CASUAL Group

Discussion of plan and activities involved in creating new look and feel for UNL website. Archived Jan. 17, 2007.

Postby mapliopl » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:55 am

do we have our casual design version finalized?

If so, could we post it here?
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Casual Design with somewhat functioning widget

Postby dsockrider » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:44 pm

I took a couple hours this morning to work up a sample of the widget design.

http://www.nuengr.unl.edu/NextGenerationWebDev/

Click on the widget tool bar...it works...kinda. I'm going to see if I can still work out some bugs.

Good news:
the Flash title doesn't disappear and stay invisible. I think that was more of a multiple frames within the Flash problem. The Flash is one frame with a 'Stop'.

Bad news:
#1: The Flash title moves down vertically instead of appearing below the widget. (I believe it's told to float...maybe solved with CSS layers)
#2: In Windows Explorer and Safari, the widget does some funky things with the image placed as a background image. Safari doesn't support the transparency.
#3: the webcam seems to always be running even though it's not visible (check status at bottom of Firefox browser window.) A still image would be better. Is the wbcam capable of basicly being displayed on every UNL page that is open by everyone in the world? Is bad camera performance going to affect general page display? Are slower/older computers gonna have major problems with all the things going on within the page?
#4: is it possible to have opaque content over the transparent background? Right now the webcam image is the same transparency as the bkg box.

These problems might have solutions...I'm just still figuring out what they may be ...more work to be done.
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Postby saltybeagle » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:17 pm

I think the webcam should be static, maybe refreshed every few seconds, but ONLY if it is open.

The same thing goes for each of the other panels. I think they need to only be loaded when the panel is extended. Call it AJAX if you want... I hate buzzwords, but that's how I think it should work.

I should have posted the link to this thing after I showed it in the meeting...
This might help you David.

http://ucommbieber.unl.edu/ajpf/
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Looks pretty good.

Postby dsockrider » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:44 pm

Thanks for the sample link Brett, your proof of concept looks a lot better than what I worked up.

I think the webcam should be static, maybe refreshed every few seconds, but ONLY if it is open.


-Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

In Firefox on the Mac, the sIFR title appears to be in the foreground hovering above the widget.

In Explorer and Firefox on the PC and Safari on the Mac, the main title sIFR appears fine (I have Flash installed) but the link titles of the widget categories (also sIFR) default to the HTML text. ...easily fixed by using html text.
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Postby saltybeagle » Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:00 pm

In Firefox on the Mac, the sIFR title appears to be in the foreground hovering above the widget.


Hmm... it works in FF on my mac... could it be a version thing? probably need to get that tackled.
I have Flash Player 8.0.22.0, and Firefox 1.5.0.1

but the link titles of the widget categories (also sIFR) default to the HTML text.


The titles for each of the section aren't sifr yet... at least I don't think anyways. I haven't checked ino how we use sifr for those... I don't think its necessary to have those in sifr as the text won't be changing. If they need to be in URWGrotesk we can use a simpler image replacement technique if we need. something I haven't looked into yet.
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What I'm seeing (Mac-Firefox)

Postby dsockrider » Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:43 pm

I have Firefox Firefox 1.5.0.1 and I just downloaded and installed the latest Flash plug-in. ...it still appears that the title is over the widget, it's appearing over the weather info. It's grey on grey so it kinda is hard to see except over the white text.

The titles must be sIFR. they appear as URWGrotesk in Firefox on Mac, the titles appear as a large size Arial on other browsers. I looked at the code and don't see a sIFR element for the title.

Here's what I'm seeing:

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Postby saltybeagle » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:10 pm

You're right David... my browser window was set too wide. Now I see what you're referring to.

Argh.

I'm open for suggestions, as always.
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The title thing is such an insignificant issue.

Postby dsockrider » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:02 pm

It just seems to be Firefox on the Mac. Maybe the next release of Firefox will fix it. I wouldn't consider it a reason to ditch the widget idea. I'm sure we can design around it, or find some other fix. It would just be bad to be over the weather if lots of people check it using the widget...including you?...but still...it's just Firefox on the Mac.

This is weird, the first thing I've seen that isn't the same in Firefox on the PC and Mac.

And about sIFR...so anyone editing pages will need to edit the HTML directly to add titles? or will the text just appear in the design mode and not the Flash movie?
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Reply to earlier post on site-wide navigation.

Postby smeranda » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:29 am

I am not a proponent for the current UNL site map/link titles. I am a proponent for site-wide consistent top-level navigational links. These are two different aspects.

