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OpenACS Home : Forums : .LRN Q&A : Improving Language Style and Usability

Forum .LRN Q&A: Improving Language Style and Usability

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Posted by Anja Wicht on
In the thread 'Edit vs Rename vs Properties' (http://openacs.org/forums/message-view?message_id=133981), Alfred Werner raises the issue that the language used in the English version of dotLRN is in many cases too colloquial and imprecise. I totally agree with that and I want to add that this isn't only important from the translator's perspective, but it's also a matter of usability. For example, when you click on a link that contains a certain option, e.g. 'Join/Drop a Class or Community Group' on the MySpace page, you expect the new page to have the same title as the link. Instead, it's 'Add/Drop Memberships'. Or when you upload a file in 'MyFiles', you have to enter a 'Version filename' and a 'Title'. Later on in the listing of the documents, the 'Title' is called 'Name'. One migt say these are just details. But I think it's these little things that make working with a program feel either comfortable or annoying.

There are, of course, some aspects other than language. On the 'Add/Drop Memberships' page, for example, the headings 'Class Name' and 'Community Name' are currently incorporated in the row of the first class/club in the table, as if they belonged together. Orientation would be much easier if they were placed above the table.
Posted by Alfred Essa on
Anja, Very good points!
Posted by Joel Aufrecht on
Please file these as bugs.  It may make sense to put a lot of related items, such as all link/title mismatches, into one bug, instead of opening fifty bugs.  These are Priority 3/Severity 4 bugs.
Posted by Matthias Melcher on
" Later on in the listing of the documents, the 'Title' is called 'Name'"

Name or title is not easy to decide. "TITLE" may confuse users who have been asked for "version fileNAME"s and therefore think that versions are related to names rather than to titles. If they finally learnt that versions were distinguished by titles, they are again wrong and have to learn about descriptions. Furthermore, "title" may confuse those who store HTML files where title is something completely different. I believe that the big usability study being conducted for filestore at Sloan(?) will eventually just reaffirm what translators find out: that terminology is unclear and therefore usability suffers.

Posted by Anja Wicht on
Following the advice in the posting above, I have created a list containing the bugs I came across during the translation process. I have posted part of that list as one bug in ACS Lang (http://openacs.org/bugtracker/openacs/com/acs-lang/bug?bug%5fnumber=1350). In order keep the work load within certain limits, I have focused only on those obvious cases where message keys and/or green circles are missing or not properly linked and where messages can therefore not be translated. I think it is obvious that as long as the program surface contains a mix of messages in different languages it will make a chaotic impression on the user even at first sight. That's why in my opinion it is a basic necessity to solve these bugs before the German version of the program is made accessible to the public. I would appreciate it a lot if someone took the time to do this, even if it is maybe not a very exciting job.