[wp-hackers] 1.5.2 or on to 1.6?

Terrence Wood tdw at funkive.com
Tue May 24 00:12:35 GMT 2005

Gabe's recommendation to use popup's is questionable to be sure. 
However, this does not invalidate any of the other recommendations he 
makes. Rather than discount his paper in it's entirety, evaluate each 
recommendation on it's own merits.

Ron, I find your comparsion to engineers designing cash registers 
amusing. The engineers from your example are, in the case of Wordpress, 
the developers not the usability folks. The role of usability analysis 
is to bridge the gap between people who make things in the lab and 
people who use things in the real world through informed observation 
and decision making.

WP fares reasonably well for usability compared to other OS efforts, 
yet there remains plenty of room for improvement. For example, in the 
manage posts screen:
   * What is the relevance of the id column when using permalinks, is it 
   * Why are there three buttons (view, edit, delete) for every post, 
when you can only perform one action at a time on only one post?
   * Why do some links dump you into the live blog, while other perform 
admin functions?
   * Why do some buttons have double borders, some are flat, and others 
are text links?
   * Why does the page layout differ when there is one result (i.e. 
comments shown) vs. many results (no comments) when filtering the list?
   * Why is the main navigation a mixture of task orientation ("do 
something") and functional orientation ("work in this area")?

All of these questions can be answered by usability engineering or, if 
you prefer a different label, interaction design. Some are visual 
design issues, while others are software engineering issues. They all 
impact on usability and regardless of what label you use, at the very 
least there should be some sort of deliberate  and informed effort in 
addressing these issues in WP prior to the next milestone release.

regards Terrence Wood.

On 24 May 2005, at 2:02 AM, Ron Guerin wrote:

> David House wrote:
>> If you're looking for personal opinions, I think we should start work
>> on 1.6. Prioritise the front end overhaul (so work on the usability
>> enhancements pointed out by Gabriel White and others).
> Having read that piece, there was a lot of questionable advice in 
> there. I hope the intent isn't to implement it all just because it 
> came from
> someone claiming to be an expert.  Beware "usability experts", they are
> much like the engineers who design cash registers for your local 
> grocery
> store.  They spend all their time in the lab, and don't actually shop 
> in
> grocery stores.  For example, the elimination of pop-up windows
> (regardless of their purpose) has been a major usability feature added
> to browsers at the direct request of *users*.  The paper submitted here
> was in favor of making a step backward, by adding such abominations to
> WordPress.  That most assuredly would detract from, rather than enhance
> the user experience.
> - Ron
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