Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right

Allison Bloodworth abloodworth at berkeley.edu
Tue Sep 18 18:03:51 UTC 2007


Hi Barbara,

Shaw-Han and I have been working on mostly incremental design changes  
which would improve the UI of the SAK-10448 "Site navigation"  
enhancement which changed the "more" drop-down into a "drawer" which  
lists all the users' sites for 2.5 & 2.6. Longer-term, there  
certainly could be more of a portal-like interface for Sakai, and  
perhaps an interface without tabs, and we will be discussing all  
these (short and long-term) ideas at the summit. You can see these  
different "phases" of our design at: http:// 
confluence.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/UI/Sakai+%27More%27+Tab 
+Design#Sakai%27More%27TabDesign-plan.

I'm not sure if you are envisioning Sakai being one page with one  
portlet for each site? That is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure  
how well that would scale as we've heard that there are some users  
with hundreds of sites. But then again, if there was a design that  
worked well for 10-20 sites, we could always consider a separate  
interface for these power users. Or maybe a tabbed Sakai portal which  
categorizes the sites? (See our mock-up here: http:// 
www.fluidproject.org/work/SAK-10448/bytype.html for an interface  
which could be converted to this.) There has also been talk of giving  
users more of a portal-like 'dashboard' interface which allows them  
to see what important things are going on in all their sites at a  
glance (e.g. assignments, due dates, course meeting times,  
announcements, new forum posts, etc.). There are tools in My  
Workspace with some of this functionality (e.g. Announcements,  
Schedule) but users have to navigate to each one--they aren't  
presented in a portal-like format.

In terms of personalization, we (currently) aren't giving any more  
real personalization in this round (for 2.5 or even 2.6). Users can  
select 3+ (depending on how many tabs an institution allows) tabs as  
"favorites", but that is pretty much the extent of the  
personalization now. It has been suggested to let users categorize  
their own sites, and move them between different categories with a  
drag-and-drop interface, which is definitely an interesting idea. But  
then there is also talk about whether course sites themselves make  
sense, and whether there might be a more goal-oriented way to  
organize Sakai. I think that before going down that (fairly  
disruptive) path we would need to do more user research, but it is  
definitely an interesting 'blue sky' version of the system to think  
about. I look forward to talking with folks more about this at the  
summit.

Cheers,
Allison

On Sep 18, 2007, at 9:53 AM, Barbara Glover wrote:

