Open Source and Usability

The discussion on the matter continues on Slashdot thread "Making Things Easy is Hard".

With Midgard, there are several major issues affecting usability:
  • Installation is horrible: solution would be to provide prebuilt packages for popular Linux/Unix platforms
  • Site setup is difficult: we should integrate sitegroup creation, host creation from template, style creation, site initialization and VirtualHost setting into one simple "Create website" dialog
  • Content editing is difficult: managing content is still quite difficult. However, the process on fixing MidCOM AIS usability flaws is going on

Fixes to Authoring Interface System

Usually the Midgard installation and setup is done by a technical solution provider, so the usability issues there are not as urgent. However, AIS is what the end-user sees, making it the prime usability fixing target.

Several improvements are being made, or discussed to the MidCOM AIS:
  • Back to page: link returning from AIS to the "view" side of the site. With this we can get rid of all the ugly returnurl hacks
  • Power User: hiding all confusing settings from non-power users. Power user setting should be shared with Aegir
  • Consistent UIs: the user interface for managing all components should be made consistent. Buttons should look the same and behave similarly, and components should share UIs for creating and deleting pages, etc
Actually, it looks like I should write a Midgard Request for Comments on this.

Update 13:25: Started working on mRFC 0003, "MidCOM AIS User Interface Guidelines". I'll try to get Nico and Kaukola to collaborate on this.

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