HTML Logo by World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org). Click to learn more about our commitment to accessibility and standards.

Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


Drag and drop block layout in CMSs - Comments

Login / Search

 [ Join | More ]
 

Drag and drop block layout in CMSs

Posted 15 June 2011, 11:06 PM

A few CMSs have some really nice block layout tools. I'm thinking Contegro, Percussion, and Wordpress (the former two are very expensive commercial ones, but we track everything).

Because we're on a bit of a usability crusade, I'd really like to implement it for ocPortal. However, when I actually think about it, it is not a model that actually works for anything but trivial cases. Whilst we're trying to make ocPortal user friendly, we're not trying to dumb it down – flexibility is still a very important…

Read more


Avatar
Hi Steve,

Thanks for posting.

We probably serve different kind of scenarios to you. If you've designed Contegro for a specific kind of user who has some specific goals in mind, I can actually see it working great for you. We try and serve the very general case, so these issues probably are more prevalent for us.

Dragging modules in non grid layouts haven't really been a problem that I've run into using Contegro, for draggable items which have too large a size to move other items above or below we've implemented a compact view which hides this large content.

We usually come from a situation where we have a PSD of a design, done without any kind of consideration to the CMS (i.e. from a pure design perspective). Therefore you then need a CMS where you can have all kinds of weird non-regular layouts, and can't let the CMS make any rendering decisions on how to fit stuff in.

permissions all the way down to the module level

That's kind of the problem. The implication here is you need to decide in advance what particular configurations are going to be possible. We might come across a situation for example where we want to only show a Facebook friends block if you're logged in using Facebook, otherwise to show something else. That's a bit of a random example, but we often come up with these situations where things need doing to make the block layout adaptive that we could never have foreseen when designing the software.

Drag and drop in Contegro

Avatar
Hi, I work as a technician for Contegro and would like provide feedback to your blog post.

I hope you don't mind if I talk about some of the thought processes we went through in regards to drag and drop. Implementing this into our CMS did certainly bring up a lot of interesting design and usability challenges which you've listed here, but I think that the intuitiveness of the end result has made all the effort worth it and which I personally agree is cool!

Dragging modules in non grid layouts haven't really been a problem that I've run into using Contegro, for draggable items which have too large a size to move other items above or below we've implemented a compact view which hides this large content.

A lot of the other issues you raised could only be solved by having our system designed from the ground up with draggable modules in mind. Things like the option to have admin overriding stylesheets, an architecture which has permissions all the way down to the module level, all module options appearing in modal windows, and default stylesheets which allow different layout of modules depending where on the page they are dragged to were all designed from the start to make drag and drop work as seamlessly as possible.

Accessibility is definitely a concern and a trade-off when designing a drag and drop platform, but with our target audience of web design professionals it's a considered decision which we weighed up the pros and cons of before moving forward with drag and drop.

The ability of the Contegro to keep working as well as it does on different screen sizes and platforms is something we have exciting plans for, but is also something which I can't talk too much about at this time.

We're also always keeping an interested eye what other CMS vendors are doing and it's great to read others opinions and share our thoughts on design challenges like this. If you have any other questions or discussions please drop me an email at steve@contegro.com

Avatar

Chris Graham said

That's kind of the problem. The implication here is you need to decide in advance what particular configurations are going to be possible.
Actually, what we need is permissions on the block level that are webmaster definable as opposed to dictated by the CMS, with the CMS only defining the default (most common) permissions.

Chris Graham said

We might come across a situation for example where we want to only show a Facebook friends block if you're logged in using Facebook, otherwise to show something else.
This can easily be handled by an attribute of the block that when evaluated (generic term, not implying just use of eval() ) determines if the block should be displayed.

I think the single biggest danger in the design will be if its made so that its so rigid that the drag and drop just becomes a paint-by-numbers type system with no flexibility.

Avatar
This can easily be handled by an attribute of the block that when evaluated (generic term, not implying just use of eval() ) determines if the block should be displayed.

That's an interesting solution actually, I never thought of that :).

There are too many online users to list.
Control functions:

Quick reply   Contract

Your name:
Your message: