[Mailman-Developers] UI for Mailman 3.0 update

Patrick Ben Koetter p at state-of-mind.de
Sat Jun 5 23:59:31 CEST 2010


I am really happy to find out you, as a blind person, are on this list and
that you want to get involved into MM3 development, because creating a user
interface that works well for most visually impaired people is one of our/my
major goals in the MM3 WUI (web user interface) overhaul.

This said: I believe the current interface is too complicated even for those
who don't need to meet any perceptional or motional challenges:

- It doesn't enforce reasonable grouping of related functions
- It exposes an immense number of configuration options to the user but
  doesn't seem to prioritize how often they are required
- It has a high signal noise ratio i.e. it's crowed with text (help messages)
  which makes it hard to focus on the configuration options themselves.
- HTML is not used in a semantic way. You already mentioned there's no
  association between option names and their fields aka 'labels'. If I
  remember correctly structure i.e. headings and reasonable use of list are
  also missing.

The list is totally uncomplete, but I guess you get the idea.

This and more should go and be replaced by better solutions AND the interface
should be modern, nice to look at and provide a set of comfortable JavaScript

But JavaScript et al. must not be a basic requirement. We want progressive
enhancement <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Enhancement> and, to
answer one of your questions in your message, our goal is to ship a default
user interface that provides the needed accessibility.

You mentioned "some other feature requests based on 2.1.x functionality". I'd
be curious to learn what they are and even more than that I would like to
invite you to help us create a user interface that works for as many as

p at rick

* Geoff Shang <geoff at QuiteLikely.com>:
> On Fri, 4 Jun 2010, Anna Granudd wrote:
> >there are some mock-ups on the wiki (see
> >http://wiki.list.org/display/DEV/Web+UI+Mockups) but it'd be great if you
> >could help with ideas for a nice design and layout!
> As a blind person, I'm not able to comment on these as these are images.
> I can understand the desire for an overhall of the Mailman UI, but I
> think it's worth saying that for the most part, the 2.x UI works
> well for people using screen reader technology.  The only area which
> provides some challenges is the membership management screen, as it
> can be difficult to associate each checkbox with the function it
> performs.  But even this can be managed using screen reader commands
> for reading tables.
> I realise that Mailman 3.x will make it possible to create multiple
> UIs, as the functionality will be separated from the UI.  However,
> it is also my experience that alternate/specialised UIs can and do
> go unmaintained, and as such it is my hope that the (or at least a)
> standard UI shipped by default with Mailman will provide the needed
> accessibility.
> So this is one of the reasons why I'm on this list, to keep an eye
> on developments and hopefully provide some feedback when a test
> server becomes available.
> Right now, my UI wishlist is as follows:
> 1.  At least one UI with no *necessary* javascript. Maybe this won't
> be the main UI, but as a person who uses the Linux console with a
> text-mode browser, I like the fact that I can quickly fire up my
> browser to deal with a moderator request with no fuss.  Given that a
> package like Squirrelmail can operate completely without Javascript
> if the user chooses, this should surely be possible.
> 2.  Proper use of the label tag in association with form elements.
> This was (or seemed to be done) fairly well for the most part, with
> the exception of those checkboxes I mentioned, but I'd hate to see
> this lost. What this means in practice is that screen readers will
> read the appropriate label text when focusing upon a form element.
> There's probably other important stuff, but this is all that comes
> to mind right now.
> Other non-accessibility-related things which I think are worth
> considering are:
> 1.  More useful archives with search capability.  I'm sure this is
> on a dozen wishlists.
> 2.  A friendlier front page per list.  Surely having 3 forms on the
> front page (or is it 4?) is a bit intimidating to some.
> I've got some other feature requests based on 2.1.x functionality
> but I'll post that somewhere else more appropriate.
> Geoff.
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