One week before Drupalcon DC, we will be conducting a usability sprint on Drupal 7. The first half of the sprint will involve a round of formal usability testing at the University of Baltimore (UB) led by Becca Scolan, who produced the previous Drupal usability report from UB. She will be joined by members of the Drupal community: Drupal documentation team lead, Addison (add1sun) Berry; Key members of Drupal's usability team, Brad (beeradb) Bowman, Nathaniel (catch) Catchpole and Bojhan (Bojhan) Somers.
Previous usability testing at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and the University of Baltimore (UB) highlighted a number of issues with Drupal's usability and resulted in several solutions - some of which have made it into core, some of which are actively being worked on. This will be the first time Drupal 7 has been usability tested, and the first formal testing held while Drupal is in 'code thaw'. This means we have a unique opportunity to field-test these Drupal 7 improvements when we still have some time to make adjustments before release. Learn more in the "how you can help" section below.
Continuing this effort at this year at the University of Baltimore will allow us to make more informed design decisions.
During the second half of the sprint, the community members attending will analyze the test data and produce actionable issues to work on before Drupal 7 is released. Dries has predicted a release date for Drupal 7 some time in the fourth quarter of 2009. This means there will be time after the testing is complete to implement solutions to many of the issues discovered by the tests. All test results, including much of the raw data, will be made available publicly on the web and during a presentation at Drupalcon DC.
We are asking the Drupal community to contribute to funding accommodation and board during the sprint for participants, each of whom will be donating their time for the duration of the testing.
The testing itself will be conducted from February 25th-27th and evaluation from the 29th until the 3rd of March.
During our stay in Baltimore we will need financial support for the currently confirmed attendees. We have only a few weeks to raise this money in order to book accommodations in time. We've been able to secure significant help from employers and community members for airfare and lodging, but we still expect expenditures for testing subjects and the group of contributors to be around $2500 for the week.
Want to get involved?
There is still space for a handful of contributors. If you have a history of contributing, would like to come, and can secure sponsorship for airfare + board, feel free to contact one of the current attendees. While there's limited space in the lab, there's still plenty you can do apart from attending or donating money to help make the testing as successful as possible.
In preparation for the testing, we are actively encouraging the community to resolve major outstanding issues from the previous tests so that we can verify how effective the changes are, and to avoid treading the same ground testing interfaces we already know to be confusing. There are patches in the queue for some of these changes, so as well as donating some money for the sprint, you can also help us by spending time reviewing, updating and testing these patches and by following the discussions in http://groups.drupal.org/usability
- And anything else from http://drupal.org/project/issues/3060/term/317
Additionally, we'd love to get community help in reviewing and critiquing our testing plan. Our current working copy can be reviewed at http://groups.drupal.org/node/18579