I don't think there is a better titled link for Faculty/Staff than Faculty/Staff. If we use the link 'Faculty/Staff in the UNL top nav and also in the individual department nav, we're going to be creating confusion for the website user. For example, if they're in Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering and they want to view Faculty and Staff, they'll most likely click the first Faculty/Staff link they see which will take them to the main UNL site. That would not be the correct link and will cause confusion and irritation.


I understand your corcern. Perhaps there is not a better link title (though I am still interested in bringing it to the web dev group for consideration); and in this particular case I might propose changing the main unl.edu link. (walking on eggshells). The unl.edu link for Faculty/Staff is more of an area of resources, not an area to find more information about particular Faculty/Staff -- which is what I think of when clicking that link.

As mentioned before, I am a proponent for having top-level navigation that stays on every page. The University wants students to enroll. In order to do this, the student needs to apply. If the student is eight pages into a program desctiption (or student organization, or on the calendar of events, or reading the latest news, etc...) and decides he/she wants to apply, it only helps our institution by having quick access for him/her to get to the online application.

I understand that opinion on a site is formed after .2 seconds. ...Opinion on the appearance of the site. Users fortunately stay longer than .2 seconds on the website, therefore making content, functionality and ease of navigation become more important than appearance after .2 secs. People visit the site for information, the easier it is to direct them to the information the better experience the user has. Make things difficult or confusing to find, and it reflects negatively in the user experience.


The initial purpose of the focus group is to determine appearance (and thats' all). Therefore non-functional sites will work for this purpose. Let's start with that, and then work our way towards the functions and widgets. One battle at a time....

I hope for the sake of all individual departments and colleges, we do focus on how the template affects them. I think this is a very important part of our purpose and if we ignore individual departments or colleges, they'll be forced to change the templates or create new templates as needed to fulfill their individual requirements. I want a template that can be adapted for any University site and not just for the main UNL site.


At no point did I ever state we should ignore the departments or colleges. That would be like telling myself to ignore myself (?). The template is going to affect each department and college differently. We can't anticipate every aspect. But we can state the direction the University's web presence is moving. Each department and college has a voice in this process.
Seth Meranda
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yes

Postby dsockrider » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:29 am

I completely agree with making it as easy as possible for students to sign up or request more information about becoming a new UNL student. The website is a very important aspect of the decision making process for the potential student and parent. I can understand the reasoning to have that link across all pages.

I was very happy to see Brett's proof of concept for the widget. This has allowed us to see some things that we'll need to consider and design around in the final design. This also allowed us to understand the positive and negative aspects of the widget. Having this proof of concept functioning, will also allow us to have the focus group give accurate feedback concerning the appearance and interactive aspects of the website.

I think we're headed in a very positive direction and we're going to end up with a great site. I very much appreciate the organization of the Next Generation Web Development Group. This group was a great idea and I believe this will encourage more departments to join the UNL website brand.
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Re: Reply to earlier post on site-wide navigation.

Postby nhummel » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:47 pm

smeranda wrote:
I don't think there is a better titled link for Faculty/Staff than Faculty/Staff. If we use the link 'Faculty/Staff in the UNL top nav and also in the individual department nav, we're going to be creating confusion for the website user. For example, if they're in Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering and they want to view Faculty and Staff, they'll most likely click the first Faculty/Staff link they see which will take them to the main UNL site. That would not be the correct link and will cause confusion and irritation.


I understand your corcern. Perhaps there is not a better link title (though I am still interested in bringing it to the web dev group for consideration); and in this particular case I might propose changing the main unl.edu link. (walking on eggshells). The unl.edu link for Faculty/Staff is more of an area of resources, not an area to find more information about particular Faculty/Staff -- which is what I think of when clicking that link.


I would agree with the problem of "Faculty/Staff". I can't take any credit for it, but what our department does is have "People" under which you find links to Faculty, Staff, Grads - i.e., the people in the department. For Faculty/Staff resources we have a "Department Resouces" link.

I hope for the sake of all individual departments and colleges, we do focus on how the template affects them. I think this is a very important part of our purpose and if we ignore individual departments or colleges, they'll be forced to change the templates or create new templates as needed to fulfill their individual requirements. I want a template that can be adapted for any University site and not just for the main UNL site.


I would agree with this.

One of the problems that I think a number of departments will have is that they see their website is "special" and "different" and moving to any sort of standard takes that specialness away from them.

For instance, say you have 20 top level items in how you have designed your site and our templates only allow for 7 to display nicely. This can be taken by the department that we are forcing them to "drop" important things from there site - when we aren't. Yes, less things will show up at the top level, but things will be better organized for students to find things they need.

So how do we help departments like this? We aren't taking anything away from them - we are helping to make things better for them, by helping with the stupid things they can focus on the things they wish they had time for - little news articles, goings on in the department, etc.

Just my $0.02.

Ned
Ned W. Hummel
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