Notes2 OtherIdeas

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This page contains other ideas for the new Notes Functionality for e.g. usability improvements, organizing the notes, or advanced text editing functions. These topics can be discussed, if you like. At the moment we want to make sure that no idea is lost (besides the information already available in the issues).

Date Raised Source Summary Status Details
2007-05-01 christophnoack Chat-like Icons New Do not only use colors or text to indicate the notes' author. It would be nice to enhance this information by a little picture of the author like in chat programs. Implementation Example: Today, many systems provide pictures for the entries in the adress book of the user. This adresss book can be accessed by other programs (e.g. Evolution Data Server in Gnome). Use the pictures of the address book entries.
2007-05-01 christophnoack Draw/Impress New The icon for "Shadow" in Draw looks very similar to a yellow note (at least in Ubuntu Linux 7.04). This icon which represents a yellow box with shade should be changed if we plan to re-implement the Notes Functionality in Draw or Impress.
2007-05-01 christophnoack Status Icons New Use small icons in the notes window to indicate special status (e.g. priority, work status, digitally signed).
2007-05-12 christophnoack Colors New Same Colors for The Same Authors
  • Actual state: Even in Microsoft Office (2003), each program does implement the notes function a little bit different. Therefore, Excel seems not provide any color for different authors, Word and PowerPoint use completely different color schemes. Therefore the user will not see any dependence between the document authors.
  • Use Case: The user Joe opens two documents. First, a Writer document (author editing sequence: User Joe, Bob, Charles, Hanna) and a Calc document (author editing sequence: Irene, User Joe, Charles). The two different documents show the same colors for the authors, although the document editing sequence and the document authors itself are completely different.
  • Idea: OOo could select the colors according to the author's names, instead of using the colors according to the editing sequence. The next example uses 5 different colors: A (for the current user of the document, Joe in this case), B, C, D, E: - Example 1 [choose colors according editing sequence like today]: -- Writer: A=Joe, B=Bob, C=Charles, D=Hanna, E=Irene -- Calc: A=Joe, B=Charles, C=Hanna - Example 2 [choose colors, but consider author names] -- Writer A=Joe, B=Bob, C=Charles, D=Hanna, E=Irene -- Calc: A=Joe, C=Charles, E=Irene,
  • Problems: According to the document opening sequence, the colors are chosen. The user may be confused by the “arbitrary” use of colors in OOo (“That's not the colors I've seen the last time!”)
2007-05-07 cj “Handwritten Notes” New Use some kind of additional layer inside the Writer to display notes on top of the document. This would enable a more “direct” handling of notes information.
2007-05-13 christophnoack Notes Property Data (Missing User Data) Rejected In many cases, the user do not complete the form of the user data (Extra – Options – General). Then, we do not have sufficient information to display the author's name inside the notes.
  • Implementation Example 1: If the user data seems not be correct, ask the user for his/her user data before creating the notes.
  • Implementation Example 2: Simply create the note for “anonymous” without bothering the user with another dialog.
  • Implementation Example 3: Make the user data work with the data of the environment (e.g. the personal data in the Gnome environment)

Status: The idea has been rejected, or better, implementation example 2 will be used. The discussion take place on 2008-04-28 via email between mod and christophnoack.

2007-05-13 christophnoack Notes Property Data (Select Author) New My friend of mine told me, that she wished to choose the authors name in the actual document. I don't like the idea, but I have to admit that in many cases, the people do not login with different user names and therefore do have the same user ID for the notes. This may be true even for small business users.
  • Implementation Example 1: If the user changes his user data (Extra – Options – General) use this data for newly created note. In such a case, we have to avoid automatic change of the user ID in already created notes.
  • Implementation Example 2 [ignores the problem]: Do nothing and hope that the user will insert his own name manually. *OpenQuestion: The toolbar in Powerpoint 2003 and Word 2003 lets the user select a “user”. I'm not sure if this is used for the notes functionality or for the revision history.
2007-05-01 Issues Sort And Filter Notes New Sorting and filtering of notes information on the basis of user defined criteria. This has been a request in several issues.

At the moment there exist two main ideas with its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Design a new user interface (e.g. new window for managing notes)
    • Advantages: No restrictions when designing the user interaction ;-)
    • Disadvantages: forces the user to get in touch with a new element (which does already the same like the Navigator)
  • Integrate the functionality into the already existing element "Navigator"
    • Advantages: known, already available, existing in all modules
    • Disadvantages: current design does not allow this kind of integration

Please note that this are really early mockups which are primarily intended to show the general idea!

Idea for Separate Manage Notes Window
Idea for New Navigator Design

2007-05-01 Issues Task Management New Notes often contain information on remaining tasks inside the document (e.g. “re-structure this section“). From experience, many users do not delete these kind of notes when they finish the task. Or, the users want to have an overview on the remaining tasks inside the document. But how to deal with that? Maybe it would be nice to provide a small (!!!) task management. Insert a small task management with e.g.
  • Work status of the note (e.g. Information only, Task, Task Finished)
  • Export to task list
2007-05-03 christophnoack Reply to Note Implementation Started If a several users work on one document, they want to respond to other people's notes information. Currently, they are forced to create another note (which does not have any information that it is related to another note) or they edit the original note (Problem 1: What to do with the notes property data like author and time/date?; Problem 2: This is not possible if e.g. a note is digitally signed). It would be nice to provide some functionality to reply to somebodies note (also mentioned in Issue 6193, zerohalo Wed Aug 22 2007).

