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This week I've updated the screens per the feedback I received from the group. I've made a few relatively dramatic changes since last week, but I believe they're for the better. Plus, they speak to all the issues (at least those I recall) that everyone raised about the last screens.

I'm not going to summarize the scope of the design, other than to describe how to organize the sequence of the screens.

My numerating system works as follows:

1, 2, 3, 4 – Each number represents a "unique" screen template presented in a sequential order based on a user's flow

1, 2, 2a, 2b, 3 – The a, b, c... n denotation implies a change in a screen's state. So 2a and 2b are the same screen, but something changed. The change is most often sequential based on the letter (but not always, so follow the flows below for best results).

4b.1 – Screens with these notations imply an "alternative" screen. In other words, if you compare 4b and 4b.1, they fall in the same sequence, but 4b.1 is an alternate to 4b for some reason or another.

Sequence Guide (follow these steps)

Flow 1 - User Adds Content

1, (1.1 - if some portfolios already exist), 2, 3, 4, 4a, 4b, (4b.1 - if there is no content available for this section), 4c, (4c.1 - shows a multi-select alternative), 4d. If there are questions about what happens on 4d, I will answer them either here or on a call.

Flow 2 - User Edits General Settings

1, 2, 3, 5, 5a

Flow 3 - User Shares Portfolio

1, 2, 3, 6, 6a, 6b, 6c, back to -> 3a


  • Notice that now there is no longer a step by step status indicator. The wizard has been re-arranged into a hub model, which upon further analysis, seems to be the better approach to this data model.
  • I still haven't included "commenting" and "expiration" into these screens. Those options will probably appear in screen 6. I'm just not comfortable with how much information is on this screen already. If we can lose the "share by role" feature, it would make life a lot easier (smile)

Zip archive of all screens (Week 2)


  1. On screen 1.1, the "MODIFIED ON" column header should actually be titled "LAST MODIFIED". And the values for each row under that column should show the following:

    • 1 minute ago (if it was less than 1 minute ago)
    • 2 minutes ago (you get the idea)
    • And so on...

    <at the 1 hour mark, it should switch to this>

    • 1 hour ago
    • 2 hours ago
    • 3 hours ago
    • and so on...

    <after the first 24 hours, it should switch to this>

    • Yesterday

    <after the 48 hour mark, it should switch to a regular date format>

    • 08/30/08 (or if you're in Europe: 30/08/08)
    1. <rant class="dates">
      for colleges and universities – many, if not most, of which have students from both north america and from europe – using numbers for months in date representation inevitably leads to trouble. "we'll meet on 7/4" could mean july 4th or the 7th of april, and someone WILL interpret it the wrong way. when we abbreviate the month-name instead there's NO confusion as to which part of the date is the month: 4-Jul is unambiguous (even if the month is in a foreign language you'll still know which is the month, and which is the day-of-month).

      i've seen some systems (hmm, was it "ls -l" under linux? or "dir" under windows? hmm...) where displayed timestamps were progressively less detailed as they aged... something like:

      <1hr, timestamp reads "19 min ago"
      <1day, timestamp reads "11:38:42 pm"
      <1week, timestamp reads "Thu 11:39pm"
      <6mon, timestamp reads "Aug 7 11:39pm"
      >6mon, timestamp reads "Aug 7, 2008"

      it's quite similar to how us humans refer to times in the past, and has reasonably low variation in length-of-string, as well.

      1. Great way to clear up the approach to this. I sort of posted the idea without really thinking through it too much... so I'm glad you followed up and specified the details correctly.

  2. 1: ooh, that's a neat teaser: "be n+1 out of n", that's an interesting way to pique their interest. nice! (some will argue that this is mere window dressing, to which i say, "and?") we would need to hash out whether the count will include all portfolios system-wide, all portfolios worksite-wide, or all worksite-portfolios-from-this-template... (wait, there's no templates listed at this point, so that last one is moot)

    1a: favorites – a wonderful idea!

    2: so for this worksite it looks like there are three templates available, plus the free-form at the bottom. if there are a large handful of templates to choose from i presume there would be some scrolling mechanism to navigate among them?

    3: the division-of-labor here is great: content, settings, sharing. plus, a 'preview' link. excellent approach!

    3a: great use of the green-notification area.

    4: here's where we get to the 'guts' as required by the template. we click 'edit' to modify/add content to the header and...

    4a: create new? re-use old? this makes wonderful sense. lots less hand-holding for users this way.

    4b: ah, so if you have existing content to re-use, the 'use previously-saved' button is available.

    4b.1: if you do NOT have existing content to select, 'use previously-saved' is NOT available. very sensible – but this enabling/disabling of the radio button MAY be taxing behind the scenes... i don't know for sure.

    4c: choosing one of the available existing items – using the radio-button collection here is just right (that is, when only one item is allowed at this point in the template).

    4c.1: some templates do allow multiple instances of content (multiple file-attachments, for example) and check-boxes to select them here would make sense. probably not very sensible in the context of a resume to have several headers, but in other template contexts this would be plenty sane.

    4d: i don't want to give you a big head or anything, but this is brilliant. "save-changes" is different from "return-to-start" screen. this way they can tinker with settings, preview it, save it, tinker some more, preview it... when they're done horsing around they save it and THEN return to the start-screen. very familiar metaphor for most desktop software these days. wonderful!

    5: not sure what display name and presentation name are, here... unless they're referring to the custom UMich outline-options-form interruption thingie which isn't a normal part of the workflow. (see my ever-so-brief treatise on that in the comments of the week-one screen postings – which seems to have disappeared?). the portfolio would get a name to display in the list-of-portfolios (such as "Resume Portfolio 1" as you've got here) but we wouldn't need two other names, not for the standard workflow. but having a section here for the occasional outline-options-form would be a good idea for when it's needed.

    and the options form could forseeably have dozens of fields, so it may wind up using lots of real estate, but in our experience that's rare. most options-forms only have one or two fields and they'd belong here in this section.

    5a: nice alert message and highlighting of data issues for the user to correct!

    6: i can understand that private and public are closely associated, but here we've got an interloper that's in between: seems like a better ordering, at least in my head, would be if we share with none-some-all as opposed to none-all-some. private, shared, then public.

    6a: the current (2.5.x) version has sharing by sakai-user-names, which might – or might not – be email addresses. this may be moot, as most users should have email addresses anyway...

    the 'send out a notification' as you've done here makes lots more sense, and i especially like the 'send to new people only' feature.

    6b: finding users to share the portfolio with: how did we come up with these four? what does the search screen look like? or is this listing all worksite users? (which implies the question are we limiting 'sharing' to worksite-participants only? or will portfolio-sharing cross worksite boundaries?)

    6c: here, some victims have been chosen, and a message is prepared...

    Nathan, this is all very well done and is likely to make folks all optimistic and everything. great stuff!

    1. 2. Sure, the list would just grow and the browser would scroll. But honestly, I'm not sure why any school would need SO many templates. I really discourage the practice – just pick 3 or 4 templates that cover all the main portfolio needs. How hard would it be to do that? It's important that schools be mindful of their user's experience when they set stuff up.

      6b. For starters (meaning for this 2.6 iteration), this list would only include the users in this particular portfolio site. Clever users can use the keyboard to jump to names beginning with the letter they type. Also, you can share with others outside of the portfolio site by manually adding their email. But I agree, overall, this little user/contacts helper (for lack of better term) module should and will be more robust and elegant in the future – particularly since it should be a re-usable system service across other tools / areas of Sakai.