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Factual Transformation

So far many of the pages we have on the wiki are focused on analysis of the stories and novels we have been assigned for class, but several pages have arisen purely out of opinionated thoughts towards several usages of class materials. This page, Emma, and the new What Do You Think of the Badges? page are both directed at the discussion of the attributed topics. I propose the transformation of these pages from discussion to factual information pertaining to the topic. The discussion of the topic will be moved to the related Talk page. A condensed form of opinions, in the form of a Reception section, will be on the main page with a link to the Talk.
Hopefully this policy can be quickly implemented among the few pages that have sprung up over the semester as well as for all pages of this nature.
Please leave comments and suggestions on what you think of this policy --Jmicali13 15:28, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

I would agree with you except for the fact that we are required to contribute 5-15 comments to discussion sections of the wiki.

Overall Opinions

I, for one, find the document editor to be frustrating to use, but I much prefer <emma> to T-Square. My opinion of the rest of the site has changed after seeing the way that shared documents are handled, as well as the "X"s in the top corners that seem to be so fickle. The lack of explanation of what the SMH comments refer to (Comma Intro.?) was confusing, especially since the "St. Martin's Handbook" link at the top didn't include an easy and explicit reference, as I had expected it to. 

I also find <emma> to be preferable to T-Square, but it is not without its faults.  The amount of time that a user is idle before <emma> times out and logs you off is, in my opinion, a little too short.  There have been several instances where I will need resources from <emma> (for example, a badge application), and I will go away from the <emma> page in order to work on my badge.  Then when I need to pull something else up from <emma> to help me on my badge application (for example, readings or previous works of mine), it will have kicked me off already.  The two minutes of flashing on my browser window in warning prior to it timing out and kicking you off is also rather annoying--perhaps just one minute would be enough.

A recommendation for eDocs would be to open the eDoc in a new tab (much in the way that Google opens a new tab when you open your Docs from the Email page). This would allow the user to continue to browse the emma site while working. Multitasking is currently very hard to do, as the user has to open up a new tab and re-enter all login information. The fact that the login session does not extend past one tab confuses me as well. Be careful with using tabs, though. A new tab should not open when switching between projects, settings, or any other basic navs. A new tab would be welcome when opening documents on the emma site (either to view or to edit), when creating an eDoc on the site, and as an option listed in the [+] next to most other controls. --Jmicali13 05:40, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Interestingly enough, I find the editor superior to other tools I've used before, but find the user interface of the website in general and its layout quite atypical and sometimes tough to navigate.
  • I generally enjoy the utility of the site and find the layout appealing but the navigation from one page to another is annoying still.
  • The editor and tools that Emma provides are really nice. My main problem with it is navigation, especially when you open up a document or badge. Whenever I want to exit document I always hit the back button which redirects me all the way to the first page. While a minor detail it does get annoying after doing it so many times.
  • Yes, I can't agree more with the above statement. i get so frustated because I always hit the back button then have to re-navigate through emma.
  • I also agree. The 'x' button is so tiny which make it hard to close the file and easily to hit back button to get back to main page and lost everything

I love the idea of eDoc tools. However, I think it's better to give a brief introduction to show how to use the tools instead of giving complex and great tools over there and users could not figure out how to use it, especially the makeup tags, which should get some explanation. --Mc 19:49, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

I do not like using Emma because it is difficult to move back a page once you open an eDoc or file. You are forced to press the X to close every time, otherwise you are sent back to the class selection page. You should be able to just go back to the last page you were at before opening the eDoc.

UI/Layout Issues

I, However, find emma frustrating to use and difficult to navigate. The links for projects and resources are out of the way and not easy to find. Emma needs a refresh with a more user friendly format with larger tabs, simpler navigation, and overall easier use

In the project tab, the layout for the project are really bad. I think it's better to list the row by row rather than side by side

Navigation in emma seems to be inconsistent. On some pages, you need to X out of a window to go back. On other pages, no X exists and the only thing you can do is press the back button from the web browser itself. Worst of all, some almost identical looking pages have you exit them in different ways.

I agree with the above statement. I find that if I am not paying very close attention to what I am doing inside emma I often get "lost" especially when I am using a lot of tabs on my browser. Many pages deep feels and looks just the same as 1 page deep. One suggestion to making this a little more obvious is rendering the windows a different color in different stages. So resources would be red for instance and projects could be blue, and the main page green. Just my two cents. --kdietze3

One possible solution to the above comment would be to move the X closer to the links at the top of the page. Maybe so it "sticks" next to the last choice or just put it at the first item at the very far left.

Emma should support longer passwords. --kdietze3

I have to agree with this statement; Emma's UX is seriously lacking. The way that Projects are listed (Side by side, then top to bottom) Is frustrating and strange as a design choice (I don't believe I've ever seen anywhere else use a setup like that). It's somewhat cluttered and not very appealing to be honest.

Also, why the heck can it remember your password but not your username? That has got to be the worst designed login I've ever seen.

  • Use a password manager. I would much rather it didn't remember my password on the server side and instead it was stored on my computer.

