How usable is WordPress? (Part IX – Iteration 3)
For my third iteration, I’ll continue to work on the dashboard, the WYSIWYG editor, and add my third overall redesign priority (#7 in the paper prototypes), making changes to the front-end of the blog as seen when the user is logged in.
In looking at my second iteration of the main dashboard, I made some changes (further text explanations below images):
- The “x” options to close module windows create more problems than they’re worth in finding out how to re-open those module windows – so forget that fix. I decided this upon reading Nielsen, on p. 48:”Given the many differences between groups of users and between individual users, it might be tempting to give up and just allow the users to customize their interfaces to suit their individual preferences. However…it is not a good idea to go too far in that direction either.”
- I removed the “Search WordPress.com Blogs” from the upper right corner. It seemed superfluous to me, and in the process of composing a post, unnecessary. I also colored that top bar navigation a bright, contrasting color, as this is a persistent navigation feature at all times when logged in to WordPress.com, and it’s dark grey goes unnoticed. I also moved the items in this persistent navigation to the right, since it is more common to have things like “My Account” in the upper right.
- I removed the “Howdy, <username>” from the upper right, since “My Account” was now right above it, and the two links did nearly the same thing.
- I highlighted the Upgrades and Promo tabs to make them more visible, though I am unsure if this is really the best place for this information.
- Finally, although this is not visible in the interface (see the rationale), I wanted to make the modules on the dashboard direct links to the deeper content of which they are just a snapshot. In the original, the “Recent Comments” text/module does NOT link to what you would get if you clicked on “Comments” in the left navigation. Similarly, the “Stats” module on the dashboard is not linked to what you’d see if you clicked “Blog Stats” in the Dashboard area of the left menus. So an improvement would be to link the dashboard modules to the deeper content areas present in the left navigation.
The last iteration of the WYSIWYG did not focus on some of the deeper functions of the editor, so in this iteration I will look at one area of concern – the toggle to fullscreen feature.
Toggling to Fullscreen
A very handy feature of the WordPress WYSIWYG is the ability to toggle to full screen. Yet while in the full screen mode, there is no way to “save” or “update” or “publish” (idioms used at different places in the WordPress interface. Users who are used to saving their work before altering a display may feel unsure if they can toggle and not lose work, so this simple fix would be to include a button for either saving/updating/publishing (whichever term is in use in the non-fullscreen mode). See the original and fixed image below:
Viewing the Blog While Logged In
As was seen in the user test, users may go out to the blog (by clicking “visit site”, for instance) to try and use this “front end” to help navigate the back-end interface. This can be helpful – in the user test, the user was able to identify a key term, “Pages”, by using this method. My idea for an improvement (as expressed in the three images below) is to enable users to directly navigate from the front end to the correct area of the back end with great ease.
This concludes the iterations of redesign. What does it all mean? See Part X – Conclusions.
This post is part of the ten-part series called Is WordPress Usable?
- Part I – Introduction
- Part II – Picking a Method
- Part III – Preparing for the Cognitive Walkthrough
- Part IV – Analysis by Cognitive Walkthrough
- Part V – Conclusions from the Cognitive Walkthrough
- Part VI – The User Test
- Part VII – Rough Paper Prototypes
- Part VIII – Iteration 2
- Part IX – Iteration 3
- Part X – Conclusions
The series documents my learning process in attempting to systematically identify usability problems in, and suggest improvements to, the WordPress.com blogging software as might be done in the emerging field of User Experience. This project was undertaken as part of LIS590IIL, a class held in the Graduate School of Library and Informaton Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois during Fall of 2009.