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Working with lightboxes

From: Applied Interaction Design

Video: Working with lightboxes

Here we are back on the Our Designers page on the original Hansel and Petal website. And one of the things that we noticed, as we were moving our mouse around, is that these images appear to be clickable. I don't know what's on the other side, so let's find out. I get a nice, big view of Brenda's Lilac bouquet, so I can take a look at some of the others, not bad. These Irises are pretty. So one of the things that they're doing well here, at least, is that they are showing us truly larger images.

Working with lightboxes

Here we are back on the Our Designers page on the original Hansel and Petal website. And one of the things that we noticed, as we were moving our mouse around, is that these images appear to be clickable. I don't know what's on the other side, so let's find out. I get a nice, big view of Brenda's Lilac bouquet, so I can take a look at some of the others, not bad. These Irises are pretty. So one of the things that they're doing well here, at least, is that they are showing us truly larger images.

People really appreciate that. But unfortunately, one of the problems that they have here is that every time I open up one of these images. I then have to close it In order to go see the next image. So I find myself going open, close, open, close, open, close. This type of interaction is what has been nicknamed Pogo-Sticking. Because we're forcing a person to move back and forth between pages or up and down among layers in order to view additional content.

Now I know from that page that there are eight designers and they each have a bouquet. And if I want to see each one of those bouquets, I have to open and close open, close, open, close, and I pogo-stick. I go up and down in order to see all of this content. Now clearly, we can make this a much more efficient experience. Let's take a look at how we've improved this site. So we'll come over to the modified version. One again, we know that we can get information in tool tips about the authors.

But now, I'm getting additional feedback. Look, I mouse over this image, and I get a little bit of a description. It says, The scent of lilacs and the soft purples are a sure sign of Spring. I get a highlight that tells me I can click on this, and I do. Now this is a much better lightbox. There's a few difference that we see here. First off is that you'll notice that there's this gray layer that is dimming the original page so that it draws more attention to the flower image itself. We have a darker box that is framing the flower image, so we have a much greater visual separation between the enlarged image and the original page content. We have additional information that has been added about the bouquet itself. We sill have the Close icon.

We also have the ability to hide this information and see just the photo. But the key thing here that we've added in order to prevent pogo-sticking, is we now have controls to advance to the Next and Previous. And since Brenda is the first designer, one of eight. There are no designers in the list ahead of her, so the previous indicators are grayed out. But I can click Next and I can see Eric's or I can click the arrow and I can see Audry Cecilia's.

The use of both text links for next and previous and the arrows that go back and forth is a technique called Multiple Signals. And we can do this in two different ways. We can provide multiple cues for interaction, such as color, form, and shape. Like yellow arrows that point to the right that draw people's attention and say hey, you're going to go to the next step. Or, we can use interactions that occur from multiple points. Such as in our light box where we've got a text link and we have an arrow. Both of them do the same thing, so we can choose at which point we want to interact. So we've made the Our Designers page better, and more interactive, by making it much easier to navigate among all of the images for all of the designers. We've also supplemented the content, there's now more information, and we've given more than one way to navigate.

I no longer have to open one image, close it, and then open another. And finally, we've made some visual improvements. So that we really drawn attention to the imagery itself by using that gray layer, and the nice dark border around the image. People know exactly where to look. They know exactly what they are reading about. And they know exactly how to get to the next piece of information.

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Applied Interaction Design

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David Hogue
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