A new year, and a fresh new look for the Continuum Platform

Hot on the heels of the regenerated Jadu branding is a fresh new look for your Continuum software which includes our brand new navigation component, marking the biggest UI change that I’ve certainly ever seen in the Jadu platform since, well, ever?

Our Pulsar UI framework is maturing and gaining momentum across our suite of products, it’s been a long road already, and we’ve only just begun. Our flagship product, Continuum CMS, is using Pulsar for all ‘new’ features being released into the product like Translations and Bulk Emails, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface lies the rest of the CMS that you’ve used for many years, what we (in the Pulsar team at least) lovingly refer to as our ‘legacy interfaces’. Then, of course, there’s CXM (which has been using Pulsar since birth) and XForms Professional, there’s a lot of work, and we’ve not even talked about custom modules yet!

Screenshots showing the Pulsar UI in XFP, CXM and CMS

In the CMS, everything you’re used to using, Publishing, Marketing, Galaxies, right down to the many Utilities and ’no user serviceable parts inside' Maintenance UIs that you may not even know exist need to be updated. It’s a mammoth task that we started a few months ago by ‘repainting’ our legacy UIs so they visually suit the more significant changes that we’ve been working on like the new navigation.

Wireframe of Pulsar navigation changes

Why did we change the navigation?

The world changed since the ‘black bar’ navigation was written and user needs and expectations have changed too. We live in a world where we can no longer assume that our customers use desktop computers with a 17” screen. The websites that Jadu and Spacecraft deliver have been responsive for a long time and we’re focusing on making our Continuum products fully responsive. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to publish content, review forms or check cases from your tablet or mobile phone.

Animated gif showing the navigation interaction

The first changes we needed to make were to the structural elements of the main UI, those which are present on every page and are—in effect—the frame for the rest of the software. So the navigation, the toolbar (containing the search box, user menu and Galaxies site switcher) and the footer all had to be completely replaced with new responsive versions, and it was the ideal time for us to sit down and reconsider the overall design and layout for these elements to make sure we were making the best decisions in terms of mobile-first design as the old navigation simply wasn’t designed with small screens in mind. It had to go.

With a significant UI change comes a significant amount of testing. Each engineering scrum team at Jadu has dedicated test engineers fanatical about the quality and reliability of the products that you use. Because the navigation change affects the entire platform every single user interface had to be checked and tested, not just once, but many times in our multiple supported browsers, and again for both our Linux and Windows implementations. And of course, now we’re adding another dimension as we start to support mobile devices, those need testing too!

What’s next?

New features will continue to be developed with the Pulsar UI, and we’ll be working through legacy interfaces one at a time by re-designing them to fit within the main Pulsar layouts so that they’re consistent, responsive and beautiful.

Wireframe showing Pulsar UI patterns

Some features will need more work that others and certain components used in multiple places, like the category chooser lightbox, will need to be rolled out across all interfaces at once and we’ll encounter things in the legacy UIs that aren’t yet in Pulsar, those will need to be redesigned, documented and tested as we go along.

If you’d like to get advance notice of upcoming major UI changes, you should check out the CMS UI Roadmap board on Trello which will let you provide ideas and feedback as certain features progress.

Screenshot of Pulsar Trello board

Any questions?

We’d love to hear what you think about these changes, and your hopes for the future of the Continuum platform. Drop us a line!

 

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The official Jadu Blog (a peek inside). The musings and magic of the Jadu team and log of new web apps, customer super hero stories and mobile web marvels.

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