[wtp-dev] Improving discoverability of facets in WTP wizards
I’d like to solicit feedback about some proposed
changes. The changes are tracked by the following bug, but I am also repeating
them in this e-mail for convenience.
Facet selection page used to be the second page in all WTP
project creation wizards. A few releases ago it was removed out of the wizard
flow and placed into a separate dialog accessible via the "Edit"
button next to the "Configurations" combo box on the first page of
Since then, we have started hearing numerous feedback from
novice users that indicates that we have hidden facets too much. The most
recent feedback was a usability study conducted by a team at Oracle where users
who have never used WTP were tasked with writing a basic application. One of
the shocking discoveries is that they couldn't figure out how to enable JPA.
These weren't novice programmers either (the team was composed of devs from our
WebLogic Server group), but they were new to our tooling.
Time is right to take another look at this problem. I've had
a discussion with a UI designer at Oracle about this and together we have came
up with a mockup (attached) that proposes the following changes that should in
principle make facets more discoverable without doing anything too drastic:
1. Create a "Technologies" group that merges the
module spec version frame and the facet configurations frame.
2. Eliminate the facet configurations drop-down.
Configurations (aka presets) is one of those ideas that I largely consider a
failure. They sound good in principle, but do not actually improve usability as
the list of configurations grows faster than the number of facets due to the
cross-product effect. Once the list is long, picking through it is next to
impossible, especially for novice users who this feature is trying to help in
the first place. This change doesn't propose that configurations are eliminated
completely (although that's something that we should seriously consider in the
future). They would still be available in the facet selection panel.
3. Convert the edit button into a more obvious "Choose
other technologies to use in the project..." hyperlink.
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