[uf-discuss] Microformats gets strong showing in Firefox 3 UI

Paul Wilkins paul_wilkins at xtra.co.nz
Tue Jun 5 22:57:00 PDT 2007

From: "Alex Faaborg" <faaborg at mozilla.com>
> Changing the cursor isn't perfect, but it is the only way for the  browser 
> to provide a visual cue of contextual action without directly  modifying 
> the page itself, which is why this is the best solution I  have heard so 
> far.

Will this be able to combine with other existing extensions that change the 
mouse cursor?
If it will interoperate, it shouldn't be the primary means by which the 
imformation is made known.

>> The cursor thing could be in addition to other ways (that don't
>> exhibit MMN) of getting at Microformats.
> The cursor change isn't technically mystery meat navigation, since  you 
> can hopefully see what you are hovering over, and the icon of the 
> application that is going to launch is appended to the cursor.

Strictly speaking it isn't MMN because navigation itself isn't involved. The 
problems surrounding the cursor change though are identical. If it is the 
only mechanism to find microformat content, it won't be found until someone 
chances across it if they notice it changing when it crosses such content.

The mouse cursor operation won't be able to survive all by itself. It will 
need other techniques to back it up. I suggest some below.


> In a lot of cases it is easier to directly interact with information  in 
> the page than it is to find it in a menu somewhere.  For instance,  if you 
> want to map a single item in a list of 100 items, you don't  want to do a 
> visual scan for the same item in a menu, you just want  to click on it.

My suggestion is:
- A microformats icon appears when such information is available, and a 
dialog box should appear to introduce the microformat logo, with a tick box 
to not show it again
- The microformat content is made visible (dotted border, or some other 
mechanism) temporarily when whe microformat logo is hovered over, or 
permanently (until page refresh) when clicked.
- The microformat logo should have a couple of drop-down options such as 
"Outline Microformat Content" and another option for a modal dialog box 
containing the microformat content information.
- The mouse can indicate the microformat type when it hovers over the 
content, but it should not activate the outlining of the content. That would 
get too messy and distracting.
- The context-menu (right-click) should provide the ability to interact with 
the microformat content

This allows several types of behaviour to take place:
- you can guess at what is microformat content should you desire to
- you can hover briefly on the logo to get an idea of where the microformat 
content is, then use the mouse to interact with the content
- you can turn on the microformat outline for the page then scroll to find 
relevant pieces
- people who don't know they can click the microformat logo can still 
activate it from the drop-down menu

Paul Wilkins 

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