Updates from May, 2009

  • Making UI conclusions from user data

    May 29th, 2009

    This spring, I got interested in another Google Summer of Code project on Moodle: Mihai Şucan’s painting tool. It is interesting also because Mihai understands usability, too, and I have been happy to push him a bit towards doing a bit of user research. Today I commented on the answers he got (if you don’t have a Moodle.org username, click ‘Login as guest’) when he asked teachers in the community about their potential uses for a painting tool.

    And I am enjoying every bit of it since it also helps me think through user-centric design processes in my mind.

  • Dimensions of the Consistent UI Guidelines project

    May 27th, 2009

    After having had a chat with Helen yesterday, I recalled the importance of simple writing. I have a rather complex message which I want to make a lot of people understand: I am not just making usability recommendations to specific parts of Moodle, but trying to see patterns in the way UI’s are made and to make recommendations about those patterns.

    Later in the evening I got the idea that even though the job itself is quite well narrowed down at the moment, it still happens on quite a few dimensions, and keeping track of the different things happening on different dimensions might be the real challenge here.

    I have prioritised the dimensions (goals) here (the first the in list has the hightest priority), to give a rough idea of what will be given less attention to, in case my head starts feeling like it’s gonna blow up. (The links are to appropriate phases in the project schedule)

    1. Engaging the community. Giving them something to play with. Finding common ground. Providing services to different UI design projects within Moodle. Community discussion
    2. Writing for lightness. Making the guidelines clear, light, usable: fit for their purpose. This is critical for building engagement. Catalogue (but writing really happens throughout the project)
    3. Planning. Project management, project documentation – kind of a prerequisite for my sanity and thus, for everything else. Planning
    4. Exploring Moodle‘s functionality. There is a lot of work here for me, in both learning the UI and narrowing down what is relevant for this first round of HIG creating. Examine, Catalogue
    5. Usability tests (design, organizing to get some people to test with, usability testing) Planning usability testing, Usability testing
    6. Creating tickets for changes in tracker, implementation of  changes. Implement

    Also, I am kind of wondering about the name for the guidelines themselves. How does Consistent UI Guidelines sound to you? Seems more comprehensible to me than HIG, which is comprehensible mostly just to usability folks.

  • Project schedule, summer 2009

    May 26th, 2009

    As a part of the Moodle usability effort of summer 2009, I have now published a detailed project plan for the project in the Moodle Docs wiki. Comments welcome. It feels good to be in control.

    Also amused myself on Sunday (my day off) by creating this little ad, which will probably never appear anywhere else but here, now (since it is too distractive to be even here). It is the first APNG animation I ever created and should work on any decent new browser – and show just the first frame on older ones. I created the file with APNG Editor, a Firefox extension. (More …)

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