User Testing the uPortal Layout Manager

Colin Clark colin.clark at
Fri Feb 15 05:44:06 UTC 2008


This is an intruiging idea. So to make this work , are you thinking  
that portlet layout changes will be modal? Would the user invoke a  
specific mode to reorganize portlets, and then turn it off again to go  
about their regular business?


Quoting Justin Obara <infielder6 at>:

> Hello,
> Here are some thoughts that I had on the usability issues. Not sure   
> how feasible they are, but thought they might lead to some good ideas.
> In regards to helping users to distinguish which portlets are   
> movable and which aren't, user 2 suggested changing the framing of   
> the movable portlets.
> What may be one option is to make the movable portlets appear to   
> float above the screen (e.g. with a drop shadow), while leaving the   
> locked
> portlets flat against the background. This might help the user   
> realize which ones are movable and which are anchored in place.
> In regards to the drop target:
> Part of the issue is that the dragged portlet obscures the drop   
> target indicator, especially when the title bar is over top of it.
> Maybe, in addition to the drop target appearing the styling of the   
> dragged portlet can also change (e.g. framed in green, the
> opacity level changed, or etc.)
> Thanks
> Justin
> On 14-Feb-08, Barbara Glover wrote:
> Seems I forgot the all important link :-)
> +Results
>> Hi all
>> I have completed 4 user tests of the Portlet Layout Manager.  The
>> results are at this link.
>> You will see from the user testing that people are having troubles
>> realizing they can move portlets at all.
>> Other issues we need to address in the design are:
>> Locked Portlets:
>> - how to convey to user a portlet is locked.  Cursor change is not
>> enough.
>> - where should a "lock" icon be placed?  Upper left corner of
>> titlebar is not a good location.
>> - Tooltip text is helpful but first must see the icon.  Could move
>> the icon to the middle of title bar or to the right corner.
>> - Tool tip/hover text saying "section cannot be moved" could be if
>> they hover anywhere on title bar
>> - Could remove title bar from locked portlets as Shaw-han has
>> suggested
>> Drop target indicators:
>> - green bar is too small and not being noticed enough
>> - maybe make it thicker and with an arrow indicating where portlet
>> will go
>> These are the big usability issues found.  We need to make changes
>> to improve these usability issues before the portlet layout manager
>> is released.  Let's have a discussion early next week.  I notice
>> Gary has some new design ideas too.
>> Gary we'd love to have you participate in this meeting.  What are
>> some times that work for you?
>> Everyone send me your times and let's get rid of these usability
>> issues! :-)
>> Suggested time: Wednesday, Feb 20th at 10am PST / 1pm EST
>> thanks
>> Barbara

Colin Clark
Technical Lead, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

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