[pmwiki-users] Supporting different modes in default pmwiki
nospam at eton.ca
Mon Aug 8 15:52:47 CDT 2005
At 2005-08-08 01:38 AM -0400, Bronwyn Boltwood is rumored to have said:
>Now imagine that there are fairies whose job is to reorganize your
>desk for you at your command. Who could, in an instant, tidy away
>your financial apparatus and bring out your letter-writing things.
>Wouldn't that be wonderful? I would certainly want desk fairies of my
>Right now, only skin designers can rearrange the PmWiki desk. People
>tolerate this because there is (so far) no alternative. Modes are
>desk fairies for PmWiki: they clear the wiki's desk except for the
>tools you need, and switch toolsets at your command.
Having fairies cleaning up my desk sounds appealing on one level, but this
whole idea of modes or roles or views (I favor the last term) seems to be
glossing over a very important UI feature, namely: muscle memory. "Users"
(what should I call these folks now!!) learn to expect the edit button in
the upper right, the history button in the lower left, the sidebar on the
far left and so on. Having views that make subtle changes to these
arrangements causes disorientation and frustration.
In the case of a physical space like my real desk, I do keep the calculator
in a drawer until I need it, but I would probably leave it on my desk if it
had more surface area.
In the software world, I find the so-called improvements to programs like
Word that make the menus adapt to your usage to be so frustrating that I
turn them off and revert to the
There is also some value in having facilities that a person might use
eventually be visible - it may prompt a curious click.
I also don't want to classify myself as a reader/seeker or
author/contributor or admin/dictator or have software decide what I am
based on my login or current behavior.
Providing user (eek!!) help in a fairy-controlled environment could be very
frustrating: "My menu doesn't have a 'blurt' function on it ..."
Getting my users (sigh ...) to actually edit a page is like pulling teeth,
and telling them that now they will have to select the mode they want to
use to access the wiki will be the kiss of death.
I can see where this facility would be appealing and useful to some
audiences, but in general I would say that we have more than enough tools
already in PmWiki to provide a customized "utilizer" experience without
adding another layer of markup or extra core features. By all means,
provide modes as a cookbook recipe, but don't make it part of the core.
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