Making things intuitive is complex! Or, what we discovered via user testing

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The Bonfire team is committed to creating a federated app toolkit that is intuitive, user-friendly, and meets the diverse needs of our community. A key part of how people interact with Bonfire is the composer — the space where users craft their post and decide who can see and interact with it. To ensure this is as effective and easy to use as possible, we recently conducted user research to gather feedback and insights.

The User Research Process #

Our user research involved in-depth sessions with a diverse range of participants. These 45-minute sessions included a mix of questions and prototype testing, using screen-sharing and a prototype created with Figma. Our participants spanned a variety of locations, backgrounds, technical proficiency, and amounts of previous exposure to Bonfire, providing us with a wealth of perspectives and insights.

What we found out #

The feedback we received was invaluable in highlighting areas for improvement. Many users found the concepts and/or UX of boundaries, circles and roles confusing, particularly the ‘caretaker’ role and the way you could deny or combine permissions. There was a desire for greater clarity in the include/exclude sections, about understanding the details of each specific role, and for the ability to edit boundaries after posting.

Interestingly, we found a surprising uniformity in user behaviour, with all participants choosing the same initial workflow in the prototype, though participants each suggested several different ways to improve the composer feature.

Our response #

As a team, we've taken this feedback on board and have been discussing the best ways to iterate based on the insights and sugestions shared by participants.

Next steps #

We're now in the process of implementing changes based on the feedback received. In a couple of months, we plan to conduct further user research to assess the impact of these changes and gather more user insights. We encourage members of the Bonfire community to get involved in this process by providing feedback and participating in future user research. You can do this by discussing this post on the Fediverse and mentioning

Users who want to provide further feedbacks to the bonfire team can go through the composer on our campground instance, and report any suggestion using the #bonfire_feedback hashtags.

Conclusion #

This user research process has been extremely helpful in refining the composer and improving the overall user experience on Bonfire. We're grateful to all the participants for their valuable feedback and to our community for their ongoing support. We look forward to sharing updates on our progress and continuing to work together to make Bonfire the best it can be.

(Thanks to Doug Belshaw of Dynamic Skillset who volunteered his time to run this user research for us and provide us with insights.)

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