Content management

Daphne Ogle daphne at
Fri Sep 14 18:11:47 UTC 2007

Really interesting!

This idea of a "what you see is what you get" interface is much  
needed in Sakai IMHO.   So, as I build my site, I am seeing it  
"become" right in front of my eyes.  Marc Brierley and I did some  
design work during the Course Management Project that would move us  
in this direction.  When it came time to implement because of  
resource and time constraints the project was scoped back.  The basic  
idea however was to allow a site owner to create their site in 2  
clicks and then with the help of a "site creation checklist" on the  
home page, they could walk through the creation process across time  
(since faculty are busy and do this work in multiple sittings),  
collaboratively with co-instructors or teaching assistants (the  
checklist allowed them to see where they were in the setup process  
and what still needed be done) and it was moving toward being able to  
see the site grow as it was being built.  This video also shows some  
of the possibilities that new technology like ajax allow us to  
include in our user experience.  The "reorganize" component moves us  
in this drag and drop direction.

An additional thought on the video -- we should make this kind of  
flexibility available to the more advanced and innovative users.  We  
should also include some easy template-like functionality for users  
that just want to get a nice looking site up and running and will not  
spend the time customizing like the person in the video.  Many Sakai  
users will need help knowing "what to do next" as they setup their  
site (and I mean much more than choosing tools, like what are the  
implications of choosing certain tools and what's the best way to use  
certain tools together, etc.)  This problem of "I don't know what to  
do next" has already been a reoccurring pain point that comes up in  
the UX Walkthroughs.  In fact, I think we should be optimizing the  
user experience for the latter.  The patterns in needs, behaviors and  
capabilities we heard during the course management research in this  
regard were pretty amazing.   So let's create simple site creation  
templates and workflow based on various teaching and learning styles  
which we optimize for and then we have this more  "free form" site  
creation process like you see in the video.  And all of this includes  
the best kinds of interaction and takes full advantage of new web 2.0  
behaviors, expectations and technologies --- ah, to dream!

The real question in my mind is:  are we ready to stop being feature  
driven and instead be experience driven?  We ask for innovation but  
then when much time and design resource is spent to understand how we  
can innovatively better support our users, there hasn't been the  
commitment to spend the extra time to implement.  Rather, "we just  
need to get the functionality in" has been my experience.   This is a  
great way to stifle innovation IMHO.  With much work to do, why would  
I go the extra effort if history has proven it is all for not.


On Sep 14, 2007, at 6:57 AM, John Norman wrote:

> I saw an example of nicely useable software with *similarities* (and
> big differences) to the sort of thing Sakai does within a site. It
> illustrates the level of rethinking I think Sakai needs:
> fluid-work at
> video.jsp
> John
> On 14 Sep 2007, at 14:11, Mark Norton wrote:
>> Personally, I think that coming up with a defining term kinda
>> misses the
>> point.  As Daphne said, almost everything on a site in Sakai could be
>> considered content of one kind or another.
>> Rather than creating a sweeping definition, wouldn't we be better
>> served
>> by collecting the real needs of our users and documenting them? You
>> might find that, after collecting requirements into a big unorganized
>> pile, that pieces of the problem will emerge that fit together.
>> Decomposition is essential, since the problem space is so large, but
>> having a collection of requirements, pieces can be developed in the
>> context of other things.
>> Keep "content management" as a label and explore what it means.
>> Ultimately, it's the work that matters, not what you call it.
>> - Mark Norton
>> PS.  There are lots of content management requirements already  
>> hanging
>> around.  They just need to be pushed into Fluid's mindspace.
>> _______________________________________________
>> fluid-work mailing list
>> fluid-work at
> _______________________________________________
> fluid-work mailing list
> fluid-work at

Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at
cell (510)847-0308

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