[drupal-devel] [Fwd: Feedback from two usability sessions on CivicSpace]

Dries Buytaert dries at buytaert.net
Fri Feb 18 19:04:21 UTC 2005

Good read, valuable feedback.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Feedback from two usability sessions on CivicSpace
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 07:40:30 -0800
From: Kieran Lal <kieran at civicspacelabs.org>
To: civicspace-community at civicspacelabs.org

Hello,  I managed to squeeze in two usability sessions yesterday to
test the release.  I'll try to be brief, and when I get
connected I'll file usability issues at CivicSpaceLabs.orb/project.

First test:
Scenario: Community organizer wants blogs, policies(Book), and contact
information online.  Their site has been professionally customized to
do only those three things using 0.8.0.x Democratica theme
-After user logged on they didn't know what to do because there were no
action words inviting them to do something.  i.e. blogs instead of
create a blog.
-User did not know how to create content because the user doesn't think
of the site as a content management  site.  They think of it as a site
that has blogs, contact info,etc.  Therefore, Create Content does not
provide the cues to open the menu.
-Messages on the create content page are too small to be read.  "Might
as well be in Swahili"
-User is overwhelmed by the three boxes of options and twelve options
altogether.   The user does not know what a path alias is.   The user
has to scroll down the screen because content dropping of the options
boxes pushes the preview button off the screen.  Previewing is an
unnecessary step.

Second Test:  Video capture installation of CivicSpace and
configuration of contacts, users, and an attempt to send an invitation
Users were started at a firefox window with install.php screen in front
of them.
-Users found messages on first page overwhelmingly confusing.  They
just clicked ok and moved to the next screen.
-Users had two errors.  Both were write permissions to conf.php, and
files directory.  They were successful in getting to help pages.  User
had no command line experience.  Did not know how to get into the
includes directory on a unix host. i.e. (cd includes).  User's
proceeded to type what was in bold at the command line:  localhost%
chmod blah blah.  I had to step in and tell them not to type
-Next they had to set permissions on the files directory.  They thought
they had to be in the files directory to set the permissions.  But
first they didn't know how to get out of the includes directory at the
command line.
-I didn't give them the database name and password, so I had to come in
and give the wrong user name, database name, and wrong prefix.
Eventually, firefox suggested the right answers from the last install I
did using that browser.  I'll have to clear the firefox browser cache
for the next test.
-Once the site was configured and running they added several users.
They wanted to know where to add people so they could send them an
invitation email.  They tried to add email addresses.  I ended up
explaining that contacts is where they could add email addresses.   I
explained that contacts was like the address book in hotmail, and users
was like the people who have email accounts at hotmail.
-Once users were added, they went to contacts to try and send
invitations.  They were surprised that users information they just
entered was not in contacts.
-Next they tried to send out invitation emails.   It was very clear
that there were no cues as to where to configure mail.   The entire
interface is clearly functional in nature and not at all
self-explanatory, or able to provide any useful cues.  I directed them
to mass mailer which left them with a large number of options.   There
was confusion about where to go to configure it.  I directed them to
admin and settings and there were so many options it was confusing.  I
directed them to set mail to work off a cron job to try and activate it
by going to cron.php.  Cron.php gave a completely blank page.   At this
point, the entire experience had plummeted into chaos.
-Two notable additional experiences were watching two very well
educated intelligent people stare and mouse hover at the "Queue
message" button for a what felt like an eternity.   Also, in an effort
to customize the invite message, the users change the user% and added
their name hoping that this would send the message.

Whew!  Deep breaths, deep breaths, breath directly into the paper bag.
3 days of usability training are just what the doctor ordered.


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Dries Buytaert  ::  http://www.buytaert.net/

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