[xwiki-devs] GSoC 2011-"Mobile Skin for XWiki Enterprise"

Jerome Velociter jerome at xwiki.com
Mon Mar 28 14:27:15 UTC 2011

Hi Supreet

Great to see you took the time to work on this.

My remarks below

On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM, Supreet Pal Singh <supreetpal at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 8:35 AM, Sergiu Dumitriu <sergiu at xwiki.com> wrote:
>> On 03/23/2011 02:27 PM, Jerome Velociter wrote:
>> > Hi Supreet,
>> >
>> > Great to see your interest in this project.
>> >
>> > On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM, Supreet Pal Singh<supreetpal at gmail.com>
>>  wrote:
>> >> Hey Caty,
>> >> Thanx :)
>> >> Also,I went through those links and the sketches heres what I think:
>> >>
>> >> 1. Jerome's version does look better and simple but I feel it would lack
>> the
>> >> ease of use as most of the functions would be present in a separate menu
>> >> which could be reached through the '+' . More clicks leads to a less
>> >> intuitive UI and downgrades user experience. On the other hand, Jerome's
>> >> version gives a lighter and better look with only the main functions on
>> the
>> >> homescreen. What needs to be looked into is whether the main options are
>> >> sufficient to cater an average user such that we can ignore the 'more
>> >> clicks' aspect.
>> >> What I have also noticed is that Jerome's version does include all the
>> >> functions present on yours yet has an option '+' and even your version
>> has
>> >> an empty function box so I am guessing there are/would be more functions
>> >> that need to be present or added.
>> >> Personally, I am in favor of your version of the skin because its
>> functions
>> >> serve as tabs for dynamic lower portion of the screen, the static layer
>> of
>> >> links to the various functions/screens makes it easy to navigate for the
>> >> user.
>> >
>> > Couple of remarks :
>> >
>> > * It's maybe not obvious, but in my sketch the lower bar is static, so
>> > you don't have to scroll for it, it always remains at the bottom of
>> > the user screen
>> > * As I tried to explain in my comment, I tend to think base use case
>> > of a mobile version is about searching + reading content and comment +
>> > annotations. I think edit is a marginal use case. Does not mean it
>> > should not be doable, but IMHO it should not be considered a primary
>> > action. OTOH a good and accessible search is a must have. That's why
>> > in my version the search bar is first class citizen, at the top of the
>> > page.
>> > * The search would be a dynamic one, a bit in the spirit of the search
>> > suggest available since XE 3.0 (best is to check the feature in the
>> > version in 3.0 RC1, due today)
>> >
>> >>
>> >> 2. Even I feel that the two scrolls on the comments page should be done
>> away
>> >> with instead it should take the whole page.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> And I am new to XWiki and its development tools so I would be needing
>> your
>> >> help to get on track so please bare with my newbie questions.
>> >> 1. I have downloaded 'xwiki-enterprise-installer-generic-3.0' and would
>> be
>> >> following the instructions as given on
>> >> http://platform.xwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/DevGuide/Skins  , is this the
>> >> correct approach?
>> >
>> > Yes it's an approach that would work.
>> > Also I think the mobile skin is about dropping tons of stuff, so
>> > another approach would be to create a new skin from scratch and build
>> > it keeping only on what is essential (to have good performances).
>> An interesting article I read recently summarizes how the iphone, ipad
>> and desktop versions of the top websites differ in transfer size, DOM
>> size, and number of HTTP requests.
>> http://www.stevesouders.com/blog/2011/03/14/mobile-comparison-of-top-11/
>> The results are a bit mindblowing. These sites go to great lengths to
>> offer the best performance on mobile devices (for example storing static
>> portions of the HTML page in Local Storage to save on transfer), so
>> making a mobile version of a site could involve a lot more changes than
>> just shuffling things around with a bit of more CSS. For best results, a
>> whole new skin should be written (meaning lots of .vm templates).
>> The problem with this approach is that it will duplicate code, making it
>> harder to change things in the templates.
> Hey, that was a very nice article :) Hopefully we ll also be able to
> optimise XWiki very effectively for mobile devices. Also, I need some help
> as to how I can about start writing the project code to develop the skin
> from scratch.
>> >> 2. What else can I do to get a better know how and integrate myself more
>> in
>> >> the project?
>> >
>> > An idea could be you spend some time investigating how other wikis
>> > have designed there mobile version (wikimedia one is interesting, but
>> > I'm sure there are others) and refine on the design proposals Caty and
>> > I made with your own ones, what do you think ?
>> >
> After giving it quite some thought here's my take on the Mobile Skin
> proposals:
> # I believe that keeping a static bar of functions/tabs on top would be more
> convenient than the one at bottom due to the fact that it would lead to a
> lot of clutter and presence of a lot of active buttons in a small amount of
> space.
> Here ( http://www.x.supreetpalsingh.com )  ,If we have a look at the image
> on the right where I have tried to demonstrate as to how the edit page would
> look on the skin suggested by Jerome with functions at the bottom of the
> page, we can clearly see that the bottom of the page is filled with a lot of
> active links/buttons making it less user friendly and inconvenient to use. (
> Inconvenience may not be obvious but the clutter can easily be observed )

You are mixing stuff here. My proposal is about a "view page" mode. So
the bottom bar is all you get, there is no such "save", "info" add
pictures etc. in the proposal I make.
I think it's important at this point to well differentiate the "view"
and "edit" UIs. In my view, the edit UI should be modal, just as it is
on the "desktop skin". This translate by no other button than
"preview", "save" and "cancel". Yes, the rest disappear, no search
bar, no lower toolbar with "delete" or "infos" buttons (those are
actions related to the page and accessible when in "view" mode).
Add picture could stay, but that's different, that's a component of
the edit UI (same as we have "insert image" when editing a page with
So there is no such clutter at the bottom of the UI, since there is
just the "toolbar" (even though I'm not a fan of this name, "action
bar" is probably better) in view mode ; and the "buttons bar" ("save",
"view", "cancel") in edit mode.

> # Also two static bars (Search<top> and Functions<bottom>) will not be very
> useful as it would consume a lot of space and leave relatively less space
> for the main content of the page which can be displayed without scrolling.

For me the search bar should not be static. It's at the top so that
it's easily accessible when you first display a page, since it's
something you often want to reach for immediately (scenario : I open
my wiki, I search for a page, I read it, I comment it, etc.). But when
you start reading the page, it's not so important to have it available
on the screen.

> #  The design proposal by Caty is according to me better but there can be a
> few changes to improve user experience.
> For Example , on the same link above if we observe the image on the left I
> have done away with big XWiki logo which was present earlier with the tabs
> instead inserted a thin horizontal title bar above them. This leads to two
> things:
> 1. Increased space per tab which is very useful since we are targeting a
> 'touchscreen' audience and the larger the tab the more user friendly it is .
> 2. If we decide to maintain the previous the size of the tabs we get room to
> accommodate one more tab/ function.

The action bar buttons don't have to be big. They need to be big
enough so that you can touch them easily even with big fingers, but
that's about it. In my opinion you can 8 without problem.


> What do you think?
>  '-
>> Sergiu Dumitriu
>> http://purl.org/net/sergiu/
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> --
> Thanx,
> Supreet
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