Most of my time at the sea sprint was spent working with David Glick and Gonzalo Almeida on the deco layout engine. David already provided a pretty detailed post regarding much of what we worked on so I’ll refer you to his post and the a brief deco demo video David created.

Overall we got a lot done and have a pretty solid start on the layout interface.

Some other things that need to get done:

  • More tiles! collective.cover already provides quite a few; however, they are not fully compatible with default right now
  • Polish the interface
  • Saving layouts, letting users choose layouts to base deco page on
  • Update editing behavior of all plone content so it’s consistent with the way tile content is edited


I also spent some time discussing the UI related aspects of, deco’s layout interface and modals popups with Timo Stollenwerk and Cris Ewing. We were able to have a call with UCLA’s Alice Tseng-Planas, who has had experience with tile editing along with plone’s current content editing interface and the problems she has noticed. Alice is very well versed in user interfaces and the phone call with her was extremely helpful.

Things to think about

First off, there are concerns with moving over to, users will get an inconsistent editing experience when coupled with editing existing plone content type schema. Ideally, we somehow find a way to unify how deco content, plone schema and dublin core content is edited. With deco, we’ll have field tiles which will just render values set on the content and if editing those values is different than editing deco tiles, we’ll have a very inconsistent editing experience for users.

Secondly, we need to be certain that our placement of the toolbar, on top of the page, is optimal for users. Plone users might have to get used to the new location but is it even better for beginners to as well? We have no proof that it will be and some have already voiced concerns. 

Lastly, how do we deal with modal popup forms. For the most part, web users are getting quite used to seeing modal popups on web pages but they can get very confusing since it’s easy to mix work context. It’s especially nasty when Tiny MCE is inserted into a popup and then opens another overlay, over the top of the existing overlay.

Moving forward 

To start addressing our future Plone UI concerns, I’m going to make it one of the priorities of the Plone Conference UI Sprint to create testable UI examples of 1) unified editing interfaces, 2) toolbar placement. Alice said UCLA would be interested in administering user testing for us so we have proof of one interface working better than the other. 

I’ll also be working on providing UI guidelines for Plone. These will include guidelines on how to use modal popups correctly and when they are appropriate. 


Thanks to everyone that made the sprint happen. It was great and will help Plone move forward! 

Filed October 5th, 2012 under Javascript, Technical, Report

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