Blog Post

What you're saying about usability

What you're saying about usability

We've gotten some great responses this month to HASTAC's Usability Survey. We're going to keep the survey open for a little longer, so if you haven't filled it out, now's your chance. Let us know what parts of the site are important to you, and what needs improvement. The whole thing will take less than 5 minutes.

If you like, you can also leave us comments in the survey. Here is a selection of some of the feedback and suggestions we've heard so far:

  • Would like the site itself to be more streamlined. It is cluttered and can get confusing, which makes browsing difficult and confusing.
  • One thing that I think could use some revision is the user points system.
  • Difficult to access non-recent blog posts by myself or others without remembering the post title for a search.
  • Finding an interest group is not that easy. The navigation is messy.
  • I would love if it were easier to move between blogs and groups. Sometimes I am reading a blog posted in a group and find it hard to locate how to get back to the group. It would be nice if this were clear.
  • Much of the new content is redundant across the site- burying other new blog posts, etc.
  • The comment layout is terrible. There have been many times I've stopped reading a given subject because the conversation becomes difficult to follow. There must be a better way to do this AND to use the screen space better.
  • It'd be great if it were friendlier for people who surf with JavaScript turned off.
  • Searches do not necessarily turn up all relevant content.
  • Would be neat to see more of what is new, or even most read, etc.

What are you waiting for? Take the survey now: https://duke.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2fnRJGmQSh8Rtul

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3 comments

For what it's worth on a technical level, I would explore Javascript-based navigation affordances to resolve some of these issues. 

 

Javascript could be written once and used in many places, intelligently adapting to where the user is and what you want them to see. The load on server is lighter-weight, since the server would be sending out JSON data,and the client side would parse and render that. The possibilities for interaction, real-time update, and other needs increase. Yet, it can also be "unobtrusive" with regard to the rest of the site design and layout/templates, etc.

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Very interesting idea. How well would JS navigation adapt to different screen types and sizes? Is there a Drupal module that can manage this?

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You should be able to use the same HTML5/CSS3 approaches to screen size and and types as you'd use with php outputting HTML5/CSS3  So, whatever you are doing in your current CSS to address this could be applied to html output by jquery (a javascript library).

Drupal has a convention for using jquery (probably all you would ever need to do what you want) in a simple custom module. In fact, this site is already using Jquery for various purposes (such as the folding input format menu when a user comments, Group Actions drop-down menu on the right hand side, user relationships, lightbox, slideshows, wysiwyg editor, heartbeat, fivestar module, date popups, etc  I can see this by viewing page source :-) )

This approach would require some coding work, but would be the easiest way to walk away with a very intelligent, responsive interface affordance for giving users custom information that Drupal doesn't show on it's own (like links to the group you are in, etc etc). It'd be worth thinking about the design of the information shown first, of course. Just trying to throw out some ideas that are hopefully helpful. 

I've found Jquery and Javascript approaches to be far more forgiving and flexible than coding into PHP templates, when highly customized needs start to arise.

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