Study Descriptive Landing Pages

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August Muench

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May 23, 2013, 2:07:13 PM5/23/13
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Hi Users Community:

I have a question about how a study looks when it is opened by a user. This question revolves around a discussion that we from our Astronomy DVN team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have been kicking around for a while. 

At its most basic the question/discussion point is this:  What should a user see when they arrive at a study?  Currently the user sees the cataloging page. It seems to us that the user should first see some representation of the data itself. 

We have kicked around what the current setup means and what a successful change might look like. For example, we've discussed the fact that the current setup favors an particular audience -- namely the curators of the data. We think that the assumed audience should be other researchers.

We kicked around the idea of simply changing which tab is opened on display of a study. Switching to the "data" tab doesn't really fix things because the overall descriptive material in that section is so minimal as to render the audience clueless about what they are looking at (except that they are looking at data files of some sort).

So we sort of gravitated towards a desire for a descriptive landing page option. Such a page might include:
  1. An automatic rendering of a subset of basic cataloging information (Title, Dates, Author)
  2. An automatic rendering of the data table as a summary.
  3. EITHER an automatic rendering of the study abstract as is OR a new descriptive (HTML ready) text region that lets the user author a new descriptive landing page.
One major motivation for a user creating a NEW descriptive landing text (or creating a rich abstract) is that the user wants to show off some of their Study data by embedding it (example: sound or image file) into a descriptive webpage. Of course they could do this offsite as well provided that they can link directly to a study's data file. 

The main advantage of the descriptive landing page is that whatever the landing page is sets the audience's expectations immediately. Currently the impression one gets is of a data record rather than data itself. I think the proposed landing page would tweak things toward users (read: downloaders) who want to find the data quickly.

Any other thoughts?

 - Gus

Merce Crosas

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May 25, 2013, 6:16:13 PM5/25/13
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I like these suggestions, Gus. Perhaps we could work on some mockups to see what it could look like, and send them to the list to get additional feedback.

Other thoughts?

Merce



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August (Gus) Muench

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May 28, 2013, 9:43:14 AM5/28/13
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Hi Merce,

Other thoughts on dataverse landing pages? I do hope others weigh in
with their users' experiences with browsing and accessing data via
study pages.

- Gus
August Muench
Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
(617) 495-7979
@augustmuench

Merce Crosas

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Jun 3, 2013, 3:37:31 PM6/3/13
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Gus,

From our recent usability testing work with Simmons College, we also learned that "Cataloging Information" was not very meaningful to users. A recommendation was to change it to simply "Study Information". So, one possibility would be for the landing page ("study Information") to include the data citation (which already includes authors, title, date, plus related publications, if available), the summary of the data files and a (rich) abstract. Users could go from there to the full cataloging, and the full data files page and versions.

One question though - when you say "automatic rendering of the data table as a summary", what do you mean? What would this summary contain? We need to make sure that this works for cases when the study contains only one or two files, and for cases when it contains hundreds of files.

Merce

Heppler, Michael

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Jul 16, 2013, 4:46:56 PM7/16/13
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Gus,

I wanted to follow up on this thread, because we are beginning to identify areas we can improve the Dataverse Network, and your email was one of the first one's I recommend we build mock ups for, and test with a focus group, in our latest round of usability testing with the Simmons College students.

Merce had asked for clarification on what you meant by, "automatic rendering of the data table as a summary". If you could expand on that some more, it will help with my mockups.

I like Merce's suggestion for the data citation to be moved to this new landing page. In talking to Gustavo today, I mentioned that I was concerned that a new, HTML-ready descriptive field would be too advanced for some admin's, and make a complicated process of getting started creating a study, that much more complicated. Hopefully, we can find a solution that would reorganize existing information, to create a new landing page. But, I can see that for some more advanced admin's, a more advanced solution can be useful.

After I get some more details from the community about the new landing page, I can put together a mock up on here, to review, and then we can take it to our usability testing.

Thanks.

Mike

August Muench

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Jul 18, 2013, 2:20:22 PM7/18/13
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Hi Mike:

I am going to reply to discrete parts of your email, individually. 

The easy one first:  what is meant by "too advanced for some admins"?  Who are "admins"?  Do you mean scientists/researcher's creating their data studies?  I am trying to determine who you are imaging doing the authoring of theses study landing pages. 

For example, what I was imaging was a place where the authors are scientists who want to create custom HTML descriptions of the study contents. They will very frequently be willing to do interesting things if given the chance, so simpler, less markup related UI is preferred. 

Does that makes sense?

 - Gus



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August Muench
Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
(617) 495-7979
@augustmuench

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Mercè Crosas, Ph.D.
Director of Data Science, IQSS
Harvard University



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Heppler, Michael

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Jul 18, 2013, 2:41:14 PM7/18/13
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Correct, Gus. The "admins" are the researchers/scientists/dataverse admins. Our goal is to make setting up a dataverse, and releasing studies as simple as possible. I am worried that having custom landing page for each study can be burdensome. But maybe this feature can be an advanced option, and the default view is what we currently have, or a revised, simplified view, that would just use the citation and description fields, and not include the custom HTML view.

Mike

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August Muench

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Jul 29, 2013, 3:16:46 PM7/29/13
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I think I can push along this thread by conflating the ideas of a customizable landing page and an automatic rendering of the meta/data tables.

But first:  I completely agree that ingest should not require the user to create a customized landing page. Instead, the platform should autogenerate a simple HTML summary of the cataloging metadata (citation and description fields) and maybe basic file level metadata (number, size, etc). That would be the descriptive landing page.

To my mind autogenerating this HTML landing page would consist of making internal calls against the study metadata and file data store. Those internal calls would probably include a pulling a subset of the cataloging information, the basic summary of the files (number, name, size), and perhaps variable level metadata from indexed data files. 

Those internal calls would return JSON that would be formatted as HTML and plugged into the default descriptive landing page. There would then be a "click here to customize landing page" option that would let advanced users edit the default and create whatever they want.

So what I mean by "automatic rendering" is user level access to those metadata calls returning JSON and/or HTML views.  What I mean is that for any study you can pull one of a set of metadata views:
  • basic subsets (basic, DC, full)
  • table of files (names, sizes)
  • table of file variable or other indexed per file metadata.
Once you create these views for the purposes of creating a default landing page, the user would have access to them to reuse those views in their customized version of the descriptive landing page. Or they could reuse those views on their personal websites. Or where ever. 

And what I would really like to see in those views (and here is where I am sure I've gone off the deep end) is file previews including:
  • Image previews
  • Indexed tables rendered as JSON or HTML views
  • File level metadata (metadata harvested from individual files) as a table.
I am sure that for as clear idea appears in my head, it is equally likely I am leaving out enough information to render it pretty opaque to any of you.  But maybe we can work this out through more discussion.

 - Gus



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jolia aclia

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Aug 29, 2013, 10:22:14 AM8/29/13
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Its Really great Information.
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