Design Repository

Discussions of visual designs, content area elements,
interface issues of UNL web templates.

Postby alvin_woon » Fri May 26, 2006 1:11 pm

http://ucommxsrv1.unl.edu/ticketsystem/test/unl_modern.jpg

My psd is more of a 'cleaning up' than a major redesign (except the footer). I don’t really like the direction we're heading with these revisions. Seems to me we have somehow forgotten about the survey feedbacks for this design.

At first glance of the latest revision, it seems like all of the elements in the design are fighting for attention. And I acknowledge that this is of no fault of Aaron since I believe he would agree to some of my points below and he has a tricky job of trying to accommodate everyone's requests. In an ideal world, I would have gone with his first revision of the design.

As mentioned in the meeting when we announced the design choice, the general feedback on the strength of this design is the clean layout and the breathing room provided by the white space, while the major complaint/concern is that it is too busy.

Instead of keeping the pros and tackling the cons, I afraid we're doing the exact opposite with these revisions - attacking every available white space, and taking away the cleanliness by adding too many borders and shadows, adding more navigation and an 'apply now' button. The navigation and button and borders on both end of the site container are fine with me since it's a decision we all have come to accept. However in my psd, I took away borders in the right college navigation, toned down the borders/shadows on the left navigation, stripped away extra the tab down the footer (I will explain more later) and take off 2 pixels of shadow on the top navigation.

I somewhat agree with David about the ‘apply now star’. I don’t think it deserves such a prominent estate in the already-busy top navigation. I put it as another image at the bottom of the UNL today podcasts. I included two images since I can’t decide whether to go for the dude or the blonde (in real life, it would have been a much easier choice). But you get the general idea of where I’m going with the button.

As for the footer, I changed it quite a bit. I removed the tab mainly because it degrades user experience. We should reward the visitors who take the time to scroll to the bottom of the page with some additional, useful content, instead of treating them with a copyright statement and making them having to go through one additional click before getting the ‘rewards’. Another reason would be that it is too ‘inman-like’, for lack of better terms. It might not be such a big deal for some but all my peers know Shaun Inman and everyone in the designerati circles knows him. He pretty much set the ‘shelf’ trend (yes, that drop down tab has a name). But it’s one thing to follow the trend and another to implement a double-shelf like he has in his website. I would find it rather disheartening if people were to brush off the design as another inman replica without even looking at the other elements of the design when we launch the site, especially since I know that everyone, Aaron in particular, has put a lot of effort in it.

Sorry if my tone comes off as a bit hostile and I don’t mean to offend anyone. But I can assure everyone I write this in a friendly manner and an open heart with the happy thoughts of how I’m going to spend my long weekends with my girlfriend and her parents in their summer house in Montana where there’s no electricity, cable or telephone lines.
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Postby alvin_woon » Fri May 26, 2006 3:51 pm

yo! sorry for the late reply. Just got back from the coding group meeting. I will put all your points into a my next revision.

Actually i agree with all your points and the only thing we're still not sure of/agree upon is the placement of the 'apply now' button. But we can work that out or worst to worst, another show of hand....

:)
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reply

Postby dsockrider » Fri May 26, 2006 5:16 pm

Thanks Aaron, having one thread showing the currently layout status is a good idea and important to keep everyone on the same page....literally.
Thanks again for taking the time to work on and show the various states of the page with tabs extended.

Alvin: I don’t really like the direction we're heading with these revisions. Seems to me we have somehow forgotten about the survey feedbacks for this design.

As Aaron stated, We (the designers) haven't had access to the survey feedback to consider solutions based on that feedback.

Alvin: As mentioned in the meeting when we announced the design choice, the general feedback on the strength of this design is the clean layout and the breathing room provided by the white space, while the major complaint/concern is that it is too busy.


After looking at this design more, the white space is appealing to me and it does open that space up so that the design doesn't seem so 'busy'...let's it breath. The drawback is that this white space does create more scrolling. I think it is important to retain as much of the 'approved' design as possible while tweaking items that may be better emphasized or might result in potential issues.

