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PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK


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#1 admin

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 07:33 AM

Dear fellow birders

As several of you know we developed a toolbar for the Firefox browser which allows searching the whatbird database with up to three filters: state, shape and color. It opens a species page in a new tab by just typing the birds name.Here is a page that shows how it works and lets you download it:

Winged Toolbar for Firefox

Here is a movie that shows how to use it:

Winged Toolbar Movie

The people at the Mozilla foundation require that I provide public comments in order to nominate it for inclusion in there database. I would be very grateful if any of you would give the toolbar a try and then leave you comments here in this thread. The toolbar is super easy to install and can be found here:

The toolbar can be disabled or removed easily. I appreciate your taking the time to help us out.

Mitchell Waite

#2 hollyhock

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:24 PM

Hi,

I just installed firefox and then the beta whatbird toolbar and here are some comments.

1. the toolbar installed quickly with no problem on windows xp

2. the pop up tutorial that comes up after installation is great, I know this is beta, but for future use, I would maybe change wording on page 2/4 as it is a little confusing.
      a. it now reads ".......a smart elimination algorithm removes any values that will not narrow the search further"  maybe instead it could say ".....automatically removes other filter values that no longer apply. and then later "For example selecting purple in the color filter will remove bird candidates in the shape filter that are not purple"  and for text later how about 58 different attributes in ____ filters to keep the vocabulary instruction going.

3. what is the difference between filter and preference? I was able to set preference to include location, shape, and color in the toolbar but then the option went away and have not seen filter option at all.

on to trying out the toolbar -  for my test I used , treeclinging, and pennsylvania, and it narrowed to 10 birds.  at this point I chose all colors.  the "10 birds" phrase is hyperlinked are you intending to eventually enable the person to click on that and get a page of all ten birds, etc at once so the user can scan.  if not it shouldnt be hyperlinked because clicking it now just erases the whole search and you have to start over again.

 

above are all nitpicky little things for improvement you might be interested in.   the positives:

1. like the prior version ( the one I was using was for explorer), having a search list integrated into your browser is great.  the additional utility of having your multiple filter approach on the existing toolbar makes even better sense and increases the value 100 fold.

2.  I dont know enough to compare nuts and bolts of explorer versus firefox but it seems that the way firefox is set up enhances the usability of the winged toolbar.

3. obviously there is nothing else like this that is so comprehensive and user friendly.  I would love to run new version on explorer to compare speed etc, but as it stands it seems like firefox runs so much faster than explorer in general that running your toolbar on it would be preferred.

4. I dont know what inclusion in their database means, other than it wouldnt ask if you trust the download source.

one other thing that I couldnt find, the help tutorial after I began using the toolbar.

have you thought about using the algorithm you have set up the opposite way as a testing tool?  for example, as an online course, if you asked someone to "draw" a pileated woodpecker, they would then have to select the appropriate attributes and build a bird.

 

 

   

 

 



#3 admin

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:45 PM

Dear hollyhock. THANK YOU for some great comments and feedback and the vote of approval. The IE version of the Winged Toolbar is behind compared to the FF version but its being worked on right now. We'll clarify the wording issues. There should be a link to Preferences at the end of the toolbar right before the version information (make sure you widen the browser window). That takes you to a dialog box where you can change what filters you have and control updates. Regarding your last point about narrowing it to 10 birds and then losing that information when you click on a bird name. That should not happen unless you have your browser set up so it opens in the same window as the toolbar is using. On my FF browser the species page opens in a new tab and the existing filter information still remains in its original tab. Are you using FF 3.0 or 2.0. If you are using 3.0 you will see small icons in front of the menu items, 2.0 does not have these. There is a settings in Tools->Options that will let you open a link in a new tab or a new window. Regarding your point 4, I am referring to the addon library that Mozilla maintains which you can get to from Tools-Addons-Get Addons and then the link Browse All Addons. Here is the link: https://addons.mozil...en-US/firefox/. The Help tutorial will pop up if you click on the Version information at the end of the toolbar. We probably need to find a better way to get to that. Your idea about using the algorithm as a testing tool for finding a bird is a clever idea, never thought of that, and will mull it over. Thanks again and let me know if you have any more comments or questions.


#4 hollyhock

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:16 PM

Im using firefox 3.0 btw

 here is some more info based on your response

"There should be a link to Preferences at the end of the toolbar right before the version information (make sure you widen the browser window)"       yes when the original toolbar first appears, the word preference is hyperlinked  that I can use it to add filters.  once I select all three filters in preferences the word preference disappears as well as version info and then there is no way to change it back to fewer preferences - the link to preferences at the end of the toolbar (page is fully widened on browser window) or version information is MIA. 

"Regarding your last point about narrowing it to 10 birds and then losing that information when you click on a bird name. That should not happen unless you have your browser set up so it opens in the same window as the toolbar is using."  I am able to click on a bird name and yes it does appear in its own tab.  I was talking about the fact that the text of the search result, in my case it was 10 birds, it is blue and hyperlinked and it would be hard for the user at least at first to know that clicking it wipes out their search. 

