I continue to be impressed with GitHub’s browser interface, which makes sharing, editing, and web hosting code or text so easy for novices. Next week I’ll start teaching GitHub to my undergraduate data visualization seminar, which includes many students who have never touched a piece of code in their lives. We primarily stick with the browser interface to avoid overwhelming newbies, since it does nearly everything we need. But there’s one small user interface revision that would make it easier for students to learn how to make pull requests inside the browser.
The problem: The current GitHub browser interface provides no visual cue about the DIRECTION of the pull request, as shown below:
In my teaching tutorials, I have to create a “TO — FROM” screenshot to help my students understand the direction of the pull request, as shown here:
Clearly, GitHub would be even better if this step were more intuitive. Here’s two possible solutions for the developers to consider:
1) GitHub Desktop for Mac already includes a directional visual cue, where the sending branch box is shaped like an arrow, pointing into the receiving branch, as shown below. You could replicate this in the GitHub browser interface.
2) Or if that’s too complicated, a simple fix for the browser interface might be to change the current ambiguous symbols (…) into a visual direction cue with different punctuation (<—), as shown here:
Once again, just trying to suggest a simple way to make the GitHub browser interface even easier for novices to use.