain cases where such a screen is needed, albeit definitely not in all of them.

Whenever a commentary module is in question, and a particular passage has no comment referenced in the open commentary, by all means, there needs to be some visual means of showing the user that there is no comment available. Personally, most of the 100 commentaries that I have installed simply leave a blank window wherever there is no comment, and I think that such a window communicates the point rather clearly. I think that, when clicking on a Bible verse, however, TW intervenes with a message in that window, that announces first, that there is no comment available on that verse, and then it names a few other commentaries that the user could consider, in the meantime, and I think it also offers to make the user a cup of coffee or something. (There is a lot of text to read there, so I usually skip it, although I certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the design)

However, that commentary screen appears all day long throughout the program session, and it was not the scenario that I was talking about anyway.

I was talking about a first-session, first-use dashboard screen--which we have all seen--which appears on any ordinary book module when all the user wants to do anyway is to jump in and read the silly book without any hindrances along the way. I don't remember whether TW gives the user that message with every module, or just with the first module opened from scratch during the first session; I just know that the message started to become obnoxious to me, after about 200 sessions.

To be honest, I never sat back to analyze how that screen differs from one type of module to another (e.g., dictionary module vs. commentary module, etc.). I do know that, every day, I start up my Bible Reading Plan in list view, but in order to perform that very simple task, I have to first read and click on the dashboard screen for that module, and then I have to review the list of only three available topics, and then I have to choose "list view", and then I have to scroll down the list view to the last Bible reference check-box that I had open when I ended my last session.

In fact, I had once proposed that TW take the user immediately and automatically to that last-used Bible reference check-box--or to whatever the user's last view was in that window--every time he opened that module in a new session; in other words, to show the user the Exodus 15 check box, if that is where he left off the day before.

But I don't guess that will ever happen, either, because that would require removing the run-around dashboard screen. Ha ha.

ONE NEW POINT TO CONSIDER (i.e., "Now for something completely different...")

I have about 200 modules or more that have only one topic in each! You know; like an essay or a sermon, for example. The other day I was reading one called "Popular Excuses to Avoid Salvation, by D. L. Moody," which was just a long sermon of several pages, from 1875, but it seemed somewhat useful as a reference-work on evangelism, for the sake of its main points. In many cases a module like that has only one topic anyway, and since neither the module creator nor the end-user sees any need to create a title for that one long topic, it never gets done, and it remains blank for all posterity. In other words, there is absolutely nothing visible in the topic tree at all. Consequently, there is nothing visible at all in the drop-down menu that appears after the user clicks on "Click here to see a list of topics for module..." Tell me this, how is a blank drop-down menu going to be of any help to a new user? On the contrary, it will be even more confusing than no dashboard screen at all. After all, what is he supposed to click on, in order to view the one and only topic inside the module? In fact, if I am not mistaken, there is no text visible to him at all until he clicks on a topic, and since there will be none in view, he is really in the dark at this point.

On the other hand, if TW would simply take him to the first topic directly, he would see the entire text, and have no doubts at all. If his topic tree window also opened beside the text, he would see that there were no other chapters available anyway.

Consequently, I think that TW should force these one-topic modules to have an automatic title, if the module creator ever fails to assign one. Something like "Title Page" would be sufficient, I guess. That way it would no longer be invisible, and the user would see that there was one hidden inside the module all along.

I think I may re-post these last paragraphs in a new thread, as they point out a minor oversight in the program, and will surely get overlooked otherwise, especially since I told Jon he did not have to continue reading my posts here.


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I'm an Independent Baptist running TheWord portable v 5.0.0.1481 from an external 500GB hard drive with over 1,900 modules installed and loaded in my current module set. I'm using 32-bit Vista Ultimate SP1 with a 2.7gHz processor and 4GB RAM.
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Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:12 am
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