Optimize UX when Design Time is Limited – Eclipse Con 2014 Talk by Tracy Miranda
Eclipse tools for scientific and related industries are often feature rich. However, there is often limited time and/or budget for optimizing the user-experience of these tools. Lean design critique is a 7-step technique to get the most worthwhile optimizations in a short space of time.
This talk follows a case study of applying this technique to the function fitting tool in the Data Analysis WorkbeNch (DAWN). Data Analysis WorkbeNch (DAWN – http://www.dawnsci.org/) is an Eclipse based workbench for doing scientific data analysis used at synchrotrons and scientific facilities throughout Europe. The function fitting tool is a scientific tool that enables the user to methodically find the best fit (in terms of a mathematical function like linear or Gaussian) for a series of data points. This tool was run through the seven stages, namely:
1. Identify the 90% task
2. Do a Cognitive Walkthrough
3. Analyse Eye Travel, Mouse Travel & Clicks
4. Analyse Screen Space Usage
5. Explore Existing Designs
7. Rerun Analysis
For a new Sorting Thoughts feature that give the user access to context based action items in a context menu, I learned again that Eclipse and the Command Core Expressions are sometimes not very clear. When you leave the trivial way, you can waste many many time to find the right solution.
At first glance it seems to be very easy, I thought I must only register and implement a property tester and all is fine. But I was wrong. Without the help of Robert Wloch article “Property Testers with Command Core Expressions” I never thought that I have to implement a start up trigger (IStartup) and a ISelectionChangedListener too. So, if you want implement context based menu entries with property testers read the article first.
A couple of weeks ago I integrated the SWT Gantt chart widget in Sorting Thoughts. And I must say it is a really useful SWT widget and it fits perfect in the concept of Sorting Thoughts.
The integration of the widget is very simple and it’s supports some interface reps. abstract classes which helps by the customizing. See AbstractSettings and AbstractLanguageManager. My only problem was to set a new min zoom level because the limit constant in ISettings is not overwriteable. But as workaround it is possible to use the IGanttEventListener. zoomedIn(…) to stop zooming in a not useful zoom level.
RegEx Util is a very useful Eclipse plugin for testing Java regular expressions:
The final version of Sorting Thoughts (Eclipse RCP based) is now available and ready for test:
“Sorting Thoughts” is a personal information and knowledge management software. It is designed to manage your thoughts such as moments of sudden inspirations, tasks, events, projects and anything else you may think of.