User Experience Goals Draft

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This document is the result of a discussion after Day 2 of the formal usability testing at UMN on 27 Feb 2008 about general high level usability goals and based partially on the usability tests. The "8 Golden Rules" and " Apple Human Interface Guidelines" were referenced and used to help guide discussion.

We selected 5 of of these as 'important' and worthy of publishing and promoting as usability goals for Drupal, at the same level as drupal's mission and principle. This needs to be fleshed out with descriptions / paragraphs.

User Experience Goals

Edited version following discussion:

What are these goals for?
These usability goals are for Drupal core development, they are recommended for contributed module and theme developers.

Who is a Drupal user?
A user is someone using the Drupal software to set up, configure or maintain a website. This includes developers, administrators and content editors. These users should be able to provide good UX to their visitors. This can be achieved with good defaults and flexible tools.

User Experience Goals

A tested user experience based on research
Researching users’ experiences and interactions is the best way to identify usability issues. Research finds problems and measures success, but does not provide solutions.

An intuitive interface
User interfaces should be straightforward and concise. An interface should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

A consistent interface
Provide consistent user interfaces; reusing elements internally, and from website user interface conventions in general. The results of actions should be predictable and expected.

Clear Language
Terminology should be unambiguous and in plain English. Help text should be relevant and readily accessible.

Informative Feedback
Give relevant feedback guiding users through tasks, confirming success and providing useful feedback in case of error.

(almost) Original goals from the UMN brainstorming session

Measure User Experience. Research on users’ experiences and interactions is the best way to identify usability issues. Although research will not directly generate solutions, it finds problems and measures success.

5 human factors central to evaluating the user experience are:

  • Time to learn: How long does it take for typical users to learn relevant task?
  • Speed of performance: How long does it take to perform relevant benchmarks?
  • Rate of errors by users: How many and what kinds of errors are made during benchmark tasks?
  • Retention over time: Frequency of use and ease of learning help make for better user retention
  • Subjective satisfaction: Allow for user feedback

Consistency. Be consistent among Drupal user interfaces and with website user interface conventions. The results of actions should be predictable and expected. Drupal provides reusable patterns for many user interface elements.

Understandable Language. Use language that is understandable by users. Terminology should be unambiguous and useful. Help should be useful and readily accessible.

Not Feel Overwhelming. User interfaces should be straightforward and concise. Make complex tasks easy and hide, or omit, useless or irrelevant user interface elements.

Informative Feedback. Give useful and helpful messages and details about actions to reassure, give confidence, and guide to related tasks.


Please add your comments here


Text version of the whiteboard below

  • Consistency
    • Browsers
    • Expectations
    • Post settings
    • User settings
    • Submit / Tabs
  • Users should be able to publish content and see it
    • and what my users see?
    • See what I produced
  • Offering users informative feedback
    • Where am I?
    • Did I succeed?
    • Start workflow (Optimize for zero-content)
    • offer serious error handling
    • context sensitive help
    • task based
    • overview tutorial
    • feedback on forms
  • Terminology should not be ambiguous
    • terms should be defined
    • help is glossary?
    • turn a feature sort linked <--> Glossary module
  • Short cuts to Navigation
    • Work should flow
    • URL Short cuts
  • Actions should be near the target
    • It should be possible to complete common tasks in 3-4 screens or less.
  • Drupal should be forgiving to explore and feel control
  • Design for Browser
  • We measure the user experience, we don't guess
  • Reflect the user's mental model
  • Drupal should not feel overwhelming


Whiteboard of brainstorming session in UMN Usability Group goals discussion

Only local images are allowed.