UI's need to be intuitive and functional but a certain amount of "eye candy" is a requirement these days as many potential users choose whether or not to engage with a product based upon its appearance. As a case in point, we are trying to get one of our service providers who have designed some new software to get a professional designer to work on their UI as quite frankly, their own offering is diabolical.
UI Design fashions change with the wind but it may be worth trying to get some funding for a professional UI expert and designer to take a look at vufind and make some suggestions or perhaps actually design some themes based on Greg's core suggestion. If this is not possible, we may want to take advantage of jQuery UI's themeroller which makes it very easy to get a different look based on the same code. (If we can get a VuFind theme called "Vader", I would be thrilled ;) ) Now that we have Tuan's theme, this is a definite possibility.
PS - Thanks for the compliments on Purty websites - I know it's hard for Ozzies to talk about their feelings ;)
From: Greg Pendlebury [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thu 27/01/2011 14:39
To: Demian Katz
Subject: Re: [VuFind-General] vufind talks
Yes, good point. When reading through Nicola's blog I was struck by the
comment about Open Source having such bad user interfaces (which I refute,
but I can put that aside for now).
Seems to me that most developers are focusing on the 'function' as opposed
to the 'form' of the skin that ships in the trunk, knowing that user
interface changes are trivial (from a technical standpoint, design is a
different ball game)... and lets face it, most developers I know suck as web
designers. I'd never say that about Luke of course, his web sites are so
But then you go and look at some of the leading VuFind installations that
are live and see how different they can look from one another. Try doing
that with a vendor product :)
I know it has the potential to be a support nightmare, but perhaps we should
seriously investigate leveraging some of Demian's excellent work on skin
inheritance and stick to one 'core' skin for function, and ship a few
different skins that inherit off that for form. Keep the changes as
light-weight as possible, but design for very different visual styles. After
the current skin overhauls that is.
At the moment we run the default and classic skins as very different beasts
and basically re-implement everything.
On 28 January 2011 00:22, Demian Katz <email@example.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the report -- glad to hear that VuFind got a good showing, and
> if the biggest criticism they can level at us is the placement of the search
> history link, I think we're doing okay!
> Actually, though, that does bring up a point to think about -- I actually
> agree that the links currently in VuFind's footer don't all belong down
> there. I just haven't been too worried about it since it's so easy to
> change the themes, and I assume that installers will fix it themselves.
> Indeed, these things ARE at the top of the page in Villanova's local
> instance. Perhaps it's worth investing a little time in improving the
> defaults, though, just to give a better first impression.
> - Demian
> From: Seaman, Graham [Graham.Seaman@rhul.ac.uk]
> Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 5:32 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [VuFind-General] vufind talks
> We just had a two-day conference/workshop sessions on open source in UK
> academic libraries. One of the talks was on Vufind and Blacklight.
> The first speaker, Chris Keene, concentrated on Vufind's ease of
> installation and use. He set up a demo 8-minute install of vufind on an
> Amazon EC2 host:
> The second speaker concentrated on usability and screen layout. Nicola
> Osborne tried speed-typing the talk:
> >From my own notes, I think the speaker was particularly bothered by having
> Vufind options such as 'search history' buried at the bottom of the results
> page instead of visible at the top, and preferred to have options either at
> the top, or in a 'fixed' bar always visible at the bottom of the page
> without scrolling. I didn't feel any of the criticisms were really
> On the second day Mark Hughes from Swansea talked about the South Wales
> federated library implementation of Vufind:
> (search for 'SWWHEP (South West Wales Higher Education Partnership):
> Episode 2.' , the talk doesn't have an anchor)
> which sounds like it has been a really successful Vufind project.
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