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 purty.
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.
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.
From: Seaman, Graham [Graham.Seaman@rhul.ac.uk]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 5:32 AM
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 fundamental.
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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