First experience with LC 8.0's Interactive Welcome

Quentin Long cubist at
Fri May 6 06:02:08 EDT 2016

Downloaded the stable 8.0 release, opened it up. What the heck, figured I'd try to work thru the Interactive Welcome. Noted some aspects of the IW that might be problematic for LC newbies. Since the IW is presumably supposed to be LC putting its best foot forward, and even minor issues could discourage a novice from exploring the wonders of LC, I'll list some issues I encountered, in the order encountered…


First issue: "Set the 'Background Fill' color of the stack to white"
Problem, from a newbie's PoV: Wait a second. That Inspector-thingie looked different for a fraction of a second before it settled down to that tower of "fill"s and "color"s. LiveCode does that sort of thing automatically?

Possible fix: Add a little something to the 'narration box'. You've told the user about the icons along the top edge of the Inspector window, and what those icons are for; the 'little something' called for here is in the neighborhood of "Right now, we're going to show you the 'Colors' category of settings." In other words, an explicit acknowledgement that LC is going to futz with the Inspector, so don't panic.


Problem, from a newbie's PoV: Okay, *how* do I set the BF color to white? The blue box is pointing right at "Background Fill" in the window that popped up when I clicked on the "Inspector" icon, which is good, cuz there's a *lot* of other "fill"s and "color"s to confuse the issue. So, okay, "Background Fill", but I don't see anything that looks like "click *here* to set a color". There's a white box with a red slashmark in it, but a red slashmark means "don't do this", so I guess I don't want to click that box. There's also a grey-outlined box whose interior is filled with the same color as the background of the Inspector window; greyed-out means "not available", right? So… I'm stuck.

Fortunately, I (Cubist) an *not* an LC newbie. I have a fair amount of previous experience with MetaCard, Revolution, and LiveCode. So *I* knew to click on that red-slashed box in order to set the Background Fill color. Am unsure whether someone who genuinely is new to LC would think to do that.

Possible fix: Steal the 'red oval' from Apple Guide. Put said oval around the box you're supposed to click on… and maybe said oval should fade in and out, 'pulsing' to (1) draw attention to itself and (2) provide some indication that it's *not* actually a standard part of the LC interface.


Second issue: "Set the 'Text Size' of the stack to 18…"
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Hold it, where did *that* come from? Does LiveCode automatically force you to set text size immediately after you set background color? I'm not sure I want to deal with LC if *it*'s gonna decide for *itself* what settings I'm going to tweak.

Possible fix: Add a new 'narration box', immediately after the user succeeds in setting the background color to 'white'. This new narration box should say something like, "You've just set the stack's background color to white. Cool! For your next trick, you're going to tweak the size of the text that appears in this stack."
Next narration box: "Click on the Inspector icon again, to bring the Inspector back."
When the Inspector is on the screen, red-oval the Text icon, and a fresh narration box: "Click on the Text icon to show you LC's text-formatting options."
When the Inspector is displaying its Text options, red-oval the TextSize input box, and show the existing "Set the 'Text Size'…" character string in a fresh narration box.

Third issue: The stack turned green when I dragged that title-bar/widget/whatzit onto the stack.
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Wait, what's up with *that*? *I* didn't tell it to change any colors of anything! Is this something LC does just because, or is it a bug, or what?

Possible fix: Maybe the narration box which directs the user to drag the widget onto the stack should include a note about "Oh, and the stack will turn green for a little bit when you drag the widget onto it. LC does this because [insert reason here]."


Fourth issue: "Set the 'Title of the header bar widget to 'BMI Calculator', and press <return>."
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Will a newbie realize that you're asking them to press the return key, and not asking them to *type* left-angle-bracket, "r", "e", "t", "u", "r", "n", right=angle-bracket?

Possible fix: Change it to "press the return key"or "type the return key".


Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Okay, I typed "BMI Calculator" in that text box. I hit the return key… and the "BMI Calculator" string suddenly scrolled up to *almost* completely outside its text box. That's kind of ugly and awkward.

I (Cubist) know that what's going on here is that the textbox in question accepts multi-line input. I am not at all sure that it *should* accept multi-line input, because, well, that textbox is supposed to be for letting the user supply a *title*, and since when does *anything* have a title that's 2+ lines of text?

Apart from that, the narration box clearly assumed that hitting the return key would tell LC, "here's what I want the title of that widget to be", and THAT ISN'T WHAT HAPPENED. Hitting *tab* is what told LC "here's what I want the title of that widget to be".

Possible fix: Edit the text in the narration box. Instead of "press <return>", say "press <tab>" (or whatever you do if you choose to address the "whaddayamean, 'return'? issue noted above). Or, since a *later* narration box explains about the sweet "ctrl-return" trick for getting out of a textbox that accepts multi-line input, maybe move that explanation to *this* narration box, because the user encounters *this* narration box first?

Other possible fix: Change the offending textbox so that pressing <return> does what the narration-box text assumes it should do—that is, make the 'title' textbox only accept single-line input.


Fifth issue: "Change the label of the header widget action…"
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Uh… how do I do that? It's not immediately obvious to me.

Seasoned LC hands, or seasoned programmers in general, probably won't have any trouble here. But will newbies have a clue?

Possible fix: Add a note to the narration box, something in the general neighborhood of "Click on the label itself (the text that says 'Add', in this case), and then start typing the new label."


Sixth issue: "Create a navigation bar widget…"
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: It turned green again!? What's going on here?

Possible fix: Add a note to the text in the narration box. "As with the header widget, LC will make the stack turn green for a moment, because of [insert reason here]."


Seventh issue: "Each line of the 'Navigation Data' has two icons… select the 'cog' icon."
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: 'Cog' icon? *What* 'cog' icon!? I don't see any 'çog' icon here! I don't even see any icons whose name *starts with* 'C'!

Possible fix: Make the vertical scrollbar *much* more obvious. As it stands, that scrollbar is mightily easy to overlook.


Eighth issue: "Create a rounded rectangle graphic."
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Um. I clicked on that one little icon, and nothing happened.

Possible fix: Edit the text of the narration box. You've already said "create X by dragging it onto the stack" in an earlier narration box, so you can say that here, too.


Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Once again, the stack turns green when I drag something onto it. At this point, the newbie may be getting the idea that this is standard LC behavior. Then again, the newbie may also be thinking "this is the last straw. goodbye, LiveCode!"

Possible fix: Make a note of the "green stack" behavior in the text of the narration box.


Ninth issue: "Set the 'Background Fill' color of the graphic to '0,128,255'."
Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Wait, what's that—oh. Is that the Inspector again? I guess… but what do I do with it?

The problem here is that the narration box didn't show up immediately. It did show up after I moved the Inspector window a little, manually. Not sure what's going on here—did I just see a genuine bug in the Interactive Welcome tutorial, or did I see a transient glitch in my system?

Possible fix: Make sure the narration box is thrown onto the screen *after* the Inspector window, I guess..?


Problem, from a newbie's point of view: Okay, I clicked on that red-slash box to bring up the color-selection doohickie. But I don't see any way to tell the machine that I want the color "0,128,255"!

The question is, does the newbie realize that what they've gotta do here is, first, click on the "Color Sliders"icon in the 'Colors' window, and second, select 'RBG sliders' from that popup menu?


Enough. There's definitely more, but this email is long enough as it stands. I think everything I've noted could be summarized as "the guys what created the Interactive Welcome need a more-realistic notion of the level of background info/expertise a LiveCode newbie is likely to have". I am, of course, assuming that the intended audience for the Interactive Welcome is *supposed* to be people with essentially zero LiveCode expertise, because honestly, how many people who *aren't* LC newbies are likely to look at the Interactive Welcome?

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