The following image shows two replies to each the previous note:

Two Replies to a Note

Some thoughts concerning the previous mockup:

  • Only the Note Connector Line of the initial Note is shown.
  • The replies are directly attached to the initial Note (there is no gap between the Note Windows).
  • The Note Connector Line keeps the color of the original note (or the first not in the stack).
  • Every note in the reply stack behaves very similar to a separate note.
  • Adding some kind of "This is a reply icon" failed ;-)
  • Currently it is not possible to display two replies that reply to the same Note. Maybe this could be solved by nesting the notes and giving them some indent.

Reply to Note contains more information how it will be implemented.

2007-05-06 christophnoack Automatically Create Notes Information New Automatically create a note when other content gets inserted in the current document. It could be used to provide information on the source document, e.g. “Diagram was inserted by Wai Lin on 06/03/2008. Name of the source document is StealthCoating.xls which was created by Elliot Carver.”
2007-05-06 christophnoack AutoAbstract for Notes New Enhance the auto abstract function to send a question concerning one or several notes inside the document. Use Case: The current editor (Joe) of the document has some question concerning a special topic inside the document or a note which has been inserted by another author (Sarah). Joe clicks on “ask Sarah via email” inside the notes option menu and Writer creates an email which already includes the notes text and the document text which surrounds the current note. Joe adds his special question and sends the email.
2007-05-06 christophnoack AutoAbstract for Notes New Realize or enhance an auto-abstract-functionality for the notes (similar to the already existing auto-abstract for the document text). It could be used to extract the notes user data (text) and the document text which surrounds the notes anchor.
2007-10-12 christophnoack Referring by Using Hyperlinks New

Referring from one note to each other by using Hyperlinks.

Example: Lets have a note at position A and a note at position B (in another section). But how to represent the note? Should we draw a Note Connector Line from position B to A (not really obvious and clear) or should we provide the a Notes Window with the same content (this is something the user does not find in the real world, because he does not write on one sheet of paper and on another one the content changes too).

Proposal: So my proposal would be to just "link" from one note to another note. Think about something like a hyperlink which could easily be added from the e.g. the Navigator which - even today - features creating links from objects (e.g. drag-and-drop). Okay, this may require some additional work for the user (cross-reference both notes), but provides much more flexibility for other tasks. The biggest advantage is, that it would make use of a concept that is already available in Writer.

The text was taken from Discussion of Notes2.

2008-04-27 christophnoack Change Tracking Integration New The idea shows one rough proposal how the change tracking feature may be integrated into the Notes functionality.
  • The structure of the change tracking windows is similar to the Notes Windows
  • If the change tracking feature refers to the document text, then the background of this changed element is "white".
  • The change tracking elements get "accept" / "reject" buttons to improve the contextual behavior.
  • Reviewer comments are handled similar to he Notes User Data.
  • A few new ideas are shown here.
    • Showing changes instead of dedicated "insert" and "delete" operations.
    • Live preview of the changes in the document would be nice, e.g. when hovering the "accept" / "reject" buttons.
Notes2 GeneralMockups RoughIdeas ReviewTools ForIdeasList.png

When the project Notes2 was started, it has been decided to not consider the change tracking functionality, although it is related to the Notes - from the user's point of view. This makes it hard now, to implement a "sane" behavior.

After a little bit more thinking it seems that this is a bit overkill and we should try to reduce the overall amount of interaction elements (buttons). Maybe this is a good idea to think about "sliding" buttons which only appear if the mouse pointer hovers the Change Tracking Window. Maybe...

2008-10-13 mr_jay_01 Select Notes Window Color for Special Authors New Briefly: User's preferred notes window color

In details: In extension to the "Same Colors for The Same Authors" idea, it could be interesting for a user to be able to chose his/her prefered notes window color in the OOo options (among the 9 currently available colors). Therefore, whatever authors edited the document and in whatever sequence, and independently of the document being opened, the user could set that his/her notes should always be displayed in the same color.

During a course, people asked me for this. Sophie Gautier told me other people / companies have asked for this too.

Moreover, could this be extended to the change tracking functionality? And could this concern Calc notes, too?

Memo: I added this idea without creating an enhancement issue, nor speaking about this with people, nor thinking about the technical issues it could lead to. The goal is to write the idea down, so it would not be lost. Please tell me if I have to do something else to raise this evolution idea.

2009-04-26 christophnoack Move the Position/Range of the Notes Anchor New

Some people request functionality to change the position or the (future) area of the Notes Anchor afterwards. For them, the solution of copy and paste of Notes' content seems insufficient. Sources:

Further design proposals:

  • Copy a Note and paste it at another position: The drop-down menu could be extended by something like "Copy Note" ("Cut Note" respectively). When inserting the content via the usual Edit -- Paste, the note is inserted at the current cursor position. If some content is selected (e.g. a sentence), then this selection represents the new Note Anchor Area. This solution is rather easy and re-uses much of the current known functionality, but the behavior is new in For example, the selected document content is normally deleted when pasting information.
  • Using a "move Note" state: The drop-down menu could be extended by something like "Move Note". When the function is enabled, then the cursor could be placed at the new position and the the Note could be dropped somehow (e.g. by pressing ENTER). Advantage: The Note Anchor Line could be updated during the mouse pointer / cursor movement, so the user gets an idea what will happen - it's highly visual. Disadvantage: This represents a mode and therefore should be generally avoided.

If this feature gets integrated, then there are many use cases to think about. Example: What to do if somebody changes the position of an other author's note? The Note Anchor position is an integral part of the meta information the original author wanted to add.

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