Notes from usability testing with a friend. She had never really actively used a wiki before and had never interacted with our new stuff. Notes are taken from video.


She managed to figure things out extremely quickly without any instruction. Creating pages, editing pages, deleting pages and maps, adding links, images, changing text styling, etc were all very easy for her to figure out.

Problems / things to fix

  • She had a flakey, slow internet connection. The editor took a very long time to load initially. The map did too, but not quite as bad.
    • Quick fix: turn on mod_deflate in Apache. 2011-7-28 gziped content is being sent from all lw pilots, now
    • Longer-term: explore reducing the size of the editor js.
  • Her cursor moved around for a few seconds after the editor loaded for a new page. Adding in some default boilerplate text for new pages, a'la "Describe <pagename> here." as we have on daviswiki would have helped her immediately understand that's where the page goes.
  • When adding an image to her page she clicked on the image icon without having set focus in the editor first. The editor inserts the image at the front of the first line in the editor. This is probably fine, but worth noting her behavior.
  • She got lost when following external links. While she knew how to use her browser's back button, she found it frustrating that external links didn't "pop open." In one instance she spent ~2 minutes reading an external site and forgot how to get back to the wiki. I think it'd be worthwhile to watch how other people interact before making a change here. I know in the old days everyone was taught how to open external links (if they want) in a new window/tab (Ctrl+click), but not sure how common that is outside tech circles.
  • Create account page after visiting login page should just redirect to front page. 2011-7-28 We are now doing this
  • "Search or create page" when clicked on, without text entered, should prompt to create a page. 2011-7-29 We are now doing this
  • Map editing:
    • She clicks-and-holds then drags the point, which doesn't work. The point has to be 'selected' first in order for click-and-hold + drag to work. We can probably fix this. She figured it out after 3 seconds.
    • Would be good to have address / location search on map in editing. But we knew that.
  • Perhaps the map should have :hover cursor: pointer on selectable items? That might be confusing in another way: people might not know how to scroll the map around because they might think they have to click.
  • At one point an image upload hung (400KB file), likely due to her flakey / slow internet. Not sure what we can do here. Perhaps a keepalive in the upload process. Something to add in when we throw in an upload progress bar.8