How should the Front End look?

We are currently very busy building on and extending PurpleMash.com– If you are not sure what I mean by that, why not go and visit http://purplemash.com? Purplemash is an upgrade from our Online Creative Tools and so much more. As of around April the 19th, subscribers will be able to use the tools shown below, alongside 3 additional titles: Maths Games, Simple City and 2Type. They will also be able to use all of our free Apptivities, including Paint and Make, Publish Projects, Display and many more. Of course you don’t need to subscribe to use the Apptivities!!

But now we need your help – we are having lots of discussions around the Look and Feel of the new site, it needs to be simple, navigable and memorable. What would work for you in the classroom? And what would suit your most technophobic teachers and your ICT loving kids? And remember, what may well look good on your widescreen monitor, may not look so good when squashed down on a smaller resolution.

Please look through the screen shots below and give us your views.

The tools currently look like this:

Creative Online Tools from 2Simple

Our Beta site for Purplemash looks like this:

 

Purplemash

 

Some of you may have seen some of the mock-up designs that have been floating round, such as the ones below, which is by no means finished, but is clearly a step on from the shot above:

 

Purplemash from 2simplesoftware

 
Purplemash from 2simple.com
In the views above you can see we have brought about greater organisation, but this is not there yet. What are your thoughts?

What should the colour scheme be?

How do we organise the menus?

How can we ensure it is easy to navigate?

What have we missed?

Please write your views very clearly in the comment box for this post – as you probably know by now – we are listening.

Perhaps you might want to share your vision of what Mash should look like, please put a link to this image in the comment box or email it to me. I look forward to hearing your views

Anthony at 2simple . com

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10 Responses to How should the Front End look?

  1. Nic says:

    Hi I like the black – looks cool.

    Menus are tough – but I think somewhere between the two new ideas you have. Like the seprate areas for tools and apptvities.

    Bottom idea – search looks a bit squashed. But like the layout.

    So perhaps my work, tools and apptivities – like the search function as well.

  2. Di Cox says:

    Hi – love the way you are pushing on with the online tools. I like the black, but I think once all the panels have content it will be very busy and a bit samey all over the page – hard to explain where you want children to click . Maybe different coloured outlines would help with this. Or maybe simplify the six panels to be six clearly differentiated ‘buttons’ that expand when you mouse over them – I like the rounded edges, very iPhone-ish. Will you have audio cues for non-readers too?
    Keep up the good work!

  3. The colours black / purple are striking and distinctive. They are also a bit oppressive too though. We’re going through some dyslexia training at school at the moment and apparently off white (buff) coloured backgrounds are the best to allow dyslexic people to read the text clearly. I am considering altering our website to this background colour – but I don’t know whether it would work for purplemash though.

    I think the page needs to have a “template examples” / “My work” section – like online tools does. Maybe in the same area as it currently is found on the OT page.

    The OT activities can only be currently found by scrolling through several ‘pages’ of templates. Could these be shown at the bottom of the screen like they currently are in OT? Above these maybe some additional tabs with Literacy / Numeracy / Creative / PSHE / labels that could take you through to sections of relevant template activities. This would mean that templates would have to be labelled though.

    In fact – the OT design could be used – with the login at the top, then on the left of the screen showing latest or featured templates / apptivities available, whilst on the right “my work”. At the bottom of the screen you could show icons for template areas, and below that the gourmet options (greyed out if not logged in to the service).

    Just a few thoughts!

  4. Gill says:

    It would be useful for a ‘You are logged on as ….’ to be place on the screen so that the children know (and me) that they have logged on correctly.

  5. Eylan says:

    BrainPOP UK has a Front End that kids, parents and teachers love, (oh, and we have a pretty cute back end too!)

    However, it is fair to say that our home page breaks all sorts of ‘rules’ about design. What it does do is invite exploration and discovery in a visual and fun way. Just like the movies and resources on our site – http://www.brainpop.co.uk

    This is (if we are honest) partly a series of happy accidents.

    Great design rarely comes out of focus groups, committees, and huge consultations. Our advice is to be bold, and be prepared to adapt and iterate regularly.

    From what I have seen and played with in PurpleMash – it looks to be an awesome resource! Teachers are going to love it – and find lots of ways to use it.

    Our advice is to let them love the resource, and then show them you can adapt to their needs, and listen to their ideas over the life of the site – not just at the launch.

    Good luck guys!

  6. It been great to see all the comments appear here since my post late last night. Thanks to Nic, Di, Simon and Gill – we have read your thoughts and they have been noted.

    Eylan – I agree about Focus groups and comittees and happy accidents. Thank you too for your kinds words about Mash.

    We are still at the drawing board/ laptop at the momemnt and your ideas and encouragment is helping us.

    Lets see what comes out of the next few weeks!

  7. Simon Haughton says:

    I’ve had a quick go at designing how I would see a good front-end page – http://twitpic.com/1b2meu In it, the grey boxes in the APPtivities section would be for logos of the different Apps (Paint projects, publish projects etc.) and the work examples section would be replaced by ‘My Work’ when a user logs in.

    The only feature I’ve not put in is groups as I don’t know how you intend to implement this yet – perhaps this could replace the ‘Latest’ box when logged in, or another tab added to the ‘My Work’ section.

    Anyway, hope my idea is of some help.

  8. Linda says:

    Can’t wait for the release – Phil did a great whirlwind tour of your intent and some of the apps for us last week.

    Like the black – says techie to kids, don’t like the scrolling app tivities menu,. Scrolling has to be the least effective search mechanism there is and you know how quickly a teacher needs to be able to find a resource. I like Simon’s big simple search box!

  9. Ian says:

    The move away from client software towards online applications and creative tools is a bold one. In making this move take care that you maintain your well established and well respected “brand image” of 2Simple and the colours and navigation devices already familiar to both teachers and children. However, and this may seem a contradiction, some change is also desirable as this is a new suite of products which open up 2Simple to a potentially even wider audience of users.

    Teachers will love what can be done with PurpleMash but they are a “conservative” user group; children less so, but familiarity over navigation is important for ease of use. Keeping it Simple has been a principle of 2Simple from the earliest days and is equally important in these developments.

    Keep scrolling to a minimum, keep mouse click requirements as small as possible; both obvious but often overlooked. Breaking up the screen into zones with different purposes works well, but might mean that at times some zones appear empty and waste valuable screen space.

    More comments than suggestions.

  10. Pingback: The Front End – Latest « 2simpleant's Blog

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