Future design projects

Hi everyone,

I've been keeping a running list of future design projects within OpenRefine. Though I'm focused on Operation History at the moment, I find it helpful to think about design needs that I'd like to address going forward as they come up, and thought I'd share a working list in flux.

  • Overall visual style. I'd like to explore a clean, contemporary look for the tool as a whole. I think it would make OpenRefine appear more accessible to users who don't come from technical backgrounds and feel more up to date in general. Typefaces I'm thinking about: Inter, Poppins, and Roboto.

  • The column menu. I'd like work on some redesigns of the column menu in OpenRefine to make it more intuitive to use. I've open a couple github issues about it (see #6280 and #6281) and would like to sketch out some improvements. I think there are bigger questions to be asked here too - should we have all these functionalities in menu format, or is there a clearer way of presenting some of these functionalities OpenRefine offers? Do all the tiers make sense to users who aren't well acquainted with the tool yet, or could they be better presented?

  • The Preferences screen. It's not easy to find, nor is it clear to me how it's meant to be used.

  • Extension installation, and managing extensions. How can I better discover new extensions, install them more easily, and keep track of which I already have?

  • Wikibase integration.

This my running list at the moment, I know there are many factors to consider when it comes to time and resources it takes to build new features, etc - but I wanted to share what's been on my radar now, and would love to hear more suggestions from the community below.



Thanks for sharing your plans!
I would like the ALL column with the consecutive number to remain fixed when I scroll to the right.
I have a lot of OR projects with lots of columns, so I always have to remember "the third last grey column from the bottom" to find the cell content I'm looking for.


Thanks for sharing @zoecooper, a couple of thoughts on the following

Overall Style

This is a recurring ask in our survey, however we never defined how to get started and scope it. I'm interested in hearing how you would approach this project.

Column Menu

The idea is interesting, and the issues you opened in the last two months make sense. However, changing the menu will have a huge impact on anyone maintaining training and documentation as they will need to update their screenshot or recording; this is not a small task. We should treat this like a major version change for the software.

I also want to tie this up with the conversation here: Operation registration improvements

Preference page

I agree; this page needs a lot of love. We have an ongoing conversation in GitHub

Extension Installation

Yesterday, we submitted a grant application to create an extension manager and improve the overall extension mechanism of OpenRefine. I created the following PR to share the grant application

Thank you @UschiK for the suggestion! Will add that to the design needs list.

1 Like

Thanks for your input @Martin!

It's great that you're keeping a list while you've got fresh eyes! Generally speaking, I think many of the new features added in the last 10 years could probably use a little design love. A few that come to mind are:

  • project directory listing
  • project metadata dialog (click "About" button on project listing)
  • multi-column transform (in "All" menu)

On the adding, rather than fixing, side of the house:

  • Sparklines or other little head of column visualizations
  • More direct manipulation for things like column reordering, etc
  • Better support for quick exploratory data analysis of new data sets

p.s. Sorry for the delay in replying! Your recent replies brought my abandoned half finished draft back to the top of my inbox.

1 Like

Thank you @tfmorris! I'll add those too.