Monday, May 23, 2005Previously, I discussed the redesign of my document management software from a table-centric design that was easy to program to a document-centric design that is easier for users.
What I liked about the redesign was that the most important thing, the document, was now in the center of the screen. We also give some context to the document by showing its position in the organizational hierarchy (for example, it came from a binder that was in the box labeled "2003"). Also, by using the page browsing metaphor, a customer does not need to add coding data in order to start working with their documents.
The next step was to create a computer rendering of the design. This image was created with various Adobe tools and gave me a more realistic look at the proportions and layout that I would use. The design shown here had several faults. For example, displaying the document groups at the top of the screen limited the amount of room to display pages, most of which are in a portrait orientation. I also wanted to fit thumbnails of the pages across the bottom of the screen and did not want the users to have to use a scroll-bar in order to view the whole user interface. Also, this interface had a lot of boxes which make it harder for the eye to quickly identify the document which is also a rectangle.
Here is the next revision. You can see that I eliminated the boxes around the comments and page information as well as the box around the documents. I also moved the document groups to the right side and added the thumbnails to the bottom of the page. I also worked entirely in grayscale at this point as I wanted to approach color as its own user interface element and did not want to get used to anything yet.
Next blog, I will talk about the all important color selection process.