Page MenuHomePhabricator

Discuss creating a UI/UX design hub on mediawiki or meta
Open, NormalPublic

Description

Do we need a place where communities, foundation designers, and readers can publicly discuss usability issues, layout proposals and tests for what we need to do to improve the user experience of our projects?

Rationale and examples: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Melamrawy_%28WMF%29/UI/UX_hub

Event Timeline

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes

The roles would be to either a) post an mockup b)iterate on an existing mock/idea c)analyze and/or provide data. The starting point would be data: We need to spot behaviors that are a problem for us, then we move towards finding a solution, this way, as a movement, we can do useful stuff with it. Instead of the existing approach, of WMF designers, posting proposals, the process needs to be more collaborative: If a community member has an idea, then can pair with someone who has skills in design, and get their ideas out in a mock..and this could be an idea ready for implementation for an upcoming quarter, if it aligns with data and strategy..etc.

This could be a point the foundation design team and Wikimedia users / contributors collectively can:

  1. Gather / raise concerns and help everyone interested in this topic to be on the same page on understanding UI/UX-related issues.
  2. Prioritize what to work on based on impact, need, severity, etc.
  3. Talk about solutions, strengthen and support each others' ideas and concepts

Borrowing your example, @Moushira, if someone has an idea to solve a problem, we should enable this idea to succeed by gathering research/data to make sure the problem and audience are understood and the idea will be impactful. Spelling out goals, restrictions, challenges and getting the task to align and prioritized with foundation team's goals and then collaborate to solve the problem.


I think if any of these apply to anyone, they should be a part of this:

  • You are familiar with our interface design issues and can everyone understand them
  • You have ideas on how to solve our interface design problems
  • You have design experience
  • You have prototyping experience
  • You are experienced with design / user research

Okay, so as a designer, I like this idea in principle. It's good to have somewhere to actually go and discuss things, where people are more likely to actually listen and respond because it's not just some offshoot project separate from what they actually use.

As a developer, however, and in light of what I've seen in the past, this doesn't make sense to me, not in any grand sense so much as just lots of... bits that don't fit. Questions, I suppose.

  • Design bears discussing, but by itself, that's meaningless. A design only has worth when actually applied to an implementation, and for that, you need resources among developers, among other teams, among folks who just have no reason that I can see to actually bother to do any of that. If a group of designers not part of any internally prioritised whatever discuss a possible product, come up with a potentially viable design, then what happens? Anything?
  • What would we even be discussing? Which designs? MediaWiki skins that have barely been updated this decade? Agora/mediawiki.ui/oojs-ui/whatever, a whole pile of mismatched styles that still haven't been consolidated? Design documents scattered across various projects with no indication which are even maintained, if any, that appear to hold no real bearing on core at all? (Even some of the coding conventions don't seem to apply to core, mind you, so this isn't exactly unusual.)
  • We already have somewhere to discuss these things, and upload mockups, and collaboratively discuss, and it's even got email notifications for those of us for whom it's not our home wiki. It's not a wiki at all, it's here, this. What's wrong with phabricator for this?
  • What is the problem this is trying to solve? In the past we have had friction due to product design without involving the community, but how does this help with that? The complaints with merit usually had far less to do with actual direct involvement and say than they did with the fact that the end result just didn't meet users' needs. Asking volunteers to come out and comment earlier in the process isn't going to make a bit of difference if the research itself isn't on point. And what research is done seems to also depend on the priorities set by management, which this seems unlikely to have much bearing on either?

We need... I don't know what we need. We need to get people to use phabricator more. We need less overflowing workboards where filed tasks don't just get lost in the heap. We need designers to be able to spend more time listening and researching and understanding the problems in order to actually address them better, and we need those implementing the addressments to understand what they're implementing as well. We need to quit drawing so many lines between volunteers and staff, especially when staff can also be volunteers and do volunteery things and get bitten even more than regular volunteers do for their trouble. We need more flexibility, in general, and with how designs are carried through and how they can change and evolve. But we also need clear guidelines, and proper support...

