October 19, 2016
Design and documentation posted for:
- Forms: Errors and Validation
- Forms: Expand/Collapse Section
- Form Field Layouts
- Forms: Progressive Disclosure
Angular and Core code posted for:
Design and documentation posted for:
Angular and Core code posted for:
Think about a design system as a tamagotchi. To keep it alive once your turn it on, you need to take care of it: keep it clean, feed it and make it sleep, almost like a living creature.
That’s why supporting and maintaining a design system can be more challenging than initially creating it. A smart strategy, really good rules and a lot of love and patience is the only way to guarantee long-term success.
“A critical part of design system maintenance is ensuring that UI patterns stay up to date, embrace evolving design and development best practices, and continue to address the real needs of the organization.” – Brad Frost
To govern the Vanilla Design System, the Canonical web team developed a fascinating decision tree and PatternFly took a similar approach.
The goal for PatternFly is to deliver a set of common and modular UI components. The goal of the PatternFly decision tree is to identify common components and that we have all the parts to build them.
To define what makes a component common, we chose to follow a simple general rule: if two or more projects using PatternFly are asking for the same component, then it’s considered common.
To determine whether or not a component is modular requires deconstructing the component into smaller blocks to understand the underlying structure of that component. That way we can ensure we are building reusable parts instead of reinventing the wheel every time we introduce a new pattern.
The three outcomes are for a pattern to be modified, added, or removed from the design system.
This process doesn’t only apply to new patterns. We are running our existing components through the decision tree.
“A design system needs ongoing maintenance, support, and tender loving care for it to truly thrive.” – Brad Frost
We will have be having regular assessments to make sure components stand the test of time and modify or remove them as needed.
Just like PatternFly, the decision tree is not set in stone. Both are living resources that will evolve as we care for them and give them love.
As you may have noticed, there is a new repository on the Patternfly Github page called patternfly-design.
The purpose of the repo is to house the designs and documentation for Patternfly and to be the center of design contributions going forward. Patternfly-design will address a number of issues with the old design contribution model and open up several possibilities for the future of design with Patternfly.
Previously, our design contributions were created and stored on Google Drive, which worked well for writing and adding graphics, but had several limitations. Google Drive’s default document sharing settings made viewing and collaboration difficult and reduced discovery of new content. Additionally, a fluid folder structure meant that new documents could be easily misplaced.
The new system of storing files on Github means that all Patternfly design documents are publicly viewable by contributors. Anyone can view, suggest edits to, and comment on designs without needing to be given file permissions. Comments and updates are tracked and available as well as past versions of designs, so it will now be possible to look back through the history of a design and view the changes it has undergone as well as the discussions surrounding those changes. New design documentation written in markdown will enable us to streamline the process of updating patternfly.org because we can now automatically generate web pages whenever a pattern is added or changed without the need for manual entry. Finally, the new system encourages contributors to make use of the powerful version control features provided by Git.
There are numerous reasons to use git with design work. First of all, your work is backed up so you never have to worry about spending hours re-creating a file that got corrupted, deleted, or otherwise lost. Second, older versions of files are easily retrievable just in case you decide that you really preferred the work you had yesterday and have long since overwritten. Lastly, the ability to create multiple branches of your projects removes the need for folders full of files with names like “Design v4 copy copy.psd”.
Because of all the benefits that Git brings, “Git for designers” guides are in no short supply on the internet now, and many of them do a good job of explaining the fundamental concepts behind version control systems. The guides tend not to prescribe workflow conventions, however, because every project using Git is organized in a different way and has different needs. In order to remove this final layer of haziness, we have put together some guides that outline the recommended patternfly-design workflows and repository conventions in a visual way that aligns well both with the way that many designers conceptualize things and with the highly structural nature of Git.
In addition to the graphical guides, the patternfly-design wiki contains a series of walkthroughs that provide step-by-step instructions for setting up your work environment, making a contribution, and working with multiple branches.
Hopefully all you Patternfliers will find these resources to be helpful and enlightening as we transition into this powerful new contribution process. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments, and your designs in the patternfly-design repo!
Typography in Application Design
Great application design relies on very limited use of graphical elements, the designer relies primarily on type to display data and establish the information hierarchy. PatternFly was designed to present clear, unobstructed content is critical to enable users to complete their tasks. Choosing the correct typeface and defining the right styles is not only important for users doing their job but it also is the primary element for setting the tone of the application.
