Non Modal Message System
Current versions of OpenOffice.org use modal dialogs to give feedback in many situations. This interrupts users every time such a dialog is shown. Most of these messages are not that important, but it is no option to stop giving feedback. Furthermore new features, like sharing documents with others need a kind of message system to broadcast collaboration information. Giving feedback needs to be accessible, so it is not sufficient to show a message text somewhere in a dialog or just to change the color of a control. Those text and color changes will not be read by AT tools.
Work in Progress.
Message Types and Visualization Styles
Note: Visual representation (colors, design, icons) of the following is subject to change.
- Update notification
Step 1 - Message Style 1
Every time the message is not directly triggered by the user (i.e collaboration messages) the following message type is being used.
Small - Classic Desgin
- Messages could disappear automatically after a configurable time. The 'Close' button then shows a text '(n)'..'(0)'. The message will be hidden if the counter reaches 0.
- Only for current document? (or global/local classification)
- Show 'Messages' button for real messages only? (not for temporary ones)
Contexts to Show a Non Modal Notice? The following list shows situations where a non modal message could be helpful. The list is only a proposal:
- No spellcheck support for current text/document language
- No hyphenation support for some text due to different language.
- OOo Update notification
- Alien file format warning? (for non ODF or standard file formats)
- Macro security warning on loading
- Error report tool
- User feedback program notification
- Product registration notification
- Sharing messages
- Author name not given when inserting a field or note or comment
- Document in read only mode (loading/editing)
- Abort printing in background.
- Extension disabled due to max version feature.
- Too small display resolution info.
- Warning about comments etc. in document, when running PDF export. (security settings)
- The document might have got pictures, which are linked to external webpages. A message can tell, when they are not loadable at all because of missing internet connection or not loadable in a reasonable time.
- Large documents (like ODF specification) need a long time until they are paginated. During this time you already see the document. But when you have clicked somewhere the view suddenly jumps. You can see the page numbers change in the left part of the status bar. A more prominent message, that the document is still in paginating mode would be nice.
- Some situations in Calc are dangerous. For example, if you have hidden some rows and then select a range to do something with the selected cells, the hidden cells are affected too.
- When converting from align formats, some functions in the align format might be slightly different from their version in OOo. A message can tell, that the import filter has detected such functions. The same holds for ODF format. There are several parts "implementation dependent" in the ODF spec. Here too a message on opening would be helpful, when OOo detects, that the document was not generated by an OOo version.
- When Excel produces ODF files, it uses its own formula namespace. The user should be notified about this, when opening such file.
Step 2 - Message Style 2a
Temporary messages in context: Information is only of interest in a special context. I.e. feedback when searching the document. Message disappears automatically.
Step 3 - Contextual Message
This visualization can be used in text or on an object. If not focused and mouse is not near the context, the visual hint is minimal.
If focused/cursor near context, the following icon is faded in:
On click a contextual menu is opened. Info icon turned into closer, so that menu could be closed without moving the mouse.
Main Menu Integration
We need a hook in the main menu.
Message Center in Start Center (early draft)
Mock-up will follow.
Message Center in Side Pane (early draft)
Message could also be shown inside the StartCenter, beside templates and recent documents.