Thursday, 15 December 2011

'Users need constant feedback when using something new': ReScript editing issue 1

Page section
Article editor


Users often mark up data using attributes without identifying the item to which they belong. This makes it impossible to extract certain types of meanings from the article and so making additional editorial intervention necessary.

Impact severity

When applying an attribute, visually emphasise the item to which it relates, and report if the appropriate logical parent is not marked up.

Users often marked up attributes, such as forename or surname, but omitted to nest these within the relevant item, e.g. person, which would correctly limit the scope/context of the attributes.
Figure 1—1: here the properties forename, surname and occupation appear without a parent element to delimit their scope to the individual Richard Casye

Quantitative measure
You have just marked up "Richard Casye". If there was a problem with your mark-up, where would you expect to see a warning message?

Actual question
You have just marked up "Richard Casye". If there was a problem with your mark-up, where would you expect to see a warning message?

Initial click test result ('before')
November 2011: 120 responses.
Figure 1—2: Before

Development change
Toolbar has been reconfigured to arrange attributes directly next to its correct parent item, in a single drop down menu. In addition, a status bar at the bottom warns of any incorrect XML.

Figure 8—3: the toolbar is much more prominent, and the preview device has been moved to a different folder tab

Follow-up click test result ('after')
December 2011: 90 responses.

Figure 1—4: After

This was quite an involved question to begin the test with, and hopefully set the tone for the remainder of the survey, giving users an idea of what level of question to expect. The correct answer for the follow-up was the status bar message which appears beneath the text editor which did attract some clicks; the code around the problem mark-up also turns red when incorrect so those that clicked on the text itself are also correct.

There are other incorrect groups of clicks though, the right sidebar and top toolbar most prominent. IN hindsight, this particular test may have been better positioned later on in the test, when users had had a chance to better acquaint themselves with the system. However, this is still a difficult question to answer as it asks to draw on an idea of interactivity for a software programme of which they probably have no experience.

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