Changes to CERN toolbar: January 2013

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Changes to CERN toolbar: January 2013

This is a note about upcoming changes to the CERN toolbar. I am proposing a number of changes to the toolbar based on several factors:

  1. The need to display the identity class of authenticated users  from CERN single sign on, and whether or not they have used multi-factor authentication.
  2. Restrictions that some of you reported in development frameworks that mean that 'sign in' and 'sign out' have to be the same element.
  3. User testing that showed many end users having difficulty finding contextual search ('search this site') when in the toolbar.

The proposed changes are:

a) Remove the search tray entirely.

Search across common applications (e.g. phonebook, maps) can be performed from the directory, which is available from the toolbar. Contextual search moves into the application.

A search form is now available via the directory.

 

Contextual (site-specific) search should move down to the application itself. Here, for instance, is the new core website with its own search form. Developers are free to use their own search rather than having to pass the query to CERN search.

b) Directory and sign in behave like tabs

Sign in and directory should feel like they are more integrated with the toolbar. [see first screenshot above]

c) Remove the account tray.

Two elements remain: sign in / sign out (links); username (sometimes a link; standard display for various identity classes). The standard formats for the various identity classes are:

CERN registered

<li><a href="http://cern.ch/account" title="Signed in as Dan Noyes (dnoyes)">Signed in as: dnoyes (CERN)</a></li>

CERN shared

<li><a href="http://cern.ch/account" title="Signed in as Dan Noyes (libframe)">Signed in as: libframe (CERN)</a></li>

HEP trusted

<li>Signed in as: username (Institute name)</li>

Verified external

<li><a href="http://cern.ch/account" title="Signed in with a verified external account">Signed in as: johnnylongname@yahoo.fr</a></li>

Unverified external

<li>Signed in as: johnnylongname@yahoo.fr (Facebook)</li>

The 'account' tray has gone and is replaced by two elements: name for authenticated users (sometimes a link - see identity classification list above) and sign in / sign out.

d) Display whether user authenticated using normal or multi-factor authentication.

[No example to show yet - this will be at the CSS level]

Emmanuel Ormancey (IT-OIS) is looking to expose additional attributes via SSO to help with this toolbar implementation:

  • ADFS_FEDERATION (e.g. CERN,EGI,FNAL,Facebook,Google)
  • ADFS_AUTHLEVEL (Normal,Multifactor)

Implementation timetable

In the CERN toolbar's short life we have already seen many design iterations, and I appreciate that it's a hassle for everyone to update this. I hope that we're now approaching a stable, simple design that can persist for some time. Here is a proposed implementation timeline:

  • Until 12 February: call for input and comments
  • 19 February: new code available in Subversion, working examples and documentation published. Drupal module updated.
  • 18 March: changes deployed

I need your input:

  1. Are there any technical impediments to implementing this in your environment(s)?
  2. Is the proposed implementation timetable feasible for you?
  3. Do you have any concerns with this new proposed design?
Overall much better, though

Overall much better, though few things:

  • account link title attribute and content are inconsistent («Signed in as Dan Noyes (dnoyes)» and «Signed in as: dnoyes (CERN)»; «Signed in as Dan Noyes (libframe)» and «Signed in as: libframe (CERN)»)
  • can take less than 40px in height
Account link content versus title; toolbar size

Thanks for the feedback Ivan. In response:

  • The link content consistently uses a colon followed by the username (which may not be user friendly); the title attribute has no colon but uses the user's name.
  • The size of the toolbar is stable from the last version. We've no plans to make it any larger or smaller. It's at about the minimum height to be usable on touch devices.
«Dan Noyes (libframe)» doesn

«Dan Noyes (libframe)» doesn't match «libframe (CERN)».
Also «Signed in as» part is unnecessary.

Brackets are for disambiguation

The terms in brackets are used to disambiguate:

- text 'dnoyes (CERN)'  = dnoyes (as authenticated by CERN, or FNAL)

- title attribute 'Dan Noyes (libframe)' = Dan Noyes (using his secondary account libframe)

I don't see the issue with this...

The 'signed in as:' is useful in situations where the username may be ambiguous in this context.

Hello Dan,

Hello Dan,

The new version of the toolbar seems to be much better suited for integration with our applications (e.g. Phonebook), and the changes are very positive. The proposed timetable also shouldn’t cause us any issues.

I have gathered feedback from members of our section and there are a few points that I’d like to mention:

  • The "Signed in as:" text could be omitted, or at least less visible. From the user perspective it is clear that he's signed in, and the additional text makes it less readable.
  • 40px for the toolbar height is a little too much. One of the first versions of the toolbar had 35px of height, and e.g. Atlassian tools fit almost exactly the same information as the toolbar in 30px.
  • If a CERN (“registered” or “shared”) user is signed in, the “(CERN)” part could also be omitted. In this case, additional information would be displayed only if this is a different type of user.
  • The toolbar (version available currently at http://directory.web.cern.ch/directory/ and http://user.web.cern.ch/user/Welcome.asp) doesn’t behave correctly in mobile browsers - if the page is wider than the screen, the toolbar is scrolled together with the page, and there’s empty space on the right.
  • As Ivan has already pointed out, there is some inconsistency between account link names and titles.

And one question about the “d” section in proposed changes:

  • What is the reason for displaying the authentication type in the toolbar?

Best regards,

Konrad

Feedback from the AIS team

Thanks for coordinating the feedback from your team! Some quick responses to the points you raise:

The "Signed in as:" text could be omitted

Arguments for having 'signed in as':

  • It's unambiguous
  • Edge cases such as: you print the page and see an email address there: you might assume this is the document author
  • Hidden at mobile sizes

40px for the toolbar height is a little too much. One of the first versions of the toolbar had 35px of height, and e.g. Atlassian tools fit almost exactly the same information as the toolbar in 30px.

The toolbar is a branding element as much as a functional one. As such I think we can justify this height: it's meant to be seen, and it's meant to tie together the web experience across many websites. Touch is one of the factors that have made it its current size.

If a CERN (“registered” or “shared”) user is signed in, the “(CERN)” part could also be omitted.

I might well have the username 'dnoyes' with another federated authority. Again, it's about removing scope for ambiguity - even if these are edge cases. It's early days for SSO using federated authentication, but I think this will become more useful in the future.

The toolbar (version available currently at http://directory.web.cern.ch/directory/ and http://user.web.cern.ch/user/Welcome.asp) doesn’t behave correctly in mobile browsers - if the page is wider than the screen, the toolbar is scrolled together with the page, and there’s empty space on the right.

Thanks for reporting. We'll take a look at this.

As Ivan has already pointed out, there is some inconsistency between account link names and titles.

The link title and the link text are really quite different things, so I think we can justify this difference. The title would be used like a tooltip, to disambiguate where necessary.

What is the reason for displaying the authentication type in the toolbar?

Again, it's early days for the use cases this addresses. I believe in future applications may block certain functions depending on whether you have used two-factor authentication or not. Emmanuel may be able to offer more information....

Thanks for all the feedback

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback.

I have now updated the documentation: http://ux.web.cern.ch/assets/cern-toolbar

We still have a few little IE wrinkles to look at, but revision #257 (https://svn.cern.ch/reps/framework/2.0/) should be fairly close to production-worthy. Please go ahead and test this in your environments.

 

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