Self Documenting Quick Launch

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I cringe every time I see a user go to the Filters menu, especially when they have to browse down the Alphabetical list. I think most users would quickly realize how much faster and easier it is to use the quick dialog box, but it's one of those things that is easy to forget.

It suddenly occurred to me an easy way to make the quick launch self documenting. There are two steps: add an entry to the source and filters menus and add instructions to the quick launch dialog itself.

Add an entry to the source and filters menus


The first step is simple, add an entry to each of the Servers and Filters menus to open the Quick Launch dialog box. I recommend putting the entry at the top of the menu and making it bold so that it is quite noticeable.

Although the Quick Launch entry is functional, the intention is not for it to be used regularly. Rather, it is there as a reference and a reminder. It encourages users to try it and discover the quick launch without being intrusive.

Add instructions to the quick launch dialog


If a user opens the quick launch through one of the menu entries, he/she can be gently reminded how to use the quick dialog most efficiently by adding concise instructions right to the dialog itself. This completes all that is needed for a user to self discover the quick launch feature.

Here I recommend adding a big bold statement at the top of the box documenting the key sequence for starting the quick launch. Below it can be some subdued text that encourages users to take advantage of it.

I think that these instructions should only appear when the quick launch is opened from the menu. Leave the quick launch the way it is now (without instructions) when launched with the ctrl+space (option+space) key sequence. Clearly if the user has used the key sequence, he/she is already aware of the quick launch's use and utility, and the instructions become an annoyance.