Public Lab Research note

GSoC"proposal: Refine User Interfaces across

by LakG | April 15, 2022 22:32 15 Apr 22:32 | #30433 | #30433

About me

Hey, I am a sophomore currently pursuing undergraduate in computer sciences. I am very enthusiastic about web development. Be it the 2px extra padding in the navbar or an extra unused variable in my java script file, I have eyes sharp enough to not let them pass through the final code. My expertise train runs on the rails of HTML,CSS powered by the fuel of JavaScript. I enjoy Contributing to open source organizations whole heartedly. Apart from that I love reading novels in my free time.

Affiliation Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

Location: North India

Project description

Public Lab is impacting a lot of lives around the world. As mentioned, a lot of organizations, institutes, individuals access the Public Lab website for a lot of their work. A good User Interface can play a crucial role in such situations. With My project I intend to make various minor UI changes throughout the website to improve the overall style quotient of the interface and enhance the user experience.


Improved engagement by re-surfacing old content and increase in user retention time by making plenty of minor UI Changes.


With my project I intend to have a solution for the following problems:

  • Improvised Content suggestion - Based on the search results, instead of displaying results just sorted by date, a mechanism can be put in place to suggest users articles and posts with has a better user engagement first. Different metrics such as likes count, number of views, can be trial tested to find out the best set. This will result in improved user retention on the website as they are likely to spend more time on the website.

  • Uniform Cards sizes - On the people's page of Public Lab, the users card are not of same height. This is because the number of badges assigned to each user is not same. Here's an example of the concerned problem. image description

  • To tackle the above problem, cards of the users can be made of equal height by setting the height value such that it utilizes 100% of the available space instead of just fitting the content. The current asymmetricity in the card size leaves a bad impression on the users. I have talked about this problem in detail in the following issue on GitHub, also mentioning corrective steps.

  • Incorporate more tags on user cards - as per the current implemented model on the website, the user cards on the people's page shows at most 3 tags at a time which are associated with the user on the page. Here's a screen snap demonstrating the same. image descriptionInstead of this we can add a graphical element such as a plus sign after the last tag, hovering over which will result in a popup containing other popular tags of the user. A graphical explanation of the same is attached below.image description


Before GSoC Period - Till 20th May

  • Staying Active within the community through gitter.
  • Reviewing PRs to familiarize myself with the code.
  • Contributing with FTOs for other community members

Community Bonding (20 May, 2022 - 12 June, 2022)

  • Transition from GitPod to setup the development Environment locally.
  • Connect better with the community and attend Public Lab open calls to understand better the requirements.
  • Discuss the Project with mentors regarding the UI changes to be implemented by presenting proper wireframe diagrams

Week 1 (13 June, 2022 - 19 June, 2022 )

  • Start working on making card sizes uniform.
  • Make corresponding UI changes.
  • Create Unit Tests for changes made
  • Take feedback from mentors and improve.

Week 2 (20 June, 2022 - 26 June, 2022)

  • Implement the uniform card sizing.
  • Start working on incorporating more tags
  • Make corresponding UI changes.
  • Create Tests for the changes made.
  • Seek feedback from mentors and improve.

Week 3 (27 June, 2022 - 3 July, 2022)

  • Continue working on incorporating more tags
  • Make required UI changes.
  • Write unit tests for the changes made.
  • Take feedback from mentors and improve.
  • Contribute with FTOs for fellow contributors.

Week 4 (4 July, 2022 - 10 July, 2022)

  • Start working on improvised content suggestion.
  • Take feedback from community for finding the efficient algorithm.
  • Create FTO's whenever possible.
  • Take feedback from mentors and improve.

Week 5 (11 July, 2022 - 17 July, 2022)

  • Continue working on improvised content suggestion.
  • Make corresponding UI changes.
  • Create Tests for the changes made.
  • Contribute with FTOs.
  • Take feedback from mentors and improve.

Week 6 (18 July, 2022 - 24 July, 2022)

  • Implement improvised content suggestion.
  • Create unit tests for the changes made.
  • Start documenting the changes made in the form of a report
  • Seek feedback from mentors.

Week 7 (25 July, 2022 - 29 July, 2022)

  • Submit Phase 1 evaluation.
  • Start working on interlinked navigation.
  • Contribute with FTOs.

Week 8 (1 August, 2022 - 7 August, 2022)

  • Work on suggestions received post phase 1 evaluations.
  • Continue working on interlinked navigation.
  • Make corresponding UI changes.
  • Write unit tests for the changes made.
  • Seek feedback from the community members and mentors.
  • Contribute with FTOs for fellow contributors.


Whatever you work on, all you need is a dedication to work. I bring the non-comparable determination with me on the table. Apart from that, I will be requiring the valuable guidance of the mentors. For finding the most efficient method of content suggestion I may require feedback from fellow community members to understand what approach works the best.

