AOO Symphony UX Migration/Merge Analysis - Task Pane

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In support of the Lotus Symphony 3.0.1 (LS) and Apache OpenOffice 3.4 (AOO) code merge activity, Apache OpenOffice UX has prepared the following user experience merge assessment. The outcome of the assessment is an understanding of which aspects of the dockable task pane user experience should be migrated or merged from each offering into the new code base.


The following heuristics were considered in assessing the dockable task pane under merge consideration.

  • usability principles
  • interaction principles
  • promotes user adoption
  • strategic usage goals
  • branding initiatives

UX Recommendation

Through an assessment of the user experience strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement of the dockable task pane feature within each of the current implementations (LS and AOO), UX recommends the follow action:

  • AOO 4.0 code base should adopt the Lotus Symphony tabbed dockable task pane interaction design

UX Migration/Merge Design Considerations

Each offering demonstrated strengths and weaknesses that should be considered in migrating and merging the user experience for this feature. Integration of the Lotus Symphony tabbed dockable task pane user experience into the AOO 4.0 code base should be mindful to support the following high priority opportunities for improvement:

  • A01, A09, A30, A56, A61– To enhance discoverabity and drive consumability, have task views visible by default in the workspace.
  • A07- Make it easier for spreadsheet editor users to format charts and chart elements by providing a chart properties task pane.
  • A10 – To support ease of table formatting, provide a tables styling task pane within the presentation and document editor.
  • A02, A11, A64 – Replace AOO Gallery capability with LS Clip Art capabilities.
  • A12, A63– When task views are undocked, do not present a window title bar, rather adopt the LS approach to only include the task section header as the floating window header.
  • A13, A43, A65 – To drive consumption of clipart and styles, make it easier for the user to preview items in the task view.
  • A29, A38 – Ensure that the affordance and feedback of the sidebar sash rollover interaction design is compelling.
  • A31 – Adopt the LS expand/collapse sash interaction design.
  • A32 – Ensure docked and undocked task views are re-sizeable.
  • A33 – Adopt the LS tabbed task pane icons interaction design.
  • A37 – Adopt LS approach to undocked window title bars, where only include the task section header as the floating window header.
  • A39 – Ensure default tab presentation reflect core use cases and supports capabilities required in the first twenty minutes of use.
  • A40 – Ensure that all GUI elements are consistent in presentation and interaction, such as the expand/collapse widgets.
  • A41 – To mitigate screen flash, and risk altering the user's specified document zoom settings, do not allow the task views to resize when switching tabs. Consider a minimum width if necessary to mitigate the risk of the need for users to horizontal scroll within task view.
  • A42 – Expand the default height of the clip art categories list view to show more categories and encourage exploration.
  • A44 – Provide a styles preview (either in pop-up preview, or directly within list).
  • A45 – Create a sharing task view, to share selected content to available destination (social platforms and applications, email, cloud file systems).
  • A54 – Adopt text, paragraph and page properties task view for the document editor. Have text properties, styles, tables styles, and clipart tabs visible by default. Navigator is low frequency of use and does not need to be visible by default.
  • A57 – Adopt properties task view in spreadsheet editor. Have properties, styles, list, chart styles and clipart, and function tabs visible by default. Navigator is low frequency of use and does not need to be visible by default.
  • A60 - Update the spreadsheet editor's formula task view's insert function icon to be more representative of an insertion action.
  • A62 – Adopt text, paragraph and page properties task view. Have properties, slide templates, animation effects, slide transitions, and clipart tabs visible by default. Navigator is low frequency of use and does not need to be visible by default. Remaining tabs can be hidden by default as well.

In addition, the assessment of each offering identified a number of additional opportunities for improvement to consider while performing the code merge. See Medium and Low priority issues contained in the full assessment report.

Next Steps

To ensure that the assessment has an impact on the design direction of the feature merge moving forward, UX recommends the following actions:

  • Invite AOO Community contributors to review the recommendations.
  • AOO Community should work together to address outstanding issues in the merged code UX.
  • AOO Community work together to promote the optimal merged user experience within the AOO community.
  • Continue to assess high risk UX migration and merge candidates. See UX migration and merge worksheets for priorities.

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