[ckan-discuss] Fwd: [ckan-dev] Proposed changes to dataset and resource WUI UX

Richard Cyganiak richard at cyganiak.de
Tue Nov 22 13:52:12 GMT 2011

I hope it's not too late to give feedback on this, and I hope these comments aren't haven't been already obsoleted by parallel discussion on ckan-dev. David, would you mind forwarding this to ckan-dev?

In general I quite like the proposal. Having a dedicated page for each resource is a good concept, and I like the proposed design of the Resource page.

Comments on the Resource page:

1. A resource is part of a dataset, and that's a very important part of its context. Currently, this context is only visible as a clickable name of the dataset. I feel that this isn't enough. I would propose that below the resource, there's a section with a headline: “This resource is part of the dataset XYZ”. In this section there should be basic information about the resource, perhaps the same as the contents of the main tab of the dataset page. This section should be strongly visibly divided from the main content of the resource page, perhaps as a different-colored box. This would help clarify that this section describes a different entity – the dataset that contains the resource.

Comments on the Dataset page:

1. I feel that the proposal goes too far in moving content off the main page for the resource. In the proposal, almost everything has moved into the “More Information” tab. I think that especially the source URL, the author, and the license should still be visible without having to click on anything. Given that most of this additional information is just a single line per item, I don't see a strong case for moving that off the main page. The only things that potentially take a lot of space are the description and the extra fields. Moving the extra fields off to another tab is ok I guess; for all the other stuff I'm not convinced.

2. I think it makes sense to reduce the amount of description that is visible by default, and show the rest only after clicking “Read more”. But I feel that the description shouldn't be cut arbitrarily after 2-3 lines, as this can result in rather ugly and haphazard presentation. I think it makes more sense to cut it in a predictable spot that gives authors some control, perhaps at the end of the first paragraph.

3. The proposal calls the tabs “Overview” and “More information”. I think that's fairly unhelpful to visitors who arrive from some deep link to the page without being familiar with CKAN. The tabs should at least be descriptive about the kind of information that is to be found after clicking on the tab, such as “Author/Maintainer”, “License”, “Extra Fields”. If there are tabs at all, then more tabs with descriptive labels is better than less tabs with generic labels such as “More information”.

4. As a general UI comment, I note that this proposal would move CKAN to a design that essentially has *three* layers of tabs – “Search/Groups/About” on the top, then “View/Edit/History”, then “Overview/More Information”. I feel that this is not good and I would encourage the exploration of different approaches, perhaps integrating the extra tabs into the “View/Edit/History” tab bar, or working with expandable sections for the Extra fields similar to the description.

5. It's not quite clear from the presentation what would go into the sidebar. I agree that Tags should stay there. I'd prefer if Groups also stayed there.

6. In some earlier version there used to be a little thing in the sidebar that said something like, “This dataset in the CKAN API: JSON/XML/etc”. This was then replaced with a very big API section at the bottom of the main content area. That section was then removed completely, perhaps because it really was a bit large. But now there is no link from the dataset page into the CKAN API at all. I'd like to see the small sidebar box return.

7. CKAN terminology for the Extra fields is really confused throughout the UI. In the current dataset page, it's called “Additional Information”. In the edit page, it's called “Extras”. In much of the documentation, it is called “Extra fields”. I feel that the same term should be used consistently. I think that this term should be “Extra fields”. Admittedly, “Extra fields” isn't very helpful to a casual visitor who is not familiar with the CKAN model, but neither is “Extras” or “Additional information”.


On 14 Nov 2011, at 10:57, David Read wrote:
> John Glover <john.glover at okfn.org> wrote:
> Hi all,
> We are thinking about making a few changes to the view pages for
> datasets and resources and would like some feedback. The main issues
> that we want to address is that the resource info is not prominent or
> clear enough, and there is a lot more resource information that we
> would like to show, but it won't fit on the page with our current
> layout (such as links for cached copies and webstore data API links,
> integrated previews of the data, etc).
> The proposal so far is to create a separate view page for each
> resource, with the dataset view page containing a list of resources
> that looks more like our current search results than the simple 3
> column table that we have currently. This would allow us to include
> extra resource data on these separate pages, and would also allow
> people to provide web links directly to resource information. We are
> also thinking about reducing some of the information that is shown on
> the dataset view page to make things visually less cluttered, mainly
> by most of the content of the right sidebar into a 'more information'
> tab.
> Mockups are available here: http://wiki.ckan.org/Dataset_and_Resource_Pages
> Any thoughts?
> Thanks,
> John
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