Manufacture/Developer facing UL entry page

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I’ve got some very primitive code of some ideas, not flushed out at all.  But you can look at

We’ll want to have a public facing version of the interface, which doesn’t allow editing, but does allow exploration.  If you want to edit content, you need to be registered.  I’m tentatively assuming that any registered user must have a company affiliation, and will only be able to edit information on products for their company.  They will be able to view products from other manufacturers, but not edit.

Since the fundamental design would allow a manufacturer to change information about their products, but not about their competitors, the public interface can be essentially the same, with a single word change. Instead of "Like Mine," the label would be something like "Choices." We could use a dummy company for non-registered users, so that the count of my products would always be zero, and that number would be suppressed. Thus, for unregistered users, the interface would be exactly the same as that for registered users looking in areas where they have no products.

This means that, at the login, all we need is the user name and password, and a way to recall user name and password.  My login page shows this, but not the “forgot link” at

If not registered, we provide a way to register.  Note that I have Company Affiliation as the first field.  Once we know that, you never need to specify it again.  The pull down menu shows companies that have products in the Unified Listing, We’ll have to decide how much information we want to collect about users, but username, password, company affiliation, and email are the minimum. 

I recently learned a trick to make the registration page “bot-resistant.”  We add a field for Middle Name:, then use CSS to set {Display: None}.  Humans, not being able to see the field, leave it blank.  Bots, seeing the field, put noise into it.  We then add code that says, “If MiddleName is blank, process the registration.”  It seems to work quite well.

If the user needs to add a company, they go to the page at  Again, we need to figure out what information we want to have about a company, but this is the bare minimum.  Within the listing, all we need is a pointer to the list of manufacturers, rather than replicating this information each time.

Once you are logged in, or entered as a user, you’ll see something like the listing at  

If you are logged in as a user, you will see something like:

Audio-Visual / Entertainment ( Home and Personal) (4) Like Mine (27)

This means that I have 4 products down this branch of the taxonomy, and that there are an additional 27 products like mine from other manufacturers down this branch.  If you were not registered, you would see something like: 

Audio-Visual / Entertainment ( Home and Personal) (31)

This indicates that there are a total of 31 Audio-Visual/Entertainment products from all manufacturers down this branch.  

Clicking to expand it might show:

Audio-Visual / Entertainment ( Home and Personal) (4) Like Mine (27)

Audio Equip (1)

Like Mine (3)

Headphones & Speakers (1)

Like Mine (8)

Microphones (0)

Like Mine (0)

TV/Video (2)

Like Mine (16)

At each level, down to the product, you see how many products exist down that branch, both of yours and competitors. Ultimately, you get to the product level. However, I think even at this level, I might want to be able to click on the (2) to see my products (even though they are down different sub-branches, or the (16) to see the competing products down the various branches below.

At the product level, you would be able to explore and edit the usability and accessibility features of your products, or explore the usability and accessibility features of competitor products. These would be presented using the taxonomy on the upper half of our document: The model will be exactly the same as that used in the product taxonomy. The data entry process would work something like the demo at We’d want to enhance this to indicate how many features we had down each branch (like what we had above), and how many competing products had similar features. This would also work better if there were visual formatting differences for branches down which we had features (at least two differences e.g. color and decoration for accessibility reasons)

A taxonomic approach is, I think, better than a simple listing, because it allows order. For a manufacturer with only one or two products, it probably doesn’t make much difference, but for a Samsung or IBM, it puts organization into the list.

Some of the issues we need to decide on:

With the described model, only a person who is affiliated with a company can modify product information for that companies products. But we may want to have a way for therapists or other professionals to add information about products they use. We’d want a more detailed record of who a person was, to allow moderation of the information, and possibly banning folks who were corrupting data.

Do we allow a person to be associated with more than one company? A durable medical equipment vendor may represent more than one company, and enter information about them. Do they need multiple UL identities to do this? We need to think about this carefully, because we want to minimize the risk of astroturfing, where competitors provide inaccurate information about a product to reduce its desirability.

In my experience, a product manager for a product might well not know of the features that enhance accessibility. This may be because these features have never risen to the level of awareness, or it may be that features that a person knows about have accessibility implications that they do not know about. We'll need a way to provide accessibility information after the fact, which implies that we need to be able to flag products which have been added, so that we can update the AT fields if needed. We may also want to moderate changed information, to monitor for attack changes.