[Mailman-Developers] Mailman Usability

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Thu Mar 3 20:32:58 CET 2005

At 1:38 PM -0500 2005-03-03, Terri Oda wrote:

>  The biggest one is the seperate-logins-for-all-lists sort of stuff.
>  Many user don't understand (or care) that this reflects our (now
>  seemingly flawed) architecture, and telling them "that's just the way it
>  was designed" is kinda lame when it's clearly not the way it should work.

	That's being addressed in mm3.  I'm not sure we can fix this 
problem before then.

>  I think going through and gathering this data would be *really* helpful
>  and could lead to a much better interface.  What would be the best way
>  to gather this information?  Should we set up some pages in the wiki and
>  make sure they're well known to users as a place to report this sort of
>  thing?

	I think a wiki would be a bad idea.  Wikis are complex enough for 
those of us who are Internet-savvy.  Something like bugzilla (or 
other bug/issue-tracking system) would also be too complex.  If 
you're going to collect data from end-users, you've got to make it 
simple enough that your two-year old can do it.  Scratch that -- an 
AOL user has to be able to do it, and that's far worse.

>  Perhaps something with some quick voting-style "this bugs me too" option?

	That's much more likely to be able to collect useful information.

>  How can we make it easy for people to report usability concerns?

	I fear that the problem is that you need a system with very high 
usability in order to collect the usability information, but this is 
a vicious circle.

	Myself, I think I'd be inclined to look towards Internet voting 
sites as the model to follow.  I can't think of any off the top of my 
head, but I recall having used some in the past which seemed pretty 
simple -- nothing but radio buttons and the odd multiple-choice 

	Whatever is done, I think the underlying concept has to be KISS, 
and to stick with that.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

   SAGE member since 1995.  See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.

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