DECISION TIMEMarch 26, 2013
Approaching the final stage of product creation, the Tools team is trying to solve dilemma of choosing the best possible design for the clilstore/multidict/woordlink structure. To be honest, it is hard to call the creation of Caoimhin “a product”. It is rather a piece of technological art or a baby, nourished, created and shaped for many years. We all feel this love- the author’s love, the makers’ love; that is why it is so difficult to make a choice between Caoimhin’s and Lone’s version.
Here is a series of quotations related to the subject- just to have a view of the whole team involvement in the issue.
Lone: “Just a few comments from me. I had a 3 very interesting days on Skye working together with Caoimhín. I deeply respect his skills in programming; he’s working extremely serious with the task and is doing a great job. We certainly don’t agree when it comes to design, of cause that’s a pity, but that’s how it is. To Caoimhín: You know I never liked your proposal with the 3 boxes, and I still don’t. To me it’s not a useful compromise, if that’s what you had in mind. I still believe that we’re e very far from each other, when it comes to the front page, and naturally I prefer my suggestion J.To me the front page is the main issue, and it’s here we have the biggest difference. On the following pages, I’m sure we can find a solution. I’ve been following the debate about the design, and I think people have many very clever and interesting comments. As you all know, design is not an exact science, we’re all colored of background and culture. We might not find a solution that pleases everybody. It’s a quite difficult process, and I think we need someone to take the decision pretty soon.
Caoimhin(Skye) Hi everyone,
Lone and myself had a profitable few days’ work together last week and I learned a lot from her design skills and artistic eye, which I very much respect. I hope that she can continue to watch over things and advise us for the duration of the project. You’ll see that I have made various design changes to the Clilstore website.
One question, a comparatively non-technical one, is colour. Lone’s original idea, as you’ll see, had a red theme, with little bits of red in the logos. Lone kindly also produced green versions of the logos, which you’ll see I am currently using for Clilstore, so we have a choice what to use in the end.
I prefer green slightly myself from an artistic point of view, because I think it is easier on the eye and that red is rather garish. Nothing at all to do with the fact I was born in Dublin! And from a technical point of view I prefer a green design or some other neutral colour because it is a working website rather than a static website and I try to reserve red for warnings, error messages and things which need to be brought to the user’s attention – for example if they have produced a unit without specifying the language, or a unit which is unacceptable because it is too short. For help text and for “success” messages I use green. Try logging in with the wrong password and then with the right password and you’ll see what I mean. However, I can live with a red theme if that is what people prefer. Le deagh dhùrachd, Caoimhin (Skye)
“I think we must continue with the “voting”. BUT after the final decisions there may be time for improvements, we will also look at the result in Valencia and continue from there. You may remember that we in Gothenburg decided on a design that I had proposed, but that never came into action. We cannot spend more time on the design issue as it blocks two other work packages (The manual and the Videos), I have desperately tried for months to get to a decision so I cannot really be blamed for being impatient. For better or worse, as the project coordinator I must insist on the voting to be continued so we can put the design issue to bed.”
“We urgently need to make decisions on the outstanding design issues. Lone and Caoimhín have provided us with choices which relate to colour schemes and the layout of the multidict.net homepage and the Clilstore homepage. The open discussion via email has been useful in encouraging debate on these issues but we now need to collate our respective views and preferences, to vote on the various options and to justify our decisions, particularly if they reflect user feedback.
We obviously need to balance key concerns such as functionality, attractiveness, user friendliness and intuitiveness but none of these concerns should be mutually exclusive. Lone and Caoimhín have clearly had a productive engagement, but if there was only one way forward they would have already made the changes, instead they have allowed the whole team to have its say, so please respond to the options below and refrain from making suggestions which depart widely from the options we have on the table.
You can use the screen shots below as a guide but you should also use the links provided to see full screen online versions and to test the buttons provided.”
Gordon: “Just to reinforce the point in Kent’s message (in which, by the way, he forgot to count my input on this subject ;-)…), it’s a concern to me that the design issue appears to have been rather neglected up until this point. Caoimhin (Skye) has been focussing on the nuts and bolts of the “engine”, which is undoubtedly his strength, but he has now asked for opinions and help on what the “car” should look like, and urged us to be frank. We have Lone’s suggestion before us, built with a designer’s eye. We owe it to them both to give them some honest feedback.”
Helle: “I read Caoimhín’s long mail on the use of colours (before I even knew that there would be a vote on the issue)
and I really liked it: it was carefully thought out and the arguments were clear and precise. I have to say that I very much support his points of view on the red colour – it will be a disaster for the website -and I also share his fear that we will end up with a website looking “like a camel – a horse designed by committee”, if we take the vote as the final answer to the challenge of creating a new layout.”
Cecilia: “Green is the colour of nature and life. Grass green is the most restful colour. Green symbolizes self-respect and wellbeing. Green is the colour of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe colour, if you don’t know what colour to use anywhere use green. So for me green is a good colour:-)”
Rasa : “If it were possible to combine the two designs, it would be ideal. Lone’s students’ interface really looks attractive, and the shade of red chosen by Lone is not scaring or irritating, as it is dark red (at least that’s what I can see on my laptop). But it is not only a matter of colours!
As I mentioned in my comments in the survey, to my eyes the two versions of the screen design seem to be meant for different target/user groups, representing or rather being focused on different levels of mentality/likings. Caoimhin’s version for me is the tradition and style (academic included) while Lone’s version is more light and modern. I know how much heart Caoimhin has put in creating the whole structure, and now the time has come to polish and round off the corners, and it is good that Lone’s ideas made you look at your creation from different angle and perspective.”