Viperlib (Visual Perception Library) is a website & database of media dedicated to the study of the eye & how it works. The Psychology Department of the University of York, who runs the site, wanted to streamline the site’s usage both for admins & users, who supply the majority of the library’s contributions.
The site’s admins contacted ardes to redesign the site & change its focus to something akin to a “social web application” like Facebook: the idea being to make Viperlib the “go-to” place to view & discuss visual perception research.
Refreshed Look & Sampling Media
ardes refreshed the layout based upon the vocabulary used in web-based, community-oriented websites: vibrant colours, clear layout & user-oriented features top the list.
Moreover, we took advantage of a concept called “progressive enrichment”: since not all of today’s browsers have the same display capabilities, we opted to add visually enriching details to those browsers that could view them, ensuring that the site still looked good & was usable in browsers of lesser capabilities. Accordingly, the site makes use of text columns & rounded corners, viewable in Firefox, Safari & Chrome, but the site is still very much usable in Internet Explorer.
Because ViperLib’s library contains thousands of images, presentations & movies, one of the priorities on the home page was to reflect this range. Accordingly the home page displays a randomised selection of the site’s content. However, since not all images are appropriate for the home page, administrators have the option to exclude any contribution.
Social Media Concepts for Academia
ardes provided enhancements for average users such as the ability to “tag” media in ways unanticipated by the administrators; comment on media & new items; converse with one another; and finally, to be able to display the media they’ve supplied to Viperlib and their profiles.
We used advanced programming techniques (called RESTful design) to make the editing of documents on the website—whether whole pages, visual perception media, tags, news items, user accounts or anything else—a consistent & intuitive process. Thus, an admin’s education regarding the management of one section of the site immediately transfers to another section, increasing their confidence and competence.
Moreover, we developed the site to accommodate a simple CMS so that admins can add pages to the site without the need to know HTML. We’ve found that the addition of this feature alone greatly increases the likelihood of regular content updates.
ardes is naturally concerned about scalability—the idea that as a site gains in popularity, it will be able to handle the traffic & content increase without falling over. The new ViperLib was designed with scalability in mind from the outset.
This site holds a tremendous amount of data that we were able to manage and port across, while at the same time we made the site far easier to use & added significant functionality to it. The site is very successful & caters to the needs of approximately 5,000 registered users.
See more examples of our web design.