First Look at Indaba Stylesheets

Actual field staff! I can't clean up his desk. I can clean up his user interface.

Here’s a look at the design progression of the Indaba platform’s Builder app start page from a 2009 wireframe to our latest build of style.css (keep scrolling!). I’m happy to announce that these screen grabs are from a real, live build that will enter alpha testing next week. With luck, we’ll be in the field for beta testing in September.

About the visual design…

Our design starts and ends with the users. A typical workspace is messy enough, and our field staff’s workspaces are… well, ask any reporter who has filed a story from an Internet cafe full of kids playing StarCraft 2. Kaboom! It’s a high distraction environment, to say the least.

I wanted Indaba’s interface to feel like sitting down to a blank sheet of paper. Tidy. Clean. Empty.

Styling is used to convey information. If it can’t do that, it’s removed. No glam “design” for the sake of a designer’s ego. If it doesn’t help organize information, it’s out. No razzle. No fluff.

Each page of the site is structured as a set of collapsible boxes, which allow users to expand only the functions they need — joining a discussion with editors, adding tags to content, or seeing a document’s event history — while the rest stays hidden. Note that there’s not much alpha test “work” happening yet, so a lot of the status icons are gray. That will change to pretty colored boxes as activity picks up across the different test user accounts.

I think we’re about half way there at the final image below. There is much work left to do, so your input is very welcome. If you have suggestions or see something you don’t like, please let me know in the comments. If you want to really dig in, talk to me for a test site password.

– Jonathan Eyler-Werve

Category: Blog, Frontpage, Status Report  |  Tags:


2 Responses to “First Look at Indaba Stylesheets”
  1. Nathaniel Heller says:

    Very exciting to see this all coming together.

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