Article for conference booklet:
Usability does not get enough attention in Open Source software in general. Drupal can make a difference by a shift of focus towards usability and the human interface.
Usability is no rocket science, but that does not mean it is easy! Most module developers are good programmers, that’s why they do code. However, it requires at least a different point of view to give a module a good user experience. Once a developer is into the code, he/she knows the module inside-out and cannot (easily) look at it with the eyes of an inexperienced user.
The best way to develop a module with a good user interface is to start from the user and the required functionality. For developers with existing modules I will to show how user experience can be improved without starting from scratch. Here I will use the modules that I maintain (Simplenews and Header Image) as examples. Not that they stand out in usability, work is still in progress, but lessons can be learned. A few of these lessons:
* Perform user tests
* Provide documentation
* Explain the bigger picture before filling in the details
* Use existing conventions
* Form items: keep titles and descriptions short and avoid duplications
* Functionality: Minimize the number of options
Bios for conference booklet:
Erik Stielstra; 45 years, male; living in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Running a one man company for websites/web applications with an eye for the user. Specialised in Drupal and CiviCRM.
I have a working history in the field between human and technology. Active in Drupal since August 2006 as module maintainer/author and co-ordinator of the Dutch translation.