And speaking of trees, I want to kill one

6 Dec 2005 - 7:17pm
8 years ago
6 replies
472 reads
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I'm having a classic "tree" issue. I need to design a tiny-little
front end for a deeply hierarchical system that houses a large library
of eLearning content. After you get through the nested "catalogs" (4-5
levels), you get to the Learning Activites, which can contain
*Blended* Learning Activites, which can contain child Learning
Activites.

Naturally, I keep seeing this in my head as a tree. But I absolutely
do not want to stick a tree view in front of this audience, which is
largely made up of people who don't use computersr often, if at all,
and have a rather low level of education. This little app needs to be
self-teaching, easy as possible to use, quick, and contained within
one HTML page. (This will replace the gargantuan multi-page portal
currently being used and hated by everyone involved.) Simply put, I
need a widget (probably a Flash widget) that gets you through all the
sludge and helps you find the course you need quickly and easily.

So far, I've wireframed several ideas. None of them are making me jump
for joy. I'm wide open to suggestions. Anyone seen anything that
handles this problem well? I've done a few things like this before,
but never with this deep of a hierarchy.

Thanks in advance.

-r-

Comments

6 Dec 2005 - 7:45pm
Rajesh Sidharthan
2005

I remember someone sharing this here once before.
http://johnvey.com/features/deliciousdirector/demo.html

~Raj

Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>I'm having a classic "tree" issue. I need to design a tiny-little
>front end for a deeply hierarchical system that houses a large library
>of eLearning content. After you get through the nested "catalogs" (4-5
>levels), you get to the Learning Activites, which can contain
>*Blended* Learning Activites, which can contain child Learning
>Activites.
>
>Naturally, I keep seeing this in my head as a tree. But I absolutely
>do not want to stick a tree view in front of this audience, which is
>largely made up of people who don't use computersr often, if at all,
>and have a rather low level of education. This little app needs to be
>self-teaching, easy as possible to use, quick, and contained within
>one HTML page. (This will replace the gargantuan multi-page portal
>currently being used and hated by everyone involved.) Simply put, I
>need a widget (probably a Flash widget) that gets you through all the
>sludge and helps you find the course you need quickly and easily.
>
>So far, I've wireframed several ideas. None of them are making me jump
>for joy. I'm wide open to suggestions. Anyone seen anything that
>handles this problem well? I've done a few things like this before,
>but never with this deep of a hierarchy.
>
>Thanks in advance.
>
>-r-
>________________________________________________________________
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7 Dec 2005 - 5:55pm
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

Interesting use of cascading lists. I wonder if the designer is a Mac
user. :-)

I'm curious -- what do you all think about this method of displaying a
hierarchy? I think it works better than a tree, in many cases, but my
experience is with fairly knowledgeable computer users. For whom does this
work well, or poorly?

- Jenifer

On 12/6/05, Rajesh Sidharthan <rajesh.sidharthan at oracle.com> wrote:

>
> I remember someone sharing this here once before.
> http://johnvey.com/features/deliciousdirector/demo.html
>
> ~Raj
>

---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://jtidwell.net

7 Dec 2005 - 7:58pm
Jed Wood
2005

Yeah, that link is almost identical to the Mac column-view file
browsing, which I personally like.

On Dec 6, 2005, at 6:45 PM, Rajesh Sidharthan wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I remember someone sharing this here once before.
> http://johnvey.com/features/deliciousdirector/demo.html
>
> ~Raj

8 Dec 2005 - 8:09am
niklasw
2005

Hi Robert

Would a search tool for a well tagged/indexed library be asking to
much from the target group in question? In such case maybe your main
effort should go in to some kind of admin-tool for adding/tagging
courses to the library so that any kind of search generates
'satisfying' results?

How about letting the users chose from predefined, grafically
represented search terms in some kind of drag and drop system?

I worked on this search result visualization project some years ago.
Maybe that can be of inspiration?
http://www.sics.se/humle/projects/DropJaw/

Another example I came to think of was this: http://www.music-map.com/

Good luck!

--Niklas

On 07/12/05, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I'm having a classic "tree" issue. I need to design a tiny-little
> front end for a deeply hierarchical system that houses a large library
> of eLearning content. After you get through the nested "catalogs" (4-5
> levels), you get to the Learning Activites, which can contain
> *Blended* Learning Activites, which can contain child Learning
> Activites.
>
> Naturally, I keep seeing this in my head as a tree. But I absolutely
> do not want to stick a tree view in front of this audience, which is
> largely made up of people who don't use computersr often, if at all,
> and have a rather low level of education. This little app needs to be
> self-teaching, easy as possible to use, quick, and contained within
> one HTML page. (This will replace the gargantuan multi-page portal
> currently being used and hated by everyone involved.) Simply put, I
> need a widget (probably a Flash widget) that gets you through all the
> sludge and helps you find the course you need quickly and easily.
>
> So far, I've wireframed several ideas. None of them are making me jump
> for joy. I'm wide open to suggestions. Anyone seen anything that
> handles this problem well? I've done a few things like this before,
> but never with this deep of a hierarchy.
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

8 Dec 2005 - 8:42am
jrrogan
2005

Get real, Use a tree ;)

Earlier discussions on why not to use a tree described extreme situations
where design mixed actions and data in a single tree, which is pretty
convoluted. Your situation is ideal for trees as you're storing homogeneous
information in the form of "Learning Activities.

Trees can have onscreen help and be stylized to be accessible for your
audience, and enhanced with friendly crumb trails, and focused search at
specific levels.

The tree metaphor is probably not going to be any less difficult to use than
any other widget if the experience is designed well, and will be less risky
than an esoteric solution. Why wouldn't you want to use a tree for your
application?

8 Dec 2005 - 4:37pm
H Taylor
2004

Hi Robert,

Have you looked at the "columns view" model that OS X uses to traverse
the file system's heirarchy? I find it much more manageable than the
traditional tree view.

Regards,

Hal Taylor
(re-emerging on the list after a year in sabatical).

> Message: 5
> Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 17:17:28 -0700
> From: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <mmbeta at gmail.com>
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] And speaking of trees, I want to kill one
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Message-ID:
> <7e7dcd810512061617l18127034tff0818988d28b59d at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
> I'm having a classic "tree" issue. I need to design a tiny-little
> front end for a deeply hierarchical system that houses a large library
> of eLearning content. After you get through the nested "catalogs" (4-5
> levels), you get to the Learning Activites, which can contain
> *Blended* Learning Activites, which can contain child Learning
> Activites.
>
> Naturally, I keep seeing this in my head as a tree. But I absolutely
> do not want to stick a tree view in front of this audience, which is
> largely made up of people who don't use computersr often, if at all,
> and have a rather low level of education. This little app needs to be
> self-teaching, easy as possible to use, quick, and contained within
> one HTML page. (This will replace the gargantuan multi-page portal
> currently being used and hated by everyone involved.) Simply put, I
> need a widget (probably a Flash widget) that gets you through all the
> sludge and helps you find the course you need quickly and easily.
>
> So far, I've wireframed several ideas. None of them are making me jump
> for joy. I'm wide open to suggestions. Anyone seen anything that
> handles this problem well? I've done a few things like this before,
> but never with this deep of a hierarchy.
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> -r-

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