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Interface Design

We’ve recently been working on some exciting new features for Tactile CRM, which we doing final testing on and hope to release this month. Watch this space.

Whilst Team Tactile have been working on the underlying code, we’ve also been contemplating some interface changes. Now we don’t mess around with mockups in Photoshop, with some of the excellent plugins available for Firefox, including the Web Developer Tool Bar, Firebug, and Stylish, we can quickly and easily work on the interface and see how it actual works in the browser, so we can have some user testing thrown in for free.

One thing we’ve been thinking about is moving to a fixed width design. Mocking this up with the plugins in the browser took about half an hour and the result is below. This may never make it into production, but we’d love your feedback as to which you prefer.

Potential New Tactile Layout

As displays get bigger, presenting text in a fluid layout becomes more of a challenge as it has a tendency to spread out onto a single line. Working with a fixed width also gives us more potential when working on reporting/graphs.

The screenshot below is the current layout for comparision.

Current Tactile Layout

What are your thoughts, and which do you prefer?

5 Comments

  1. [...] Now we don’t mess around with mockups in Photoshop, with some of the excellent plugins available for Firefox , including the Web Developer Tool Bar, Firebug, and Stylish, we can quickly and easily work on the interface and see how it … More [...]

    » Interface Design / 07 Nov 2008 / 1:16 pm

  2. I used to prefer fluid layouts but as screen resolutions increase I'm now finding that fixed or limited width layouts give more control over keeping text lines to a readable length. I also like the adaptive layout technique(http://www.alistapart.com/articles/switchymclayout) but it takes a lot of work to implement. Have you checked your analytics to see what the screen resolutions used by the site users are?

    Dave Kinsella / 07 Nov 2008 / 1:31 pm

  3. Fixed layouts are baaad mmkay? Unless you're using relative units like: "margin: 3%; max-width: 80ex; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; width: 80em;", see http://webvm.net/ I think the value is making Web pages small and fluid so they function on the Desktop as well as small devices like the Android G1.

    Kai Hendry / 07 Nov 2008 / 1:50 pm

  4. Nice work... like it! Andy ;-)

    Andy Evans / 07 Nov 2008 / 1:51 pm

  5. [...] currently playing with some potential new interface tweaks for Tactile CRM, our easy to use CRM/contact and sales management system for small businesses - [...]

    User Interface Degradation - discuss / 20 Nov 2008 / 2:16 pm