Tinkering w/ Tinker

As I mentioned last time in class, most of the work I’m doing from this point on is behind-the-scenes and addressing specific problems that I encountered in my user tests and the responses I got from some of my testers. Fortunately, I think I have already managed to capture most of the features I set out to do, and it seems each feature I try to add on opens up a new can of worms that only takes me further from my goal of having a ready to release project by next week.

The main concerns I was getting from people were that feedback wasn’t always clear when there was a problem, either in Tinker or on the server, and it basically leaves the user stranded. I’ve tried my best to find the main points of problems and give useful feedback through the feedback mechanism in tinker. If any of my calls to the server result in an error, Tinker will either present a user-friendly message (quite often just instructions to reload the page), or if Tinker doesn’t know what happened, give the user the PHP error that was generated. Dealing with server files can be tricky, and some people are finding issues that have never come up for me, so this may be something that evolves greatly over time.

The other issues I’ve been trying to address are some of the quirks of the interface itself. For instance, when a page has a link and the user clicks it, it acts just like normal text. The editor wants to give the user the option to edit the text of the link, but nobody could figure out how to follow the link to its target. For that, I created a small pop-up, similar to what you see when you click a link in GMail, that provides a clickable link to go to the destination. Other issues have to do with the image uploader, CSS class selector, and other options that aren’t clearly labeled or explained in the interface. I’m going to have to build in a help system, but that will be more than I can do this week.

All in all, most people don’t seem to be asking for any more features. This could be because most people haven’t had a chance to really try to practically apply it yet, but I’d like to think it also has to do with the fact that it does it’s fairly basic job well, and that most changes that people see are not much of a problem for Tinker.

Also, here’s the latest version of my presentation: