By Private Profile 60f01f57 on 2017-01-26 17:23 in User Experience Team

Happy new year from the JUX Team. We have been preparing for the London Sprint in the first weeks of 2017 while developing a comprehensive UX strategy for the Joomla platform and working on the various projects we have been tasked with. 

The scope of work our team faces is enormous and it is critical we have a solid process in place to deal with the challenges of our platform and our community so that we may assist the community in a more beneficial and streamlined manner moving forward. The sprint in London and was very productive and we are confident our team will be able to work more effectively and efficiently in the coming year.

This is an overview of our progress leading up to the sprint, our activities during the sprint and our plans moving forward.

Joomla 3.7 Alpha release testing

The main focus of the Alpha stage one release was an evaluation of com_fields. This feature has been in the works for a very long time and is a top user request. The scope of the functionality is deep and spreads across 3 components, therefore a thorough evaluation of the feature was necessary to gain an understanding of what it can do, how it can be used, and how it relates to the existing core features of the Joomla platform.

Given the short time frame of the release and the large scale of the implementation, it was critical to spend time testing and discovering the best possible direction for this feature in the 3.7 release before providing recommendations.

We have contributed some minor improvements so far, but there are many more improvements planned. A full analysis report will be made available this month and a number of recommendations for improvements will be added to Github over the next week.

Overall, we feel Fields functions properly but the operation and use cases are not necessarily intuitive from a user experience standpoint. Our improvements for 3.7 are aimed at helping users better understand how this functionality works and what they can do with it. We will re-evaluate the feature after release and collect user feedback to discover the best possible path for Fields in future versions of Joomla.

Other 3.7 release features under review include URL Routing, Article Manager Toolbar and a number of minor UI and UX related improvements. The Alpha 2 release added several new features which we also plan to review, the custom admin menu and associations manager being the largest.

We cannot stress enough that the scope of what the UX team can do is limited by the time frame and our visibility to what is coming next. We are hopeful the new team process and structure defined during our sprint will allow us to better coordinate within the community based and develop changes based on user research.

Joomla 3.8 Media Manager

The JUX Team has been working with the Media Manager team. Their progress can be seen in the Media Manager team reports.

JUX Call for Volunteers

Our ongoing challenge in 2016 was volunteer resources. We simply have not had enough people to help our team on a consistent basis and this is the primary reason for slow progress. We launched a call for volunteers in mid-January and we are currently evaluating and following up with around 40 potential team members.

Our work during the sprint allowed us to identify our needs and solidify our team process with the goal of getting new contributors involved quickly. Now that we have a clear vision of what needs to be done it will be much easier to distribute tasks, keep our contributors involved and improve our workflow. 

London Sprint Overview

JUX Team Sprint Attendees:
Cliff Pfeifer,  Dawn Russell, David Steadson, Britta Stender

Sprint Day One

In the morning, we met with the Joomla 4 team and discussed their needs and concerns and identified areas where we can provide the most assistance. We reviewed and discussed options for collecting user research and developing recommendations for the backend template, the control panel / dashboard, article list interface, article edit interface, article toolbar, and a number of other UI improvements designed to simply and streamline the User Experience of Joomla 4.

We are implementing a number of testing and research tools designed to collect user feedback and data that can be processed quickly throughout the J4 development process. 

The J4 & JUX meeting resolved many issues and questions between our teams We were able to find common ground which will allow us to move forward more effectively. We will be reaching out to users to discover the best directions for Joomla 4 in the next few weeks.

In the afternoon we covered our overall team vision, team scope and began defining our team processes. Our goal is to develop strategies designed to transform user based goals into real world solutions which are then implemented into the Joomla core. We discussed our current work load, our challenges, our resources, along with short term and long term strategies.

We also discussed budget considerations, project management processes and tools, design and prototyping tools as well as user research and testing tools. We began defining our team process in every different area across our projects, how our process relates to other areas of the community and their processes, and began finalizing our materials in preparation for UX presentation and group discussion during the sprint.

Sprint Day Two

We had a day of collaboration and group production. Dawn and Britta split off to work with the Media Manager team, while David and Cliff met with Martin Janes, a UX consultant from the UK who has little Joomla experience. Martin’s insights offered a fresh take and an outsiders view of the Joomla platform which were invaluable to our discussions and planning.

Later, Parth from Joomla Marketing joined us to discuss his marketing vision for Joomla and helped us define our user base and audience.

In the afternoon, we were joined by Renata, as CX consultant from Allianz, also with little Joomla experience and her insights regarding our platform and process were extremely valuable as well.

Later in the day, the full UX team, our liaisons and consultants came together and the seven of us continued preparing our presentation. A great deal of progress was made in regards to defining our goals, objectives and our team processes.

Sprint Day Three

After a short team meeting to finalize our slides and presentation materials, we gathered with all of the sprint attendees to give our presentation. David Steadson presented and gave a fantastic overview of our team and the scope of our work.

We discussed our objectives, our challenges, how we can assist the community and how the community can benefit from our process. Our goal in 2017 is to take the Joomla User Experience to the next level by giving our users a voice and collaborating more closely with the other teams in our community. 

The goal of our presentation was to create a deeper understanding of how large the scope of our work really is, how our process works, and how it will benefit the platform and community.

Based on the group discussion and the feedback of those in attendance our mission was accomplished. We look forward to working more closely with the community to help everyone meet our common goals based on the needs of our users. The slides and video of this presentation will be available in the near future.

Next, Parth from Joomla marketing gave his presentation and we had a group discussion regarding Marketing goals, how marketing relates to UX and how it all relates to meeting our goals as a community. The UX team and Marketing will be working together much more in 2017 as our goals are directly related. The slides and video of this presentation will be available in the near future.

In the afternoon we discussed team business, administration, began finalizing our team structure and team resources. We began reviewing our current team members and new applications for the JUX team, and created a task list for the short term to get our projects organized and identify where new team members can help us the most.

We have begun following up with potential team members and we hope to have a solid group of new contributors in place in early February to assist with the tasks and roles we have defined. 

We also had a short meeting with Allon, developer of the Fields core feature, to cover our progress on the release as well as short term and long term plans. We are all confident in the strategy for preparing Fields for the 3.7 release as well as improving it in future versions of Joomla. 

Overall Sprint Takeaway and JUX in 2017 

The London sprint was a huge success for the JUX team. There is no substitute for meeting in person and a great deal of progress was made. Each team was able to work together and communicate effectively and we were able to resolve many issues and misunderstandings and find common goals for moving forward.

The JUX team is more organized and in a better position to assist the Joomla community than ever before. We covered a lot of ground at the sprint and we have a great deal of new materials we will be sharing with the community over the next few weeks.

We have certainly faced our fair share of challenges in the past and we have many more to overcome, but we are confident we can meet our goals with the support of our community. We thank everyone for their patience and we look forward to taking the Joomla User Experience to the next level in 2017.