There've been LOTS of great ideas posted, both in response to my recent ask for input on the new Rich Editor project, and in response to @liz's post on peer review -- that have relevance to the ongoing design of the new Rich Editor.
There's really too much to tackle all at once, but I've been working on sketching a number of ideas for designs and/or features that I wanted to put out there, especially in advance of Monday's OpenHour on Public Lab's research culture.
Here's the big sketch, which covers a lot of different ideas:
Keep in mind, as always this early in the design process, that this is more about layout, flow, and features, than about graphic design or typography specifics. Let me walk through a few of these
As we add new features and make the Editor more powerful, we add complexity. We can use design to "stage" this complexity, so that more advanced features are available, but aren't cluttering the display for newer authors who might be overwhelmed.
Organizing the Editor by clearly-separated steps helps situate each feature in the overall process, though they take more space to display in steps. But steps can also have helpful guidance and tips that doesn't all run together into a big block of text the way it does in our current editor.
There are already a few types of post -- events and questions vs. basic research notes -- and we've talked about making one specific to the blog, or for other uses. A type selector could display a different "flavor" of the Editor for different purposes, and could also be used to categorize posts a bit, if we wanted: "exploratory" posts vs. "data analysis" or "narrative" ones, though we'd have to figure out how to clearly refer to these different types.
A text area that grows
The text area that you type the body of your note into will be a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) "rich text" editor, of course. But one improvement over the current one is that it could scale vertically to accommodate your text. As you type, there's more space in the left column, so we could display additional tips, perhaps relevant to someone authoring a longer piece -- including encouraging them to break it up into a series of posts (we can explore better ways to present a series of posts, too).
Inviting others into your work
One big priority is to provide some tools for authors to build collaborations -- from asking others for help, to proposing that others replicate work, to soliciting review of a draft.
There are suggestions of this throughout the mockup, but one big one is the "I'd like feedback/help on X" selector next to the Publish button. The options in it are just a few suggestions -- chime in if you have your own -- but the idea would be to specifically ask for interaction from your readers.
The mockup also includes lots of small feature ideas -- note the suggested placement of auto-saved "drafts," the "suggested tags" and the "recent tags" drawn from your own recent posts (or tags you've followed, perhaps).
Of course, this doesn't begin to cover all the various needs and use cases the Editor will have to address, but it's an early exercise to see how it might integrate into an overall design.
I'm curious -- what do people think of this basic layout:
- in terms of approchability
- is there too much information? Too little?
- how it would read to newcomers vs. long-time contributors?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions as this design process moves forward!