Article for conference booklet:
The formal user tests at the University of Minnesota and Baltimore have got quite some attention. They also had a common bottom line: Drupal is quite hard to get into for novice users.
We want to improve this. But how can we make sure we really tackle the major issues? And how do we find out if improvements are really improvements? A wicked psychological feedback scenario is holding us hostage: you can only see things from your standpoint. It is definitely beyond anyone to step outside himself. But this is not even the hard part.
The hard part is here you step outside the "Scratch your own itch" paradigm. It is more about scratching someone elses back. And the more it feels like a nice massage, the more successful Drupal will be. But still: where is the starting point?
Repeated testing is the answer. Make sure to find out how the user experiences Drupal for our own attitude cannot be but biased. How is someone who is not accustomed to the workflow and UI able to perform a given task?
And how to make user testing fun? I'll try to depict how this can be done utilizing the Usability Testing Suite (UTS).
Tests in U of Minnesota and Baltimore: have there been reliable results?
A bit of theory: how is user testing generally carried out in other projects and companies
The Usability Testing Suite (UTS): A way to go?
A plan how to encourage and organize constant testing
Goals Find a way to make user testing an asset to Drupal. Just like code testing has got a key role in Code Quality.
The talk will have an ensuing BoF http://szeged2008.drupalcon.org/program/sessions/future-user-testing-drupal to discuss the further steps in user testing. If we could come up with a plan that feels feasible, this would be wonderful.
Usability Testing Suite http://drupal.org/project/uts In dev state, maintained by boombatower
Matthew Paul Thomas about improvint usability in Open Source Projects http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability
Bios for conference booklet:
Thomas Moseler is a freelancing web designer. He joined the Drupal community in 2006 and soon fell in love with the system. He is busy in improving Drupals Usability since he cares a lot about the visual side and bringing the software closer to the user. Being a passionate Drupal evangelist, he is very active in the local community, organizing meetings and workshops.