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#1 2005-11-03 17:16:34

davidm
Member
From: Paris, France
Registered: 2004-04-27
Posts: 719

Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

<font color=”#666666”>You can use the usability definition of Wikipedia as reference</font>

I had already mentionned that there was an interresting initiative to improve opensource software’s usability, with openusability.org. Some CMS, like Serendipity, have joined the project.

Since it’s the world usability day, I was thinking this intiative : CMS User Interface Guidelines meets OpenUsability was worth talking about, even if it’s just starting… there’s even a wiki, but it’s still a blank slate.

But back to textpattern : so far, the community has helped improve txp in various ways (plugins, translation, documentation, bug reports…) but I think (now that txp is more mature) it’s time we dig the textpattern usability issue a little. Mary’s admin facelift is a start, but if we dig a little we could make txp a better CMS. Not meaning that textpattern is not usable but there is always room for improvement. We could sort frontend and backend issues (the latest will likely be greater in number… ) to start with…

I am in no way a usability expert, but I guess textpattern newcomers could enlighten us as to what can be improved (that is, since they have a “fresh” eye). With the growth of the french community, I have gotten feedback from quite a bit of new textpattern users, and some of them have raised valid points (which I will sum up later when I have the time).

I was wondering how we could organize this feedback to document usability issues, structure feedback for the dev team, and also offer solutions to solve those issues when we are qualified to do so…

What do you think ?

Last edited by davidm (2005-11-03 17:56:20)


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#2 2005-11-03 17:55:36

Jeremie
Member
From: Provence, France
Registered: 2004-08-11
Posts: 1,578
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

I am working on an article about this for some time now. The little and big things that would grow TXP. Not finished yet.

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#3 2005-11-03 17:56:50

davidm
Member
From: Paris, France
Registered: 2004-04-27
Posts: 719

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

Can’t wait to read it :-)

Any input in the meantime ?


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#4 2005-11-03 18:15:39

hakjoon
Moderator
From: Arlington, VA
Registered: 2004-07-29
Posts: 1,631
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

I recently set up Textpattern up for a co-worker to run a small site on. He is a developer although he does not have much “blog” experience. He was completely confused by the write tab, since it completely lacks any labeling.

Of course I love the lack of labeling because I think it makes the interface so clean, but apparently not everyone’s brain works the same way as mine.

Another thing I thought of when mocking up something over in the versioning discussion is that the post status radio buttons are a little muddled as to what they affect. Some of the statuses imply states in a publishing workflow (draft, pending, live) while others are more post visibility/bevahiour settings (hidden, sticky).

In some ways it almost seems like they should be separate since they sort of affect different aspects of the post. For example I can have an article that’s still in draft that will be sticky. I realize that there is nothing preventing this sequence now, but it still seems that we are mixing functions. In the future I could see user roles that set the visibility options of a post while other roles actually go through the revision process. Like the editorial and layout separation in a traditional magazine.

Last edited by hakjoon (2005-11-03 18:23:09)


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#5 2005-11-03 20:12:18

darrepac
Member
Registered: 2005-09-26
Posts: 64
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

Agree that the write tab is not so easy for beginner… I see a 2 steps approach :
1) advanced user or webmaster of the Txp site : we can accept to have a little bit more complex tab design even if there are still area to improve surely
2) for “basic” user, and I am thinking particularly about the guy I promote editor on my site, clearly it is far too complex…first, too much parameters to set, second probably lack of direct access button for text design (aka textile) (even such plugin probably exist)…. we could imagine to provide a basdic and an advanced write tab : user could change fron one to the other easily.

I am sure also that the request for a post by email ( http://forum.textpattern.com/viewtopic.php?id=1024&p=1 ) could really improve usability for such “basic” user…

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#6 2005-11-03 20:38:47

Jeremie
Member
From: Provence, France
Registered: 2004-08-11
Posts: 1,578
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

There are ways around this, to help and fulfill everyone from the absolute non-geek old grandma to the bleeding edge web x.0 guru. Mostly with contextual help in several layers. I will expand on that with test cases.. well, later :)

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#7 2005-11-04 10:00:42

edeverett
Plugin Author
From: London
Registered: 2005-03-17
Posts: 42
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

I agree with darrepac that a basic admin interface would be really useful.

