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Systems Alliance Blog

Opinion, advice and commentary on IT and business issues from SAI
Keyword: usability

When we began work on SiteExecutive version 2017 (SE 2017), we had three goals in mind:

  1. usability,
  2. usability,
  3. and usability. 

Alright, maybe that was only one goal; however, it embodies every decision we make as we improve SE 2017. This goal, coupled with the great feedback we have received from all of you, makes us excited to share some of the enhancements planned for the next release. Read on to catch a glimpse of the improvements we are making to the page editor, accessibility, reporting, event calendar, and overall product usability.

Editor Enhancements

We are making some significant additions to the editor in SE 2017. The editor itself has been upgraded to add support for all modern browsers and to do a better job of pasting formatted text. Also, you will be able to use 20+ additional HTML tags within the editor. Finally, the HTML Snippet tool has gotten an overhaul complete with syntax highlighting and automatic tag completion.


We heard repeatedly how important it was to ensure that your visitors can successfully interact with your sites, regardless of their physical abilities. As a result, we are reviewing every application and module in SE 2017 to ensure that they hold up to Section 508 accessibility standards. Additionally, we are providing controls that will assist you in enforcing attributes such as “alt text” across your site. As an added bonus, these changes can also have a positive influence on your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

More robust reporting on usage

We’ve received lots of positive feedback on the extended usage report that was added to each item within SE 2015. We want to continue to provide more visualization regarding how objects are used within the system. In the next release, we will extend this visualization to any JS or CSS files used within the head sections or dynamic head sections of pages and templates. This should make site updates and redesigns significantly easier for any of you web developers out there!

Create your own Event Calendar tags

In addition to tagging events with locations and types, we are giving you the flexibility to add your own categories. Want your events to be tagged with specific schools or regions? Go for it!  We are also enhancing the layouts and viewlets to be more flexible by providing more control on the display.

Bug fixes and updates to the user interface

Along with the calendar updates, we have resolved many reported bugs and issues. Based on feedback, we are also cleaning up various sections of the interface to make it more usable. Our focus is to reduce unnecessary screen clutter while maintaining the familiar interface that many of us have become accustomed to. 

We hope that you’re as excited about these new features as we are. You can look forward to the new release of SiteExecutive this spring. Thanks for all the great feedback we have received, it really drives each iteration of SiteExecutive, keep it coming!

user persona example


As today’s website visitors get increasingly sophisticated about what they want from a website, it’s important for companies and organizations to deliver the right online experience. So, when embarking on a project to create or redesign your website, make sure you know your audience, how they interact with your site, and what their needs are....Read More

Regardless of one’s political leanings or opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, there is widespread consensus that the roll-out of the website has been a mess. is the primary means for Americans to enroll in healthcare programs under the auspices of the ACA. Critics as well as supporters of the ACA, including President Obama, have repeatedly described the website as a “disaster,” a “debacle” and “unacceptable.”

My objective here is not to throw additional barbs at or to provide political commentary. Rather, my focus is on the lessons we, as web designers and developers, can learn from this experience....Read More

Usability testing helps you reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve the effectiveness of your website. When I say usability testing, I mean watching people using your website and gauging their success. While activities like surveys and focus groups help you learn about your audience’s opinions, usability testing allows you to see their actual behavior. My favorite part of these sessions is watching participants use a website differently than I expected and learning how the website can better support that behavior.

Usability testing can take many forms. This flexibility ensures that you can find an approach that fits into your design and development process....Read More

We are a nation of scanners. When we encounter a new web page our eyes quickly dart through the content looking for keywords and sentences, callouts and subheadings, details that will grab our attention and encourage us to read more.

Research studies have shown this to be true. Jakob Nielsen’s seminal study from 1997 on “How Users Read on the Web,” found that the vast majority of users scan pages for information, and are very unlikely to read pages word for word. In a subsequent Alertbox post from 2008, Neilsen argues that on average, users only read about 20% of the text on a web page....Read More

Mar 2017