A Community-Infused File Open Perspective and Looking Glass Design Principles

  • Jan 31, 2013

One of the themes that has been coming up with some frequency in our recent discussions is the need to tell Looking Glass’s story throughout both the community and the IDE. Following our google hangout with Mr. Isaacs and his classes at William Annen, I started sketching out what it would mean to bring more awareness of Looking Glass community activity into the Open File dialog within the IDE. As I started wrestling with what that means, I found myself wanting to include two different kinds of community activity: 1) general alerts of content related to the logged in user including remixes, comments, etc.  and 2) activity related to content that user is interacting with such as other worlds submitted to a challenge. Kyle correctly observed that zooming out to the high level goals might be valuable. After some more scribbling, here’s my proposed list of design principles:

  1.  Looking Glass should provide inspiration for answering the question “What should I make?
  2. Looking Glass should help users to set new goals and support them in mastering the skills necessary to achieve those goals.
  3.  Looking Glass should support users in feeling proud of their accomplishments.
  4. Looking Glass should help communicate the computer science is creative, impactful, and for everyone.

So, stepping through these within the Open File view:

When a user is creating a new project or opening an existing one, that user is at an explicit transition point. This implies that we need primarily to help spark an idea. But, it also seems like a good place to highlight how other users are interacting with that user’s content.

“What should I make?” This seems like the primary challenge for this view. If we can’t help users to find a high level narrative that they feel is worth pursuing, then the risk of users losing interest is high.

  1. Challenges that help to spark a story idea.
  2. Highlighting the list of wished for remixes might be helpful – I could see a user deciding to make a wo.rld that is a series of Karate moves for others to remix, for example
  3. In a user’s existing worlds, we might highlight suggestions from mentors and/or comments from users. If we’re re-opening an existing world, this might enable us to enable easy updates of that world.
  4. Awareness of new stuff? Characters, animations, settings, etc.

2.     Help setting goals. I find myself a little torn about this one. On some level, it is tempting to highlight badges here. And, if we ultimately end up with badge challenges perhaps that’s one way to do that. But, if the primary mechanism for earning badges is through remixes and independent  coding, then it becomes something we highlight more as users are authoring their worlds.

  1. Badge challenges?
  2. This might argue for selecting a set of challenges for this particular user. We’re drifting in that direction anyway.

3.     Pride in accomplishments. Because the file opening context is one where there isn’t really a task (beyond finding a new story idea), this seems like a great place to highlight recent accomplishments and/or community use of content.

  1. Should we send congrats when you earn a new badge?
  2. Activity feeds of recent interactions with your content (comments, remixes, likes, awareness of when view counts get to certain levels?)

4.       Breaking CS myths:

  1. Adding bonus profile information for users through the IDE. So, not just made by purpledolphin but a little bit about purpledolphin
  2. Featuring some blog entries about what goes on behind the scenes
  3. And maybe some blog entries about cool CS stuff in the news or something to reinforce how this all relates to the world.

Below is a sketch of a potential "no project" perspective that users would see when they want to create a new project or open an existing one.

created at: 01/31/2013


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