[lively-kernel] Parts and tools review

Davide Della Casa davidedc at gmail.com
Sun Dec 18 15:06:13 CET 2011


I wanted to add to your list of possible users and 'markets' and a couple more comments.

(I've used "Lively" only briefly, so I might be missing out on pieces of conversation that make my suggestion here obvious or redundant)

One potential market is data visualisation. Since most data comes from the web anyways, Lively is in a good position. Probably a variation of what you list as "mashups". A great example of "rich web environment" that makes it possible to interact with data is http://impure.com/ by Bestiario. The whole work of Bestiario is around similar data presentation themes, so well worth a look: http://bestiario.org/

Also I have a couple of other points, first one being that I think it would be a good idea to get computer artists to play with Lively, and expose their work in a "gallery" page. Similarly to what we have done in sketchpatch here: http://www.sketchpatch.net/Featured_Sketches.html . Artists's passion is to create interesting content no matter what - they'll be happy to participate. (I'd look for variety in this case, not for clever technical demos with bunnies, light sources and teapots. Something crazy like glitch art or the works of Rafael Rozandaal http://www.newrafael.com/ ).

The second point is much more banal - a simple installation process would really help. I know it's in the works http://www.lively-kernel.org/trac/browser/releases/Lively2/install.txt?rev=5826 so it's OK (I did install Lively on my previous laptop and succeeded btw, but I don't have the time to re-attempt in new laptop).

Last point - I think you could benefit from an evil UX overlord. Temporarily. Maybe a couple of UX sprints. I see that lively is transforming for the better and finding its own voice, but right now there are many places where basic navigation experience feels "punishing" to a first user. For example most times I get a message "Are you sure you want to leave this page?" even if I didn't touch anything. Many screens assume that one has a huge monitor: http://lively-kernel.org/repository/webwerkstatt/documentation/overview.xhtml or the PartsBin as well. Or there seems to be a huge amount of margin in some of the pages http://lively-kernel.org/repository/webwerkstatt/webwerkstatt.xhtml . There is no top-level navigation on most screens.

I'm no UX expert, but you might want to create a "seed" page, a perfect UX "seed" page that sets the golden standard, and around which a crystal of pages can grow. Like, the http://lively-kernel.org/repository/webwerkstatt/webwerkstatt.xhtml page with a navigation menu and no extra margin would be perfect (I'd change the title to the a less arcane "Lively Wiki", myself).

Davide Della Casa

On 16 Dec 2011, at 23:27, Daniel Ingalls wrote:

> Hi all -
> We have had a wonderful few months of growth and experimentation with the new version of Lively.  In many ways it has been a sort of "brainstorming" period and the results are both delightful and somewhat chaotic.
> As with any brainstorming session, a useful follow-on activity is to classify and critique those results in order to get rid of old things that are not needed, recognize missing items that are needed, and to assemble a stable and less chaotic platform to serve as the basis of the next growth period.
> This is the kind of thing that is easier to do in one room over a few hours, but let's see what we can do with an exchange of email to get started.
> Here are some thoughts...
> Go through the Parts Bin, grouping things that should be together, making things consistent, adding comments, fixing bugs, and getting rid of what is not needed.  It may help to think not only of what kind of things we have, but also what kind of users we have -- for instance, it might be good to have a few 'basic-X' categories at the top for newbies.
> Put some uniformity in droppable properties:  do we drop the part directly, or do we put it in the world and then tear off droppable properties?
> Make at least 3 more parts bins available.  Until we do this, I don't think we are going to see any growth of interesting parts from people outside HPI.
> Identify a set of 'markets' that we can focus on to critique the set of available capabilities and thus the choice of multiple parts bins and parts bin categories...
> 	Building 'slide' presentations
> 	Doing web mashups
> 	Maintaining our system
> 	Simple activities for newbies
> 	Physics simulations, constraints, etc
> 	Sound and music
> 	Games
> 	Collaboration
> 	Integration with social media such as Facebook, Twitter and the like
> 	Phone, pad, and touch support
> 	...
> Identify a set of basic capabilities that are stable (don't change over a few months) and reliable (run well in most browsers).  It is essential to do this if we want to capture first-time visitors.
> We don't need to *do* all this, but if we have a vision of where we want to go, then our daily activities will naturally lead to better alignment.
> So, Lively People... What are the three things you would most like to see added, removed, or made better?
>  - D
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> lively-kernel at hpi.uni-potsdam.de
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