First-time contribution


I believe in doing practice more than studying while learning something new. I realized I have written my first program when on clicking on trial.exe displayed "hello world" on my terminal. There's no looking back from there. I am a web development enthusiast. I love spending countless hours working with JavaScript. HTML and CSS. I also have working proficiency in Python. Here I have attached two of my projects close to my heart.

  • JavaScript based User-Authentication System - I have tried to implement my own user authentication system. In the portal the user is required to enter his username and password, if the pair matches the credentials stored in backend, the user authentication is successful. Else it prompts an error.
  • Tech Stack -- JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Node.js, Express.js

  • JavaScript based Responsive Tic-Tac-Toe game - While learning the concepts of responsiveness, I created an adaptation of a Tic Tac Toe Game. It offers users a wide number of functionalities some of which are -- keeping a track of scores, changing the background color to a randomly selected color out of 16 million options, and various other options.

  • Tech Stack -- JavaScript, Bootstrap 4, HTML, CSS3


I have an experience of working as a team lead in one of the student subchapters at my university. I have lead groups of students to organize various webinars and hackathons to empower students. I have contributed to the community by making their official website from mockups provided. I have been selected as a contributor to Girlscript Summer of code open source program and my contributions are in the fields of web development and data analysis.


I have deep respect for every individual doing their part in trying to save our precious environment. With Public Lab, I feel my visions of Greener Environment and using of tech for the welfare of the society merge. I appreciate the resources provided through Public Lab to various organizations/communities/individuals for tracking of various environmental problems. I have been given an opportunity to learn about so many powerful programming languages and passionate about giving back to the community by contributing to open source. I am very environment conscious. I believe in the mantra that billions of people around the globe bring about a even a minor change in their day to day activities to protect the environment can contribute significantly when the contributions are to be combined.


With my solutions, I intend to provide a better user experience to every individual out there who believes in doing good for the environment, one who has decided to take the first step towards it. Such individuals needs to be provided with a good user experience. I strongly believe in uplifting of under privileged people by the use of technology.


I don't have any other prior commitments during the contributing period and assure you to work whole heartedly during the whole duration of the program. I understand the responsibility being given to me and will thrive to become an inseparable part of the community. I will be available to work full time during the whole time period of GsoC.


Hi @LakG, I like the way you've used the PL site and noted some areas to improve. I especially like your first point about Improvised Content suggestion and I'd like to know more about how you intend to implement this. Where on the site would this feature be added? Code snippets and diagrams would be very helpful.

I also like your suggestion about tags on the people page and I believe we've started a discussion about that in this issue. I'll give you a reply soon.

I'm also curious as to what your thoughts are about our ideas list for this project We'd love a discussion about those ideas too.


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Hey! Thank you for the feedback. Regarding the content suggestion part, Due to some error while uploading a reference diagram I was unable to include that in the proposal above. I will retry to edit the available proposal and update it with proper diagrams 😃 .

I went through the ideas mentioned under the project name and picked those ideas on which I am confident on providing a valuable result. I believe me using the same project name as the one mentioned in "list of project ideas" may confuse my project proposal with the one mentioned under the list. So may I instead change my project name to something which resonates more with my proposal? For eg Improved user experience across

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Hi @LakG yes please feel free to change the name, just be sure we can see it's related to the idea name (i.e. mention

I'd like to echo Tilda's suggestion that you take on more of the tasks/subprojects listed on the ideas page, as we are hoping to find someone who can take the majority of them on. Should we select you we will be supporting you to find a successful approach and implementation. And if you have questions about how to approach them you can include them in the proposal and we can then see how you are starting to think about the projects!

Improvised Content suggestion

Here, we found in previous attempts that we had a lot of trouble with two different approaches to search results - first using Solr, which was incredibly hard to set up and run and integrate, and second, using an API tied into complex ActiveRecord database queries (see It also didn't do as well as we'd hoped in surfacing and sorting results. Currently our default search is provided by Google, which means we get their high quality PageRank-based results, which covers text, images, etc --- not just individual database records. I'm telling all this because we've found it very difficult to do better than Google at search (not surprising!). So, I'm curious if you've looked at some libraries or different approaches to search results that you feel could help improve on what Google provides, or even be displayed alongside? Rather than trying to compete with Google technically, you know?

Cards showing more tags

This is an interesting suggestion! We've often wanted to show more on individual cards, and I was thinking -- what if we had something where when you hover over it, it expands? I'm not sure if that's annoying but it would help us balance visual complexity (we want to avoid too much information that can overwhelm people) with too little. Does that make sense?

Thank you!

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Hey! Thank you so much for your valuable feedback. I went through your detailed suggestions and have considered them in the updated proposal I submitted. Looking forward to contributing more in the community and interacting with you 😊

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