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New eBird Data Entry

posted by Tim Avery at
on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 

eBird is finally making some much needed UI improvements to their website. They announced this week the all new data entry section and provided a link for current users to beta test the new interface and platform. Let me start by saying well done for starting to make the improvements to what is an outdated website. To be honest it was a little outdated in terms of looks from the get-go.

Step 1: Where did you bird?

The new interface is sleek and loses some of the tacky design flaws of the first version. It allows you to enter comments and age and sex information right on the checklist--a nice new feature that used to be after you had entered all your species. The right navigation that follows the user as they scroll has become very popular on a lot of websites,and it works well here, so that's a plus. It keeps important information visible as you scroll so you don't have to go back to the top.

Step 2: Date and Effort

It's not perfect however. I question some of the design--being a designer that's what I do. I don't love the single column checklist for starters. I'm not saying I like the current mess either. But somewhere in between, with a 2 or 3 column layout would shorten the page by 1/2 to 2/3 and make better use of the space available.

Step 3: What did you see or hear?

Now I spoke of the positive of the right nav, however it seems out of place on the right side. Fundamentally it makes sense to be on the left as the information there is stuff you would want to enter before you start adding your sightings. Not a major issue but something that as a UX designer bothers me.

Step 3: What did you see or hear?
(add details view)

And what about adding those details. I have to admit, I don't love the execution. It's in the right direction but could still use some work. The actual interaction and layout could be improved quite easily.

Your checklist has been submitted!

Overall, eBird is moving towards true north now. With some work and maybe hiring a UX consultant (right here--Chris and Brian I'm talking to you) there are some improvements that could be made to make the program even better. Maybe my next post will be a redesign of eBird I worked on a while ago for a side project. Anyways, thumbs up eBird--everyone else, you can check out the new data entry site below:


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Blogger Birding is Fun! said...

I'd like to see your suggested designs for eBird. As a long-time eBird user, I do like the new format as it seems go faster and is more inviting to enter the additional information that I always ignored in the past.

May 18, 2011 at 2:35 PM  
Anonymous drew said...

When I first heard they were switching to one column data entry I was skeptical, but actually using it is great. Overall I really like the new design although there are still some glitches when entering from an iPad.

May 18, 2011 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Not sure if this is new, but I love that the keyboard shortcuts are now easy to find. I don't care about the column length and scrolling, since I jump to one species after another (using the up arrow to return to the search field).

Project Feeder Watch is also way overdue for an update! I just entered a year's worth using the Firefox search bar to approximate the eBird entry workflow. A bit painful.

May 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM  

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