Sorry for my delay in responding. I got side-tracked on different posts. Thanks for all your work on making Moodle more usable and in particular on developing User Interface guidelines. I really believe that developing Moodle's user experience and interface design aspects is vitally important in enabling teachers and other Moodlers to make best use of this fantastic software (I can't imagine how many tens of thousands of development hours have gone into the programming!). There just needs now to be a push on the user-centred design / usability side of things.
I do agree that developers should be involved in this process. The extent and scope of this involvement is what I was questioning. I definitely think it is good that developers become more aware of the interaction design process and that they are provided with guidelines. I guess the main point of focus for me is on the experience users have and any issues they encounter which makes it hard for them to use Moodle. This is particularly significant as so many Moodlers are teachers, not interactive designers, usability experts or PHP coders! Their main concern is how to achieve a given task. They don't need to worry about XHTML, CSS, PHP etc ; ) So the more feedback from teachers who are non-technical the better.
Thanks for the Guerilla HCI link, seems like an approach that is very relevant to Moodle. I totally agree of aiming for usability engineering to be systematically used rather than sporadically. Of course this is a big task as alot of work will have to be done retrospectively.
Looking in your development area here:
I think it is a good idea to develop some lightweight Human Interface Guidelines as an intermediate step. I guess then there will need to be some prioritisation of the items which you have listed in
UIs to examine
Interaction styles/elements to examine
Clearly there are so many areas to look at it seems like a big ask for one person to look at everything (ie you!). Once areas to address first have been prioritised would it be possible then to assign one or more people to a specific area (in the same way that Moodle Tracker works?). These usability issues are not of course bugs, they are perhaps better termed 'improvements'. These individuals or smaller teams could carry out some analysis feeding back to someone overseeing this (you!), maybe at the start of the process they could be tasked to carry out the analysis in a structured way so that there is some consistency in the analysis. Not sure what your plans are as far as working through the list of items is. The reason I raise this suggestion is that although these issues can be addressed (to some extent) in the forums, it sometimes feels a bit ad hoc, random, fragmented. Also in terms of work load it would obviously be best to spread the work across a number of people (with a person or group overseeing). Not sure exactly how this would work.
User experience lead person / group
Role: to define the priorities, to provide a framework for analysing current interface mechanisms, interaction types etc
Possible participants: User experience / HCI types, developers, Moodle administrators, experienced Moodle teachers
Course Management (or any other priority area) lead person / group
Role: to use the framework provided by user experience lead in order to systematically analyse a specific areas of Moodle
Possible participants: User experience / HCI types, developers, Moodle administrators experienced Moodle teachers
Moodle Community (Developers, teachers, administrators etc)
Possible participants: User experience / HCI types, developers, Moodle administrators, experienced Moodle teachers, all other Moodle teachers
These ideas about participants are just loose thoughts. For me the main point here is that I think it would help to have some way of structuring how we engage the Moodle community. Yes we need as many Moodlers from all levels of experience involved as possible, but beyond this I think the critical point is how we make use of their skills, experience and time. How we can best make use of this valuable input in a way which is structured and can lead to the creation of user experience and interface design guidelines which are based on a systematic, holistic view of Moodle. I would be happy to offer to get involved in one aspect (maybe it is just how my mind works, but sometimes I find it helps to focus on one task and get this clear). Of course as stated earlier there would need also to be someone or ideally a group of people guiding this from a level where they can see / understand / have experience of many different areas of Moodle.
Hope this helps