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Layout Reorderer User Testing - Round 1


Completed February 2008 by Barbara Glover and Justin Justin


Users did not recognize that portlets could be moved, and that some content was locked. The drop target indicator needs to be clearer, more obvious.


The Layout Customizer will be used by a wide cross-section of students and faculty in higher educational institutions. The fist round of testing will be mouse accessible only; keyboard-only user testing will be done in a later round.


This test should discover:

  • 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?

Success Criteria

A successful design has been achieved when:

  • 100% of users realize they can move portlets after exploring the interface.
  • 50% of users realize immediately they can move portlets.
  • 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.


Method and test coordinator script.


The desire is to test across a range of technology skill of students and faculty. Users tested in this round are from the University of Toronto.

Interaction Design

Underlying design patterns and description of component behavior.

Test Environment

Location and version of the environment that was used. Attach a screenshot of the environment at the time of testing if the environment will change over time.


Full notes and analysis of the user tests.

Layout Reorderer User Testing - Round 1 Results

  • People are having trouble realizing they can move portlets at all.
  • Locked Portlets:
    • How should we convey to user that a portlet is locked? Cursor change is not enough.
    • Where should a "lock" icon be placed? Upper left corner of titlebar is not a good location.
    • Tooltip text is helpful but first must see the icon. Could move the icon to the middle of title bar or to the right corner.
    • Tool tip/hover text saying "section cannot be moved" could be if they hover anywhere on title bar.
    • Could remove title bar from locked portlets as Shaw-han has suggested.
  • Drop Target Indicators:
    • Green bar is too small and not being noticed enough.
    • Maybe make it thicker and with an arrow indicating where portlet will go.


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