Friday, August 27, 2010

Usability test: Tab Management

A call to Hippo CMS7 authors, editors and admins! Please join in on the next usability test. This one is about Tab management. Use the following URL to start the test:

Please don't hesitate to join in and speak up. Your opinion is much appreciated!

Note on Usabilla (the tool I'm using for these tests): Participating is anonymous; It is not possible for me to see who has participated. If you like to get in touch personally, please state your email in a note in the test.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Results Hippo GetTogether Usability Sidetrack

Last friday (20 aug 2010) was Hippo GetTogether. Right after lunch, while the Cool vs. Hot tech-talks were being held in the Zuilenzaal, I ran the Usability sidetrack in the Teekenzaal. About 15 people attended and gave me really valuable feedback on Hippo CMS 7.

The sidetrack consisted of two parts. First I presented a brief introduction on usability. Most of the sidetrack however was a practical workshop. In this workshop participants gave me feedback on Hippo CMS 7. For those interested; you can find the entire presentation on (yes, I know, it contains a typo).

Check out the presentation if you'd like to know a bit more on usability. Here I like to go into more detail on the workshop and the results from it. For the workshop I had prepared three exercises; “Top 10 Improvements”, “Personas” and “Today's Design”, so that I had at least enough to fill the planned time (13:30 - 15:30). But in the end I used all the planned time and about an hour extra on the first exercise only; creating a decent most-wanted improvements list.

Top 8 Improvements

I used focus group methods to create the improvements list. First I asked all participants to write down their most-wanted improvements on post-its. This could be things like frustrating interaction, bad graphical design or missing features. Then we went through these improvements one-by-one; the 'owner' explained what he/she meant, and we put all the post-its on a flip-over functionally grouping them as we went along. This resulted in approximately 20 improvements. Next we prioritized the improvements. Everyone got to make two votes by placing stickers on the flip-over: one big sticker  for the most-wanted improvement (2 points) and one small sticker for the second-most-wanted improvement (1 point).

This resulted in the following top 8 improvements*:
  1. Rich text editor (Xinha): frustrating to work with, doesn't give users true text-editing functionality they expect from Office applications they normally use like MS Word.
  2. Performance: Bad performance influences the user experience, users get frustrated, start clicking more than needed, thus creating more errors.
  3. Document presentation: bad typography, unusable alternating color coding, 'technical' design.
  4. Template creation: current way of creating document type templates is too rigid / clunky.
  5. Workflow: communication possibilities between users in the workflow are missing / too little.
  6. Dashboard: perceived as useless because presented information is not relevant to users.
  7. Tab behavior: frustrating interaction.
  8. Drag & drop: missing functionality.

* The top listing is composed of voted improvements and improvements that are mentioned more than once. All other improvements are left out of the top listing.

Hackathon input

After creating the top listing we came to the conclusion there was too little time left to pick up one of the other exercises. We then had a short brainstorm on input for the hackathon, using the top listing as a reference. We decided improvements for the Dashboard nicely fitted the hackathon goals and could be feasible within a couple of hours.

From this brainstorm the following improvements for the Dashboard arose:
  • History improvements: make the history list more relevant, show publication, show take offline show requests and their comments, don't dhow login/logout actions, allow user to hide (some) actions, and group actions per user (within a certain time frame).
  • Chat functionality in CMS: allow logged in users to chat with each other, on dashboard, but eventually across entire CMS, one-on-one chats, but optionally also one-to-many.
  • ToDo improvements: Group per action.
  • Change order of history and todo; to do is more important, so should be on the left.
Structured feedback

Another very interesting point which became clear from the usability sidetrack was a clear need for more frequent and better structured ways for Hippo clients/users to provide input/feedback like in this sidetrack. I pointed out that we're running usability tests and that I would like as many participants as possible to join in. I also mentioned that I'm very much interested in additional feedback and like to enable structured ways of exchanging this. Participants responded enthusiastically to that.

What's next?

I've discussed results from the Usability sidetrack at Hippo internally and these are the steps we're going to take:
  • The upcoming release (7.5) is already fully planned and there are little resources available to pick up additional design and development. However we can fit Tab behavior improvement within this release.
  • For the next releases we have appointed key usability improvements: Dashboard,  Rich text editor, Performance and Document presentation.
  • Also we're going to create a 'UX channel'. We want to satisfy the need of sharing thoughts and ideas on user experience (and separate these from technical discussions). We have to give it some thought on how we are going to do this, but most likely we'll be opening up a UX forum.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell. I'll keep you updated and hope to see you at the next GetTogether!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hippo GetTogether Usability Sidetrack

This Friday is Hippo GetTogether. Parallel to the Cool vs. Hot tech-talks I will be running the Usability sidetrack.

The Usability sidetrack is scheduled for form 13:30 until 15:30*. In this time I will give a glimpse into how we create the friendliest CMS around.

First there will be a brief introduction on usability; what is it, what is our vision on it and how do we apply it at Hippo.

Most of the sidetrack however will be a practical workshop. In this workshop you can give us your feedback, directly to me! The feedback will be used right there and then to collectively design and evaluate new and better solutions.

Your input is valuable here! Since the workshop is based on your feedback, please bring your issues, examples, comments, etc.

* There is room and time to continue an extra hour if desired.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hippo GetTogether T-shirt poll

To all Hippo GetTogether attendees; now is your chance to determine the looks of us hippotizers. We want you to choose your favorite T-shirt for the Hippo GetTogether (majority rules).