Just what does Fluid mean? If you work at a school using PeopleSoft, you’ve most likely heard about Fluid. But for all the talk, it can be a little hard to pin down a definition. So, what exactly does ‘going Fluid’ mean?
At its core, Fluid is the technology that allows PS pages to be responsive to the device on which the page is being displayed. Lots of other technologies can be used to accomplish responsive design, but Fluid is PeopleSoft’s take on that process. In Fluid, PeopleSoft pages display in one way on a computer screen, in a more compact style on a tablet, and finally in a stacked manner on a phone. In other words, the page responds to the form it is displayed on. Additionally, it might display icons like stacked dots to indicate there is a drop-down, or stacked horizontal lines (the acclaimed hamburger icon) that allows users to expand a page once it is clicked.
This part of Fluid is outward facing. In Campus Solutions, it is mostly students who will see this aspect of Fluid, with the Self Service pages being redesigned to be responsive to the various devices that students use in their daily life.
But there’s more. Fluid also impacts the manner in which users navigate through our system. The traditional breadcrumb approach to navigation has been replaced with a Navigator bar that expands out from the right side of a page. In addition, the Navigator is augmented by a new, Tile-based approach to navigation that provides users with collections of pages that are presented as a list of links on the left side of a page. Tiles are created on homepages (or are even added to user-specific homepages) and are anchored around specific business processes. (Examples of these processes might include – matriculating applicants, adding/releasing Service Indicators, or awarding sets of students.) These navigation updates are wrapped in a more modern appearing interface, moving PeopleSoft away from the way users have navigated the system since the introduction of version 8.0.
Finally, not everything has changed. Most pages, accessed by administrative users, will remain exactly the way they appear now. Processes will be run in the same manner, and most tools will continue on unchanged –including, Query Manager, BI Publisher, FileParser, and others.
So, is Fluid a big deal? The answer (as with most things) is that it really depends. Institutions can elect to use Fluid for its outward facing pages, and to provide a different look and feel for students. And if the institution chooses to turn on Fluid, at the very least, administrators will notice a difference in how they access the pages they use. And as with all changes that impact user’s daily lives, such an undertaking should be pursued only after a considerable amount of discussion, planning and review.