Specify 7 UI&UX refactor

Modern interface that feels intuitive and is a pleasure to use

I am not a designer, but I like building user interfaces that look awesome while being easy to use. The best interface makes the user feel powerful, without overwhelming them.

That is why I decided to refactor the entire user interface of Specify 7, a collection management software, to be more user-friendly and pleasurable to use.

List of most important changes


User Preferences menu
A beautiful modal dialog
Accessible form in a non-modal dialog
Updated Query Builder
App Resources editor
Improved attachments viewer

Recording of a webinar on user preferences in Specify 7

Showcase of User Preferences in Specify 7

Recording of a webinar on accessibility improvements in Specify 7

Showcase of Accessibility and Usability improvements in Specify 7

Presentation from iDigBio Digital Data Conference 2022

Video overview of UI&UX enhancements and accessibility refactor

Online demo

You can try out the live version at sp7demofish.specifycloud.org. The username and password are sp7demofish. When prompted to select a collection, choose any option. See usage instructions in the video above.

Guided demo

A video recording of a zoom show-and-tell session is available. It covers new features in the Specify 7.7 release and describes usability enhancements.

An overview of all new features in Specify 7.7 release.

Technologies used

Things learned

In the process of redesigning the interface, I unconsciously made interface resemble my preferences and my usage habits. This way, dark mode received more attention, there were no animations or moving elements in the application, and drag & drop, context menus and other complicated interface elements were removed.

While this did not significantly affect the user experience, it is something I would pay more attention to in the future. I would try to get more input from others thought the process and try to think about the project from the perspectives of a diverse set of users.