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

Gary Feldman dpal_gaf_devel at marsdome.com
Fri Jul 28 22:48:19 UTC 2006

Dries Buytaert wrote:
> The answers to all (y)our questions can be solved by a simple cardsort
> experiment.  We have the categories (block titles), the top-level
> links and their descriptions.  All we need to do is organize a
> cardsort experiment, invite all our users to take part, and we're
> done. :)

This is the first statement I've seen here that actually resembles a 
scientific approach.

My 2 cents as someone just learning the Drupal code base but who knows a 
fair bit about quality:  Usability isn't found through abstract 
arguments, and it especially isn't found by text-based email debates 
without rigorous models or inline examples.  It's found, often 
iteratively, by the combination of empirical data and theoretical models.

So if you want to do an overhaul of the admin system, do it right.  
Build and organize a collection of user stories and mental models; email 
isn't an adequate organization.  Use empirical data, including a 
cardsort survey if that's right, but ideally including observation in 
context.  Anecdotal feedback can identify the big issues, but generally 
doesn't create a complete picture of the usability issues.

Sorry if this sounds like it's coming from left field.  I get frustrated 
when I see the same people who insist upon hard, reliable data for 
things like database optimizations and use rigorous models for code 
design, then turn around and approach usability through force of 


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