Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Interface Design, User Research and the Portal Server

http://blogs.sun.com/portal/resource/okcancel20031226-sm.gif Often people ask me what I do for a living. The work of the user experience person includes a wide range of activities including (but not limited to) -

   - gathering requirements from users
   - developing user scenarios  
   - creating storyboards that illustrate how the product will be used in different scenarios  
   - designing the detailed UI flow and the screens   
   - conducting user tests
Read more in my blog entry Purple People Eater.

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

The Design Story: Yesterday, Today...

 [Click image to see enlarged view]

The past two iterations of work on the Portal Server Admin console have been an interesting journey in design work.

We started by teasing the Portal Server Console out of the Identity Console. Endless meetings with white boards filled with diagrams of everything that needed to be presented to the user in the console, and how they should be grouped. Denim was my friend those days. At the end of all this we had a spanking new console with a navigation scheme that had a good amount of "scent". What is scent you say? It is a concept that Jared Spool uses, and that I happen to like. The idea is that a well designed website should let users know that they are on the right track. The 7.0 console had the ability to lead you to the area that you wanted to go, and to find your way back there with ease the next time you wanted to.

The next iteration of work was adding the Visual Display Design Tool. A Direct Manipulation Interface that lets the Administrator interact directly with what they are working on - a portal page. This advances the UI further along the continuum of task awareness (note: I did not say task based, task centric etc.. I should blog sometime about my reasons for avoiding those terms...). One of the unique tools in this round of work was comics to tell stories. It was a lot of fun to do, and was a lot more effective in ensuring a shared understanding of the work. Plus it was a lot of fun to put together!

Cross Posted from : http://blogs.sun.com/realDesign/

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atul

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