A mini spec for discussing the per-video discussion feature
Issue 22 contains
a lot of discussion about the per-video discussion/message board
feature. Here's a first shot at a functional spec/mockups. Everything
is open for debate.
This spec is largely implemented and deployed.
The more we thought about this feature, the more it became clear that the type of behavior we most want to encourage is question-and-answer. We absolutely need to have a lightweight way for users to comment on videos and
spread the positive attitude that's so abundant in the Khan Academy
with comments like, "Thank god for this video I don't know how I'd
learn algebra without it." And we need to make sure bugs aren't reported and lost in the message boards.
and large, the best interaction we can encourage in the Khan Academy is
one user watching the video, having a question about its content, and
receiving help from a bunch of eager other users who happen to know the
answer and are proud to share.
mockups are designed to encourage the question-and-answer behavior not
only because it creates the best community content around Sal's videos,
it also lends itself toward a future of voting on answers, ranking
answers, and using other mechanics to encourage active participation.
They are designed to allow easy communication without inundating the
user with all conversation about the video, so users can quickly scan
and see what questions are relevant to them.
Many decisions mentioned below will be made later as we'd like to
iterate relatively quickly on this. Also, the look'n'feel of this is
just a mockup...it doesn't have to look like this.
Q and A Overview
The biggest UI feature on the page is the "Ask a question about this
video" bubble/textfield, which has grayed out text that will disappear
when the user clicks in the textfield to start asking a question.
The top 2 or 3 questions are listed by default, along with the number
of answers that have been provided (the definition of "top" is up for
debate. For version 1 it can be "most recent", but later on we may have
3: The answers themselves are not shown by default, just the number of answers.
4: The rest of the questions are hidden behind an "N more questions" link, which expands the rest or pages them in.
Expanding a Question
5: When a question is clicked on, it expands in-place to show its accompanying answers (indented).
6: When a question is expanded, the "Answer this question" button appears.
Asking a Question
When the user clicks in the original "Ask a question about this video"
textfield, the "Ask a question" button appears below the box.
Also, when the user is typing their question and focus is in that
field, a helpful little popup sticky thing shows up on the right-hand
side that tells users to be descriptive and provides a very clear link explaining where to submit bugs in the event that this question is about a problem with the video.
Lightweight comments about the video should not be
discouraged...anybody can comment on a video to just send Sal thanks,
etc. Clicking "Add a comment" shows this little box, and comments are
displayed in a slightly less emphasized manner than questions and
10: Whenever a user types a
timestamp such as "5:43", this is automatically turned into a link
that, when clicked, skips the video to that specific timestamp and
Only the top 2 or 3 comments are shown when the page is first loaded,
and the rest are hidden behind a single click that expands the rest (or
expands a paging UI for the rest if there are tons and tons of
Answering a Question
Clicking "Answer this question" gives you a textarea to type your
answer into and a new "Answer this question" button appears below the
textbox to post your answer.
13: Any URL typed into a comment is automatically turned into a link.
Questions with 0 answers will be highlighted somehow, perhaps with red
"0 answers" text, to help indicate that they're in need of help.