Request for input re possible changes to Hook's menu bar window's title bar to facilitate onboarding

This is a request for feedback from the Hook user community regarding how to facilitate onboarding via the menu bar icon. ( “onboarding” meaning getting users accustomed to invoking the Hook productivity window and using its basic functions.

Yesterday, I updated the Getting Started – web page.

We’re considering various ways to facilitate onboarding, such as:

  1. add an onboarding wizard (after 1.0 “golden master”),
  2. create new tutorial videos and use case videos,
  3. improve the getting started document (add screenshots) (FYI, I updated that yesterday),
  4. improve the help, and
  5. referring to the Hook window as an “input window” (I’ve resisted this for multiple reasons, but we’re open to it) or as “the Hook popup window” (a name we already sometimes use).

In thinking about onboarding, we recognize that there are different types of users. In particular, users who have used a launcher before (like LaunchBar or Alfred) are accustomed to invoking a popup window that they quickly dismiss. (There is also of course a Spotlight popup window.) We need to help users understand that Hook is like this (whether they have used a popup app before or not). (The popup window is the main way of using Hook.)

Users are initially drawn to Hook’s persistent UI presence, i.e., Hook’s menu bar icon. Currently, the menu bar window’s title bar has a Hook logo via which users can access the Hook popup window. But the icon does not look clickable, and it’s left-aligned, which requires some travel. And there’s no tooltip re the keyboard shortcut.

To facilitate onboarding, We are considering the following changes to Hook’s menu bar window’s title bar:

  1. Left-aligned: Hook logo followed by “Hook” name mark (the one that’s currently on the left, and the one that is currently centred, respectively),
  2. Centered: A new button + a label indicating the keyboard shortcut.
  3. Right: same buttons as now.

The keyboard shortcut label would go away after the user has invoked the Hook window via keyboard shortcut a number of times.

Sound like a good solution?

(Some of the constraints for this window involve features that we will later discuss in our product road map documentation. I will try to share a mockup once our UI/UX/graphic artist provides feedback.)

Thanks for your input :slight_smile:

Makes sense. I’d prefer to keep the Hook logo appearance in the menubar itself, but if a drag-and-drop operation is in progress but not finished, perhaps the logo itself should change appearance? E.g. “normal / not active” appearance is grey; “active / drag not finished” appearance is black.

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thanks. good idea! We only flash the in progress state. We could provide a preference to maintain the color that stands for “in progress”. (Some people don’t like color in the menu bar icon, so a preference will give them the choice).

We also intend to provide a preference to enable/disable: the menu bar icon reflecting whether the current item has any links (or the number of links). E.g., suppose you’re reading a PDF that has 3 links, the menu bar icon would reflect that somehow (possibly showing the # of links).

(The Hook changes I was referring to above are with respect to the menu bar window’s title bar, not the menu bar icon itself.)

I think you’d need to change the icon then. It’s not easy getting a lot of info into the icon space provided, unless like the weather or calendar icons on the right end of this snapshot the number is the icon.


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In thinking about this, I am really not sure exactly how to modify the Hook menu bar icon and window, as the Hook pop up / action window.

I am not a big fan initially of the idea of the menu bar icon changing with the number of links of the active document. Firstly, I don’t think it will be all that helpful as I don’t think from a workflow/operational perspective that I would be all that likely to look up to the menu bar to see this. Further, this could be very cumbersome for a document with many links which I could easily see be the case if I were working on writing a major document with many references linked to it.

I do think that it would be helpful for the menu bar drop down menu to have an entry for opening the main hook window, although probably I would use the keyboard shortcut the vast majority of the time.

I find the Hook window not as easily useful as I would like. One option: for the linked documents, perhaps have a command key dynamically assigned to them. For example, the linked documents are listed in order, and command-1 through command-9 action the first 9 documents in the listing. While this won’t help if you have 50 documents linked and need to jump to document number 50, it will help for the first 9 which would suffice for probably MOST working cases.

I wonder: how are the linked documents ordered? I would propose (perhaps this is already the case and I have not noticed) that they be ordered in descending order of last jumped to folllowed by descended order of last linked. In other works, the first document in the list is the last one you jumped to from the active document. After listing all the documents jumped to in that reverse order, then the last document linked to is next in the list, and so on.

I realize this means adding a layer of metadata on link order and access date/time to the database and this adds overhead, but there could be enough utility to this to make it worthwhile. Perhaps a preferences option with the notice that enabling such ordering may impact performance?

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If you type the first letter of a link or command, Hook will jump to that item. If there are multiple items that start with the same letter, typing the letter over again jumps to the next one. Arrow keys can also be used. Does that help with your concern? (I find I do everything with the keyboard, not using the mouse at all.) Later we plan to make it possible to type a string of characters to match specific entries.

ascending alphabetic order.

Agreed. We should provide a Preference and/or a keyboard command to modify the sorting criteria.

FYI, we’ve developed a more detailed design for this, and are in the process of developing. Unless something unexpected comes up, we will release a build with the solution early next week.

We published some changes to this effect in 1.0-pubBeta build 2115, as discussed in Hook Version 1.0-beta ( 2115) - Releases - Hook Productivity Forum.

Thanks again all for making Hook a better product for everyone!