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Focus group disses ThickBox

September 30, 2009

I’ve used the ThickBox jQuery-plugin on several projects now. It’s easy to integrate, and flexible in it uses. For example, the first time I used it was to provide a FCKEditor-window that wouldn’t fit in the limited space of that website’s form-area. I definitely recommend ThickBox, if you need a lighbox-effect.

When MyLocalPark.com launched earlier this week, each park-page used ThickBox to display a slideshow of that park’s photos. This feature went together easily, and was something I’ve built in the past for clients. However, my focus-group didn’t appreciate the feature quite as much as I did. They got confused when they clicked into the lightbox-effect, and naturally used their browser’s back-button to try to get back to the park-screen. Since ThickBox doesn’t change the actual location (meaning the URL), only the appearance of the screen, the focus-group’s respective back-buttons returned them to the browse-page, found-parks-page, or home-page, depending on where they were before they navigated to the park-page.

To fix this problem I replaced the lightbox-effect with a seperate purpose-built page for scrolling through a park’s photos. While I could have easily told myself the focus-group “just didn’t understand technology” (actually, I did tell myself this for a couple of hours), in the end I knew I had to trust what they were telling me. The final slideshow-page took it’s inspiration from Flickr, and who knows more than them about displaying photo-sets on the web?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Johan Sölve permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:30 pm

    Great finding, Doug! Haven’t thought of that.
    An an alternative maybe you could have used a history plugin so opening the thickbox would add a hash and populate the browser history.

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