A report on the usability testing for WordPress 2.7

Jane Wells at WordPress opens the kimono further on the decision to redesign the administrative user interface for 2.7. I griped a while back that it seemed like the design changes were being made in a non-systematic way, but it turns out there were solid usability testing exercises prior to the surveys we’ve all seen about structuring the navigation menu. She also includes a detailed usability report covering the eye tracking studies and the different stages of the process. Sounds like the new administrative screen is genuinely a usability improvement in terms of the metrics that matter (task success and time on task).

I also found it interesting that participants had a strong emotional connection to the 2.5 admin interface even when the formal usability metrics proved that they had trouble using it! Apparently good graphic design (my attraction to the UI) helps to mitigate formal usability flaws–a point worth remembering.

New mix: Power’s out in the heart of man

As so often happens as I’m putting mixes together, I’ve collected enough tracks for about three mixes since I published “picture of you where it began” back in May (“Blasphemous Rumors” was a one-off theme mix that didn’t dip into this pool). So I ended up splitting out this first set of tracks as the first go-round via a stochastic process of picking the first and last songs and removing every other song from the list. After a little re-ordering, it shaped up into the dark bullet below.

As previously announced, my mixes will no longer be appearing on Art of the Mix, but I’m not sure what the right way is to have them show up in the blog. In this case, the iTunes mix widget was just about right because all the tracks from the mix were available in the store (except for the Elvis Costello cut, which was the original version from Brutal Youth–and now I’m curious about the alternate version in the store). But going forward I’ll probably use some other method to publish the lists. Anyone got a favorite?