We need clear problem definitions. Not just 'let's make this thing', but what the issue itself is, that's the big thing. Blah happened in the past and was bad, avoiding that, figuring out how to avoid that, that's a problem. Users hate change and complain when it happens, why do they hate it, do we know? That's a problem. We can't bloody send people actual notifications of things in any sane way without five hundred bots, that's a problem. Distil it down.

Awesome thoughts @Isarra! Just as an update, @aripstra, @Nirzar, and @violetto, had a meeting about it, and one idea that was agreed upon, which you are already asking is a) We should discuss problems, prior to discussing ways alternatives to solutions. Based on data, we should move the discussion to focus on behaviors, conclusions, and what needs to be done to better support our project b) the audience, how to avoid replicating efforts and making sure we having the conversation in the right place?

You are saying that it would be a good idea to keep the conversation on phab? I feel this might be a bit unfair to totally ignore mediawiki. How would you feel about creating mirror/linked pages for mediawiki, phab (..and maybe even facebook..or did I just say that?) :)

I can suggest step one, is to identify what are relevant topics that could be discussed in this page, wherever it is. I added some points here: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Melamrawy_%28WMF%29/UI/UX_hub

What do you think? Lets keep this conversation going, it will be a lovely step towards dealing with our projects differently.

To put this Design Hub in context, it seems that it should support the Concept and Design phases of the WMF product development process. Do you agree?

You are saying that it would be a good idea to keep the conversation on phab? I feel this might be a bit unfair to totally ignore mediawiki. How would you feel about creating mirror/linked pages for mediawiki, phab (..and maybe even facebook..or did I just say that?) :)

It's more just why not phabricator? It is supposedly for this sort of thing, so if the hub is going to be somewhere else, it would be a good idea to establish exactly why phabricator isn't as good for it as this somewhere else.

I can suggest step one, is to identify what are relevant topics that could be discussed in this page, wherever it is. I added some points here: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Melamrawy_%28WMF%29/UI/UX_hub

Aye, definitely. But what will also shape what is relevant is what can be done with it from there. Who will be using it, who will be building off this?

And why not templates and infoboxes, at least on a general scale? They present data on the page and present their own problems for the overall interface, problems that need to be resolved as well. (I think I saw an RfC or something about actually handling these as objects in the interface or something, but it went over my head anyway and now I can't find it. But possibly relevant?)

Qgil added a comment.Nov 23 2015, 9:17 AM

Since we are talking about a UX hub, the first step could be the definition of user requirements.

As a designer, I want to...

As an end user, I want to...

What should these types of users do with the Hub? Are there other types of users that need to be included?

Once the use cases are clear, we can start discussing whether MediaWiki, Phabricator or else can be a good host for this Hub.

@violetta is doing focus groups with people who do design work. This might be a good question to include (cc: @Capt_Swing)

@Qgil, I agree, which is why I added more elaboration to the page on mw:https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Melamrawy_%28WMF%29/UI/UX_hub earlier. When I started this, I mainly had readers related issues in mind. Do you think the description on the page is clear enough?

On another note, if we decided to host this on phab, would creating another discussion project board become troublesome in terms of work organization. I guess, yes!

Qgil mentioned this in Unknown Object (Task).Dec 1 2015, 9:38 AM

One possibility to push this effort forward is to formulated a project idea with a clear objective, find two mentors for it, and propose it for our next Outreachy round. A project like this is likely to attract candidates that the mentors would evaluate. If you find a good candidate, you would have an intern working full time implementing this project during 3-4 months.

But first we need a plan, even if it is a vague one. Do you think it would be worth organizing a meeting to discuss it?

