[wp-hackers] Usability Expert Review

Ron Guerin ron at vnetworx.net
Mon Apr 18 01:53:24 GMT 2005

Matt Mullenweg wrote:
> Gabriel White has prepared a draft report for WordPress, and is looking 
> for feedback from the community to revise it. Please check it out and 
> let the list know what you think:
> http://www.gabrielwhite.com/wordpress/


Links to different kinds of content are handled in a uniform
way throughout WordPress. Links to external content or sites,
online help and post / page content are all represented as
underlined blue text, and all links open in the parent browser
window. Sometimes, system actions are carried out using
blue underlined text links (such as activation of a theme). This
design both make it difficult for users to determine the purpose and 
effect of these links, and is likely to cause
frustration when supporting content is displayed in place of
the WordPress application itself. Most users would expect
supporting content to be displayed in a window outside the
application itself (much like help content is displayed in a
separate window on desktop applications).

Disagree with the implication that users want more popup/separate 
windows.  It's pretty well established that's the last thing they want. 
  (Hint: The Web is not a "desktop application".)  People avoid sites 
that indulge in this kind of behavior, they certainly don't want it on 
their own sites.

* Differentiate links that provide access to help content.
   Instead of linking the text of field labels, place a
   hyperlinked question mark either after the label or after the
   field (e.g. “(?)”. This makes the purpose of the link clear.

Actually, I think that change would only add confusion, not reduce it, 
by appearing to be a standard "Add page to Wiki" link.  Wiki is not the 
obscure thing it once was, and is becoming less so rather quickly.

Navigation Design
The second level tabs (i.e. the menu options presented below
the primary navigation options) are an efficient use of screen
real estate, but can be hard to notice (see example below).
Users may not realize there are multiple options available
below a major menu item.

 Enlarge the font size on the second level tabs, and give
the font more visual weight (e.g. use color and bolding).

Someone else said it before.  "Learning Curve".  Making WordPress easy 
for newbies should not have to mean long-term sacrifice for its users 
for that sake.  That real estate is a precious resource.  (The 
appropriate way to fix this for the visually impaired is with a local 
stylesheet override.)

- Ron

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