portlet layout manager - paper prototyping results

Barbara Glover barbara.glover at utoronto.ca
Tue Jan 22 17:58:01 UTC 2008

Hi all (reposting)
At Toronto last week we had 3 people in the Adaptive Technology  
Resource Centre evaluate the Portlet Layout Manager design.

2 - non technical people
1 - non-Fluid developer

Scenario used:
You are a student who has just logged into your account and are  
looking at the portal on your Message Center Tab.  You don't like the  
layout of the information sections on that tab and want to change the  

(Note: this protocol is the one that will be used for the more formal  
user tests in a few weeks with a working mockup)

The user then indicated where he/she would move the cursor and the  
Study Coordinator played computer and indicated what would happen.

Locked vs. Unlocked Portlets:
- 2 non-technical users had trouble realizing that one of the  
portlets was locked and could not be moved.  The change of the cursor  
from an arrow to the "move" cursor when the user was over the portlet  
header was not enough to indicate this.  When they saw the "move"  
cursor they recognized they could move that portlet, but for the  
locked portlet when they just saw the arrow cursor, they still  
thought they should be able to move the portlet.  The arrow cursor  
did not indicate to them that the portlet was locked.

Both users tried to drop other portlets above the locked portlet.   
When that was not successful, they both tried to move the locked  
portlet.  After all these attempts, they concluded the portlet was  
locked.  They both expressed afterwards that some further visual  
treatment was needed to indicate a portlet was locked.

The more technical user realized from the cursor change that the  
portlet was locked.

Red bar:
All users were able to successfully move unlocked portlets around on  
the screen.  They did indicate though that they were not sure if the  
red bar meant that the portlet would drop above the red bar or below  
the red bar.  One user did comment that the colour red at first made  
them think they could not put the portlet in that location.

Other comments:
- Users were looking for Close icons for the portlets as well as  
minimize icons.
- One user wanted ability to move a portlet from one tab to another.

Ratings scales:
2 of the 3 users rated that distinguishing between a locked and  
unlocked portlet was difficult.  They also had problems during the  
user test.

Shaw-Han feel free to add on your observations as well.


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