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Global Requirements

Consistency in user interfaces lets users make less errors and they feel more secure in what they do.

In theory all clients should conform to the following requirements.
In practice mileage depends on what the client technology gives.

Interface Architecture

Mailman makes a huge amount of configuration options available on its interfaces. MM3 will make orientation in easier:

  • Main menu options will be ordered by usage frequency
  • The interface will be task-oriented
  • The homepage will list the most frequent tasks (and will show a statistic graph to give the owner a quick overview of the systems health state).
  • Navigation will be completely reorganized (see Navigation principles below).

Navigation Principles

The following rules, ordered by priority, should apply:

  1. Separate options by their effect or purpose e.g. "configuration", "statistics" or "pending requests".
  2. Group similiar options e.g. "filter" subsumes filtering options for senders, recipients, content, headers, etc.
  3. Combine all simliar options in one page
  4. Within a page show only the most used options and hide the less used ones
  5. Unhide the less used ones upon user request

First Login Wizzard

When an owner logs in for the first time - after list creation - a wizard is offered. The wizzard takes the user on a quick tour across all configuration options that usually are consulted after list creation.

The goal is to give the owner an overview of the most important configuration options and their current settings as well as a chance to set basic list behaviour without having to search and click through endless configuration pages.

Accessibility

If a client technology provides means to make the interface more accessible, they should be followed.

Design Patterns

Operating systems have design patterns that describe how things should look and how standard processes should work. If we develop a client for a system that provides such a catalog we should follow it. Users will honour the consistency, feel at home and will make less errors.

Information Architecture

Navigation Structure

Role: Admin (owner)

See a commented administrator navigation structure.

maintenance
    requests
options
    General
        Subscription Rules
        Language
    Non-Digest/Digest
    Filter
        Sender
        Recipient
        Spam
        Message
        Topics
    Bounces
    Archive
    Gateways
    Auto-Responder
    Plugins
subscriptions
    subscribe
    remove
statistics
    System
    List
    User
plugins
    plugin 1
        configuration options
    plugin 2

Role: Moderator

See a commented moderator navigation structure.

requests
statistics
    System
    List
    User
plugins
    plugin 1
        configuration options
    plugin 2

Role: Subscriber

See a commented subscriber navigation structure.

options
    general
    topics
    plugins
subscriptions
    subscribe
    remove
    modify
statistics
    List

messages and notifications

We should provide a set of MM3 specific help messages and notifications. Any client should use these, so users get a consistent experience - no matter which client.

Permitted actions

Role: Anonymous

  • account
    • create
  • list
    • subscribe
  • archive
    • read
  • admin
    • contact

Role: User

  • login
  • logout
  • account
    • modify
  • list
    • subscribe
    • unsubscribe
    • modify personal settings
  • archive
    • read
  • admin
    • contact

Role: Moderator

  • login
  • logout
  • requests
    • modify

Role: Admin (owner)

  • login
  • logout
  • account
    • modify
  • list
    • create
    • modify
    • delete
  • moderator
    • create
    • modify
    • delete
  • user
    • create
    • modify
    • delete
  • member
    • subscribe
    • unsubscribe
  • requests
    • modify
Labels
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  1. May 18, 2009

    If where you write, "Main menu options will be ordered by usage frequency" you mean dynamic reorganization, I am concerned.  I have found Microsoft's and Adobe's efforts to "streamline" their menus by hiding things that haven't been used recently and moving items to the top just after I get used to finding them elsewhere around to slow me down more often than it helps.

    Adding a short "frequent tasks" list -- sort of like recently used files in Office would be useful, but I would suggest that it should be distinct from the main navigation structure. There is a real risk that dynamic reorganization will actually hinder users by frustrating them when features they're still learning move around. Dynamic menus definitely do not make me feel more secure in what I do.

    (Unimportant: Is there a special meaning for "wizzard" with two "z"s instead of the usual one? I tried Googling and found a couple references to musicians...)