Although Guidance Explorer (GE for short) was designed to showcase patterns & practices guidance, you can use it to create your own personal knowledge base. It’s a simple authoring environment, much like an offline blog. The usage scenario is you create and store guidance items in “My Library”.
While using GE for day to day use, I noticed a simple but important user experience issue. I think we should have optimized around creating free-form notes, that you could later turn into more structured guidance modules. There’s too much friction to go right to guidance, and in practice, you start with some notes, then refine to more structure.
To optimize around creating fre-form notes in GE, I think the New Item menu that you get when you right-click the MyLibrary node, should have been:
1. Note – This would be a simple scratch pad so you could store unstructured notes of information.
2. Guidance Module – This menu option would list the current module types (i.e. Checklist Item, Code Example, … etc.)
We actually did include the “Technote” type for this scenario. A “Technote” is an unstructured note that you can tag with meta-data to help sort and organize in your library. The problem is that this is not obvious and gets lost among the other structured guidance types in the list.
The benefit of 20/20 hind-sight strikes again!
On a good note, I have been getting emails from various customers that are using Guidance Explorer and they like the fact they get something of a structured Wiki experience, but with a lot more capability around sorting and viewing chunks of guidance. They also like the fact that you get templates for key types (so when five folks create a guideline, all the guidelines have the same basic structure.) I’ll post soon about some of the key learnings that can help reshape creating, managing and sharing your personal, team, and community knowledge in today’s landscape.