Switching to Overpass
The current PatternFly typographical system is set on Open Sans, which was in the PatternFly beginnings an open project well maintained by Google. Google has since moved on and so have we. We chose to switch to Overpass because is important that we utilize the resources which have developed through open source methodologies. Red Hat has developed ‘Overpass’ as the corporate web typeface based on ‘Interstate’ which has set the tone as the brand standard. Overpass has been tested throughout Red Hat web properties and has been proven as a great alternative. It is time to make the switch.
There are many considerations when choosing the correct font specifically for application design such as: language coverage, weight variety, character shape, hinting, etc. Overpass has recently been extended to include two new weights and hinted to work great on low resolution screens. This will make the application content more accessible and allow the designers to continue relying on type as the primary way to establish the information hierarchy in our applications.
Moving to Overpass does have its challenges. The primary challenge is that it does not offer as much character coverage as Open Sans. To combat this we are mirroring the Red Hat web properties strategy of relying on a well tuned system font stack to display the correct characters for any language.
Making the transition
PatterFly is going through a period evolution. There is no better time to make this change then now. We are taking this opportunity to make changes to our designs which includes changing to Overpass as well as increasing the base sizing and spacing. This change is a substantial effort which we plan to roll out in the next major PatternFly release.
Base on the document of Terminology and Wording
PatternFly encourages users to adopt much more emotional descriptions to show the time and date in the application. In most cases when users created a blog or document, their activities like attached / updated / followed / commented / liked / unliked…, we can use the following ways to display time:
In some environments, your application may need to show a correct time information, like a meeting time or a event time… Here are some recommended examples to show the correct time.
More information about Date Formats, please check Terminology and Wording of PatternFly
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Thank you~
The PatternFly team is working on the conceptual design for multi column forms. However, this concept is slightly different from other patterns the team has worked on.
We are exploring if there is ever a good use case to use multi-column forms, and if so what are they?
Forms are a valuable tool because they offer a variety of layouts that can be used to organize your content for users to complete in a meaningful manner.
However, in the case of multi column forms, it’s mostly best practice to avoid their use. The main problem is that using multiple columns within forms could cause the potential for users to interpret the fields inconsistently. Below are 5 examples of ways multi column forms could be interpreted.
As you can see, multiple columns interrupt the vertical impulse to move down the form. Rather than forcing the users to visually reorient themselves, it’s best to keep them in a consistent flow by sticking to a single column layout.
However, there are a couple exceptions that seem to be acceptable.
The main exception for using multi-column forms that cause the least amount of confusion were for short fields as well as logically related fields. The most common example are name and address fields (City, State, and Zip Code).
This type of content is standard and easy for users to follow. One suggestion for this format is to align the labels above the fields, rather than to the left. The thought was that this makes the grid stronger and thus, easier to map the fields visually. Do you agree or disagree? This could be something we could explore for this pattern if we decide to move forward with it. In this case the labels are kept to the left to stay consistent with our general form design.
Another variation is instead of a standard two level format, use various columns. Keep in mind that this will works best for related short input fields.
The second exception is when there are to different form choices. User must choose to fill out one or the other. In this case, when the forms fields are shown next to each other in a multi column format, there is little confusion as long as the distinction of the two form choices are clear.
There were several thoughts on this use case. First being that this would be considered two single column forms next to each other, rather than a multi column form. The second being that instead of this format, opt for a preselection for new or returning users. This would then display a single form rather that two side by side.
Because this is the beginning stages of the development of this pattern, we would love to hear your thoughts and input on this topic. Are there any other scenarios that are acceptable? Do you agree with the conclusion and the comments received thus far?
Please comment below with your thoughts as they could help shape this pattern as it moves forward along the design process.
If you’ve been following the Patternfly mailing list or happened to stumble on our recent post on developers.redhat.com, “Are Web Components in the future for Patternfly?”, you’ve probably noticed that we’re doing some thorough research on web components right now.
I’d like to take this opportunity to provide a few updates on our findings and share some context on our recent discussions around web components in Patternfly.
Custom Elements, HTML Imports, Shadow DOM, and HTML Templates are the new specifications heavily influencing web components (you can read a great introduction here if you’re new to these topics), but it’s important to remember that these are mutually independent. Although many examples combine Custom Elements with Shadow DOM CSS techniques, they are not required to be used in conjunction (another trait which adds to their versatility). Custom Elements can stand alone and be styled just like other HTML.
