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The Fluid and uPortal communities have both benefited from nearly two years of successful collaboration on user experience issues. Fluid technology such as the Skinning System and Reorderer have been integrated into uPortal 3.1, and we've got lots more code and resources to share over the next few months. Given the success of our collaboration so far, we'd like to make sure our communities continue to work together into the future. We'd love to continue working with the uPortal community on deliverables that directly add value to upcoming uPortal releases, and to help build reusable components that have been uniquely designed with uPortal's needs in mind.
We're open to ideas and suggestions for specific projects. After talking with a few community members so far, a couple of areas come to mind: improving the out-of-box experience of uPortal's administration tools; and adding robust accessibility support to uPortal. Indeed, these are areas our communities have already started to work on.
A uPortal/Fluid collaboration could help make a significant impact on uPortal's out-of-box experience, particularly for evaluators and new adopters when they first install and configure the application. At the moment, uPortal's administration tools are fairly complex and intimidating for new users, and they may serve as a barrier to adoption and wider usage. If an administrator can't successfully and easily get their uPortal instance up and running, they may be reticient to pass on this experience to their wider user base. Reworking the design and implementaion of the administration user experience from the ground up could be very fruitful, making it easier for users to configure portlets, groups, and permissions. Encapsulating reusable functionality in Fluid components would allow other portlet developers to embed shared functionality, such as assigning users to gropus, within their own context. Fluid can help throughout the process, from interaction designs and wireframes through implementation and testing.