During the last months, Jahia’s core team has been working hard to create a totally different User Interface for Jahia Digital Experience Manager. We interviewed François Pral, Jahia DX’s product owner and Lee Bowyer, UI / UX product designer at Jahia to understand what is called internally “project anthracite” but is only for you the User Interface you are working with, daily.
What was the main reason to perform this major UI reshuffle?
François: Jahia DX interface has been a major asset for our solution for years. But as time went by, it became a bit old school and didn’t integrate the current features as weel as “look and feel” most of our clients are now accustomed. It was finally time for a change: project anthracite was born !
What are the principles that have guided the conception of this new UI?
François: The first one was: "Lee, what can be done?" As a product designer, Lee is actually the best man to conceive and create a user interface that suits the current and future needs of Jahia’s customers.
Lee: Simplifying the user experience. This has been achieved by removing visual clutter, reducing multiple ways of achieving the same goal and better hierarchical organisation.
How complex was this UI reshuffle? Given the architecture of Jahia DX, how would you describe the project : quite simple or a bit complex?
François: The difficulty was to add a CSS layer on top of GWT, but this toolkit not designed for that. So yes, some people might say project anthracite is "only CSS stuff", but as it is actually applied on code not designed to handle CSS codes the project has been pretty complex. We also had a limited time and developers’ resources to achieve the project that could not disrupt the improvments that were scheduled to be done.
Lee: Given the extend of features that are used in our Digital Experience Platform creator software, the reshuffle of Jahia DX’s user interface was a complex project, which is good but at the same time frustrating! The upside was a really challenging project, but technical and time constraints meant - as usual! - it was frustrating at times not be able to go as far as we would have liked. So a fair answer to the question is: “it was simply a complex project” :-)
What gains may Jahia customers get from this new UI?
François: Quite simple: a contemporary design is proven to reduce stress and improve the sight of users, which lead to happier contributors, and happier contributors work more and better, which induce a better productivity for the company they work for!
Lee: First, customers, using an efficient and clear user interface will be able to increase their productivity and reduce their frustration. Boiling Jahia DX to its elements has made space for the UI to breathe and user content to pop.
Secondly, simpler interface means customers can expect to spend less time guessing and more time working on their task at hand. It creates a reduced learning curve makes it easier and more pleasurable to get on board.
What's next? Will the Jahia DX' UI continue to evolve in the coming months? If it is the case, what kind of evolution can we expect?
François: In the upcoming months, we will provide bug fixes on this user interface but we have a long term desire to rework the whole DX interface.