At this point in the development of SchoolTool, the existing application is complete enough to largely act as its own implicit guide to how the interface should be structured, through the existing code and style sheets.
There are some explicit documents we used in re-designing the interface (see SchoolTool “presentation” components), they are:
The Ubuntu Web Guidelines is an extensive document commissioned by Canonical for use across Canonical and Ubuntu affiliated web properties. While SchoolTool does not exactly fit that description as a web application, it shared the same founder and primary funder – Mark Shuttleworth – as Canonical and Ubuntu, so the connection was natural, and thus this design was implicitly pre-approved by Mark.
We changed the colors and branding in fairly obvious ways, but essentially used the Ubuntu Web Guidelines as first reference in any design decision. When we needed new forms, if possible we extended them from the Ubuntu model in straightforward ways.
The Ubuntu Web Guidelines lacked designs for printed resources and a few sufficiently complex types of tables and lists, so we commissioned a designer to create additional SchoolTool Guidelines. Some of the reports he designed, such as the report card, were not directly usable because we have to keep report card design very simple to work in a wide variety of user-customizable cases, but the examples provided further guidance which may be useful to future form and report designers.