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Welcome Centre
I was looking at a spec the other day and remembered that I had some old code knocking around that might provide an interesting spin on the idea.

The purpose of the Welcome Centre spec is to produce a 'first run' application which is displayed when the user first logs in to Ubuntu after installing it. This interests me because it makes documentation more visible to users, and should hopefully help people to answer their initial questions with the minimum of fuss. There have been several attempts at an implementation of something like this, but I don't think any of them hit the spot.

I decided to go with a slightly more general implementation. Welcome Centre, as I've imaginatively called it, is simply an HTML browser. 'Wow'. This should make it easy to design attractive, accessible first-run documentation for users, as you would design a website. But, as you'll see from the screenshot below, there's a twist.

Screenshot of the Welcome Centre

Yep, Welcome Centre can run applications (and open documents, not just download them) at the click of a link. The code is very simple, but it should hopefully do the trick. It should also be useful for other tasks - some other use cases are covered in the documentation (just search in Yelp for 'welcome-centre').

This is the initial release, and it goes without saying that it might have horrible, horrible bugs:

Every last morsel of feedback you can offer is very greatly appreciated. Is this useful to anyone, for any purpose?

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Clickthrough issue


The problem with a welcome screen is that EVERY interface, no matter how simple has a learning curve, even if it is only a matter of 30 seconds to read the screen. As such, you are basically putting forth effort to build a tiny user interface in their face which delays them from getting to know the real interface they will be using for the rest of their time with the system.

This doesn't mean the welcome screen project is a bad idea - just that you want to (as much as possible) have your welcome screen program show people how to do these initial tasks in the real system, rather than providing a simplified (and thus different) interface than they would ordinarily use. Something that points to the help button and explains how to access basic tutorials, screengrabs showing that the little orange and blue swirly at the top of the screen is their one click access to "the google".

Re: Clickthrough issue


Thanks for your comment. I agree that the welcome centre is a somewhat artificial way of introducing users to the system. In many ways it is just an attempt to make the relevant documentation more obvious to the user, in the hope that they might actually read it!

I was playing with some alternative concepts a couple of months back, and came up with something similar to what you suggest. The "Bubble Tour" [1] pops up a sequence of notification bubbles which point to relevant items on the desktop, and provides a brief description of each item. It's only a rough prototype, but I'd be interested to see what you think of the general concept.



[1] -

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