XWiki Firefox extension

Last modified by Ecaterina Moraru (Valica) on 2013/11/08 18:40



Until now I have putted an emphasis on the user experience. If the users don't experience quality throughout the widget, they may conclude there is a lack of quality everywhere. This means we need to pay attention to the quality of icons, images, text, background, and interaction. Each of these elements is equally important (maybe only the data is more important). I think the user interface is more important than having a great implementation (I want to provide a maintainable and extensible implementation).

Objective: The objective of this project is to make relevant information from different wikis accessible in a widget. The widget will be particularly useful at showing information for which users don't have to start the wiki. Any information that saves a user's time makes the widget worth the space it takes.

Getting information from 2 or more wikis. In a widget platform, Sergiu gave me the idea to use a widget instance for every wiki instance, so if I have 4 wikis that I want to checkup, I'll add 4 widgets. For the Firefox addon, things are a little more complicated. I propose giving the possibility to add as many accounts (and wikis) as you want, and then providing a easy way to switch between the wikis. Also we can have a different approach, with displaying information from all the wikis, with different colors, and specifying from what wiki does the information come.

Fresh Data. The widget should display only information that changes often, information that is static for more than a day makes a widget dull. A user looks to a widget to see interesting things that are active.

Choosing the information relevant to individual users. I think a tabbed interface is the best choice for the user interface, with three tabs: General, Watchlist and Search. The General tab will display general information of a wiki: the most recent modifications, the spaces and the tags. Widgets are all about user choice and preference. That's why I propose to have a tab with the information from the Watchlist and offering the possibility to add his own rss feeds. I also think a search tab that will display a list of results is useful.

Interface design. We need to keep the widget simple and aesthetically pleasing, to show only relevant information. I want to use icons, images, and signs as much as possible; they give visual clues of the functionality. The proper use of images makes the widget more user friendly. The design of the widget should not be too obtrusive. The use of buttons and user controls should be avoided at all costs (that's why I preferred using links for refresh and logout actions instead of buttons) Problem. After creating the mockups, it's easy to see that the widget needs to display a lot of information, which takes space. But I don't want to introduce a scrollbar. So the problem is how can we display more informations, more feed entries without causing the design to become obtrusive. Maybe one solution would be some kind of pagination, at list for the watchlist tab...


If the user it's not logged in, in all tabs we will have the same display, a form requesting for the username and password. I was thinking of displaying the wiki logo in the login screen. So the thing right before "Please login..." is an image holder .


Any errors resulting from the login process will get an error message displayed, maybe with an X at the end, to dismiss that message.


In the general tab, I think we should group the information by using horizontal lines. The use of icons gives a friendly look, of course I'll have to work on the icons. By using links instead of buttons for refreshing and logging out I think we make the design friendlier. 


In the watchlist tab we will display rss entries from the watchlist of the logged in user. I also think it's a good idea to give the user the possibility to add his own rss feeds, but only from the Preferences screen.


In the search tab we return a list of pages containing the searched item.


The preferences screen contains the following: an input text for the wiki's url, which will be used for making REST calls for getting the data. The user will have the ability to decide how often the information will update. "Updates number" represents the number of entries to display, we'll have to find another label . Also I don't know if it's a good idea to let the user specify the number of entries to display. The last group gives the user the possibility to add RSS feeds which interest him in the Watchlist tab.


Implementation. I think we can easily implement the widget by using only JS + HTML and CSS. My preferred modality of getting data is through the REST API and RSS feeds.


Tags: gsoc

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