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Meeting Schedule

I'm designing a list of documents, and basically the user can download the meeting schedule in their device so they don't have to download it every time and they can view it even without internet connection. The problem is how to indicate effectively that the document is already downloaded.

I tried the above where I indicate the documents already downloaded with no icon, and those that haven't been downloaded yet with a download icon. I have 5 users tested it and neither one of them have any idea what the icon means, thus a failed UX.

Aside from using a variety of icons, is there another approach I can use to indicate that the document has already been downloaded?

Update: More information

  1. Meeting has corresponding documents attached to it. PDF's usually where it can range from about 50kb to 20mb in size.

  2. View Details link will go to a "View" screen displaying the meta info only of the schedule; the documents will not be downloaded yet.

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+1 Interesting question which is a common problem! –  Benny Skogberg Jun 7 '12 at 9:14
    
Too clarify, I understand the corresponding documents are found too large to automatically download, but that the "calendar list" is always being synch'ed and up to date? –  JOG Jun 7 '12 at 14:06
    
The content is downloaded automatically or the user should click the item to be downloaded? Once it was already downloaded user can fetch the content again or they are not allowed to re-download items? –  Vitim.us Jun 7 '12 at 19:08
    
Can the user download the items multiple times? If so, what's the value in visually highlighting that they were previously downloaded? –  Calvin Chong Jun 7 '12 at 23:31
    
@JOG You are correct. The list and the meta information are synced, but the documents attached to each item in the list are not downloaded. In the "View Details" screen user has the option to download attached documents. –  Manny Jun 8 '12 at 2:23
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6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is my second answer; posted after the OP updated the question with more info.

enter image description here

  • The left suggestion gives you the option to "download files" by pressing a button for each list item. Once the files has been downloaded, an icon indicates that. The text on the button is enough to make the following states understandable, no matter your exact choice of icon.
  • The right one is similar, just using a header for the text instead. I'm not sure about the exact choice of words. The point is that somehow a descriptive text is needed.

Default action of a list item

Navigation should be easy. In this scenario, I would expect pressing the entire row, anywhere on the row, to navigate to a full screen item page. Then from there, provide whatever is needed, typically access to details about the item.

enter image description here

Then, the default action, apart from navigation - downloading the files - seems to be important enough to justify an special button, not only on the item page, but also in the item list. The button in the list allows them to start downloading asynchronously. The user could just tap, tap, tap them in the list as he scrolls by.

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I'm liking this, but there's a bit of a confusion. Clicking on a row will go to "View details" screen right? Then click on the right hand side "Download files" will just download the files or should it download the files and go to "View Details" screen? Maybe I'll make the "Untitled Meeting" text a link to have a visual cue that it will go to "View Details" screen. –  Manny Jun 8 '12 at 2:32
    
It would be very annoying to have the "Download files" button also take me away from that screen (so if I want to download a few files one after another I have to keep manually returning to the list). –  Kit Grose Jun 8 '12 at 7:51
    
I am adding some more text around what to press. –  JOG Jun 8 '12 at 8:22
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Update: This answer is no longer addressing the intended question, since the OP clarified.

Is a calendar ever worthy if it is sometimes only displaying a subset of all the events?

Here are some quick sketches on an all-or-nothing approach. Instead of having to decide to take action for each and every meeting/document, the list of items has a top bar, revealing if the entire list of items is synchronized (ie. downloaded) or not.

enter image description here

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JOG - can you add a bit of descriptive text around that image? That'll help with searchability for future visitors. –  JonW Jun 7 '12 at 8:33
    
+1 I must agree with you. There is no reason to simply download bits and pieces of a calendar. Syncing all items in the calendar is the way to go in my meaning, the amount of data needed to be transferred is minimal anyway. –  AndroidHustle Jun 7 '12 at 8:34
    
@Jon W: Sure! I added some more reasoning around the sketches. –  JOG Jun 7 '12 at 8:37
    
I also agree with this approach if the data to be downloaded is small. I added some info in my question. Documents can be attached to a schedule which maybe significant in size. –  Manny Jun 7 '12 at 8:39
    
I made another answer based on the update of the question. –  JOG Jun 7 '12 at 9:09
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I would like to see a solution similar to that of JOG. That you instead of "cherry picking" which calendar items you want to have visible in offline mode, the user has the ability to download ALL items.

enter image description here

In my design the list items has a checkbox next to them. The checkbox control can be in three states; checked, unchecked and disabled. The disabled state would indicate that the item is already downloaded, I know that this representation is not optimal and should probably need some more consideration.

Once a user clicks a checkbox a panel appears in the top of the screen. From there the user can choose to download the selected items OR choose to Download All.

I feel that this communicates more clearly what the control is and it also provides the user with the ability to download/sync her entire calendar.

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You might want to try changing the text of the View Details link. It could read Download Details for the items not yet downloaded.

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Sorry to have not included it: View details will not download the document, it will just go to the "View document" screen and display meta info from server. –  Manny Jun 7 '12 at 8:33
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I would use something simpler like the "badges" of Mail app on the Mac and iOS that shows if a message has been read. A little badge or colored dot on the left each item on the list that indicates if the item is new and should be read/downloaded.

I think it is pretty straightforward and intuitive.

The badge invite the user to download/read (and they feels necessary to complete that task), and when the badge hides the user automatically knows that the item has already been viewed/read/downloaded (and knows that they completed their task).

enter image description here

And you can still hold a download icon on the right of your list like this if you want:

enter image description here

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Hi Vitim.us. Nice suggestion, but can you describe the screenshots so that you're not relying on people viewing the images to know what you're referring to? (Also it aids searchability of the site for future visitors) –  JonW Jun 7 '12 at 9:33
    
@JonW I improved my explanation, but you know a picture>words –  Vitim.us Jun 7 '12 at 9:45
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@Vitim.us sure, but (picture+words)>picture. –  AndroidHustle Jun 7 '12 at 9:48
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Thanks @Vitim.us I agree that a picture is very useful, but not if you're trying to search the site for it, or if you're viewing via screen-reader. –  JonW Jun 7 '12 at 10:25
    
Badges are good in mail apps, or if you want to create a sense of urgency to the user that he has some unfinished business to do in that tab. However, in my case, it's the sole prerogative of the user if he wants to download the documents or not. If this is the case, I should just have a "Download all" button or an auto-download function. Although this perspective is arguable, it can be refute that user would. most of the times, wants to download all and not think (if storage space is not an issue). Thanks! –  Manny Jun 8 '12 at 2:37
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My two suggestions:

  • Have a regular anchor-text link underneath the "View Details" with the label "Download". If the user already downloaded the file - treat it like a visited link and change the color to purple (or some other color that fits into your design).
  • Have a link with the label "Download" and change the text to "Downloaded" or "Installed" if the user has clicked on it before.
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