Sun's Personalization Design Evolves

In my last post, I displayed an image of a new display widget for personalized content on sun.com web pages. I noted it was a draft, and with good reason -- nobody was ready to sign off on the design at that point! The main issue was that it took up a considerable amount of the most valuable "above the fold" space on sun.com pages, and the content owners weren't enthralled with having their content pushed down the page. Our excellent design team mulled this over quite a bit and came back with what we feel is a great compromise design. (I am a big proponent of "compromising" and try to do so whenever reasonable, so that all parties feel relatively satisfied with an outcome. That's probably one of the reasons I'm about to celebrate my 24th wedding anniversary! But I digress...)

Here's a wire frame of the new solution. ("Wire frame" refers to more of an "outline" picture of the solution, not the final coded and realized design. Ignore the numbers -- they cross-reference content in a design specification. While we have the final design complete and coded, I'm not at liberty to preview it publicly just yet. Suffice it to say this wire frame has been translated into a very cool new widget!)


new recommendations widget

So here we see the recommendations as more of an overlay rather than a full page-wide component. This offers the immediate advantage of making it readily clear there is content behind the widget (and in fact you can still see the whole left hand top of the page), and no content had to be pushed down the page. It's also attention grabbing, and we do want customers to notice the personalized recommendations we have for them. We keep the fashionable "carousel" functionality so that you can click to see more recommendations, and we make it readily apparent how to close the recommendations to view the content underneath. Once closed, it'll remain in a closed state until the user opens it again or until the cookie that tracks this preference expires or is removed.

I'd be remiss in not acknowledging and thanking the design team that worked so hard to find not just a workable solution, but what I think is an excellent solution as well: Margaret Brown, Chris Haaga, Sara Shuman, and Andrew Payne.

Now that I've whet your appetites, you're probably wondering when this will be live. Sorry, I can't publish dates for functionality that we're still building, but suffice it to say we're making great progress.

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About

I helped design, build, and manage download systems at Sun for many years. Recently I've focused on web eMarketing systems. Occasionally, I write about other interests, such as holography and jazz guitar. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/garyzel

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