My Stuff – design progress

December 8th, 2006


Imagining that sometime soon the OU web colour pallette might be revised, improved and made more accessible, I’ve been playing with colour schemes using Adobe’s fantastic Kuler web app. Here I can select an OU brand colour and generate sympathic colours schemes from it. I then use a little artistic license to get semi-accessible colours to use in the design.

Aside form the colour issues, I’ve also been working on the user experience a bit more. We’ve had the reports back from the focus group sessions and I’ve been using the information contain within to influence the direction of My Stuff.


1 – This topbar colour scheme is simply not accessible. There’s not enough contrast between the foreground and background color. It’s a shame because the user group really like it. Partly becuase it’s so not like the Moodle sites they’ve seen and also because it’s a nice warm colour. The second issue with this topbar is that the ‘new’ button is confusing. Some people thought that it was a contextual button but it’s not. It takes you to the ‘new’ screen full of options. So we’re getting rid of it.

2 – As the screens become more obvious, there can be little need for contextual help in such a prominent way. This bar is therefore being rethought.

3 – We have a graphic to replace the stock image now.

4 – The guided tour is not prominent enough. We need to make it more of a feature for new users whilst subduing it more for regular users. We therefore need at least two realisations of the states of the homepage.

5 – The meaning of these boxes needs re-evaluating. Plus – how do we scale this? There’s potential for many things like these to exist and if so, what effect will they have on the design?

6 – These terms we found to be confusing and perhaps a bit of overkill for the homepage.

Here are a few screens of todays progress with a little explanation.


The old homepage didnt really have any indication of recent activity. It was in my original wireframe but we removed it. I’ve put it back as i think that it could be a very useful way of getting to stuff you did recently without necessarily needing to have tagged it up. I guess using the old method you could have clicked the ‘uncategorised’ tag, but this way you get to it directly from the homepage.


Add Stuff (formerly ‘New’) is made more prominent on the home so that we can quickly click an obvious button to get cracking with new stuff. The box metaphor is retained but we now have a graphic instead of a stock photo.


This is the footer – giving quick access on every page to My Stuff in various places.


Other stuff is a temporary label. Here we can get to our contacts and add new stuff from every page. The entire footer design is not developed enough yet – just sketches of ideas.


Kuler suggested this green. Looks ok i think. Not one I’d have chosen myself though!


When we visit the ‘new stuff’ screen we get a simple quick form to add something non-specific, tag it up and even attach some files. The right hand column shown here allows us to get to more specific new stuff like CVs and whatnot.


The ever present tags. Rachel spoke to the user group today who were very positive about the predictive text method of adding tags.



Contacts and sharing are a big task but im enjoying playing with a few ideas. This is the screen where you get to add contacts, assign them to groups and even add groups too. The idea is that some groups are non-negotiable. Like tutor groups – they would appear here and you’d not be able to delete or change them.

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One Response to “My Stuff – design progress”

  1. My Stuff - HTML protosite draft - Guy Carberry

    […] I have been coding up the latest My Stuff design. It offers more of an understanding of the user-experience than my graphic design files but it does not interface with any back-end magic like databases and things like that. You can click from place to place. Somethings are more realised than others. This will become apparent as you move through things. This protosite will be evolving fairly rapidly over the next few weeks so keep your eyes on it it for changes. […]