[GNC-dev] New Account Hierarchy Setup Assistant Questions

David Cousens davidcousens at bigpond.com
Wed Sep 12 21:32:54 EDT 2018

On Wed, 2018-09-12 at 10:38 -0400, David T. via gnucash-devel wrote:
> Hello,
> As I begin the process of migrating text from the Help to the Guide (cf. Bug 796855), I am working on the Help
> information regarding the New Account Hierarchy Setup (NAHS) assistant, and I have a couple of questions about the
> second screen of the assistant, the “New Book Options” screen. 
> First off, while I respect the intent to allow users the option to set these preferences from the creation of their
> file, I wonder whether this is misguided. To wit: all of these options are quite technical in nature, and all of them
> can be set at a later point by opening the appropriate preferences. Adding these options here adds complexity that can
> easily be deferred to a later point. While it is true that this assistant runs whenever a user chooses File->New
> (meaning that an experienced user might wish to add these settings from the assistant), I am willing to hazard a guess
> that most users will invoke this assistant *only* when they first start using GnuCash, and *only* when their heads are
> already swimming with the overwhelming experience that is GnuCash. Asking a new user to choose whether to use Trading
> Accounts or to Use Split Action Field for Number is IMHO pointless. They aren’t going to be able to make an informed
> decision.

There is plenty of real estate in the panelin the assistant. Perhaps adding a label there advising new users that these
options can be left at the default for the moment and changed later if required may be a better option, for those users
that don't read the help first (I am usually one). Since the second sets the default action when creating a new file, if
you edited it later you would have to rerun the new file assistant anyway to create a new file.  If someone is reading
the help while or before using the assistant, then the help should also reflect this advice for new users.
> <aside>I’ll note that this becomes an obvious issue when I attempt to write the help section for the screen. I am left
> either with writing a huge explanatory section on the details of each of these settings, which detracts from the flow
> of the NAHS narrative, or with adding a generic note that advises users to accept the defaults and read about the
> details in other sections of the Guide.</aside>

This is where context type help could come into its own. It would require some code changes to implement fully but a
start could be setting up the button by button type functional description (for the present it could simply be in
another section of the same file (E.g. An appendix) and deferring the questions of links between files to later) and
accessed by internal links from the sections you are currently rewriting.  A user requiring more information could click
on a reference to a button, option choice etc. in the guide to preferrably open a new window or tab in the browser, read
it and then close the tab or window.

I would be happy to start working in parallel with you on implementing such an approach if you think it ccould help. It
would largely be a cut and paste exercise apart from creating the anchors and links to them.

DRC  (David Cousens)
> So, for the new user, the only real effect of this screen is to introduce confusion and questions. Can it be removed
> from the assistant?
> Related to this screen, my second question has to do with the “Use Trading Accounts” setting. Can it be turned off
> once it has been enabled in a given GnuCash file?
> ISTR that this option is a one-way street—i.e., that, once turned on, it can not be turned off again. Is this still
> the case? If it is still true, then I would strongly suggest that this option shouldn’t be placed on the NAHS
> Assistant, since a new user won’t be aware of this.
> David
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