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CODE4LIB  September 2014

CODE4LIB September 2014

Subject:

Re: LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

From:

Michael Schofield <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:38:13 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (346 lines)

You folks are on ball.

Joshua sez: "For instance, right now in 2.0 you can create templates (these are great btw). But there's no way to my knowledge to limit editors to using several of them. I'd like to create "official" one, two, and three column templates for our library. However, my options are either to lock all guides site-wide into a single template, or to allow access to all templates, which includes the default templates that do not match very well with our site's branding.
I could see Springshare fixing this in the future, as it is a relatively small tweak to an existing feature. (Okay, it would probably require database table changes, but not huge ones.)

Another big peeve for me is that there is no way to limit the types of HTML that go into a rich text box. This means editors are free to add whatever whacky styling they want. We have a lot of guides in our system (hopefully not for much longer) that contain random font sizes, colors, weights, and underlining. I can only assume that people are creating content in MS Word and pasting it into LibGuides because it is full of all sorts of deprecated HTML tags, manual line breaks and non-breaking spaces, and inline styles."

These are the two big ones for me. I think Springshare's plans for robust templating are in line with your thinking. I'm in a similar boat: I want to make, say, three templates available - and lock everyone down to those. I am not too worried about LG2's out-of-the-box accessibility issues. Since you have control over [most] of the markup, you can write your own skip links, semantic tags, add aria roles when necessary, even schema microdata. There isn't granular control over {{guide_nav}}, but if you're feeling really gung-ho you can do a little DOM scripting and rewrite the menu as needed. Since LG2 is almost solely a javascript application*, you can hook-up handlebars / mustache templates, or even angular.

I do worry that there seems to be zero no-js fallback. We had an issue where a bad script we wrote years ago carried over from LG1 and broke the entire editor. There was no way to delete that box, because there were no editing tools with javascript disabled. Something to think about.

Most importantly, I want to strip almost all of the options from LG2's WYSIWYG. IDEALLY we could swap it out with a markdown editor, so staff couldn't haplessly bold things, but if we could just get rid of the font options entirely I'd be jumping for joy. :)

Michael

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Joshua Welker
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:27 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

I agree with Alex. The LibGuides 2.0 platform is a big step up from 1.0 and does a great job at what it is designed to do--easy creation of static content, simple templating, and reusing common data elements like links, databases, boxes, etc. The reusability of content IMO is the killer feature for LibGuides that isn't really present in any other platform and is very non-trivial to implement in a custom application. The LibGuides platform is very fast and reliable, and Springshare provides great support.

Here are the main drawbacks I've encountered:
-----
1. Inflexible menu building tools. The guide level navigation menu tools are very functional but don't provide many options for customization aside from cosmetic. There is also no way that I know of to build a site-wide navigation menu except to copy/paste raw HTML into your site's header section. That means none of my colleagues can edit the menu, as they are not HTML-savvy, which negates the usefulness of a CMS in this area.

2. Lack of a plugin ecosystem and any sort of server-side scripting. This is a major one for me. This limits the site to mostly static, manually-added content. Yes, you can embed RSS feeds and iframes and javascript widgets from third-party sites, but if you want to do anything more complicated than that, you are out of luck.

3. Lots of tedious copy/paste work is required. Okay, not copy/paste per se, but if I want to change the boxes that appear in the sidebar column in a large group of guides, I am going to have to manually add and remove boxes on every single page.

4. Admin controls are not very granular. With most aspects of editing a guide, you either have the option of locking down styles and templates completely (and oh your colleagues will howl) or allowing everything (and oh your eyeballs will scream). Some of these things could very well be improved in the future, and some probably will not.

For instance, right now in 2.0 you can create templates (these are great btw). But there's no way to my knowledge to limit editors to using several of them. I'd like to create "official" one, two, and three column templates for our library. However, my options are either to lock all guides site-wide into a single template, or to allow access to all templates, which includes the default templates that do not match very well with our site's branding.
I could see Springshare fixing this in the future, as it is a relatively small tweak to an existing feature. (Okay, it would probably require database table changes, but not huge ones.)