> Are tabs the only design idea that was considered?  I'm new so  
> don't know the history.  Portlets seem a good alternative until one  
> considers more than about 10.  After that, they would become a  
> nightmare to navigate and search through.
>
> How much personalization will the user be allowed to do with the  
> current More-tabs solution?
>
> On 17-Sep-07, at 4:29 PM, Paul Zablosky wrote:
>
>> What Nielsen says of his example is that "It uses tabs to  
>> alternate between views within the same context".  This is  
>> somewhat imprecise language, since it is not clear what he means  
>> by "context", but I agree with him about the Amazon site.  There,  
>> the user selects a tab to go from the public banner display to the  
>> personalized display through a login -- a context change if there  
>> ever was one.
>>
>> (His use of the word 'alternate' is also pretty sloppy diction,  
>> but common enough that it doesn't obscure his meaning.)
>>
>> I'd say that point 4 ("tabs are roughly parallel in nature")  
>> provides a much better guideline than "views within the same  
>> context".  Also, his point about never needing to display what is  
>> behind more than one tab at a time is something  to always keep in  
>> mind.
>>
>> If the Sakai tabs meet the requirements of points 2, 3, and 4,  
>> then strict adherence to point 1 seems less important.
>>
>> Paul
>>
>> Moore, Kathleen E wrote:
>>> If we accept all of this, doesn't it imply that tabs are the  
>>> wrong solution for listing Sakai sites? They're certainly not  
>>> different views of the same information.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Kathy
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Kathleen Moore
>>>
>>> Web Manager, Information Technology Services
>>>
>>> BU School of Management
>>>
>>> kemoore at bu.edu
>>>
>>> 617-353-2685
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> From: fluid-work-bounces at fluidproject.org [mailto:fluid-work- 
>>> bounces at fluidproject.org] On Behalf Of Daphne Ogle
>>> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 2:07 PM
>>> To: fluid-work at fluidproject.org
>>> Subject: Fwd: Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> This is a timely article on the use of tabs...
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> From: alertbox at nngroup.com (Jakob Nielsen)
>>>
>>> Date: September 17, 2007 9:00:00 AM PDT
>>>
>>> To: "Alertbox Announcement List" <alertbox at laser.sparklist.com>
>>>
>>> Subject: Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right
>>>
>>> Reply-To: bounce-alertbox-6665134 at laser.sparklist.com
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for September 17 is now online at:
>>>
>>>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/tabs.html
>>>>
>>>
>>> Summary:
>>>
>>> 13 design guidelines for tab controls are all followed by Yahoo  
>>> Finance,
>>>
>>> but usability suffers somewhat due to AJAX overkill and difficult
>>>
>>> customization.
>>>
>>>
>>> ----------------------------------
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> User Experience 2007 conference
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> Barcelona, November 4-9
>>>>
>>>> Las Vegas, December 2-7
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> 31 full-day tutorials
>>>
>>> 2 keynotes: e-commerce, the state of usability
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Full program:
>>>
>>>> http://www.nngroup.com/events
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ----------------------------------
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> HIGH-ROI vs. LOW-ROI INTERNET MARKETING
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> MarketingSherpa has released the results of a survey of 3,186  
>>> Internet
>>>
>>> marketers, who were asked about their ROI from various marketing
>>>
>>> techniques. (Yes, it's a survey, which is a bad way to get  
>>> information
>>>
>>> about users and design, but this is about sales vs. expenses, not  
>>> about
>>>
>>> use.)
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Highest scoring was house email marketing, with 4 times as many
>>>
>>> respondents saying that they got strong or good ROI than people
>>>
>>> who said that it was a low-value tactic or hard to gauge.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Lowest scoring Internet tactic was banner advertising, with
>>>
>>> 3 as many people saying "low" (or "hard to gauge")
>>>
>>> vs. respondents who said "good" (or "strong").
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Email is about 12 times higher rated than banner advertising for  
>>> ROI.
>>>
>>> Allocate your budget accordingly: unless you spend many times  
>>> more on your
>>>
>>> newsletters then on online advertising, you probably have ROI  
>>> problems.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> These numbers don't surprise me, because our empirical  
>>> observations of
>>>
>>> users' actual behavior show strong positive effects of email  
>>> newsletters
>>>
>>> and extremely strong banner blindness.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Still, it's nice to see marketing managers come to the same  
>>> conclusions as
>>>
>>> the user research, regarding what works on the Internet.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Email newsletters, user research findings:
>>>
>>>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/newsletters.html
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Banner blindness, user research findings:
>>>
>>>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Marketing managers' ROI experience, survey findings:
>>>
>>>> http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.html?ident=30128
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ---
>>>
>>> Nielsen Norman Group, 48105 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539 USA
>>>
>>> To subscribe send blank email to join-alertbox at laser.sparklist.com
>>>
>>> To unsubscribe send blank email to leave- 
>>> alertbox-6665134B at laser.sparklist.com
>>>
>>> [You are currently subscribed as dogle at umich.edu]
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Daphne Ogle
>>>
>>> Senior Interaction Designer
>>>
>>> University of California, Berkeley
>>>
>>> Educational Technology Services
>>>
>>> daphne at media.berkeley.edu
>>>
>>> cell (510)847-0308
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> fluid-work at fluidproject.org
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>>>
>>
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Allison Bloodworth
Senior User Interaction Designer
Educational Technology Services
University of California, Berkeley
(415) 377-8243
abloodworth at berkeley.edu




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