Layout Problem Space

This is a draft in progress.

Discussion about layout and what components might emerge.

Layout Definition



Problem description.


Sarah Windsor - Primary Persona
Scenario to come.

Ed McClellan, Undergraduate
Scenario to come.

Blue Sky Vision

Layout Component Ideas

Need to flesh out component ideas.

Summit Post-It Page

At the Fluid Summit, pain points represented on post-it notes were grouped into problem spaces (such as Feedback), then into (usually very high level) potential components such as the ones below. Each problem area was then rated as to whether it affected 1, 2, or 3/All of the Fluid applications (Sakai, uPortal, Moodle). Each potential component was then rated on the following matrix, which indicated how severe the pain point it helped solve was for users, as well as how frequently the pain point was encountered. It helped us determine how high a priority it was, with 1 being the highest priority and 3 being the lowest.

high severity



low severity




high frequency

low frequency



  • Main tab, logged in
    Portlets look like I can move them, but I cannot by drag/drop
  • Portlet Organizer/layout manager
    I want to put the portlets on my page in a specific order


  • Drag-and-drop-reorderer
  • Tool Orderer
  • Pain point: Where is the forum tool? What order are these in?
  • Tool manager: Choose tools, set them up, organize them on a page
  • Site tool manager - Adding tools, renaming, reordering, etc.
  • Tool Orderer/Manager (Special case of reorderer)
    • Adding and removing tools from a site is available in two places in a confusing manner
    • Tool orderer function big win (functionally?) but HUGE usability issues
    • Current tool is unusable
    • Saving work happens in many different ways on one page

Page Focus

1/ all

  • Page shifts downward when you take action on a portlet (e.g. click "^")
  • Main tab, logged in--Maximize control makes everything disappear, including other tabs. Gives user concern of where they are suddenly and how to get back.


  • Refreshing page, completing forms – Need to return to previous focus
  • Pain point: Where am I? (Page has reloaded to top.)

Layout Manager


  • Layout customization
    • Lack of clear actions
    • Leads into difficult, complex interface
  • Portlet manager: remove, re-add, etc.
    (Same as portlet organizer)
    • unclear language used in confirmation to remove "channel."
    • No clear way to get back after removing
      *I want to customize the portals I have on a page
      Pain: This is not apparent; I never found this ability


  • (Need) Attractive default page templates
  • Poor handcrafted site page tools
  • Page layout/organizer
    • Home only tool that typically has multiples on page but what about News, etc.?
    • Want to move most important to top.

Portlet Manager

2b/2 apps

  • Intelligent portlet/channel controls
  • Portlet container
    • Poor/inconsistent icons
    • Disassociated edit mode (and inconsistent)
  • Portlet views
    No standard or default:
    • Some summary/cameo
    • Some whole we pages
    • Some whole complex UI


  • I-frames: effect on navigation throughout application
    Breaks navigation links
  • Pain Point: multiple scroll bars
  • Component: uPortal-like display widgets to give user control of link/potlet window

Paginator/Paging Tool

2b/ all