When working on the updated prototype for Recent Changes (T147632), a concern was risen about whether users would discover the possibilities that highlighting brings to color code the list of results.
Current research shows that users liked the general idea. Furthermore, it was clear in testing that highlighting provides a powerful diagnostic tool that enables users to answer their questions about how the filters work, and thus to learn to use the system better.
We want to explore ways to better educate users about highlighting without distracting from the main use of the filtering panel, which is filtering.
Some initial thoughts:
- Use the education pattern used in Visual Editor to educate about links and references (T101481). This could help users to notice the feature and provides an opportunity for further explanation. We need to decide when to bring the user attention in order to allow distracting the user the first time the panel is used.
- Use the "No contributions meet the selected criteria" view. When users add too many filters to get any results, we suggest to remove some filters. Using highlight could be a way to make the criteria less strict and this an opportunity to suggest using it.
# Proposed solution
A blue dot with a pulsing halo will be shown with the "highlight results" button inviting users to click. This follows the same pattern as educational popups on Visual Editor (more details in T101481#1504143).
This should only happen when these conditions are met:
- The invite has not be shown and accepted before for this user. That is, users should only go through this process once at most.
- The user has not applied highlighting before. That is, users that already used highlight already learnt about the feature by themselves and they don't need to be introduced to it.
- The user reaches a situation where highlighting can be helpful. These situations include:
-- Selecting a set of filters where some cancel each other (either because they overlap or they cover the whole spectrum of possibilities).
-- Selecting a set of filters so restrictive that lead to showing no results.
When clicking on the "Highlight results" button, a popup panel is shown introducing the feature:
- A graphic is shown to emphasise the highlighting metaphor.
- Main concepts are emphasising: (a) the idea of "color coding", (b) the possibility of apply colors to one or more aspects, and (c) the idea of an additional layer of information complementary to the filtering.
- Once the user closes the popup with the "Ok, got it" button, the highlight mode becomes active automatically without requiring additional steps for the user.