Suggestions for improved use in research environments

Tell us what could be improved in MyInfo
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Coolrat
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:52 am

Suggestions for improved use in research environments

Post by Coolrat »

I have used MyInfo for my personal projects and work since 2011. Recently I began to find it invaluable in my work as a research analyst and I have a number of suggestions for improvements.


1. Clarifying use of drag and drop vs “ATTACHMENTS” feature.

There’s some confusion about:
  • 1. dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo

    2. using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature in[/

    After dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo:
    • the original document title is maintained.
      The viewing pane displays the contents of the document.
    While this is convenient, the text formatting in the viewing pane appears to be somewhat different than the original .docx document.
    Does this mean the document has now been altered? If I were to Export the “Net Zero working group minutes Aug 18 2021.docx” will the formatting be different from the original?

    It seems a bit confusing that the WORD icon in front of the document name suggest that the file is still a .docx file. Perhaps MyInfo should add a suffix to the file name or change the icon so users will know that it is no longer an original WORD document in .docx format?

    Is it correct that using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature will attach the original document which remains unaltered by MyInfo?
    Thus, I am wondering about workflow. In order to view the documents conveniently, perhaps its best to drag them into MyInfo (into a folder in a tree as shown in the screenshot), and then attach the original if I want to store an unaltered copy as well.


    2. Have the original document display in the Viewing Pane, but have a note-taking pane directly below

    Currently if I drag and drop PDF files into MyInfo, they are displayed in the viewing pane, but a note pane also appears below where users can write notes about the document.
    While this is very convenient, it only seems to work with PDF documents. If I drag and drop a WORD or ODT document into the tree, the document is shown in the Viewing Pane be viewed, but the Note Pane below is missing.
    It would be preferable to have the Note Pane available regardless of which type of document (word, pdf, odt, powerpoint) are dragged into the tree.

    3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

    Most of my colleagues involved in research need to make comments/annotations on documents. As I read a document in WORD, LibreOffice, or PDFs, I always highlight sections of text and add comments/annotations. Is there a way to include this ability in MyInfo. It would be very useful indeed to be able to add annotations to anything that appears in the Viewing Pane ie) webclipping attachments, webclippings (editable), PDFs, .docx etc.

    4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
    Over the years, I expected that one of the big note-taking applications would eventually include the ability to add keywords to sections of text/parargraphs and be able to create reports that show all instances of a specific keyword(s) in the database.

    I am bamboozled as to why more users do not request QDA functionality.
    Arguably there should be very strong demand for affordable QDA –enabled software.

    I have been following the development of the "hottest" new notetakers (Logseq, RoamResearch, Athens and many others) that are attracting considerable attention and new users/subscribers because of their ability to "backlink" documents (create hyperlinks between documents or blocks of text). However, it seems that these applications are not doing anything particularly astonishing. The approach of using tiny blocks of text assigned to keywords etc which are then linked to other blocks of text rather seems like a weaker approach than that used by QDA software: allow users to inter-link ideas and concepts by assigning code/keywords to selections of text.

    Nearly all of the problems regarding cataloguing and searching of files in my current and previous job would be resolved by QDA functionality: being able to link sections of one document with sections in another through the use of keywords. Whenever I tell department management that the problems with creating inter-relationships among data is entirely possible in QDA software, they are amazed- very few people ever think of it because this type of feature is oddly very rare. For most tasks at work, we need to be able to use keywords to link sections of text among numerous documents. The current hyperlinking capabilities of MyInfo (being able to link one document to another) are not fine-grained enough: Creating linkages between long 25 page documents is often of limited use if only one or two paragraphs are closely related. However, being able to link paragraphs containing similar themes/ideas would be useful indeed.

    For some ideas on how this might be done, please consider examining:
    • open-source QDA application QualCoder. It has been in development for less than 2 years, but has been progressing rapidly.
      MaxQDA is a good example of an industry-leading QDA features and UI.
      Qiqqa, an open source project that has many features of a QDA, but is mainly a tool for annotating PDF files. https://github.com/jimmejardine/qiqqa-open-source. Qiqqa has implemented interesting ways of allowing users to add keywords to sections of PDFs and then create reports by querying the keywords. Its brilliant software, but hobbled by a lack of developers and the fact it is not cross-platform.

    5. Exporting a file with right-click context menu.
    Many users will often need to export a document quickly to share with others. It would be very useful to have a fast and clear method to right click on a note, or a tree (including several notes). Currently the EXPORT function is somewhat awkward. I’m still not sure of the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text, Both.

    6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
    When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.

    7. Problems with displaying cloned PDFs in MyInfo 7

    I finally figured out how to clone notes, but found that cloned PDFs are not appearing in the viewing pane. See this screenshot:
    Cloning ordinary notes and screenclippings works as expected. PDFs however do not work.

    Also, why is the “Paste as Clone” only available by selecting EDIT – PASTE ADVANCED and is not available using the right-click context menu?

    It seems that it would be more intuitive to include ADVANCED PASTE, and PASTE AS CLONE as an option in the right-click menu.

