On 18-Jun-08, at 1:56 PM, Allan Odgaard wrote:

On 18 Jun 2008, at 17:41, Terri Oda wrote:

[...] the more user input we get, the better!

Another thread said that “the web UI is scheduled for overhaul”.

Is anyone assigned to this? Is it an open process? Can we follow it somewhere?

The last major push was last summer, as part of a Summer of Code project: http://wiki.list.org/x/2Q I think Ethan's still doing some work here, but I don't know what his status is.

I believe there was also some work done on basic CSS conversion that was more recent.

I've opened up a new page on the wiki to get more of a process going:


1. Too many options.

Agreed. My solution would be to have an "expert" and a "simple" interface. Three reasons:

1. Even *as* an expert, I'd love to have a small interface that met my most common needs. 2. Choosing what options to keep and which to toss would likely slow down the process so much that we'd never get a new interface. 3. Giving people access to files is more of a pain than letting them interact through a web UI. (eg - don't have to worry about shell access, bad file syntax, etc.)

  2. Weak categorization.

Agreed. Often the option people want is there, but not where they look. And even writing the documentation, I've found myself hard- pressed to explain some things.

3. Typographically bad, e.g. no visual cues about significance, related options, etc. and right-aligned labels make it difficult to skim down through a page.

Agreed that there's some visual stuff that needs work. Mostly, I find it just looks old and clunky and too busy.

4. Labels are too verbose, contributing with noise to the overall view, and the “Details for «the_mailman_option_name»” under each label does not help in this regard.

I've got mixed feelings about this. The labels do contribute to noise, but they also provide the ability for me to tell people "change the setting with name $foo" *or* describe the description if I'm not near a computer to check the stuff myself. The longer labels also make it easier for people looking at the interface the first time to figure out what things do at a glance instead of having to click each details button to find the one they want.

The web interface for 3.0 is going to be *very* different from the 2.1 stuff because a lot of things are just going to go away or appear. But I think we'd do well to think seriously about making 2.2 have an improved interface. Honestly, I feel that the web UI which used to be Mailman's strength has lately become its biggest weakness.

I've been putting my thought into organizing the documentation lately (as anyone who's been following the wiki has no doubt noted), but I'm almost done what I wanted to do there, and I want to be writing code next. I'd been planning on tackling the archiver, but perhaps I should take a harder look at web UI for my next project.


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