Design deliverable & process working documents

Colin Clark colin.clark at
Sat Apr 14 16:05:09 UTC 2007

Hi all,

Anastasia is away on vacation in Paris (lucky!) for the next few  
weeks, but I thought I'd respond to some of these questions because  
they're quite interesting. I'm sure Daphne will have other thoughts  
about this topic, too.

On 12-Apr-07, at 6:11 PM, Anastasia Cheetham wrote:
> Is 'design pattern' too high-level in this case? I'm thinking about
> the design patterns that have been written up on the UI DG site in
> Sakai, and it seems to me that an 'implementation' of these patterns
> might involve more than one component. Maybe it's my engineer's
> brain, but I've been thinking of a component as something much more
> fine-grained.

I see a clear analogy between a UI design pattern and a flexible UI  
component. You're right that many of the patterns we've been working  
on in Sakai recently have been fairly large-scale, but patterns by  
nature range from large and general to very detailed and fine-grained.

For example, UI patterns in Jenifer Tidwell's _Designing Interfaces_  
book range from something as small as "Dropdown Chooser" to larger,  
more diffuse patterns such as "Visual Framework" or "Global  
Navigation." Christopher Alexander's original architectural patterns  
were like this too, encompassing patterns that describe good urban  
planning down to more detailed patterns about wall placement in a  

Clearly not all design patterns could be suitably implemented as  
FLUID components, but I think there are many cases where the  
combination of user models, UI design patterns, and flexible  
component implementations will provide a strong foundation for  
building new user interfaces with the FLUID framework.

> Regarding users/personas: These always seem to be Sakai and UPortal
> people - should we include Kuali and Moodle?

We definitely need to keep Kuali Student and Moodle in mind.

I expect that York University, since they have recently chosen to  
adopt Sakai as their primary LMS, will provide us with some  
additional design and testing support in regards to Moodle.

It's still early for Kuali Student. They are still in the governance  
planning and high-level architecture phase at the moment. As they  
start to build user interface prototypes over the next year or so, I  
expect we'll get more involved in helping build user profiles and  
personas in context of Kuali Student.

> Regarding swappability: At what point in the design process would
> consideration of swapping come into play? What is the relationship
> (if any) between the personas and the factors that would control
> swapping?

This is a really good question. So our plan is to allow for user  
interface components to be swapped based on personal accessibility  
preferences. For example, substituting a highly mouse-based component  
for one that has been designed specifically for screen reader users.  
What sorts of design models would help us in determining the best  
types of user interface transformations, etc?


Colin Clark
Inclusive Software Architect/Programmer
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
416-978-7728 / colin.clark at

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