    -----------------------------------------------


    Thank you for your attention to these suggestions. I hope they are of some use.
Telesto
Posts: 2605
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am I have used MyInfo for my personal projects and work since 2011. Recently I began to find it invaluable in my work as a research analyst and I have a number of suggestions for improvements.

1. Clarifying use of drag and drop vs “ATTACHMENTS” feature.

There’s some confusion about:
  • 1. dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo

    2. using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature in[/

    After dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo:
    • the original document title is maintained.
      The viewing pane displays the contents of the document.
    While this is convenient, the text formatting in the viewing pane appears to be somewhat different than the original .docx document.
    Does this mean the document has now been altered? If I were to Export the “Net Zero working group minutes Aug 18 2021.docx” will the formatting be different from the original?
Having the same impression.
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am It seems a bit confusing that the WORD icon in front of the document name suggest that the file is still a .docx file. Perhaps MyInfo should add a suffix to the file name or change the icon so users will know that it is no longer an original WORD document in .docx format?

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Is it correct that using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature will attach the original document which remains unaltered by MyInfo?

Yes
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Thus, I am wondering about workflow. In order to view the documents conveniently, perhaps its best to drag them into MyInfo (into a folder in a tree as shown in the screenshot), and then attach the original if I want to store an unaltered copy as well.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 2. Have the original document display in the Viewing Pane, but have a note-taking pane directly below

Currently if I drag and drop PDF files into MyInfo, they are displayed in the viewing pane, but a note pane also appears below where users can write notes about the document.
While this is very convenient, it only seems to work with PDF documents. If I drag and drop a WORD or ODT document into the tree, the document is shown in the Viewing Pane be viewed, but the Note Pane below is missing.
It would be preferable to have the Note Pane available regardless of which type of document (word, pdf, odt, powerpoint) are dragged into the tree.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

Most of my colleagues involved in research need to make comments/annotations on documents. As I read a document in WORD, LibreOffice, or PDFs, I always highlight sections of text and add comments/annotations. Is there a way to include this ability in MyInfo. It would be very useful indeed to be able to add annotations to anything that appears in the Viewing Pane ie) webclipping attachments, webclippings (editable), PDFs, .docx etc.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
Over the years, I expected that one of the big note-taking applications would eventually include the ability to add keywords to sections of text/parargraphs and be able to create reports that show all instances of a specific keyword(s) in the database.

I am bamboozled as to why more users do not request QDA functionality.
Arguably there should be very strong demand for affordable QDA –enabled software.

For me it would be conceptualize it as (meta)tagging of text elements, but for the concept +1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 5. Exporting a file with right-click context menu.
Many users will often need to export a document quickly to share with others. It would be very useful to have a fast and clear method to right click on a note, or a tree (including several notes). Currently the EXPORT function is somewhat awkward. I’m still not sure of the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text, Both.

+1 for the idea; however in my perception a customization feature for the context menu. And yes the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text is somewhat confusing
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.


Me preferring a floating color picker (you can make the highlighting tool be afloat in LibreOffice and MS word). The move the cursor up to toolbar is indeed cumbersome (lots distance to travel on screen) and I mostly use different colors, so I have to click the expand drop down too..
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 7. Problems with displaying cloned PDFs in MyInfo 7

I finally figured out how to clone notes, but found that cloned PDFs are not appearing in the viewing pane. See this screenshot:
Cloning ordinary notes and screenclippings works as expected. PDFs however do not work.

I don't reproduce this here
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Also, why is the “Paste as Clone” only available by selecting EDIT – PASTE ADVANCED and is not available using the right-click context menu?

It seems that it would be more intuitive to include ADVANCED PASTE, and PASTE AS CLONE as an option in the right-click menu.

Not that use clones very often, but yes it's buried within the dialog.
cadudesun
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:34 pm

Post by cadudesun »

Wow. Very nice suggestions!
I second all of them, but I'd like to emphasize two, and make reference to a previous suggestion of mine related to the thread.
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.

6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.
Any QDA related functionality, mainly the possibility to tag/code selected text within same note, and retrieve it later would be outstanding.

While QDA functionality is highly welcomed, it sounds that better highlighting colours/workflow would be faster and simpler to implement initially. The Word/OneNote context menu is an excellent approach. Other two and even complementary approaches could be:

- Extended highlighting colors directly available on the toolbar, showing core colors like yellow, green, blue, orange, and red.
I've attached a sketch made over MyInfo interface:
MyInfo Highlighting Toolbar.png
MyInfo Highlighting Toolbar.png (23.39 KiB) Viewed 36 times


- Highlighting colors pops-up on the mouse cursor as soon as text is selected, showing core colors.
On this link there is a screen-recording with some further references of a Chrome extension.
As shown there, when a highlighting is added, a small visual indication on the right - next to the scrollbar - appears. And you can navigate directly to the highlighted parts of the text.
Some functionality like that could be resourceful on the note text editor, as well as when using MyInfo web clipper.


To finish, just mentioning a suggestion I already did that seems related to the thread.
"Links to" functionalities like the "backlinks" ones - MyInfo Community Forums:
viewtopic.php?t=7535

Cheers!
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