Due to Shadow DOM’s currently minimal browser support, it would not be a stretch to consider a gradual adaptation to implementing new web component standards like the following:
As browser support improves, Shadow DOM can be adopted to improve our CSS encapsulation where necessary. It should also be noted that while HTML Imports may be the most common way to consume web components, Custom Elements can be defined and included as ES6 classes. This alleviates another web component standard and gives options with this specification as well.
Building on our past breakaway sprint efforts with web components, we’ve extended our <pf-tabs> element and tested our approach with some popular new web frameworks gaining traction at Red Hat: ReactJS and Angular2. Utilizing components as “leaf nodes” within other framework components makes them essentially comparable to other DOM nodes used, only much more flexible.
The goal of this research was to integrate a custom element in these frameworks alongside our Patternfly implementations and explore any roadblocks or challenges discovered.
You can see our current work on the <pf-tabs> component here.
(pf-tabs component rendered individually)
A few things to note about this component:
There are too many details to cover in this post, however I encourage you to explore the aforementioned demonstrations. If you run these demos, you will easily notice that our tabs component works as intended in both frameworks and the new frameworks provide adequate contexts to create a Patternfly application.
(Tabs component rendered in a Patternfly/React app)
I should add that our discussions on these frameworks have been fruitful (luckily, there is already an abundance of materials for each to aid in our research). Both frameworks provide exceptional solutions for common problems app developers face like data binding, observing state and inter-component communication, custom events, and optimal rendering. Particularly important, we haven’t found web components causing any barriers in this regard and observed the patterns implemented in these solutions translate quite nicely to web components.
We’ve prepared plenty more to share on this in future posts and will be fine-tuning our strategy in coming weeks. We’ll also be exploring other topics like performance, server rendering, and modular design. So stay tuned to our blog and mailing list all you Patternfliers!
This blog is to investigate the web form design especially the conditional hidden fields, and give out the possible solutions.
Should we hide fields if user can’t be interacted with? Do we always just keep all fields there and gray them out? Or use progressive disclosure if there are more fields based on a given selection?
When we designing a web form, we should always keep the form easy and simple. We could hide the unnecessary fields in order let users focusing on the present job and show them out when needed.
The picture below is a comparison of the old Apple ID register page and the new one. The difference between the old one and new one is that they remove the mailing address input. Most of the users will register the ID only for downloading the applications or set up a new device. Moving the mailing address part to the buying page and hiding it in the current page will make the workflow more smoothly.
Old Apple ID register page New Apple ID register page
Back to the question, we could use the progressive disclosure if there are more fields based on a given selection.
We would not rather choose to show the fields that user can’t be interacted with.
In this case, user will spend unnecessary time to identify what fields they can be interacted with and what they can’t.
We would rather not keep all fields there and gray them out.
The color of Patternfly unclickable field is very light. They can not be seen very clearly on the Linux and Microsoft devices (those devices do not have Retina screen).
The Wireframe link is here
This is to define the single level conditional fields.
1.I change the input name from the left to the top in order to help user viewing the form more easier.
In web form design, it is better to use “F” sight line rather than “Z” sight line
2.The unchecked field will not be shown unless user clicks it. After clicking the checkbox, the text field will show. The design is to help user focusing only on the present workflow, to avoid him from losing the way. When clicking the first selection checkbox, the text field will all hide.
This is to define the multi level conditional fields.
1.Add a cutting line to distinguish the first level fields and subfields.
2.Unchecked fields will open only until user clicks it. When clicking the sub level checkbox, the text fields will show.
This is to define the conditional fields with dropdown menu.
1.Despite of the first selection fields, the other none selected dropdown menu will hide until user clicks it.
2.When clicking another checkbox, the previous none selected dropdown menu will hide.
Thoughts, comments, concerns? Feel free to comment on this post.
We need a responsive design for tabs to handle overflow, which will include a responsive state for the two levels of tabs as well.
Current tabs implementation
However, When there are many tabs, it requires significant scrolling to find one of the tabs. Also, it’s not recommended in Material Design guidelines to present tags as a single column
You can also view this Angular Material demo
2.Responsive Secondary Tabs
Current secondary tabs
It might be better for mobile use cases to scroll horizontal versus displaying all the options. Here are some suggestions to address the problem. ->>
Demo is based on AngularJS ->> http://codepen.io/fishfish/pen/vKbzAw