I haven’t updated for a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping busy. There’s been discussion on the dev list about prototypes I’ve created as well as some discussion of feedback I got from user testing. I’ve spent probably too much time thinking about the approve users screen. And tonight I’ll be doing two more user tests. I was really happy to have the devs enter the discussion when I put the raw feedback out there before giving my opinions and I’ll probably do somewhat of the same with the next two.
Throughout the first half of the summer, I was focused on learning DrProject in and out, identifying the easy to spot usability issues and possible solutions, and redesigning the Admin interface based on my own experience. Now that I’ve been exposed to DrProject for so long, it’s harder to put myself in a “new user” perspective. This is why I’m turning back to more user-centered design techniques now such as user testing and fleshing out the usage scenarios and personas I’ve had in mind. I also feel a little better about asking my friends to contribute their time as usability test subjects now that I have some ideas for the new interface fleshed out to show them and get input on both the existing and hypothetical designs.
I’ve updated my prototype to include a new idea for Approve Users:
Personas, for those not familiar with this user-centered design technique, are fictional characters created to help keep typical users in mind. They help to make some of the attributes and needs you expect your target user audience will have more concrete and prevent you from designing a product solely for yourself. Since DrProject is primarily intended for classroom use, I’ve created several simple personas in that context, which you can see here:
- Techie, comfortable with linux and command line tools
- Busy, teaches a lot, and doesn’t want to have to spend much time with administering the tools he offers his students
- Wants to expose his students to things like version control and project portals
- Has a system administrator install DrProject and then administers it using the web interface
- Uses DrProject to coordinate with classmates because the professor set it up
- Has a few informal development projects with friends that he might consider using DrProject for in the future
- Likes using DrProject because it helps keep his teammates accountable
- Installs DrProject on one of the school’s servers as part of his job
- Is very busy at the beginning of the semester with setting up software upgrades and technical support for newly arrived faculty and staff
Project manager at small software company
- Organized, but busy with juggling projects, she wants to have a way to keep track of multiple small scale development projects at once
- Is a networker: she heard about DrProject from a friend who uses Trac but was thinking of switching when they heard of DrProject
- Enjoys her job of 4 years, currently overseeing the 23 technical employees at MiniComp and pitching in on projects as necessary
I’ll post some scenarios soon, and the results of the user testing I’ll do tonight. I’m looking forward to testing some more friends. (And sharing my delicious ginger cookies with them! A little bit of gastronomic bribery since I don’t have any real payment for them.)
Note: This post was written on July 9, but somehow skipped being published, so I’m doing so now.