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03:03:42 PM

Live blogging again, but with limited bandwidth so the actual post will probably be a bit delayed

I heard a lot of buzz about this session yesterday, so I put it at the top of my list for today. It's probably been blogged about quite a bit already, but I can't be sure because the agent manager on my server back home is hung running the Verify Referers agent in blogsphere right now, so my bloggregator isn't running. Shutting down the agent manager has failed, the timeout of the agent has long since expired, and frankly I'm too chicken to try a remote restart of the server in the middle of Lotusphere.

Nathan and Chris started off before the official start time, designing a simply awful form while the audience filtered in. By "simply awful", I mean "looks like what I designed back in the R3 days". It probably looks like what you designed back then, too. We didn't know any better. Now, of course, we do. Nowadays, I do know a bad design when I build it. And of course, I do. I am not a UI guy. Just ask anyone.

"Interface first" design means starting with use cases -- how it looks, what it does, not how the bits are flipped. The UI is built before a single line of code. Profiles and profiling. Low-fidelity prototyping (paper, crayons, scissors, tape...). Usability testing. Ok, sounds good to me. But what about the PHM* types?

We pretty much go right into lots of individual tips. Use the form header. Don't nest tabbed tables deeply. (Are you listening, Lotus??) White space is good. Too much white space is bad. Controls close to the elements that they act on. Z-axis via layers -- Nathan's stuff is totally impressive, and so is Chris'. Selections, details, document display, all in layers.

Drag and drop. Chris manages this with an embedded folder navigator with code that actually prevents the user from opening the folder. Really, really cool.

Nathan showed a cool site for choosing color pallettes (actually colour...), and demonstrated skinning an app to change color schemes. Also very cool, although I really wouldn't be caught dead with the particular pallette that he chose in the demo.

Due to the bandwidth issues, I'm saving this now even though there is time left...

* Pointy-Haired Manager

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Comments :v

1. Nathan T. Freeman01/25/2007 06:45:18 AM

Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Yeah, the color palette didn't come out perfect. The first time we did it, things worked better. "Tuesday" as a search term came back with a good hit that looked reasonably sharp.

I had pre-tested stuff that I thought people would think of. "Florida" "Disney" "Lotus" even "Porn", but I really wanted to emphasize the flexibility and spontaneity of the site, so I didn't want to put a plant in the audience for a search term.

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