Modern UI and good user experience

Hi all,

my organization is an Elgg user over years now ( We are a community for digital, marketing and communication managers.

The big struggle for me is, that Elgg does not offer a modern and most importantly easy to use UI from scratch. Maybe a clean install with the standard theme is somehow ok, but as you start adding plug-ins that are cruical for the use of Elgg, the user experience gets messy.

It looks just very dated compared to competitors like, (though quite chaotic as well) and others.

Some examples:

  • Especially pages like users notification settings are very bad designed. Even here on it does not look very user friendly.
  • The whole notifications system at all is a complete mystery. Maybe for those who programmed it, it is somehow self explaining. For admins and users it is not. I have no overview of who gets when an email and just somehow making the emails looking good and user friendly is difficult. Clean and clear e-mail notifications is such a important thing to drive engagement.
  • It is a mystery for many users if they are now inside a group or at the generall wall (we did some improvements manually)
  • Mentioning others (@) does work just partly with plug-ins (on the wall but not on pages or in discussions)
  • And so many more things

Often for every other thing you need a plugin that then is not consistent and breaks the already not so good design and user experience.

I do think there is an strategic issue here. If Elgg would have from scratch a very clean, modern, consistent, future proof theme with good options for plugin developers to extend without breaking the ux concept, it would tremendously help. I also think that many who are evaluating social media platforms don't take Elgg simply of the dated look and feel as well as the inconsistency you get if you install plugins.

I would be even happy to invest into a real new clean modern user interface.

Open for thoughts. What do you think?

Cheers, Volker

  • It would take a lot of work to do it in a way that would somehow minimize breaking changes. CSS frameworks are excessive, they come with a ton of JS on top of CSS, they are opinionated about the markup.

  • Ok. I think when things are critical and time consuming, community should help (ie. financing). Even if themeing frameworks are opinionated about...major cms/engines are using them...maybe the balance is somehow in their favour then but ok...I understand. Too bad elgg can't grow further especially for this reason.


  • Elgg can and will grow further. 

    I am writing a theme just now, and it has become much easier to do things - Crush CSS variables are easy to share between plugins, components and page elements are consistent, margins and paddings have been standardized, grid is quite flexible - so you can do almost anything you want without an overhead of using a CSS/JS framework.

    Major CMSs has started off with using a framework, Elgg never had the luxury. I have used a bunch of CSS frameworks, but in the end I tossed them all away, because they come with too much junk. CSS frameworks are not meant for collaboration in a plugin-driven environment. You end up with hard coded CSS selectors that are really hard to override. They are great for developing an end product, where you have a design, you customize your variables, and then write the markup from scratch to accommodate your theme. With plugins doing their own thing, you end up with 5 different button sizes and styles.

    There were two problems that made it hard to work with Elgg themes: layouts and navigation. Both have been addressed in Elgg 3.

    But yes, let's build Elgg themes. As a proof of concept, bring me a PSD and I will turn into an Elgg theme.



  • @Ismayil Khayredinov, thanks for tuckling the main issue that has faced elgg since its birth. We will continue to contribute and hope more designer can join this train.

  • Love to Elgg, IK and community-oriented users/devs here!