posted on Aug 24, 2010 at 5:33AM
Professional Head-2-Head Report: LumaPix YearbookFusion vs. Pelican Software's Yearbooks! Desktop 2010
Student Records & Database ManagementBy Alex Burack
10-RD HEAD-2-HEAD BOUT: EDITOR'S SCORECARD | USER SCORECARD
Beyond sheer visual design, the other principal requisite of yearbook software is the effective management of a personnel database, composed of students, faculty, and support staff. Organized creation and management of these personnel records is the underlying key to the design workflow; ultimately, beyond all aesthetics, it's of chief importance that everyone is included and represented properly (i.e. no students are omitted or duplicated, spellings are all correct, groupings and classifications are accurate, etc.).
When assessing the performance of the database – importing records, editing, sorting, and grouping them – it's important to examine the way in which adjustments made to the database are rendered and integrated with the graphic side of the program and vice versa.
The communication between the graphic side and data side of a project within LumaPix and Pelican Software's yearbook software is somewhat akin to an HTML Editor, which offers independent manipulation of the source code and the graphic display, with the changes to one view being immediately applied across the platform.
The most common data operations are generally adding student records, creating groups, tallying associations, and applying keywords, tags or labels, and classifications to control or maintain a display grouping or order.
Pelican’s interface is slower and more akin to a traditional data management program with independent records created, then moved into a group. LumaPix takes a more contemporized approach through tagging and filtering information, which then builds and shrinks visual lists based on qualifiers or criteria within a given search or query. The immediate visual response of the filters, rather than a fully performed search, also effectively connects the data management aspect of the program with the graphic interface.
The benefit to the LumaPix model is that it is inline with higher-end design software because it’s accepted to be a quick (albeit sleeker) method. It’s also worth noting that the more “web 2.0”-like design aesthetic of LumaPix’s YearbookFusion may be more identifiable and visually familiar to students since it’s in the design vein of Adobe and Apple (i.e. search/keyword box that acts as a filter for a thumbnail display window, similar to iTunes).
Pelican's additive approach to data management isolates the data and record keeping portions of the program and related workflow.
Beyond sheer fluidity, the more disjointed iteration of data management in Pelican Software's Yearbooks! 2010 yields less forgiving searches. For instance, when locating information or records that have already been inputted into the database, Pelican Yearbooks! 2010 requires users to submit an independent or partial search. The program then returns results specific to the search. You can search for less specific records in Pelican with the application of codes (i.e. “put “@” after search keys”), however, that creates the additional steps of learning and applying the codes to the search.
LumaPix's filters work as you type in your query, again removing images or options that seize to apply to the more complete criteria. LumaPix's method is again quicker and visually cleaner, but it also helps if you type in the wrong information; you can quickly adjust a character or two as you go to determine the proper spelling and locate the record. The less adaptive implementation of Pelican Software requires you to input information, submit it, and then view results. If it does not return the specific information you’re after, you repeat the process with different information – it’s not as fluid, and over the course of working with an abundance of records, it can account for a sizable chunk of time.