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This is the first page that each user sees when they click on the Matrix tool. However, two main audiences are likely approaching the matrix tool with different intentions in mind.


The primary tasks that are performed from this page include:

For a Matrix Author

  • Start the complex process of creating a new matrix for this worksite.
  • Create a new matrix from an existing file that contains the scaffolding information.
  • Export a file to the user's desktop that holds the scaffolding information for an existing matrix.
  • Revise an existing matrix
  • Change the state of matrix from "unpublished" to "Preview" or from "Preview" to "Published"
  • Hide an existing, published matrix from end users
  • Delete a matrix
  • Select a matrix in "Preview" mode and view it as an end user would.

For an end-user

  • Find a published matrix that they want to work with and begin working with it

Page Features

The main feature of this page is an unsorted table that displays:

  • the name of each matrix
  • the owner of the matrix
  • the "Published?" state of the matrix
  • a description of the matrix

The table also includes a paging control, anticipating that many matrices may be added to a worksite.


orange: Gonzalo Silverio

OK= yes, makes total sense, do not see need to discuss more

???= not sure what this means, have some questions

template: scaffolding\listScaffolding.jsp

Some mechanical tasks:

  1. Toolbar reformat
  2. Next/Last widget reformat
  3. List Reformat (separate column for actions. Void description row if no info. Put into display on demand toggle?)
  4. Put some structure into matrix list table
  5. Link titles for actions
  6. Validate


  • Authors
    • If an author (a user with permission to "Create" matrices) visits this page and there are no matrices, there is nothing to do or see on this page. Rather than displaying this blank page, take the user directly to the Add Matrix page. Alternatively, display "There are no matrices available. Would you like to create one now?" with a "Yes" button that takes the user to the Add Matrix page.
    • (gsilver) Alternatively, display "There are no matrices available. To create one click on the link "Add" above" as a cheap alternative.  This is what I ended up doing. Anything else left for 2.6
  • End User
    • The title "Manage Matrices" would make sense to a matrix author. An end user does not approach the tool to manage matrices, but to use them. When an end user visits this page, the title of the page should read "Available Matrices".
    • (gsilver)  OK -done
    • When there are no matrices yet created, the page is essentially blank. A message such as "There are no matrices available." would be better.
    • (gsilver)  OK -done
    • An end user may not know what a matrix is. I'm not sure that the descriptions of each individual matrix is sufficient. Perhaps an author configurable message should appear on this page that describes what a matrix is would be helpful. However, users should be able to "opt out" of the message once they are comfortable with the idea.
    • (gsilver) Hmmm. Left it alone. I like your contextualizing idea for 2.6 as long as we can provide a generic description that can cover all possible cases of a matrix (hah) so that if authors never get around to changing it it will still work.

Status indicators

  • CIG Participants (with permission to Use matrices)
    • Provide another column that displays the last time that the current user used each matrix.
    • (gsilver)  - 2.6
    • Provide columns indicating how many cells are "ready", "locked", "pending" and "completed" for the current user.
    • (gsilver)  - 2.6
    • When an end user (such as a student) views this page, understanding who "owns" the matrix is of no value. This column should be eliminated for such users.
    • (gsilver)  - am going to leave this in - it may be useful in some circumstances
    • Since end users should only see "published" matrices, showing them that the matrix is published is not useful. This column should be removed for such users.
    • (gsilver)  - ok - done
  • Authors (with permission to Create)
    • Since matrices can have more than "published" and "unpublished" status, the heading for this table should be changed from "Published?" to "Status"
    • (gsilver)  OK - done

Syntactic Elements

  • I question the need for a paging control on this page. How many worksites use more than 10 published matrices? Perhaps, the paging control can be displayed only on an "as needed" basis. ALLSAKAI ALLSAKAI
  • (gsilver)  - probably not for 2.5 - it will be Chris or Bryan - this is a widget used extensively
  • Given that several pages of matrices may be displayed in on this page, it may be useful to provide a default sort order to the table that makes the most often used or most recently used (for the current user) matrices appear on the first page.
  • (gsilver)  - probably not for 2.5
  • Provide sort controls on the header of the table to accommodate other ways of browsing the matrices available. ALLSAKAI ALLSAKAI
  • (gsilver)  - probably not for 2.5
  • Since their is no limitation to the amount of descriptive text for a matrix, large descriptions tend to break up the table and result in excessive scrolling to view all of the available matrices. It may be useful to limit the amount of displayed text to just a couple of lines and provide some utility to view the entire description if desired.
  • (gsilver)  OK - what done: hide description if user can create, provide toggle to reveal/hide. If user cannot create show description as it may be useful in that context.

Authoring Workflow

Unpublished vs. Preview

When creating a new Matrix, the distinction between Unpublished and Preview modes is somewhat awkward. While unpublished, CIG Coordinators other than the author cannot see the Matrix. This state has questionable value unless there is strong concern about cooperation of Coordinators, which is unlikely. Also, moving a Matrix to the Preview state does not provide clear contextual cues of what has been affected: the link that read Preview will read Publish, the name of the Matrix becomes a link to preview it, and the Published? column reads Preview. Without examining what has changed on the nearly identical screen, it is not clear that there has been a functional change in the Matrix.

In particular, we should examine if there is redeeming value in maintaining the two separate states, as Preview provides the same functionality as Unpublished except that items may be contributed as test submissions and other CIG Coordinators may see or edit the list. If Preview should be retained, there should be feedback (visual and/or message) that indicates the state change of the Matrix and the newly enabled functionality. An option to return a Matrix to Unpublished status may also be of value.

(gsilver) OK - I think Preview has value - but the UI needs to manage the flow and the differences between the status to make this value aparent. Not sure status can be toggled without major changes to the plumbing. What Mark suggests in the comments makes the most sense ultimately.

1 Comment

  1. Changing from Preview to Published will also remove any items users added to matrix cells while previewing. I would prefer this functionality to be more explicit. I.e. have an option to clear all items from a matrix.

    I think the management of the published state of the matrix should move to the matrix settings/options page. This brings the functionality more in line with other Sakai tools (e.g Resources, Assignments) and allows the functionality to be extented in the future. For instance: you could specify to whom you want to publish (eliminating the need for a preview option), publish/unpublish at a specific date etc.