Another big peeve for me is that there is no way to limit the types of HTML that go into a rich text box. This means editors are free to add whatever whacky styling they want. We have a lot of guides in our system (hopefully not for much longer) that contain random font sizes, colors, weights, and underlining. I can only assume that people are creating content in MS Word and pasting it into LibGuides because it is full of all sorts of deprecated HTML tags, manual line breaks and non-breaking spaces, and inline styles.
These are accessibility problems on all sorts of levels and make applying site-wide CSS a major chore. If I could just filter out tags like <font>, <u>, and <center>, along with disallowing inline styles, it would go a long way. But this would be a brand new feature requiring a pretty big under-the-hood change. I don't see it happening any time soon considering priority right now (rightly) is finalizing the 2.0 apps.
-----

These issues aren't deal-breakers for many use cases, but they do make it difficult to make the leap to using LibGuides as your primary website.
Smaller libraries are often content to having relatively simple sites, but larger libraries that have dedicated IT personnel usually want to do some more complicated things. Larger libraries also have a lot more people using the LibGuides site and a lot more content, which exacerbates most of the problems mentioned above.

At our library, the balance I struck is to use a Ruby on Rails app as our main website that controls our home page, navigation menus, and complex applications--forms with business rules, new books feeds, news feeds, interactive maps, library hours, and more coming down the pipe. Then we use LibGuides for static content, like library policies and research guides.
Once we launch our 2.0 site, they will both be branded identically. The only hiccup at this point is that I have to manually copy HTML from the main website's header and footer and paste them into LibGuides each time those sections change. I am looking into creating a workaround using javascript to keep the two in sync. Cross-site scripting restrictions make this sort of interaction a lot more difficult.

Josh Welker


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:50 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

Brad,

Sure, it's feasible. And it's much easier to do with LibGuides v2 than with v1. Whether it's a good idea or not depends on why you're considering building your site on LibGuides. Springshare provides amazing support, but the platform itself is limited.

There's a trade-off to make regarding flexibility, complexity, etc.
There's no efficient workflow that I've found. (There's no SSH/SFTP, no ability to tweak the CMS, etc. I'm currently drafting a description of my workflow, in the hopes of receiving suggestions for improvement.) A lot of what we do on LibGuides is a pretty stylesheet, precise content guidelines, and a lot of copy-pasting.

I'm not trying to dissuade you. LibGuides has been incredible for us. I shudder to think where we would be without it. But we decided to build our site on LibGuides due to (ahem) local operational constraints.

AFAICT, it seems that the bulk of your website is already on LibGuides.
If you're reasonably happy with it, maybe take the plunge and see if it works for you :)

