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Improve discoverability of the permalinks tab
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Description

Feedback from one of our academic journal users seems to indicate that the importance and value of the red Permalinks vertical tab is not as self evident as we thought.
Once we show its use, it is immediately understood, but when a newcomer looks for the permalink, that's another story.
We want to attract the attention of newcomers to this important feature, without changing the current UI.

For this, add a non intrusive animation as follows:

  • when a new users gets to a code browsing page in the archive, the vertical red tab slowly slides into place from right to left (this attracts attention, it should be enough to invite a new user to explore it)
  • the animation is disabled as soon as the new user opens up the Permalinks tab (a cookie can be set for this when the tab is opened)

Event Timeline

rdicosmo triaged this task as Normal priority.Apr 1 2021, 7:48 PM
rdicosmo created this task.

Adding both something (the animation) and an optional checkbox to hide (because it is potentially annoying in the long run) does not sound like a great UX.

I think we can find a "right place" (in the sense of more visible) for the permalink box in a less invasive way.
How about just below the "title", which is either the origin URL or already the SWHID itself? That is the place where permalinks are usually found, e.g., in social media posts.
It can be a "permalink" button, similar to the current one, that when clicked rolls down vertically rather than sliding in from the left. And it will be immediately visible while the eyes scroll down the page, rather than "out of reach" on the right as it currently is.

I agree with zack.

Alternatively, what about an extra tab? Even on a tablet or a large iphone there is still horizontal space there. (But it would add a tab line on average phones. We could reduce the tabs' horizontal margin on small screens, though)

I agree with @zack too, animation at each page loading will be totally awful in terms of UX experience.

How about adding a "Permalinks" link below the snapshot date with the same icon as in the current tab ?
Clicking on it will then display a modal popover with the same content as we have in the Permalinks tab.
This way, we keep the same behavior while making the link clearly visible.

@anlambert it looks like we're thinking at the same placement for the link that open the permalink box. The main difference seems to be "modal popup" v. "drop-down section" (that makes the rest of the page scroll down). Maybe you can just try both and see what looks best?

Let me make explicit a key requirement that apparently is not as obvious as I thought: the improvement we look for must not change the current UI in any way. Remember that we have tutorials, papers, instructions all over the place with the current UI, and many active users of the current UI, including journals that have trained their vendors about it, and are quite happy: it is too late (and counterproductive) to make changes now. Please do not debate this point: it is a firm decision.

That being clarified, what we need, is a way to "unveil" the hidden features to newcomers, and only to them, and you can see the rationale behind the original proposal to add an unobtrusive animation for newcomers, without changing anything in the current UI.

Modern web applications spot newcomers and offer them a "guided tour" with popups that highlight the different non obvious features, that can be disabled when the newcomer decides she had enough. This is what I would like in the long term, as there are other hidden features that are even less obvious than the Permalinks tab: in particular, the way to select a fragment of the code by clicking + shift-clicking on the line numbers is really undiscoverable.

But I do not want @anlambert to spend too much time on this right now, so let's start with just a minimalistic approach for the Permalinks tab, and see how to improve the original proposal thanks to your feedback

@vlorentz of course we do not want the animation whenever we go to the website we know well, that's why we want a way to disable it for experienced users
@zack you are quite right that a checkbox is cumbersom and, yes, one can do better: just stop the animation as soon as the newcomer has opened up the Permalinks box at least once... this info goes into a cookie, and we can get rid of the checkbox.

I am updating the task description accordingly.

Let me make explicit a key requirement that apparently is not as obvious as I thought: the improvement we look for must not change the current UI in any way. Remember that we have tutorials, papers, instructions all over the place with the current UI, and many active users of the current UI, including journals that have trained their vendors about it, and are quite happy: it is too late (and counterproductive) to make changes now. Please do not debate this point: it is a firm decision.

Ack, good to know that current UI does the job once users get familiar with its components.

That being clarified, what we need, is a way to "unveil" the hidden features to newcomers, and only to them, and you can see the rationale behind the original proposal to add an unobtrusive animation for newcomers, without changing anything in the current UI.

Modern web applications spot newcomers and offer them a "guided tour" with popups that highlight the different non obvious features, that can be disabled when the newcomer decides she had enough. This is what I would like in the long term, as there are other hidden features that are even less obvious than the Permalinks tab: in particular, the way to select a fragment of the code by clicking + shift-clicking on the line numbers is really undiscoverable.

I agree; we definitively need a guided tour feature to explain the different components of the Web UI.

But I do not want @anlambert to spend too much time on this right now, so let's start with just a minimalistic approach for the Permalinks tab, and see how to improve the original proposal thanks to your feedback

@vlorentz of course we do not want the animation whenever we go to the website we know well, that's why we want a way to disable it for experienced users
@zack you are quite right that a checkbox is cumbersom and, yes, one can do better: just stop the animation as soon as the newcomer has opened up the Permalinks box at least once... this info goes into a cookie, and we can get rid of the checkbox.

Below are other ideas I got to make the "Permalinks" link more visible to newcomers without having to introduce a configurable animation through a checkbox:

  • add a "Permalinks" link below or on the right of the snapshot date, clicking on it will trigger the Permalinks tab animation to make it visible
  • use CSS animations for the Permalinks tab to draw attention on it when a page is loaded, for instance a spinning animation for the link icon or a background color animation using colors interpolation