Upon logging in, I always have to click to engl1102 J6 in order to get to our class's information and thereby never really using anything on the Home page. I know for an admin managing more than our section for English, having the Home page allows for easier maneuverability but users, could the Home Page be removed entirely and simply from login, be directed to our page? In addition, could there be a mode on emma where if we are on emma through a tab, it doesn't give us a timeout warning? In other words, can there be a way to make us online always on emma if we have it open on a tab? I know it is a possible security breach but there are websites that allows such if we give permission.

My biggest issue with the layout of Emma is the top and side bar.  It was pretty confusing at first finding where everything was, considering there were multiple menu bars to navigate.  The site is difficult to navigate at first, and it takes quite a while of playing around with it to become familiar with it.

I also find Emma to be a worthy alternative to T-square, but the entire interface does feel rather clunky. The navigation is extremely confusing at first and finding what I need can be rather irritating at times. Also, I personally had problems with being unable to read certain comments that were either too long to be displayed or were overlapped by another one, rendering me unable to read some of them.

As a CS major, I would like to say that I would love to see the code for Emma. It has some interesting features that I would like to dig into. It is my understanding that Emma is going to be open sourced in some fashion. If this is true, the developers might want to consider open sourcing it soon rather than later. Maybe even post it on SourceForge and other open source communities. There are a lot of people who would probably be willing to help if they can.

Also, two notes related to how it appears that Emma is running. It seems to me that the cookie your placing on the system is not effectively transitioning (I am assuming that the cookie is holding some sort of login session data). If I have a Emma window loged in, and open another one, I have to login again. I wasn't sure if this was a bug, so I thought it should be mentioned here. Also, it seems that al interaction that happens on the Emma interface uses Javascript with presumably an AJAX-like connection to the server. While this makes for a nice sensation of feeling like a program, rather than a web interface, it has issues if you happen to go back in the browser. Perhaps there is a way Emma could be made more like the Gmail interface, where Javascript interaction controls the screen, but URL data is still involved, allowing the user to go back and forth as they please.

Just some thoughts, - Andrew P.S. If this is open source, or will be in the near future, please contact me.


Inside of the edoc viewer, once comments have been made on a document, there is a bug that does not allow the user to hover over a comment and have it send to the front. This only occurs when there are a lot of comments on one line or lines very close together. You can read the content of the box by hovering over it in the actual text, but not off to the right. --kdietze3

Sometimes the eDoc window does not close when clicking the exit button. This occurred on both Chromium and Chrome, but I have not tried it on any other browsers.

One of the times during the peer edits, the edoc had the edits I made incorrectly numbered on the document itself. For ex, if edit 1 was a comma error, on the doc it would put the number 1 on a spelling error that happened to be maybe edit 5.

Emma will give me notifications for comments, however, it only shows the number of comments without the link to the new comment. This bug cause the notification feature become useless.

I've continuously encountered a bug where although the username and password are saved by Firefox and/or emma, using the saved information leads me to an error of invalid password or username. Additionally if I was to save emma's login screen as recommended, I encounter the same error and therefore I find it better to simply save the emma home page (the big button page) and navigate to GT in order to login.

Thoughts on best practices for this page from Dr. Famiglietti

This page is a great idea. I'm making some of the other Emma developers aware of it. My only request is that you try to be as specific as you can with your feedback, so that we know how you would like to see Emma modified. Afamiglietti 00:03, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I've re-arranged this page a bit... please add new categories if your comments don't fit the ones currently on the page. Also, keep in mind that your opinions may change as you use the site (and especially as you get used to the User Interface, which is admittedly idiosyncratic) if you could keep track of your opinion later in the semester as well, that would be very useful. Afamiglietti 13:40, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm still not sure that the "opinions" page belongs on the actual page itself. Wiki pages basically never have opinions on them. I'd like to see us keep it to the "facts" --Jmayhue3 16:20, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Developer Response

This is all very helpful feedback, and collecting information and user responses like this is one of the most useful reasons for testing the software in a number of different classes and environments.

Some, I'm not saying all, but some of the issues users are having with buttons that don't work or don't seem to work as they are supposed to may be due to using an old version of Firefox or using a browser (like Safari or Chrome) that is mostly supported but still does not work as well with Emma as the most up-to-date version of Firefox.

For problems that persist even in an up-to-date version of Firefox, it would be especially helpful if you could note down where and when the failure occurred, for example, "I was working in Projects, and I opened an eDoc, then when I clicked SaveAs, nothing happened." The description of the problem with overlapping margin comments under "Bugs" above is a great example of specific, helpful detail.

With regard to layout and design that seems counter-intuitive, it would be helpful to get equally specific feedback about that as well. For example, "It doesn't make sense that Projects work like . . ., when the Forum works like . . .," or "Most websites have a user interface that work like . . ., so it's confusing that Emma works like . . . ." Any examples that you can link to of what you think could be a better UI solution would be appreciated.

Finally, since a number of you may be CS majors with an interest and expertise in such things, it would be helpful if you could offer suggestions of how things might be improved, as in the comment above that suggests projects should be organized in a list view, rather than using the tab metaphor that is currently in place.

Of course, feel free to be as brief or as specific as you like. As indicated, all of the feedback so far is useful. Because Emma is an open-source project, development depends a lot on user feedback, and the more detailed the critique, the more responsive to user needs development can be--Rswharton 20:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

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