So for people with the ‘basic’ permission a really simplified write tab can be delivered. I’m imagining something that guides them throught the steps needed and hides the rest. (ie. 1. Enter Title here: … 2. Enter the article here: … 3. Choose an excerpt that will descibe your article: … 4. Choose a Section: … 5. Choose a Catagory: … 6. Click here to publish the article: … )

I would not imagine this to be hardcoded into textpattern, but rather part of the design process. So it would be developed to suit the stucture of the site by the designer. Having the optional form validation on each element in case the people can’t follow instructions would be fantastic too.

Yeah, basically I want control over how the write tab is displayed to basic users without resorting to hacks. I’m putting forward a proposal for a site that will involve people who possibibly have’nt used the net much, if at all, before and the lack of this feature is putting me in serious doubts over whether I TXP is the right tool, but otherwise it would be perfectly suited.

I hope that makes sense. I’m sure there are people who can express this more elegantly.

Cheers,

Ed.

ps. Big thanks to all the development team and plugin writers. This is a great system.

Last edited by edeverett (2005-11-04 10:01:53)

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#8 2005-11-04 15:14:29

Perrine
Member
Registered: 2005-09-16
Posts: 94
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

Good idea David to start this discussion. When I started working with TXP, there were some points I would have loved to improve. Since I’m working on accessibility, I would also be happy to see some improvments to get an accessible txp website ;)

The most important point for me : I lost too much time scrolling the pages. I mean, in images tab, in articles tab, in section tab.

  1. For section : just add a list at the top of the page, to access directly to section.
  2. For images : search by name and category / add a navigation by category : display only images in a specific categories. One of the user I made a site for has a dial up connection : very very long to display the images when I select 100 images… and long too if he has to navigate throught 20 pages
    Also have the possibility to display or not thumbnails. For the same reason as above : dial up connection
  3. For articles : like for images. I use the search form but I would appreciate to have a dropdown menu for a direct access (like the list we have in the write tab)

To resume, I love the SPIP navigation : to be able to surf throught folders (categories) and access to files (articles)

About accessibility : would be nice to be able to change the title made by <txp:permlink>. All the titles attributes in <a> are the same. Not a very important thing to get a nice site, but very interesting for accessibility ;)

Hope you understand my english. Will be back to edit my post and add some points.

Last edited by Perrine (2005-11-04 15:52:51)

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#9 2005-11-04 15:40:09

davidm
Member
From: Paris, France
Registered: 2004-04-27
Posts: 719

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

Perrine wrote: Good idea David to start this discussion. When I started working with TXP, there were some points I would have loved to improve. Since I’m working on accessibility, I would also be happy to see some improvments to get an accessible txp website ;)

Your english is fine :-)

Too bad you couldn’t be at Fred Cavazza’s usability party yesterday then… Maybe next time ? I discussed with Fred about usability and CMS and what the guys @openusability.org do. He was pretty interrested in that… I suggested we organize a meeting between CMS and usability experts. I’ll keep you posted.

All the points you raise are valid points, and by the way thanks all for your input, I’ll do my homework when I have some time, which I lack unfortunately…


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#10 2005-11-06 09:21:29

davidwang
Member
From: Malaysia
Registered: 2005-01-25
Posts: 38
Website

Re: Textpattern and usability : how can we improve ?

I’ve been watching this topic with great interest. Most of the issues I have have been covered in the posts above, but I would like to add one thing. How about a ‘dashboard’ like Blogger and Movable Type? I recently created my own dashboard for my blog. I’ve also wrote up an article on it here: Itchy Textpattern Dashboard

Here’s a screenshot of my dashboard:

<a href=“http://www.flickr.com/photos/blogjunkie/60300798/” title=“Photo Sharing”><img src=“http://static.flickr.com/33/60300798_dc20a8f531.jpg” width=“500” height=“474” alt=“My Textpattern Dashboard” /></a>

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