[consulting] A defense for new users
kieran at civicspacelabs.org
Fri Feb 24 19:33:26 UTC 2006
Here's the future of Drupal:
"but unless we manage to make Drupal more accessible to new users and
to get back to the basics, we'll find the ground shifting beneath our
I am trying to get a new administration interface into Drupal that
will improve the user experience of administration. Here's the work
that has gone into making this happen:
Feb 2005 attended 3 day conference on open source usability with Neil
Drumm and Chris Messina conducted live user experience experiments
with new Drupal users about how to accomplish basic tasks. Lesson
learned: administration is feature based not tasked based so new
users can't learn the system because they are overwhelmed with
features and can not accomplish their tasks and goals.
March-April 2005 Wrote a detailed multi page over view of how to
conduct card sorts for categorization of menu items and how to
implement custom menus in Drupal.
April-July 2005 added context sensitive links and standardized
administration help through a single source documentation system
based on the drupal handbook http://drupal.org/handbook/modules
August-September 2005 conducted interviews with a broad range of
Drupal users to understand how they used Drupal administration, their
situation, their goals, their tasks. We used this data to conduct an
online survey with 877 users classified into different user types.
October 2005 - February 2006 worked with David Reed and Earl Miles to
develop a task based administration interface to help users
accomplish their goals.
Our team of professional information architects advised us to develop
a new administration interface that was task based and that helped
administrators create an experience for their users.
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to make progress. The criticism
from the most advanced users to build an interface that meets their
needs over the needs of new users is too strong. New users don't
understand what "users" means, they don't understand what "content"
means. They have goals they want to accomplish and tasks they need
to complete and those things are too obvious for the critics to
tolerate because they know too much already.
So after 13 months of trying very hard, recruiting the best people in
the industry, spending a lot money and time I am at a stand still.
I have no set vision of how this administration interface should be,
but I do know we need to help new users accomplish tasks and goals,
not just give them a categorization of an overwhelming amount of
I need some people to stand up for the new users, to put aside their
personal needs and opinions, to look at the data, understand what it
means for users to not already have a conceptual model of a CMS, and
help these new users accomplish their goals. I'll walk you through
the data, show you the advice of Usability PhD's, the recommendations
of our advising information architects so that we can build an
objective argument that I have failed make.
Please help me create a defense for new users.
Contact me at kieran at civicspacelabs dot com
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