иконографияWhenever I talk to the Microsoft LEX team (VS & MSDN help), I come away staggered at the scale they operate on. The MSDN site is one of the biggest websites in the world and supports many different online languages. They are always working hard on the next big thing to make it easier for customers to find stuff. These guys love customer feedback. So here’s my latest…
The following thoughts have been buzzing around in my head for some time crystallizing and I wanted to write them down.
IMHO I think MSDN Library has grown rapidly and needs a radical overhaul.
One solution…. Develop the Book view.
- Slice up MSDN Library into books (same as a real library) – At the moment we have more a sea of single topics loosely held in context by links and an enormous TOC. The UX would be much enhanced and by a book view.
- The nightly build should generate a .mshc file for every MSDN library book, and make them all available for download (by web and HLM).
Many users are currently frustrated that only a small proportion of MSDN Library is available offline. The download should be available from the online book cover page (a more logical place for some than Help Library Manager app).
Also generate a PDF of the book for printing and devices without Help Viewer. Personally I don’t think I have a use for building my own PDFs from selected individual pages.
- Allow the user to scope down to the Book level (TOC/Index/Search just for a particular book — Online or Offline). More natural. Easier to find content in the book. Less clutter.
- The high-level view of MSDN Library should be more book oriented (like a real library or Amazon) with color coded mock up book cover panels. Scope down to get TOC/Index experience of today.
- Discontinue the old complex “filtering” idea of VS 200x local help… and filtering on strange boundaries such as “Concepts”. Complex tagging of individual pages was never fully successful.
Just keep it simple. Stick to Books with nice logical boundaries.
I just want to easily find and scope down to a logical book. I can find everything easily from there (concepts, HowTos, API Ref etc), as long as it is properly organized and sign posted.
- Group related books into “book stacks” (like a predefined book shelf). I should also be able to scope down to the book stack level. And I should be able to defined my own stack (book shelf).
- The Online/Offline experience should be similar and tightly linked. The offline viewer: At any time I should be able to update my “MSDN book list” to match the online list. I should be able to get a nice visual representation of all the MSDN books [Books I don’t have yet as ghosted; Books with updates available clearly marked; Book covers color coded by technology].
As a developer I typically spend my whole day inside one reference book (online or offline).
I don’t want to see other books (unless I choose to scope up or do a wider Bing search).
The current experience is OK. But I suggest it could be much better by adding a book view.