May 28th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

I’ve just rolled out a brand new look for the individual mug pages (that’s an instance of a particular mug in someone’s collection) and the mug template pages (that’s the page that stores the common information for all instances of a particular mug). As an example, here is the mug template page for Hawaii Kai Hula Girl With Tiki Mask Mug, and here is an individual mug page for the Hawaii Kai Hula Girl With Tiki Mask Mug that belongs to ScarabaTiki.

In the past, these two pages were nearly identical, and they still have a lot in common. There have been two downsides to that. The first was that it wasn’t always obvious which of the two you were looking at — a mug in someone’s collection, or a mug template. That means it was also not obvious what information on the page was coming from the mug’s owner vs. the Ooga-Mooga mug template. The second downside is that there was a lot of information shoehorned into one page, making it a challenge to add any new features or information — some of the links and info made more sense being on just one or the other kind of page, which would also give more room for future new features.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s different, to help your eyes get adjusted… we’ll start with the Mug Template page:

Item name is moved up top
It used to just say “Mug Template” up top, now the mug’s (or other item’s) name takes pride of place, as it should be.

Examples of the item in Ooga-Mooga
On the upper-right side, there are now up to three random examples of that item represented in collections in Ooga-Mooga, with a link to view more (if there are more). This is a great way to see at a glance the natural variations in a mug.

Action buttons!
There were three actions given to you as text links before: Add Mug to your Collection, Add Mug to your Wishlist, and Add Mug to your Private Favorites. They were kind of buried in the page, and their texty nature made them blend right in. Now, they’re given to you as big ol’ buttons, easy to spot!

Some info has switched columns
Some of the information on the page has moved from the right column to the left column, and vice versa. There were two benefits to this: one is that the page just lays out better this way, but more significantly, the information you are most likely to be looking for is now in the right column, where your eyes are likely to drift. One of the benefits of living with a UI designer… Hanford pointed out that the eye generally will go down a left column before then going down the right column, but because there’s that big mug picture at the top of the left column, it drives your eye right down the right column first, so that’s the place to put the good stuff. It’ll feel a little flip-floppy at first.

Improved Recent Sightings in the Wild section
There are additional notes that can optionally be entered for Price Sightings — stuff like noting what # a mug was, if an eBay auction ended with Buy It Now, the condition of the mug you saw, the specific antique mall where you saw it, etc. The only way to see it was to float your cursor over the price sighting — a tooltip would pop up with the info. Well, that’s just silly. I did it originally to save space, but I have a better way now — by default, the page now only shows the three most recent price sightings, and it’s easy to expand the table to see all of the sightings if you want. Now that I’ve got the room, sighting notes are displayed, too.

This Item for sale or for trade in Ooga-Mooga
Okay, why hasn’t this always been here? This is the first example of how I’m able to use the new page layout to roll out a cool new feature. But seriously, this should have always been there. Each mug template page now has a list of all the mugs of that type that are currently being offered for sale or for trade in Ooga-Mooga. The best way to get connected with the mug of your dreams is still to add it to your Wishlist — that way, Ooga-Mooga will notify you (by email, if you want) when one comes up for sale or for trade, but you can also just browse at a glance this way.

Alright, now let’s take a look at an individual mug page:

Profile with picture
On an individual item page, the mug’s owner’s mug is right there — the owner’s profile, with picture, is an instant visual cue that you are looking at a mug in someone’s collection. All the information that the mug’s owner entered is right there in that box, and hopefully it’s a little more obvious where that information came from.

Streamlined info
I removed some of the information from a particular mug’s page, because it makes more sense to have it on just the mug template page. One of those sometimes less is more things. To see examples of this mug in other people’s collections, just go to the mug template page for that mug, by clicking on the mug’s name at the top of the page. Also, the mugs for sale or for trade are only on the mug template page.

Lots of little tweaks & improvements
I’ve also made about a hundred teeny little changes that just make the page look better and easier to read. You probably won’t notice them individually, but hopefully the overall feel of the page is a little nicer, a little cleaner. Now that the pages are cleaned up a bit, I feel more comfortable working on some other new improvements and featues I have in mind.

Whew! That’s a whole lot of changes. I ordinarily like to make small changes, because too much change at once brings out a very natural and normal “Change bad!” response in all of us. But the nature of these changes meant I really had to revamp the whole page at once. If you have any questions about how it all works, as always, please feel free to contact me at humuhumu@ooga-mooga.com, or on Yahoo IM or AIM, where my screen name is oogamoogamug.

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