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Here are the results of our user testing on a working mockup of the Portlet Layout Manager

Results of User Testing

What we are testing - goals

For this Portlet Layout Manager user test we want to consider the usability of moving/reordering portlets.  Research questions/goals include:

  • Do users realize they can move portlets?
  • Are users successful at moving portlets around the portal?
  • Can a user move a portlet successfully to a chosen location?
  • Do users recognize and understand locked vs. unlocked portlets?
  • Are visual affordances meaningful and helpful to users?

User Test Success Criteria

  • 50% of users realize immediately they can move portlets. All users realize they can move portlets after exploring interface for a few minutes.
  • 80% of users can successfully drag a portlet to a chosen location and drop it.
  • 80% of users understand the visual affordances of the "move" cursor and the red bar.
  • 80% of users can differentiate between locked and unlocked portlets and understand that they cannot move locked portlets.


The Portlet Layout Manager will be used by a wide cross-section of students and faculty in higher educational institutions.  Our user tests will focus on two rounds of testing.  To start with the mockup we have to work with is only "mouse accessible" and so we will have to conduct the keyboard-only portion of the user testing later.

Wiki Markup
Our access to participants is limited primarily to students over faculty.  We will try and include a few faculty.  We want to test a range of non-technical and more tech savvy students as well as faculty members of the University of Toronto.  For our formal user test with working mockup we will have 9-11 users \[combination of students and faculty, but primarily students\].

For earlier paper-prototyping sessions we will work with a smaller number of participants.  


Gary Thompson's original design
Current Mockups

Portlet Layout Manager Protocol

 Method and test coordinator script for the user test.

Demographic Questionnaire