[development] the past, present and future of drupal admin

Dries Buytaert dries.buytaert at gmail.com
Thu Jul 27 07:54:37 UTC 2006

On 27 Jul 2006, at 09:29, Larry Garfield wrote:
>> Usability is defined by how easy it is for users to build a mental
>> model of the site and its organization.  A mental model lets you
>> figure out what would happen in a novel situation.
> Well, there's Usability, which is for expert users, and there's  
> Learnability,
> which is for new users.  Very often those two goals can be at odds  
> with each
> other.  With a highly modular system like Drupal, a person is  
> generally an
> expert in one area and a novice in another (just added a new  
> module), so it
> makes it more complicated.

At the risk of getting 'meta' and side-tracking the discussion, I  
wanted to point out that 'learnability' is about mental maps too.

For example, I know how to drive nearly all cars in the world because  
I have a mental model of how a car works.  That is, you build a  
mental model once, and then apply it to similar products.  If a car  
manufacturer where to put the light switch at an exotic place, we'd  
feel lost and shout that the car is hard to use.  Not because the  
light switch works differently (it works exactly the same), but just  
because the light switch is at a different location.

People new to CMS'es don't have a mental model of a CMS.  Thus,  
they'll apply their mental model of a program they are familiar with,  
and that looks most similar to Drupal.  If I'd ask you to drive a  
tank or a train, you'd use their mental model of a car.  Similarly,  
if people come to Drupal from WordPress, their mental model might map  
well on how WordPress works.  If people have not been exposed to web  
applications, the mental model is probably going to be Windows XP and  
they would expect all settings to be grouped and have fancy icons. :)

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

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