[development] Usability: module idea

Kieran Lal kieran at civicspacelabs.org
Sat Oct 14 14:58:05 UTC 2006

On Oct 14, 2006, at 4:22 AM, Dries Buytaert wrote:

> The Drupal APC usability report (http://drupal.org/node/83806) has  
> several suggestions for improving error messages, help texts, etc.   
> For example, on page 13 ('detect errors automatically') they  
> recommend: consider providing a link to help besides error message  
> or provide an option for more verbose error reporting.

I really like this idea.  Case in point, when we included  
administration help text with a link to the handbook, we got lots of  
comments telling us why the help text was missing critical  
information.  We improved the information, and the number of comments  
quickly leveled off, indicating people were getting the information  
they needed.

> Maybe it would be a good idea to create a small module that extends  
> help text and error messages with a rating widget?
>   "Was this error message useful? [*****]"
> The response should get send to Drupal.org and then we can  
> prioritize problematic messages.

In the CivicSpace installer, every error message during installation  
included a link to CivicSpaceLabs.org with more detailed instructions  
and the ability to post comments.


This allowed us to both improve the documentation, and understand  
what to improve in the next version.   I think we should separate  
error messages for Drupal administrators from end users.  I would  
enable special error messaging by default for all administrators  
through the Release Candidates, and Beta's as it's an important part  
of getting feedback.   Alternatively, you could simply count page  
views from error messages to determine if certain error messages were  
getting a lot of click-throughs.  As long as the error messages  
didn't show up to the end users, I think you administrators would be  
tolerant of default feedback mechanisms.

> We could ship this module with the Drupal 5.0 betas but leave it  
> out once the final release ships.  Seems like a fun little module  
> that could make a huge difference.  Ideal for people who want to  
> learn jQuery and AJAX.

Connecting Drupal software, to have stronger interactive feedback  
with the community that supports and develops it is a very important  
activity for Drupal going forward.  A good place to start would be to  
get a list of all Drupal error messages, particularly error messages  
for administration.  Then we could create pages in the handbook for  


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

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