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U hosts usability testing to advance Drupal 8

June 22, 2015
Image of the Usability lab observation room

We have one of the best usability labs in the country, so we wanted to be involved in this effort and give back to the Drupal community.

This week a group of the world's leading developers of Drupal open-source software will gather in the observation room of the U's state-of-the-art usability lab in Walter Library. They'll watch intently as recruited testers complete assigned tasks using Drupal and discuss what they thought about using the software.

Thanks to usability testing lab technology, the observers will be able to see how test subjects' eyes move over the screen, where they click, and what they type, providing valuable insight about how users interact with the tool. The results will educate Drupal developers about needed fixes or enhancements prior to the launch of Drupal 8. Findings will be announced later this week during Twin Cities Drupal Camp.

The U is sponsoring the testing at no cost to the Drupal community.

"After two years of Drupal 8 development, this is an opportunity to make final improvements prior to launch," said Steve Nguyen, service director for Collaboration & Web Content Services. "We have one of the best usability labs in the country, so we wanted to be involved in this effort and give back to the Drupal community."

At the U, Drupal 7 is now the primary tool used to create and share web site content. Drupal 7 underwent usability testing here in 2011 before it was launched. Worldwide, more than 600,000 developers and site users rely on Drupal, including more than two-thirds of the top 100 U.S. universities.