Showing posts with label usability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label usability. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Editing Collectors: Improved Interface

Colnect's wiki-like collectibles catalogs are growing quickly with the assistance off volunteering contributing collectors who send information missing in the catalogs and volunteering editing collectors (or simply "editors") who make the actual changes to the catalogs, guaranteeing their quality .

The editing interface used by the editors is very simple. A small editing icon is present near all fields they can edit and by clicking it a window pops up which allows them to set the new value. Every item edited generated an immediate tweet on @ColnectEdits. Seems that due to the volume of edits, Twitter no longer indexes any tweets by @ColnectEdits.

An important improvement of the interface has just been announced and accepted with enthusiasm by some the editors. Using JavaScript, the page is no longer reloaded after each edit. It's a simple change but saves editors a lot of time and thus encourages them to do more edits. As it's not so complex to implement, I wonder why much great endeavors than Colnect, such as WikiPedia have not yet something similar (or better).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Collectors Welcomed - A New Welcome Page on Colnect + Usability Issues

Colnect has been said of having an ugly user interface that doesn't fit the cool Web2.0 scene. So in the last week I've been working on many usability issues trying to improve how collectors interact with Colnect. To compliment these additions a new welcome page now greets new comers. Below these pictures you'll find what has really changed lately.

Natural sorting is not straight forward on computer system. When sorting the numbers 1 to 10, too many computer programs will start with 1 10 2 instead of the natural 1 2 3. As natural sorting is not supported by the database, I sought different options for sorting catalog codes which may be anything like P-11b, XPK-987-33, Km#12.11 and whichever combination you may consider. So what is currently done is that all numbers are padded with spaces to some set length and so the database knows how to sort them properly. Don't worry, it's not the original information just a copy of it used for quick searching and sorting.

Another issue now settled is that of searching by 'Name'. This was my mistake to begin with as 'Name' on coin countries list, for example, would search a country name and on the main coins page would search a coin name. Now proper pages would have both "Coin name" and "Country name" search so prevent confusion.

A few duplicate catalogs and duplicate series have been merged using a newly duplicates processing script which would make it easy for editors to report such duplicates and process them.

On the multiple-language front an important change has been made. A user that has never visited Colnect will now have his default language according to his country (conferred by the IP address). That is, of course, if it's one of the 35 languages supported by Colnect. Once a user sets a different language, it's remembered and all subsequent URLs would contain the language letters. So even if a German-speaking collector send a /de/ URL to his Spanish-speaking friend, it'll be converted to /es/ for the Spanish-speaker.

And finally, a new improved welcome page is supposed to make more sense than the previous one. Yes, usability and design have to be re-thought and re-made on Colnect but there's nothing quite as bad as a horrible first impression, so here we go...

Monday, January 26, 2009


A good system doesn't only have to offer users worthwhile services but should be as easy and intuitive to use as possible. When people access so many websites, they expect everything to be natural for them. Rarely do people actually read long HELP sections. Frequently they simply play around with the application and what they can't see quickly would many times never be used.

Though these are old news, the user interface on Colnect V2 has initially not been properly designed and implemented. I admit this was a big mistake since it made the usage of existing users much more awkward and wasn't inviting enough for new users. Though Colnect did grow very nicely since V2 has been released, it's likely despite the user's interface rather than because of it.

So the good news is that in the recent days and upcoming days the user's interface will be added with many useful options to make the usage of Colnect as easy and intuitive as possible.

Here are two examples for recent additions:

CSS-only popup menus

Sorting collectors lists by clicking the column header

Link and Search

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