Hope this helps,
Alex

On 2014-09-22 23:56, Brad Coffield wrote:
> Alex,
>
> Thanks so much for sharing your new site built in LG2. I love it.
> Simple, attactive, but very useable. It's very interesting to see an 
> honest-to-goodness "this actually looks like a real website and not 
> like just some libguide" library website built using lg. More and more 
> I'm seriously considering LG2 as a feasible option for our library site.
> Thanks!
>
> Brad
>
> On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 3:29 PM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I was just curious in general. I'm always interested in data on web 
>> usability.
>>
>> Josh Welker
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
>> Of Alex Armstrong
>> Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:34 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>
>> I was actually a bit coy in my previous post. Our old site was 
>> reasonably battle-hardened for usability. It's not like we 
>> transitioned from three-column layouts and guides with three rows of 
>> tabs or anything.
>>
>> I'm still trying to come up with tasks for testing. I suspect a lot 
>> of the big stuff will be OK while a lot of the small stuff will be off.
>> It's been really hard to test the latter. (And there is a glitches in 
>> our analytics so I'm also flying a bit blind.)
>>
>> Is there something in particular you're wondering about?
>>
>> Alex
>>
>>
>> On 09/19/2014 07:50 PM, Joshua Welker wrote:
>>> Nice job. I like the simplicity. Let me know how the usability 
>>> testing goes.
>>>
>>> Josh Welker
>>>
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
>>> Of Alex Armstrong
>>> Sent: Friday, September 19, 2014 10:28 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>>
>>> Long time lurker, second time poster (if memory serves).
>>>
>>> We launched our new library website yesterday, which is entirely 
>>> built on LibGuides 2. You can see it here: http://library.acg.edu/
>>>
>>> For simplicity’s sake we used only two templates:
>>>
>>>        a full width template for single page guides (e.g., our home 
>>> page).
>>>        a content template that uses ~2/3 of the page for the content 
>>> and
>>> ~1/3 for guide navigation.
>>>
>>> There are no dropdown menus anywhere, for the reasons people 
>>> mentioned, nor do we use two columns for content. (Some of the 
>>> landing pages use a small grid, but that’s about it.)
>>>
>>> We use LG’s built-in second column wrapped around an `<aside>` and 
>>> placed at the bottom of the main content for related info. Scroll to 
>>> the bottom of this page to see what I mean:
>>> http://library.acg.edu/citations/apa
>>>
>>> I decided to keep the navigation menu on the right to emphasize the 
>>> main content. My guess is that this won’t work very well for 
>>> sections with more narrative. My inspiration (GOV.uk) uses wizard 
>>> navigation, which
>>> LG2 supports. That may be a way of handling this issue.
>>>
>>> I put the site together with almost no usability testing. I’ll have 
>>> to grab some students in the coming weeks and find out how bad 
>>> things really are :)
>>>
>>> You can see a slightly abstracted version of the content template, 
>>> as well as other useful LG2 thingies in this gist:
>>> https://gist.github.com/alehandrof/9f083aa03c287931d9f0
>>>
>>> The design was written in Sass on top of an imported and customized 
>>> Bootstrap 3.2. There's an option in the LG admin to disable the 
>>> default Bootstrap and I only had to write a few hundred lines to 
>>> override aspects of the default LG stylesheets. Because I built the 
>>> design on top of Bootstrap there was very little tweaking necessary 
>>> for the admin side to work properly.
>>>
>>> Hope this helps,
>>> Alex
>>>
>>> --
>>> Alex Armstrong
>>> E-Resource/Reference Assistant
>>> The American College of Greece Libraries, John S. Bailey Library
>>> 6 Gravias Street | GR 153 42 Agia Paraskevi | Athens, Greece
>>> Phone: +30 210 600 9800 ext. 1274, 1267 | Fax: +30 210 601 7795
>>> Email: [log in to unmask]
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2014-09-19 12:31 AM, Joshua Welker wrote:
>>>> That's a good idea. I changed the template using Bootstrap classes 
>>>> so that the sidebar will appear below the main column on small 
>>>> screens (< 1024px roughly). But I might consider hiding the side 
>>>> completely.
>>>>
>>>> Josh Welker
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
>>>> Behalf Of Michael Schofield
>>>> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 1:55 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>>>
>>>> I love your minimal template. We're experimenting with similar 
>>>> minimalism.
>>>> If you all can't agree on the existence of the right column, you 
>>>> might compromise and use media queries to display: none; until the 
>>>> screen is sufficiently wide. E.g., 1140px so it will only pop on 
>>>> widescreen monitors and avoid almost all tablet orientations.
>>>>
>>>> Good work.
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
>>>> Behalf Of Joshua Welker
>>>> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 2:43 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>>>