Alvin: I somewhat agree with David about the ‘apply now star’. I don’t think it deserves such a prominent estate in the already-busy top navigation. I put it as another image at the bottom of the UNL today podcasts.


Aaron: As far as the Apply Now star is concerned, it seems like if our ultimate goal as an institution is enrollment, giving the application button the most prominent place possible seems only logical, but i could be looking at it wrong. That star (or any other graphic) could certainly go wherever people choose to put it though.


The 'apply now star' placed at the top of the page definitely gets your attention. It is almost 'yelling' click me. I believe the 'apply now star' is required at this point. The ability to move that link to anywhere the page designer decides, could possibly compromise the effectiveness of that link. I believe that link should be in the same place on all template pages.

...As an alternative, I believe having the first link in the UNL global nav as Admissions would still give the link a high level of emphasis without a 'loud' starburst 'yelling' Apply Now! ....but I think this opinion is irrelevant at this point.

I see the visual hierarchy of the design as:
1. Photo
2. Apply now star (design with star) or
2. University Logo/N/UNL nav bar
3. Page title
4. Horizontal Department navigation
5. Vertical Department navigation
6. Content title and content
7. Other news
8. Left column extra item boxes
9. Footer

Alvin: As for the footer, I changed it quite a bit. I removed the tab mainly because it degrades user experience. We should reward the visitors who take the time to scroll to the bottom of the page with some additional, useful content, instead of treating them with a copyright statement and making them having to go through one additional click before getting the ‘rewards’. Another reason would be that it is too ‘inman-like’, for lack of better terms. It might not be such a big deal for some but all my peers know Shaun Inman and everyone in the designerati circles knows him. He pretty much set the ‘shelf’ trend (yes, that drop down tab has a name). But it’s one thing to follow the trend and another to implement a double-shelf like he has in his website. I would find it rather disheartening if people were to brush off the design as another inman replica without even looking at the other elements of the design when we launch the site, especially since I know that everyone, Aaron in particular, has put a lot of effort in it.


I like the tab to hide the footer information. If we want a clean/non-busy design, hiding all of that repetitive content at the bottom would help. Using a red background for all that text is visually overwhelming. I like the gray background with black text.

I think Shaun Inman would be honored to know he influenced our site so dramatically. As a artist and designer, I prefer to never copy another artist or designer's work directly. ...How can you be a leader and innovator, if all you do is follow other's designs. Influenced, ...Sure, Plagiarized, ...Never.

I think the design utilizing the tabs is unique and doesn't plagerize Shaun Inman, therefore allowing us to use the bottom tab feature without having to worry about being judged as 'copy cats'.

As one item I see missing is the widget tab link to 'Request Info'. I think we need this link because not every perspective student is ready to 'Apply Now'. I believe two way communication has to be established before someone is ready to apply.

Sorry if my tone comes off as a bit hostile and I don’t mean to offend anyone. But I can assure everyone I write this in a friendly manner and an open heart with the happy thoughts of how I’m going to spend my long weekends with my girlfriend and her parents in their summer house in Montana where there’s no electricity, cable or telephone lines.


Sounds good to me! Have fun in Montana. I'll be vacationing in Kansas and Colorado for 10 days in June :D
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Postby alvin_woon » Fri May 26, 2006 7:56 pm

As Aaron stated, We (the designers) haven't had access to the survey feedback to consider solutions based on that feedback.


David, Bob mentioned this in the meeting where we decided that modern is the chosen design. He didnt go into detail about it but he did point out the pros and cons that we need to work on the modern design based on the feedback.

As for putting the 'admission' as the first global nav link. I do not believe that this is somethign we can just rearrange as we like. It has to be decided in the site map by the web committee. Right now, i would just stick to what we have. Correct me if i am wrong.
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Survey Results

Postby dsockrider » Tue May 30, 2006 9:15 am

Yea, as I now understand it, it doesn't matter what we think concerning the Admissions link, the starburst seal or any other links in the template at this point. It sounds like the committee, whoever that is, has already decided on all the links in the global navigation.

Seems to me we have somehow forgotten about the survey feedbacks for this design.


He didnt go into detail about it but he did point out the pros and cons that we need to work on the modern design based on the feedback.


I guess I missed the summarization of the results of the 75,000 survey invitations that went out.

I'm interested in seeing a functioning prototype of the layout that we've taken the last 6 months to develop. I believe testing this site with an actual functioning prototype will provide a lot more useful information to base design modifications on.
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Postby alvin_woon » Tue May 30, 2006 9:33 am

Here's another revision, taking into accounts of almost all aaron's point (if i interpret them correctly).

http://ucommxsrv1.unl.edu/ticketsystem/test/unl_modern-revision2.jpg

I think the common ground for the college level global navigation is to bump up the text size using lowercase so that it doesnt look that big. I'd tried a couple variations and this looks the best of all.

I have also toned down the red at the bottom. Any inputs about color choice are more than welcomed, but i dont think gray fits well, since i think it makes the page look dullish.
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Should be an interesting meeting

Postby rcrisler1 » Tue May 30, 2006 10:32 am

This afternoon, 2pm, Union.

The red on the bottom, to me, is too distracting, especially for tertiary info.

Alvin - nice additional graphics, but can you ditch the Optima font in favor of URW Grotesk?
____


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Manager, Internet and Interactive Media
University Communications
321 Canfield Administration Building
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
402-472-9878
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Summarization of Responses

Postby rcrisler1 » Tue May 30, 2006 11:06 am

As has been discussed before, MSR Group of Omaha is doing the data analysis, and that will take some time.

We'll bring some of the qualitative responses this afternoon, but it's worth noting that many responses are contradicted by other responses. That's why we're having a professional firm summarize the responses. They should be able to tease some meaning out of that.

There is a post from Sept. 15 of last year that might be of interest. At the time, we were referring to the Web Committee as the "Web Team". Otherwise, we've proceeded generally along that path, although it has turned out that the timelines were insufficient for the work to be done. The NGWC only Friday released the final draft of its white paper, "University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Web Presence – Recommendations for the Future". Again, that document is not a blueprint for our current effort. What it is is a direction for the future and a needed basis for communication with upper administration.

I encourage you to read it with an open mind.
____


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Postby alvin_woon » Tue May 30, 2006 1:14 pm

i reverted the background of the footer back to the deep gray aaron used to have. Font for the 'apply now' graphic is now grotesk.

http://ucommxsrv1.unl.edu/ticketsystem/test/unl_modern-revision2.jpg
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Ummmm ...

Postby rcrisler1 » Tue May 30, 2006 1:33 pm

Alvin -

Please don't take whatever I said as any sort of demand on my part for reverting the bottom to gray. I'm going to assume you agreed, but if you didn't that's fine too.

URW Grotesk, well, that's a demand because that's our official sans-serif font whether we like it or not.
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Postby alvin_woon » Tue May 30, 2006 1:40 pm

Yep, i think the deep gray is what I like best. Aaron Coleman's once commented that we need to take into consideration whether we can stand the color after a longer period of time, and i think my eyes are relatively comfy with the deep gray, even after a longer span of time. I think anything closer to black will do.

I like the first red I put on, but it's probably too much after a while.
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my revisions and suggestions

Postby mapliopl » Wed May 31, 2006 11:40 am

Hey fellas,

Check out some revisions I made:

1 - Fixed the N

2 - Changed hover state to darker gray on Top Nav

3 - Created a new navigation look on Dpt Global Nav

4 - Added wordmark to bottom

5 - Made Apply Now sticker smaller

6 - Added more pixels horizontally to show depth, no depth options

Check them out here:

Depth with Shadow option


Clear Option

Thanks,

MP
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