Fools rushing in

Clay Fenlason clay.fenlason at
Wed Apr 30 10:33:01 UTC 2008

We at Georgia Tech have felt compelled to pursue some significant
redesign work under the umbrella of the assignment2 project.  The
basic issues and concepts remain those that were sketched out on the
Fluid wiki several months back (see, and we have a fledgling design
or two built around that problem space, but we feel also the need for
an extended period of usability testing and refinement of the design
across a number of iterations.

What allows this temerity is the sdata-JSON-client-side approach
pioneered in the My Sakai efforts at CARET, combined with the fact
that the UI views concerned are mostly a matter of focused
arrangements of tabular data.

Carl has written extra handlers for producing JSON feeds for
assignment data, and now the stage is fairly well set.  We're pressing
ahead with jQuery as our Javascript library (as insulator against many
cross-browser issues, among other things), while we plan to enter
usability testing in the middle of May, for which we've recruited a
dozen or so interested faculty and students.  Our lack of design
resource is compounded by an ignorance of JS accessibility snares, but
it's the hope that between keeping things fairly simple and our
ability to iterate more rapidly that we won't paint ourselves into any
inaccessible corners that we can't work our way out of.

We also feel that a tactic of attempting to identify and produce Fluid
components as we go is a natural way to educate ourselves, to achieve
some reusability (and hence consistency) in our output, and to allow
the Fluid team to find it worth their time to help us.  An early
component identified is the in-line editor, since this was already
somewhere on Fluid's radar.  It sounds like Colin's already laid some
of the groundwork for us.

When we enter the usability testing phase we'll plan also to have a
public testing server, so that we can also take into account feedback
from others in the Sakai community.

Suggestions and questions most welcome.


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