A new landing page for the BAR. A search box with autocomplete in the upper right corner makes it much easier to find things.

Visual analytic tools are depicted as “tiles” with a thumbnail image for quick recognition. .

Original (text based) Bio-Analytic Resource for Plant Biology home page.

UX makeover: BAR website

The University of Toronto's Bio-Analytic Resource for Plant Biology website receives around 60,000 visits per month and contains dozens of widely cited visual analytics tools. But the layout of the page had never been updated since its initial launch in 2005.


Many users complained that they couldn’t find what they were looking for. All the links were text-based, and each item had to be hovered over in order to see a thumbnail image. I felt it was time to update the website to reflect modern standards in web design so I built a new website using the Bootstrap framework.


Each of the tools are now depicted as individual tiles with a thumbnail image for quick recognition. Clicking on them opens additional information as a modal popup. In the upper right corner there is a search box with jQuery autocomplete so users can search for tools by name. Users can also find what they are looking for via the dropdown menus at the top. News and other announcements are highlighted in a dedicated box near the top of the page.


My contribution to the BAR was not just cosmetic. I wrote several of the tools published there. I also co-wrote two book chapters with my PhD supervisor, Nicholas Provart, about the tools and data available at the BAR:


  • Jamie Waese and Nicholas J. Provart. The Bio-Analytic Resource for Plant Biology. Book chapter in: Methods in Molecular Biology - Plant Genomics Databases, Aalt-Jan van Dijk ed., Springer, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4939-6658-5
    http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9781493966561


  • Jamie Waese and Nicholas J. Provart. The Bio-Analytic Resource: Data visualization and analytic tools for multiple levels of plant biology. Current Plant Biology Volumes 7–8, November 2016, Pages 2-5.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpb.2016.12.001



Category UX Design

Date March 2016