@JGirault and myself have teamed up to work on one of WMF designers biggest wishes for 2016 – strengthening public visibility of design and UX work here.
In a short exchange with @Moushira we've all agreed, that one of the first things we've realized, also has to be tackled first: The huge and therefore confusing historic collection of all design wiki pages. In our best believe, before going into making a new hub, we have to go through those, find out, what's still useful information and what is there to be archived.
@Qgil @Moushira What is the best way to "archive" pages? My first guess, was to redirect them into the address for (probably) the new "hub" under /archive/ and put a template message on them? Any thoughts from your experience? Any template recommendations?

Be careful if you want to archive wikis pages which use template for their design or shaping: if the template evolves or is deleted, you will loose information.

@Trizek-WMF Thanks for the note, I'm thinking about a notification template like in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Design/WikiFont

@Trizek-WMF Thanks for the note, I'm thinking about a notification template like in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Design/WikiFont

Err.. I don't see any "template" or "notification" as we describe these elements in the Wikimedia movement. You mean a display like the one on the page you linked, will all icons?

Moushira triaged this task as Normal priority.Feb 26 2016, 12:27 PM
RHo added a subscriber: RHo.May 19 2016, 3:24 PM

Would this task be a good topic for the Wikimedia-Developer-Summit (2017) ? If so, the deadline to submit new proposals is next Monday, October 31: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Developer_Summit/Call_for_participation

Husky removed a subscriber: Husky.Oct 31 2016, 3:00 PM
Qgil added a comment.Nov 9 2016, 3:15 PM

Please apply the template requested to all Summit proposals.

Is this a proposal for a session aiming to be pre-scheduled?

btw, I chatted with @Volker_E, not sure if the topic is interesting to all designers but I am preparing some outline around the topic. Happy to co-edit and collaborate as well.

Qgil added a comment.Nov 10 2016, 10:47 AM

To be clear, if you want this session to be pre-scheduled, then it needs to pass the selection process, which starts with

2016-11-14: Deadline for defining a good problem statement, expectations, and links to relevant resources.

That is next Monday.

We may want to involve people from Open Source Design: https://github.com/opensourcedesign/. I have been part of the collective for some years and it is a nice community who may be able to give us some cases from other orgs and discuss needs of (volunteer) designers.

Should I setup a meeting with them? Please ping/mail/talkpage me if you would be interested.

Jan_Dittrich added a comment.EditedNov 18 2016, 11:45 AM

A serious obstacle for creating a vibrant hub is that many tools for content creation, sharing and discussion which are used in Open Source projects are geared towards developers. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it is often assumed that git, phabricator, IRC etc. are good/sufficient tools for designers. They lack crucial features for Designer's workflows.

Same continues for tools for creating designs and concepts: Many designers are only familiar with proprietary tools, which are often better suited to their needs than their open equivalents.

I know it is not something we will solve, but we should be aware of the problems.

@Jan_Dittrich , do you actually know people personally from opensource design? Would be great to interview them for some best practices, please reach out and set up a time if you are in touch with them. I will email you. Later we can document the Q&A. The idea isn't easy.

I think a main question for the hub, is what exactly is it serving? Is this about collaborative problem definition..or collaborative problem solving,,or both, and what level of detailing? Creating a space for defining problems isn't difficult to attain, imho.

@Moushira: Yes, I think they would be open to talk.

I think a main question for the hub, is what exactly is it serving?

There are three things in my mind which would be not hard to do and helpful:

  • Share best practices and connect to other open designers (e.g. Elio does a lot of graphic design in the Mozilla community).
  • Share examples. There is the culture of sharing mainly cleaned-up, shiny files, but what would be more interesting (especially for learning) are in-progress examples: They show the process and – via some added annotations – the thoughts behind design and design changes
  • Participation opportunities: Where can you help as a designer or as someone "just" interested in a better usability? What would be easy tasks to start with? We have some tags on Phabricator, but it would be unusual for many designers to check out the issue tracker.

A serious obstacle for creating a vibrant hub is that many tools for content creation, sharing and discussion which are used in Open Source projects are geared towards developers. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it is often assumed that git, phabricator, IRC etc. are good/sufficient tools for designers. They lack crucial features for Designer's workflows.

