Archive for November, 2006

Moving up: Firefox 2.0

November 24, 2006

This is going to be short, because I’m on vacation, but you can get the new, Firefox 2.0 compatible XForms extension here.

Go to the appropriate xpi directory (linux or windows, the mac version is not available yet), download the xforms.xpi and restart Firefox. I just tested it out, and everything works. Here’s where I found the news about the update.

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Users?

November 20, 2006

I think user centered design is really important and I normally enjoy doing user testing and working to make designs that focus on user needs and desires. In fact, if I were going to write a step-by-step guide to interface design “know your users” would be at the top of my list, followed closely by “define functional goals based on user needs.” However, in the last few weeks I have had the nagging feeling that I have been ignoring my users. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have this experience but I have realized a little late that I don’t really know what my potential users want, or how they will be using the content we are providing. This post on TechEssence was a good reminder for me.

So, I apologize to my (potential) users, and although I feel like I’m in a time crunch, I will be changing gears around here for a while to focus on a usability testing. First on the list: Heuristic evaluations and focus groups to facilitate conversations with potential users about the site as it is, and the kind of functionality they are looking for in an online research application.

Post show

November 9, 2006

We had a great turn out for this morning’s presentation. It was a two person presentation with a demonstration of the website and metadata editing interface at the end. My colleague presented the history and content side of the project and I discussed the following:

  1. Data Asset Management Systems – I had created an evaluation matrix comparing the five different options for us. This post is essentially a summary of the evaluation matrix.
  2. I touched on issues of metadata, a shortened version of this post.
  3. We had a joint discussion about workflow.
  4. I presented a very brief demo of our metadata XForms.
  5. I presented an overview of the interface design process and gave a tour of the web site (web sites if you count the Finding Aid web site that we are developing in eXist as well).

And I gave out links. Which means there are people other than me looking at the web site now. If you would like to be one of them let me know and I’ll hook you up with a link and password.

Deadline looming

November 2, 2006

We have a demo of the web site on Wednesday the 8th and I’m feeling the need for a list or two to keep me organized.

Here’s what I have:

  1. No more links going nowhere, although my news feed is not actually acting like a news feed yet, and my about pages are simply place holders at this point.
  2. Simple and advanced searches
  3. Browse collections by title
  4. Collection pages
    1. Collection overview, with a list of all items in the collection.
    2. Search within a collection
    3. Browse collections by
      1. Format
      2. People
      3. Topics
      4. Place
  5. Item level pages
    1. Tabbed view to switch between page images and descriptive metadata
    2. Paging for multi page items
    3. Links to related items by:
      1. Format
      2. Topics
      3. People etc.
    4. Links back to parent collection(s)
  6. Data processing
    1. Password protected data entry interface
    2. Queue of items in progress
    3. XForms for editing descriptive metadata

Here’s what’s left (for the demo):

  1. Add options for limiting the search results by text, images, or collections.
  2. Implement a more elaborate browse for the browse collections option, but this relies partially on metadata that we just don’t have yet.
  3. Format the search results pages so that they are more cohesive and easy to understand.
  4. Format the browse within a collection so that it is more organized looking.
  5. I need collection level metadata records for at least the two completed collections that we have on the site.

It isn’t a big list and I think I will be able to get it all done, except for #2. The big time sink at this point is messing with the CSS and creating icons to pretty up the pages, which I may have to skip in favor of getting all my code working. As a designer I cringe at having poorly designed pages up, but I only have so much time between now and Wednesday (10 am).