Interface design, progress notes

We have a demo of the prototype scheduled for mid-November, I’m hoping that I will have full functionality by that time, and I’m getting a lot closer. I spend almost equal amounts of time designing the interface as I do implementing the design. My original design (the one that got approval) was only for the home page, so I have been designing the internal pages (browse, collection and item level pages) and writing the code for them at the same time.

Here is what I have so far:

  • Home page – The home page is populated with images from (and links to) the 4 most recently added collections. Beneath these “featured collections” is a large browse box with several different avenues for browsing the site. This is currently static information but will be dynamic in the future. There is then the obligatory “about” blurb and the latest news from our non-existent news feed.
  • Collection pages -The collection pages were a challenge. I wanted the pages to contain a brief overview of the collection, and then the full list of items in the collection. I also wanted to make different “filters” for browsing the collection available. So I designed them with a smaller version of the browse box from the homepage that allows the user to browse all items in the collection or limit by genre, topic, people, place, or time. These categories are dynamically generated from the items in each collection. There is also a search with-in the collection option.
  • Item pages – I was originally planing on using the Mets Navigator from Indiana University as a page turning application, but it is a bit difficult to use with databases due to the fact that the navigator caches the pages and does not refresh when changes are made to the item. However, the way our METS records are formatted has made it very easy to implement my own version of the this application using xquery. The item pages have two parts, the page turning side and the description/metadata. I have also included a “find related materials” box that links to other items tagged with similar places, genres, people, and topics, as well as links back to all of the parent collections.

I’m still working on:

  • The advanced search
  • The browse collections page – I’m still contemplating the xquery I will need to write for this, and have’t quite figured it out yet.
  • About – This is mostly a content issue. Some of this content will need to be written by committee (our mission statement) and some of it I just haven’t had a chance to write yet.
  • News – There is no news (but I still need to put together the feed, and the query that will call it).

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