Week beginning 4th November 2013

This week was a bit of a short one as I was off on Thursday to attend a funeral and I took the Friday off as well.  On Monday I created another new version of the DSL mock-up interface, based on further feedback from the SLD team.  It’s a combination of elements from versions 6 and 7 and it can be found here:


It’s possible that further changes will be required, even though ‘final’ appears in the URL.

A couple of weeks ago the Course 20 students did some usability testing on the three STELLA apps I have so far made, and I spent a bit of time this week looking into some of the issues that were raised.  Most concerned navigation paths between the exercises and the ‘book’ – it’s a bit of a pain to follow a link from an exercise to the relevant book page as you then have no way of returning to the exercise page with your answers already filled in.  Luckily in HTML5 there’s a handy mechanism for storing user content locally for the browser to access either on subsequent page loads within the same session or during future sessions.  These mechanisms are called ‘localStorage’ and ‘sessionStorage’ and they replace (and greatly improve upon) cookies that were previously used by web sites to store user information at the client side.  I’ve been playing about with the mechanisms this week and they are really very easy to use – just set some variables in JavaScript and they’re accessible across pages.  Very nice!  I’ve so far been investigating how this can be used to ensure the user can return to the relevant exercise page after viewing a book page, but I will also need to expand the exercises as well so that a user’s answers are also stored and can be used to repopulate an exercise when the page is reloaded.  This will be rather tricky to implement but should be doable.

I also spent some time working on the Burns project this week as well, including writing a WordPress ‘cheatsheet’ for the new RA staff and preparing a tutorial session to get them up to speed with using the WordPress interface.  I also made a few tweaks to the website and helped get some video clips published.

There’s not really much else to report this week due to my time off.