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Usability Discoveries

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This page belongs to the Human-Computer-Interaction - Team (category HCI)

This page discusses how we can use research to built knowledge about usability changes in TYPO3 4.5. Do not post actual suggestions related to functionaliity here (for now). Focus on the methods we can use. Examples:

  • Usability testing in labs, selection of test persons, test methodology
  • Third-party partners who could help out with a usability test on TYPO3? (sponsored testing)
  • University projects that can help?
  • Heuristics - scientifically supported "rules of thumb"?


Below you can list observations from usability tests you have performed (not adhering to any strict standards)

Mie and Maya

Session with Maya and Mie, 13/11 2005, performed by Kasper at home. Mie and Maya had never seen TYPO3 before. Their computer skills are very basic. Maya claims to be very ignorant and dislikes technology. They are both girls between 20 and 25. I asked them to do various tasks in TYPO3, thinking-aloud and while they solved the tasks I took notes. When they had hit an obvious roadblock I noted it and helped them through to get them further with the test.

  • Inside TemplaVoila, have a taskbar with "Create page", "Rename page", "Create element" links
    • Suggestion; Could be a screen with simple options and a little fold-in/out button for more options.
  • Hint; People don't like to be disturbed by a little dog on the screen that wants to help; use overviews of most used tasks instead.
  • Users use the browser-back button when they are trapped somewhere.
  • At login, they actually read the "About modules" list! (Hint; Task-lists are appreciated!)
  • Confused by the fact that a new browser window pops up for previews *could this be using Web > View to stay in context?
  • "Page (inside)" => could be "subpage" or "menu item"
  • Whenever a NEW element is made the user looks for a "Create / Cancel" button pair and NOT a "Save" button; Save buttons are for existing elements (disc-icon means save)
  • "Save Document" could be "Save element" in the context
  • Users look for the save/create buttons in the bottom of the page naturally
  • Change a page title? People will look for "Rename" in the context menu, not "Edit page header". (Hint; Consider to align context menu with typical operating system menus).
  • The small arrow-icons in the create-page wizard was very intuitive.
  • Crystal skin: Icon with red cross for close / save and close were perceived as "Delete" actions.
  • The paradigm of elements on a page came very naturally
  • Inserting images with "Image" element was confusing;
    • Image upload was not natural; they missed to see the image in the list immediately
    • The positioning of images was expected to be visual.
      • Conclusion; Images in RTE is more natural giving ability to move images around, resize etc.
  • Icon for "Create new element" in TemplaVoila should also have the text next to it.
  • Right-click should work on the whole table row of the page tree / Web > List module, not only the text and icon! Generally, right click should work all over?

Copenhagen T3UG meeting 8. dec

The Copenhagen T3UG had a theme day "In bed with the enemy" where we took a look at the strength of Joomla and Fundanemt (a danish OSS CMS) to discover what they do better than us. Here are the feedback:


  • Lots of whitespace in the system; Helps the user to "rest their brains". TYPO3 is too packed all the time.
  • For TYPO3: Use wizards and other sequential methods!
  • Fundanemts context sensitive help is very elegant
  • Change of title done in-page-tree is very elegant (Rename action which people are familiar with)
  • For TYPO3: Dummy distribution:
    • Interface: Stripped, medium, expert
    • Nice templates


  • Its hard to understand where all things are stord in Joomla
  • Very fixed system
  • Nice feature: Default PDF/Print/Email for news
  • For TYPO3: Use drop-down menus + icon bar with context functionality (frits) [Notice: Important buttons are big!], position page tree in left-most frame
  • For TYPO3: Make possible to strip even more away for simple users!
  • For TYPO3: Too much on screen gives "What am I current doing" crisis