how could it be done better? ...a few comments
In order to maximise participation in interface design in an open project like moodle, non programmers need a few parameters very clearly defined so they
can also work openly on interface design alongside programmers... together they make a potent force, but getting there requires building work.... and until its done its unlikely many people will feel confident enough to really have a go.
Users also need to be actively encouraged to provide feedback about possible interface problems... in my experience they are sometimes very good at it!!
a few ideas
1. Make the moodle user community aware that the development team is
actively searching for perceived shortfalls in the interface, make sure
those users know how and where to give feedback about the interface,
and while there, make clear that above all the development team is looking for active (design and/or programming) participation in improving the
interface when and where necessary.
2. Give guidelines on where and how these perceived shortfalls should be presented as
candidates open for improvement... eg: post x in the bug tracker, include
y in a forum.... as they will not be centralised, give guidelines on how to find these issues (for those of us who are only interested in helping to solve them)
3. Specify exactly how these issues pass from being candidates to being included on an open "work to be done" list.
4. Explain how that work is to be undertaken, state clearly the full design process and norms to be followed, make clear where the work to be
done can be found, make clear how selection of a new interface takes
place, what formats are to be used for the work, and where and how work
is to be submitted.
5. Compile a complete list of what a potential interface designer has at his
or... whatever bells or whistles can be included. (remember "Anything you can do
in PHP" is not a good answer for a non programmer)
If the elements available vary from feature to feature...state what is
available for each feature. If not, create a list of usable interface
elements for the whole of moodle, as a reference give examples,
functioning if possible.
6. State clearly any technical limitations to visual layout if any exist.
example: x button has to go after y button or everything will break)
7. State clearly all existing overall layout or design parameters...again, its best if all this info is in a centralised location...failing that, it needs to be easy to find, if this information is not available, chaos ensues.
(hypothetical examples of general design parameters: all buttons
for accepting something in moodle must be on the lower right of the
object they relate to, everything that goes "click" has to be red...etc)
hope this helps
General developer forum
Martin D - Please can we have a Usability Forum??
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