Screenshot: calendar context menu

One of the neat things about the dojo toolkit is the support for cool widgets like the right-click context menu. We have a screenshot of how we are using it in our application past the break.

We are using Dojo for our javascript framework. It works very well in most browsers without too much special-case programming. The biggest disadvantage that Dojo has is it’s horrendous documentation. Nearly every official page is marked ‘out of date’ and the automatically-generated API documentation contains virtually no information other than method names.

That said, two books that have been indispensible (especially when the internet is out) are O’Reilly’s Definitive Guide to Dojo and Mastering Dojo. Both provide detailed discussions of design philosophies and go into how dojo leverages the idiosyncrasies of javascript to create easily-maintainable code (not a trivial task in javascript).

I really like Dojo, but most of the other competing frameworks have better documentation. Anyway, on to the screenshot…

A right-click context menu

Context menus make a richer experience

This type of menu saves valuable screen real-estate and can help the user understand what she needs to do. You can see some of the other features here (Some graphical aspects are still un-polished). Some of the features on this calendar view are:

1. Notes can be made almost anywhere (this includes a general note for the day)

2. Not pictured here is the ability to list complications that a patient had with a drug. This way, when the doctor is scheduling the next round of chemo, she knows how to change the dose or if she should use a different drug.

3. A link to the administration page, where the daily treatment of each patient is monitored.

4. Does changes are accessible by clicking on the drug name.

5. The ability to make an appointment for the patient on a given day. We have some really neat ideas for how to schedule timeslots, also. More when those are further along in development.

6. The context menu for past dates does not have ‘schedule appointment’ or ‘administer’. This reduces errors and confusion by the user.

7. The date of a treatments can be modified by simply dreagging that treatment to another date on the calendar.

What other features would be good for this context menu? Maybe I will make a movie of how the interface works.

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3 Responses to “Screenshot: calendar context menu”

  1. Aru Says:

    One of the issues I have with putting things in context menus is their lack of discoverability and inability to be accessed on mobile devices. Instead, I feel as if solutions such as gmail’s “mail options” drop down (http://www.andersramsay.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/gmail-reply-feature.gif) are more elegant – hiding menu items to avoid information overload, while at the same time letting users know that there are contextual actions that can be performed. This can be taken a few steps further by having it invisible to start with and having it fade in when the cursor hovers over the relevant content.

    However, since you’re developing a system where people have to be oriented in it’s use, you have a little more leeway re:usability than most.

    • orlowski Says:

      I whole-heartedly agree with the lack of discoverability. I considered this but the issue was that these context menus are date-specific. So the problem became:

      How do I provide date-specific options 1. without cluttering each date with icons and 2. without leaving users in the dark about what options are available.

      One option I considered (and still do) is to have icons on each date, but only show them when the date is hovered-over, maybe fade them in. Actually, this might be a better solution than the context menu, as long as there aren’t more than 3 or 4 options.

      The original solution had the icons very faded-out, but perhaps if they were only visible at all during a hover event, that would both look better and provide necessary usability information.

      Thanks for your comment, Aru!

      One more note: I loaded the calendar with 1000 dates, just to see how dojo managed all of the context menus… it didn’t go well. The server responded in milliseconds but the page took a good 5-7 seconds to render. Context menus for each date are probably not the way to go.

  2. Welcome, iPad. Goodbye context menus. « Ankhos — Oncology EMR Project Says:

    […] Ankhos — Oncology EMR Project Chronicling the origin and development of an Oncology EMR project for a private Oncology/Hematology practice « Screenshot: calendar context menu […]

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