Thanks so much for sharing this! It's so helpful to have a sense of how users respond to AtoM's interface. A couple of thoughts:
I would be curious to see how the use of the hierarchical menu change when the full-width treeview, available in AtoM 2.3, is used, instead of the default sidebar treeview (which was the only option in AtoM 2.2 and earlier). It is positioned more front and center, uses basic icons, and displays the entire hierarchy in a more familiar nested format - so I wonder if some users might better intuitively understand its purpose and use?
Regarding the icons - an interesting point, worth considering. Some themes out there (such as that used by MemoryBC
, and the ArchivesCanada
theme) include the icons right on the home page with text next to them, as a browse menu. I think if they were also included in the drop-down browse menu available, this would go a long way to making them more recognizable throughout the application.
We have a development wish list item to change the icons from being PNG images to being pure CSS, using the existing FontAwesome icon set used elsewhere in AtoM (such as the main menu in the header bar. This would help accomplish several things. First, it would make it easier to invoke them throughout the application (such as in the Browse menu dropdown) while maintaining AtoM's current level of responsiveness. Second, it would allow custom themes to style the icons to match their theme without having to load and maintain PNG images - instead it would just be CSS, extending the base Dominion theme. Finally, it might allow for further icons in AtoM where appropriate as the same base CSS class could be applied to any of the icons available in FontAwesome - and there are a lot
. It could, I think, also make it easier for users to invoke the icons via HTML and inline CSS in a static page - so users could potentially create their own landing page browse menus with icons right in the base Dominion theme. Greater visibility throughout the application, associated with relevant text, would likely help reduce the confusion your users encountered and make the icons more helpful where they do appear. In any case, ultimately this is a small development project, and we keep hoping to find a sponsor to help us add it to our existing themes as part of custom theme development work we do.
The wall of text is more difficult - we're always getting requests for more features and options. I wonder if more whitespace in the layout/theme might help this feeling of being overwhelmed by information?