[drupal-devel] A collection of usability problems

James Walker walkah at walkah.net
Fri Sep 23 12:22:04 UTC 2005

On 23-Sep-05, at 4:23 AM, Dries Buytaert wrote:

> I tried to identify a number of usability problems based on the  
> comments in http://drupal.org/node/31896.
> Creating a static brochure site with Drupal is extremely relevant;  
> not only because some people create static Drupal sites, but mainly  
> because even the most dynamic Drupal site has static content (eg.  
> almost every site has an about page, a contact form, etc).
> Problem #1: people find it hard to integrate pages in the  
> navigation structure.  No one mentioned they were using core's menu  
> module to setup a site's navigation structure.  Strange?  Maybe.   
> Either way, it begs the question: do we need to improve the menu  
> module?

I think the menu_otf integration should help - perhaps make  
menu.module enabled by default? I know I sometimes forget about it...

> Problem #2: many people use the book.module to create structure.   
> The book.module is a logical choice <strong>if and only if</strong>  
> you know Drupal.  If you're new to Drupal, creating structure using  
> the book module is not exactly logical.  The underlying problem is  
> that people need a way to link pages and to create structure.   
> Simply renaming the book.module to outline.module or  
> structure.module and dropping the book node type might come a long  
> way for new users, and might help focus development efforts.

see my previous comments... but +1 for outline.module (that's all  
OPML enabled by default - just to be fully on that bandwagon)

> Problem #3: many people use the menu on the fly module (menu_otf)  
> to add pages to the navigation menu.  The good news is that Drupal  
> 4.7 will have menu_otf functionality built in.


> Problem #4: you have to go to the theme system options, to add a  
> page to the main navigation menu.  For new people, this is (i) not  
> logical because creating links has nothing to do with the look and  
> feel of your site, and (ii) the options are nearly impossible to  
> find.  The solution is to integrate this with the menu system, so  
> you can link pages in the main navigation menu using the menu on  
> the fly module.  I pushed Adrian to work on this, but we never  
> managed to complete that work.  I'm convinced this is an important  
> change; we need someone to pick up this work.

yeah - what happened to this? wasn't it Ber? or Adrian? or...

> Problem #5: some people want to disable the author information and  
> submission date.  I see two problems with this: (i) you can't  
> disable them on a per-node basis so people are forced to use two  
> different node types, and (ii) the configuration option to disable  
> this information is almost impossible to find.  To fix (i), I  
> suggest creating per node options to control some of the visibility  
> settings.  The settings would be available in a collapsible form  
> element on the node submission page.  Example toggles include (but  
> are not limited to): display author name, display publication date,  
> display taxonomy terms, display user picture, display '
> link, etc.

+1 - although - is this gonna be an "administer nodes" only type thing?

> Problem #6: quite some people use the front page module.  I've  
> never used the front page module but I'd like to know how it is  
> different from a static page?  The key difference I see is that you  
> ca have a different front page for anonymous users.  If that is the  
> only key difference, why aren't people using static pages?   
> Something is wrong here, and I'd like to figure out what.


> Maybe some people volunteer to fix some of these problem?  If not,  
> maybe we can incorporate them in the usability task list Ber and  
> Kieran have been creating?

well, I'm *sure* someone will beat me to it... but if nobody does -  
I'll give it a shot in early October :P

James Walker :: http://walkah.net/

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