"The Help tutorial will pop up if you click on the Version information at the end of the toolbar. "  since the version information etc no longer appears once all three filters are chosen, help tutorial is also not there.

btw - I also sent several pages of comment on possible ideas for the site, but they never got posted.  it said it had to go through admin. but it never did appear.  please let me know if you would like this feedback and if so where best to post.

 



#5 admin

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 08:03 PM

Thanks for the clarifications. I am not sure why your Preferences link is MIA, but I do now understand you are talking about the number of birds display that switches to a link that resets the search. That was a poor design choice on our part and so was the fact that the Help is only accessible via the version label so...we are working on an upgrade that will have three links following the color filter: Prefs Help and Reset

I believe that will clear up all the issues you have described.

I would like to know what version of Firefox you are using and what platform (Mac PC) and what OS.

I found your suggestions message was in our moderated section waiting for me to approve it which I just did. I will study it. The moderation mechanism kicks in when there are excessive links in a message which often mean someone is spamming or promotting a site or product but in your case I am not sure why it got into that area. Some people really abuse the forum with ads and stuff so I am glad that the Community Server software is able to find them and stop them from being posted.



#6 hollyhock

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:03 PM

Hi,

I am using Firefox 3.0 on a PC ( a Dell DXP061) using the OS Windows Vista Home Premium.

 that is good that you have a way to filter out spam, especially given the number of posts to the forum. ( are you planning on consolidating them, reorganizing forum, etc.  wasnt sure if you wanted feedback about that.) when I posted the suggestions message I wondered if it bounced back/or was held for approval because it had too many characters and there was a limit to number of words per post.  

I tried to take the online survey, and incorporated different feedback there about enhancing whatbird as a subscription site, and I dont think it went through, although I tried twice.  I got an error message saying that I must complete all questions when in fact I had.  would I have received a notification in my email if it did go through?  also sent sample writing through the whatbird jobs link for the "interesting facts" advertisement and didnt receive email notification.    



#7 admin

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:26 PM

Holly:

We have upgraded the firefox toolbar to 1.3 which incorporates all your wonderful suggestions. Please let me know what you think. 

Regarding the online survey I am not sure what happened that made it get rejected, but I will look into it. You would have not got an error if it had gone though. We have filled the interesting facts job so that is why you might not have heard back. I should update that job posting.

Mitch

 



#8 hollyhock

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:57 PM

Hi, I did receive an automatic update from firefox for the 1.3 toolbar version, and was able to install it as an add-on but no changes appear in my browser.  I then uninstalled the update and went back on to whatbird homepage and reinstalled it, still no difference (by the way when you have to browse for firefox.exe from the download on the whatbird homepage it takes using browse function twice and scanning through many choices in the firefox program file to find the correct firefox icon (which is not labeled exe but should be)) I did a screen capture to show you that still there is no preferences option no version or help screen (I thought at least these would show when I reinstalled and maybe disappear again but they didnt.

 I will send the screen capture shortly

   



#9 admin

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:10 PM

Don't understand why you are having trouble but I have seen something like this happen on one of my computers. The fix was to right click on the toolbar and select Customize. Then click on Restore Default Set. As far as needing to browse for firefox.exe that is always true the first time you add a toolbar, but if you "associate" the .xpi with firefox.exe you will never need to do it again. You can try saving the toolbar to a folder and associate it that way too.


#10 admin

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

Holly when you look at prefs does it show you have version 1.3 or does it look like the old 1.2? When you say no changes do you mean it appears to work find but its identical to v1.2?


#11 hollyhock

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:38 PM

I did as you suggested in your previous email and reset the toolbar to default (by right clicking toolbar, etc) and this Did give me hyperlinked Prefs, Help, Reset. there is no text that reads what firefox version it is.  the reset hyperlink does not work -  I was able to go into help and saw that my editing suggestions were there so I assume this must be 1.3.  the preference hyperlink works -  I tried adding all three filters, they appeared and were functional but once again "prefs, help, and reset" disappeared.  I reset to default again and chose preferences a second time this time I only chose location and shape. interestingly, "prefs, help, and reset" stayed there, so Im thinking that having all three filters on the toolbar at once take up all the space and the three settings are bumped out.  dont know the programming behind that if that can be changed on my computer or needs to be redesigned for the toolbar. 

when I choose as preferences "location" and "color" they both appear successfully and three hyperlinked settings stay also,

you can tell by looking at the toolbar that adding any third preference will displace the hyperlinks space wise, and maybe the version info is also space related?



#12 hollyhock

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:43 PM

if I want to paste a screenshot of the 1.3 toolbar can I upload as a jpeg or do I need to have a url associated with it by uploading it onto flickr, etc


#13 admin

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 11:51 AM

We think the problem is that your browser window is not wide enough to see the Prefs Help Reset links. The only way to make it take up less horizontal space at this time is to remove a filter OR set your display to a higher resolution. We are trying to think of a solution. And yes to paste an image in you must give it a link so Flickr is a good choice or you can put it in your photo gallery.





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