D7UX Process – Where we’re at, why we’re paper prototyping, where we’re headed

We talked a little earlier about the process we think we’ll be working to for the D7UX project, and we thought you’d like a little more of an idea of what point we’re at with it now, and why we’re doing so much work on paper at the moment, and what we’ll end up with.  Mark talks you through it in the video above. The key points are:

  • we’re moving on from learning/listening (although we’ll continue to do that throughout the project, of course) into ideation – coming up with piles of ideas, rejecting many of them, moving forward with some of them, until we get to the point where we think we have something we like, that works, and that is exciting both in its simplicity and its potential.
  • we work a LOT on paper at the moment. The main reasons for this are that it is:

    a) fast – we can get a lot of ideas down quickly,b) we don’t get precious about our ideas, because we scribble them down so quickly, there’s no time to get overly attached to a bad idea (unlike if we’d photoshopped it up beautifully, or started coding it), bad ideas get thrown away fairly painlessly, and

    c) they’re great for user research – at this early point in the project we want to get really honest feedback from people who are looking at our concepts. It’s generally accepted (and certainly has been true in our experience) that if you use low-fidelity prototypes at this stage people are much happier to tell you if they think your idea is rubbish. With a higher fidelity prototype people are more reticent to do this because they assume that you’ve put a lot of thought and work into the concept, this does two things – it makes them not want to offend you, and it also makes them think you must have thought of things that they haven’t yet, so you must be right and their initial reaction must be wrong.

  • We’re going to be posting our initial concept/direction for you to take a look at very soon, and look forward to hearing what you think of it! We’ll be talking your feedback, the results that flow in from CrowdSourced Usability Testing and our own user research and testing and continuing to iterate the prototype and solve lots and lots of complicated problems as we move through all the requirements that Drupal places on it’s UI.
  • At the end of the process we are *really* hoping to be able to hand over a ‘library’ of interaction patterns and rules that can be applied by the community as Drupal continues to grow, allowing the intergrity of the User Experience to be maintained within such an organic environment.


13 thoughts on “D7UX Process – Where we’re at, why we’re paper prototyping, where we’re headed”

  1. We have been participating for a long time in usabilty. Not just us but also many non-Drupal users. From many different parts of the web. There is an ocean of information but it was dried up, reasons unknown. For best results it will be good to revive this forum and NOT RE-INVENT WHEEL! Its here – http://drupal.org/forum/6

  2. Funnily enough I was looking at Balsamiq Mockups air app this morning. Paper is a great first step, and great when you’re able to physically interact with someone. Looks like Balsamiq might be nice for long distance low-fi mockups though. Ever used it? Have an opinion?

  3. The written matter in the video is difficult to read. Very bad quality. Most of the time I see the speaker’s face instead of the drawings. It will be much better to present this as slideshow. The voice can be in the back instead of uselessly showing the speaker, unless that is by design for self-promotional purposes.

  4. @Mark – we included the written matter at the bottom of this post for ease of reference, I hope that helps.

    I hadn’t considered a slideshow format for this though, that’s a good idea. Will consider that for the future.

    Actually, one of the reasons that we use video and our faces is to try to ‘bridge the gap’ that you get when you have to work remotely with your clients (which is you and everyone else here). We hope that by using video people can get to know us better, so we can work better together.

    As I’ve said before – all the important points made in the video are repeated in text and available as images, so you don’t have to watch the videos if you don’t want to. I should probably make a note of that in each post tho’. Will do so in future.

    thanks for your feedback,

  5. @adrinux I haven’t had a chance to play with Balsamiq yet but it seems to be a popular choice at the moment. Will have to go take a look soon!

  6. @Leisa – If the matter is already there it may be better to avoid duplication. Instead of postponing to future you can just delete the video and use this now – http://www.slideshare.net/
    There are hundreds of contributors and workers in Drupal .org as well as outside Drupal, so showing one face to foster community feelings is useless and wastage of our view space and view time, imho. Unless that is by design and you want some milegae, which is ok.

  7. Again, I’m excited to see the user experience improved substantially for my end-users. Sure hope the community feels the same and doesn’t put up roadblocks. An improved UI is needed — compared with the latest WordPress UI. And a centralized entity to take that on is probably best.

    It takes some courage and humility to take on such a public-facing project. Kudos to you for leading the charge. Good luck.

  8. Leisa, thanks for these posts. It is really interresting to get that much feed back. Having a choice between video and text+image is a really nice idea. Having a short note to say this at the bigining of each post would be helpful.

  9. So, this pattern library would be sort of like Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for Drupal? This would be great for module developers.

  10. Being a computer scientist along with being a photographer gives me a pretty grasp idea of why paper is needed. I love to see people drawing storyboards, when we need to improve the user interface and the user interaction!!!!!! Certainly you (we) are heading on the right direction.

  11. I really like the lo-fi approach, it’s productive and gives us lots of insight in both process and the actual ideas and concepts. Great to get an idea of how much we can still expect to come!

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