Sugar Onboard Design

3 Jan 2016
A popup based section to introduce users to Sugar

Guiding Ideas

  • Value their time - the user downloaded and installed Sugar to start something amazing. Our job is only to help them get confident so they can get stuff done.
  • Don't make them choose - keep the onboarding there, ready for them whenever. Don't force them to make hard choices with the threat of the help evaporating.
  • Value their work - acknowledge when they complete onboarding goal their own way. Don't force them to launch X activity, acknowledge that they have launched any activity.

Onboarding Goals

What do we want them to learn?

  • How to launch an activity
  • Mousing over something (or right clicking) give more information and is non-destructive
  • How to find the frame
  • What each frame panel means
  • What the zoom levels are
  • How to connect to wifi
  • How to change activity metadata (title, description) both in the activity and in the journal

User Flow

How do the onboarding goals translate into user action?

| User mouses over an activity icon, gleams understanding
 \- User launches activity
  |- User opens frame
  | |- User drags something to the clipboard
  | |- User interacts with device palette
  | |- User zooms to neighbourhood
  | | |- User shares activity
  | | |- User sees buddies in frame
  | | \- User connects to wifi
  | |- User zooms to home
  | |- User goes to the journal
  | | \- User views metadata
  \- User views metadata from activity toolbar

Interface Design

The onboarding content should be made available through an obvious yet unobtrusive mechanism. The design that I propose is one that overlays small pulsing dots over the area of interest (or hotspots). Mousing over a hotspot causes a modal popover displaying the content. A mock up of the design follows: (note: demonstration location of hotspots only)

2 hotspots over the homeview mockup
2 hotspots over the homeview mockup

After the user engages with a hotspot: (note: placeholder copy and images)

Engaged hotspot over homeview mockup

The popover should contain an image relating to the action so that the user understands what to do.

The popover should move away from the mouse if the user mouses over to indicate that the user needs to complete the action. The "XYZ to continue" section should also be temporally bolded.

When a user completes an onboarding task, the window should flash through a huge tick, then fade away. This tick could flash through in a simmilar way to this, although maybe with different easing (ease in out vs ease in):

Copy and flow


  • completes → the popover will disappear
  • continues to → after completion, the given other hotspots will become avaliable
  1. Hotspot over Browse activity icon

    Mouse-Over to Explore
    Move your pointer over the icon and wait to learn what it does
    Mouse over the icon to continue

    Completes if any activity palette is opened, continues to #2.
    Does not complete if a user opens an activity without using the palette, although #2 will.
    Why not just say to click on activity? Sugar has lots of palettes, which are ultimately a more explicit way of communicating icons and their functions. Therefore it makes sense to tell users the importance of interacting with palettes, so they can explore

  2. Hotspot over start new in activity palette

    Make Something New
    Create a new %(activity name)s document or mouse over another activity icon and start it
    Press "Start new" (on any icon) to continue

    Completes when activity is started, continues to #3, #5, #16, #17

  3. Hotspot over activity icon in toolbar

    Title your Masterpiece
    Make it easy to find in the future with a descriptive title
    Change the title to continue

    Completes when a activity instance name is changed, continues to #4
    Why? Users need to know how to name files, and this is not as in your face as traditional methods (save dialog), so it may not be discovered

  4. Hotspot over description icon in activity toolbar

    Remember and Reflect
    Store thoughts, ideas and reflections in the description field. View and search them later
    Write a description to continue

    Completes when the description is changed
    Why? Writing descriptions and having metadata in general is one of the core value propositions of the journal, so users need to know how to operate it

  5. Hotspot in top left corner

    If frame corner activation is disabled, a semi-transparent F6 key (from the XO keyboard) will be displayed in the top left corner. The key will animate depression every 5 (or simmilar) secconds, to encourage pressing. It will fit within the constrains of the top left grid square, which is typically padding in the activites toolbar.

    Navigate with the Frame
    Moving your pointer into any corner toggles the frame, which lets you navigate Sugar and control your computer
    Explore another hotspot to continue

    Completes whan another hotspot in the frame is activated, or the frame is dismissed, continues to #6, #8, #9, #10, #13
    Why? The frame is a novel and unintuitive concept, yet is vital for all navigation in Sugar

  6. Hotspot in middle of clipboard drop area

    Drag to the Clipboard
    Drag text, images or anything else here to save it temporarily in your clipboard
    Drag something onto your clipboard to continue

    Completes when there is a new item on the clipboard
    Why? Dragging stuff to the clipboard is cool feeling, and also encourages use of the clipboard history

  7. Hotspot on the clipboard icon

    Drag from the Clipboard
    Drag clipped items and use them in your activities
    Drag something from the clipboard to continue

    Why? Dragging something from the clipboard may not be intuitive or familiar, as it is a novel design

  8. Hotspot on current activity

    Your Current Activity
    The colored icons represent all the activities you have open. Just click to switch back
    Explore another hotspot to continue

    Why? Users need to know how to go back to where they were, and not try and work with the frame open the whole time

  9. Hotspot on the home zoom level

    Zoom Back Home
    Click to zoom out to the home view to launch a new activity
    Go to the Home view to continue

    Continues to #15
    Why? Users need to understand how to launch new activities

  10. Hotspot on neighborhood zoom level

    Zoom to the Neighbourhood View people nearby, shared activities and connect to WiFi networks Go to the Neighbourhood view to continue

    Continues to #11, #12, #15 Why? So that we can explain each part of the view individually

  11. Hotspot on a neighborhood search bar (only shows if no internet)

    Search for your WiFi network Find your WiFi network, then mouse over and press Connect Search for something to continue

    Completes when the user types anything in the search bar Why? Connecting to the WiFi is pretty important for most users, and our neighbourhood view based design differs from traditional flows

  12. Hotspot on a random buddy, only shown if activity shares

    Share %s Activity with %s Invite your buddies to join you and work collaboratively Invite a buddy to continue

    Completes when the user invites a buddy, or navigates away Why? Even if the user doesn't have somebody to share with, they need to associate the neighbourhood view with sharing

  13. Hotspot on journal icon in the frame

    View and Search your Work Find, remember and reflect on your work in the Journal. Copy it and send it to buddies Open the Journal to continue

    Completes when the user opens their journal, continues to #14, #15 Why? The concept of a journal being a file manager is very different from many other DEs. It is important that users know where to find their work

  14. Hotspot on journal details arrow

    Reflect and Remember your Work Press the details arrow to view a preview and write reflections and descriptions Go to the details view to continue

    Completes when the user views the details view Why? They details view is a very self explanatory way to interact with the metadata.

  15. Hotspot in the top left corner

    Get Back to %(previous activity) in the Frame Press %s Activity's icon to switch back when needed Go back to %s or hide the frame to continue

    Why? I want to make sure that people don't get lost, and get a gentle reminder in case they just forgot

  16. Hotspot on Help Activity in the home view

    Understand Your Computer with Helpful Guides Help activity houses many guides, covering Sugar and its activities Launch Help activity to continue

  17. Hotspot on XO icon in home view

    Control your Computer Shut down, restart or change settings on your computer by mousing over your XO icon Press a menu item or dismiss the palette menu to continue

    Why? Shutting down with sugar is surprisingly non-intuitive, as there is no cultural association between a person icon and computer management. Shutting down properly is good to prevent data loss, etc.