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Usability and Plone

I've seen in here and there someone mentioning that usability of Plone is very good. Lot's of people - me included - like the fact that in Plone you don't have separate content management interface compared to some of Plones rivals. That counts for something when we're talking about good usability. Still that is only one quite small part of the whole picture. So what else is there? What do people like in Plone and where are the rough edges for end users? If general consensus is that Plone does have good usability, where is the actual proof of that?

On plone.org I found one page in developer documentation mentioning following: "Plone differentiates itself on usability. The intuitiveness of the user interface is what attracts people to Plone the most."


I interpret this sentence meaning about the "one view for all" approach. What bugs me in this is that this whole sentence about good usability is about how the UI works compared to Plones competitors. Saying that our approach has more intuitive UI than our competitors is one thing - proving that our claim is true is another thing. Yet I think the most important thing is missing from here. Proving that the UI we have has good usability in itself. Is the user experience better than our competitors and good enough for our end users or is it actually, really and without any doubt so good that it wouldn't be better without rethinking whole thing and designing even more intuitive UI?

In launchpad.net/plone it reads that "Plone is easy to use. The Plone Team includes usability experts who have made Plone easy and attractive for content managers to add, update, and mantain content."


Good usability is not just that someone says or writes it. You'll need to prove it too - and not only by comparing how our product does against competitors products - getting the end users opinion weights so much more.

Why I'm bringing this topic up? I'm doing my masters thesis about Plone usability and in the past week I've been searching usability studies about Plone to get some background material. When I started this I thought it'd be easy to find at least few through reports - knowing that people have mentioned Plones good usability quite often in separate posts. To my surprise I found only few short blogposts (Plone Usability Makes It As Easy As ABCUsability of CMS Home Sites) and few evaluation videos, but none of those are scientifically accurate enough to be material in masters thesis. Basically I didn't find any actual usability study made about Plone.

I hope you don't get me wrong in this post. I'm being over critical about this matter as the subject is maybe too close my job and interests. I've been working with Plone about 4 years now and this includes developing new products, giving end user support and administrating sites which gets millions hits/month. I'm trying to forget all this in my masters thesis which should to be scientifically approvable study. If I won't find any proof about the good usability I have to think (scientifically) that it is all just words and nothings been proven - yet.

If you happen to know some study what I've (obviously) missed I'd be more than thankful to know about it.

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