>>>> I am in the middle of building a very minimalist LibGuides 2.0 
>>>> template to go with our new website. Here's the current status:
>>>> http://ucmo.beta.libguides.com/test-guide.
>>>>
>>>> We are still torn on whether to have any side columns. We currently 
>>>> have a right column just for important site-wide information. We 
>>>> used the right rather than left with the rationale that it is not 
>>>> an essential navigation menu and that we didn't want it to be the 
>>>> first thing users notice. Content should come first. The fact that 
>>>> users will not focus heavily on the right-hand content is actually 
>>>> a good thing in this instance.
>>>>
>>>> I go back and forth on whether to scrap the side column. I am 
>>>> pretty adamant that there should only be one column for page 
>>>> content, although I am prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of 
>>>> outrageous fortune.
>>>>
>>>> Josh Welker
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
>>>> Behalf Of Brad Coffield
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 5:24 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>>>
>>>> Benjamin: "Unfortunately we have authors who want *three* columns 
>>>> plus left-nav..." LOL
>>>>
>>>> Margaret: Love the floating nav on that page. It's exciting that 
>>>> we'll be able to leverage Bootstrap with our guides now. Moving the 
>>>> entire library website to libguides CMS is looking more and more 
>>>> promising.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Some more thoughts:
>>>>
>>>> I'm no UX expert but is it generally agreed that left-nav is the 
>>>> much better choice? It seems like it to me. Given current web wide 
>>>> conventions etc.
>>>>
>>>> One big issue to switching to left-nav in v2 is the amount of work 
>>>> it's going to take everyone to convert all guides to the new layout.
>>>> Which is one of those things that both shouldn't matter (when 
>>>> looking at it in a principledness way - that is, "Whatever is best 
>>>> for the patrons! No matter
>>>> what!) but also does matter (in a practical way - that is, "OMG we 
>>>> are all so busy being awesome").
>>>>
>>>> But part of me, when looking at other people's guides and my own, 
>>>> wonders if three columns isn't just a little TOO much for the user.
>>>> How is one supposed to scan the page? What's the prioritized 
>>>> information? For a couple years now I've been eschewing three 
>>>> columns whenever possible. Do others agree that three columns can 
>>>> be info overload?
>>>>
>>>> Brad
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 4:32 PM, Benjamin Florin 
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> We've been tinkering with our LibGuides template in preparation 
>>>>> for an eventual redesign of our site and guides, e.g.:
>>>>>
>>>>>        http://libguides.bc.edu/libraries/babst/staff
>>>>>
>>>>> Some of our guide authors weren't happy with the LibGuides 
>>>>> side-navigation's single-column limitation, so we made our own 
>>>>> template, moved {{guide_nav}} off to a left column, and wrote our 
>>>>> own styles to make the default top-nav display as left-nav. We've 
>>>>> found that a 50/50 or 75/25 split next to the left nav looks 
>>>>> pretty good.
>>>>>
>>>>> Unfortunately we have authors who want *three* columns plus 
>>>>> left-nav...
>>>>>
>>>>> In general the LibGuides templating has felt modern and easy to 
>>>>> work with.
>>>>>
>>>>> Ben
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM, Brad Coffield < 
>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm finally diving into our Libguides v2 migration and I'm 
>>>>>> wondering if anyone would be willing to share their 
>>>>>> experience/choices regarding templating. (Or even some code!)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm thinking left-nav is the way to go. Has anyone split the main 
>>>>>> content column into two smaller columns? Done that with a 
>>>>>> column-width-spanning
>>>>> box
>>>>>> atop the main content area? Any other neato templates ideas?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> We are in the process of building a "style guide" for all 
>>>>>> libguides
>>>>> authors
>>>>>> to use. And also some sort of peer-review process to help enforce 
>>>>>> the
>>>>> style
>>>>>> guide. I'm thinking we are going to want to restrict all authors 
>>>>>> to left-nav templates but perhaps the ideal solution would be to 
>>>>>> require left-nav of all but to have a variety of custom left-nav 
>>>>>> templates to choose from.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Any thoughts are much appreciated!
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Warm regards,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Brad
>>>>>>
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Brad Coffield, MLIS
>>>>>> Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian Saint Francis 
>>>>>> University
>>>>>> 814-472-3315
>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Brad Coffield, MLIS
>>>> Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian Saint Francis 
>>>> University
>>>> 814-472-3315
>>>> [log in to unmask]
>
>

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