Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Results Usability Test: Right Click

Here's a quick update on the usability test on right click functionality in Hippo CMS 7.
The results show that roughly 2/3 of the participants would like to see right click functionality in the CMS.
Many participants mentioned that right clicking would be good, but should not be the only way to reach certain actions; right clicking should be additional / redundant interaction.

I would also like to point out that I suspect the participant group to be largely developers, thus real power users. I think actual CMS users will be less technical oriented and thus have a lower 'expectancy' for right clicking in a web interface.

So a premature conclusion from this test is that users tend to be ready for right clicking in a web interface, but that it is still to early to use it as sole interaction pattern.

Note: the test is still running. So if you are a Hippo CMS user, let us know what you think about right mouse clicking in a CMS interface? Please vote on http://usabilla.com/rate/7772163384c9c

Friday, September 24, 2010

Usability test: Right Click Functionality

A call to Hippo CMS7 authors, editors and admins! Please join in on the next usability test. This one is about right click functionality. 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 used 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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Design by Fire Café - Design in Open Source

On Monday 20 sep I attended Design by Fire Café, which is an informal gathering for (interaction) designers. Each café features a short, inspiring presentation as food for discussion. Last Monday Bojhan Somers presented "Design in Open Source". Bojhan works at User Intelligence and is UX manager for Drupal.

To start of, Bojhan named some examples of successful open source projects such as Firefox, Ubuntu and Wordpress. Despite these projects having little dedicated designers compared to the amount of developers and users, they are able to create a successful UX. According to Bojhan it is the culture within these projects which is the major success factor in creating good UX.

Side note, some nice examples of gathering / dealing with UX issues from these projects are
Planet Firefox and Ubuntu 100 Paper Cuts.

Next Bojhan went into more detail on Drupal. From a major usability test in 2007 at the University of Minnesota it was clear Drupal needed UX improvement (l
ater on more usability research followed). Drupal's UX team started the UX project to get these UX improvements into version 7. Just to make it clear: Drupal's UX team is not a full time dedicated team, its members are people who have the Drupal design role besides their everyday job. Bojhan mentioned he spent about an hour a day in his UX role. So it was a real challenge for the UX team to change the culture in the community and thus get the UX improvements realized.

UX design challenge
Here's a summary of their 'lessons learned'.
  • Their was a shift of focus in the design; traditionally Drupal focused much on the technically oriented users (site admins). Now they are focusing more on the user group who uses Drupal extensively (authors and editors).
  • The UX team formulated core UX principles; these were 4 high level principles which helped to maintain the focus in discussions instead of getting lost in details.
  • The UX team introduced an iterative design process which contained "explore", "discuss" and "design" cycles. Designers were encouraged to be as visual as possible (use visuals and mockups) in the discussions to make problems more visible and better discussable. The team also noticed the issue queue was thé tool developers worked with. So they made sure the design discussions took place IN the issue queue.
  • Developers needed to learn; developers were used to start coding right away. They had to get used to this new process with its iterations and mock-ups before coding (you know, "Plan to throw one away").
  • Designers needed to learn too: designers were used to creating a near-perfect design before 'releasing' it. But this is impossible in the open source world. Designs need to be released early and should be more about showing the line of thought (thus educating other contributors).
  • Initially there were concerns that the 'design by committee' process would be slow and result in mediocre solutions. It turned out this was not the case; 'thought leaders' (mostly designers) arose and were the ones making design decisions.
Iterative design process

All in all I think it was a really nice presentation containing valuable lessons which we can learn form at Hippo.