Sakai 11 – Skin Contest

(This is taken from a posting to the Sakai mailing lists)

Announcing a Sakai 11 skin contest!

Winner(s) to be announced at the Sakai Virtual Conference – November 4th, 2015.


One of the key features for the next major release of Sakai is responsive design, or better support for small screen sizes like cell phones (aka code name Project Morpheus). Thanks in large part to contributions from NYU, Marist, and Murcia, we have a great UI design to start with. Now we want to take it to the next level! Help us go there!

Come up with your best design, take screenshots, document your rationale for the design, provide details (feel free to use, it may help).

Submission process

Working on it. Will have more details in weeks leading up to the conference. But there’s no reason you can’t start working on it today!

Getting started

To get started, it is recommended that you download a copy of Sakai 11 to run on a test server, or at least take a look at our master copy on our nightly server (create an account or use default account “instructor” with password “sakai”). See what we’ve already got, and build from there.

Take into account internationalization issues (the ability to localize Sakai to a geographic location’s cultural and language preferences) and accessibility, so that people with physical limitations are not limited in their use of Sakai. A quick and easy resource to start with is or

Come up with your color schemes, come up with any interface changes, consider desktop and mobile screen sizes. Mock up your schemes as images that anyone can access (jpeg, png, tiff, etc).


As Sakai continues to evolve and innovate we need to be aware of a number of issues. As mentioned above, internationalization and accessibility are a couple of examples. But we also have maintainability and consistency to consider. A subset of the community actively fixes bugs and maintains tools. We call these folks the Sakai Core team. This team needs to feel comfortable that they can support the code. And we have efforts underway to make Sakai tools have a common look and feel, so that they will be easier to use overall.

So feel to go crazy and wild with your designs. The winner(s) will be based on aesthetic beauty, functionality, and creativity. The Sakai Core team will pick and choose which elements will work best, possibly across several designs, if that makes sense. Also, the Sakai Core team and the Sakai PMC will consider the timeline of Sakai 11 and figure out which skin features will make it into the Sakai 11 timeline and which will need to wait until the next maintenance or major release. For these reasons, 2 or 3 members of the judging panel will be from the Sakai core team.

Judging and Prizes

The judging panel will determine the criteria for the contest winners and the distribution of the prize money. We have donations for the prize money of several hundred dollars which will likely be distributed as Amazon gift cards.

Judges will not be eligible for prize money themselves (in case they want to submit, or collaborate on a submission).