Drupal.org redesign – Participate in Usability Testing in London!

You’re going to be hearing more and more about usability testing in the coming weeks! As you know, we’ve been including Drupal.org users in the redesign process from before the first wireframe was sketched, and we continue to include both ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in the process – currently in the form of usability testing the prototypes as it moves from iteration to iteration.

We recently conducted some tests at the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin which allowed us to talk to a bunch of European Drupal Users (and non-users too!). Now we’d like to do some usability testing in London (where I’m based).

If you’re in London on Monday 3 November and would like to participate – please email me [email protected] and let me know where you will be (I can meet you somewhere convenient) and when would suit you. I’ll need around 30-40mins of your time.

I’m looking for a mix of people who know a *lot* about Drupal (and are involved in the community) through to people who know not much about Drupal but who have some interest in content management systems for websites – whether for your own blog perhaps, or for a company or organisation you’re affiliated with.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any cash incentives for this project, but you will receive much gratitude and lots of good karma for helping build good user experience into an open source project.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Is disambiguity a word?

I had the pleasure of speaking at the User Assistance Conference in Edinburgh recently and spent one lunch time chatting with Professor Geoffrey K. Pullum, who is the Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and regular contributor to the Language Log. We were talking about whether or not ‘disambiguity’ was a real word. As you can imagine, he had much more thoughtful opinions on this than I did. Professor Pullum had an inkling that it wasn’t a proper word (although I think he kind of liked it anyway!)

Not long after lunch I received this email from the Professor that he had kindly allowed me to share with you because I know you’d be interested to know too!

I was not wrong: the entire 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, which records every lexeme ever attested in 700 years of the history of the English language, has no entry for “disambiguity” at all.

It also isn’t in Webster’s, the greatest dictionary of American English (search it online at http://www.webster.com):

Suggestions for disambiguity:

    1. disambiguate           2. disambiguates
    3. disambiguating         4. disambiguation
    5. disembogued            6. disambiguated
    7. disembogues            8. disambiguations

Your word, with its verb-restricted “dis-” prefix (as in disable, disabuse, disagree, disallow, disappear, disarm, disband, disbar, disbelieve, etc.) and its noun ending, is entirely your own invention.

Though I should note that a few nouns formed from dis- verbs are found.”Disability” is one that has the -ity suffix.  So that is a sort of model, not in the sense that you did have it in mind, but in the sense that you could have done.  It shows that forming such a word is not out of the question for English word formation principles.  It’s just never been done before!

I’m fairly certain I’m not the first person to have ‘made up’ this word or that it’s ‘my word’, but I like it all the more after learning this little bit about it novelty. Linguists are cool.