Are the shortcomings of Phab as a tool for designers documented somewhere? If not, they should be. We do fund Phab improvements after all.

Qgil added a comment.Nov 24 2016, 12:47 PM

I think a main question for the hub, is what exactly is it serving?

The Technical Collaboration Guideline proposes communication milestones for all software projects. The idea is that people interested in a certain aspect of product development (new proposals, design reviews, beta release plans...) can subscribe to one of these checkpoints without being required to follow all the rest of project phases.

For example, imagine that I am a professional designer willing to help Wikimedia in my free time, or imagine that I am a member of Open Source Design, or an editor concerned about drastic UI changes without enough consultation with the communities, etc. Instead of trying to follow all projects for everything, these specialized stakeholders could subscribe to this UX checkpoint and receive notification whenever there is a new UX review.

From all the things this UX hub could serve, I think the first one should be to become the UX review checkpoint. If thus UX hub doesn't accomplish this function, then we will need to build the UX checkpoint elsewhere, which doesn't make any sense.

Once the MUST is completed (a checkpoint for UX review), then the infrastructura and process created will possibly be useful for other goals (proposals of new wild ideas and other types of collaboration).

@Elitre: Where could I document shortcomings of Phabricator for designers?

@Qgil wrote:

[interested designers] could subscribe to this UX checkpoint and receive notification whenever there is a new UX review.…

+1

@Elitre: Where could I document shortcomings of Phabricator for designers?

@Jan_Dittrich: Basically on any wiki page. Then we could discuss and turn some items into specific tasks...

Thanks, I did paste my concerns there.

@Moushira Hey! As developer summit is less than four weeks from now, we are working on a plan to incorporate the ‘unconference sessions’ that have been proposed so far and would be generated on the spot. Thus, could you confirm if you plan to facilitate this session at the summit? Also, if your answer is 'YES,' I would like to encourage you to update/ arrange the task description fields to appear in the following format:

Session title
Main topic
Type of activity
Description Move ‘The Problem,' ‘Expected Outcome,' ‘Current status of the discussion’ and ‘Links’ to this section
Proposed by Your name linked to your MediaWiki URL, or profile elsewhere on the internet
Preferred group size
Any supplies that you would need to run the session e.g. post-its
Interested attendees (sign up below)

  1. Add your name here

We will be reaching out to the summit participants next week asking them to express their interest in unconference sessions by signing up.

To maintain the consistency, please consider referring to the template of the following task description: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T149564.

Hello task subscribers, there is an unconference workshop around the topic here https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T154545, please add your name if you are interested in joining the workshop. Thanks.

Qgil added a comment.Jan 7 2017, 2:07 PM
This comment was removed by Qgil.
Qgil removed Moushira as the assignee of this task.Feb 22 2017, 11:21 AM

Because it took me a while to find them: notes from what I recall being the latest chat on this topic are available at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Developer_Summit/2017/Creating_a_UX-UI_open_hub_space_for_Wikimedia .

Qgil added a comment.Nov 15 2017, 9:26 AM

I wonder whether this UX-UI hub could tag along our plans to T155678: Provide an easy to use support system for contributors to ask technical questions .

We are planning to use https://discourse.org which is a tool that offers a beautiful UX in itself. I made a quick search and found i.e. http://community.uxmastery.com/

There's also the upcoming WMF.org revamp to consider. Not many details on what will be displayed there, but there may be opportunities to advertise our design org and activities there (for certain audiences).

@MoushiraEl: Hi! This issue has been assigned to you a while ago. Could you maybe share a status update? Are you still working (or still plan to work) on this issue? Or is there anything that others could help with? (If you do not plan to work on this issue anymore, please remove yourself as assignee (via Add Action...Assign / Claim in the dropdown menu) so others could work on it.) Thanks a lot!

Restricted Application added a subscriber: alanajjar. · View Herald TranscriptJul 20 2019, 5:21 PM
Qgil added a subscriber: hdothiduc.Jul 22 2019, 2:44 PM