Media Grid – User testing round 1

We recently performed some quick user tests on the Media Grid (at BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 2) to see how users fare when performing various tasks, and came out with some interesting results.

TL;DR – The concept of the Media Grid was intuitive and easy for users to understand, especially navigation and editing metadata; however, uploading media and bulk selection tasks were still problematic for most. A lot of work could be done to make these more straightforward.  

We also tested hiding all metadata (title, mime type, etc.) from the grid view, and saw no difference in performance, which hints at the possibility that metadata is not as important here as it is in the list view.

Follow the jump to see more details about this round of user tests.

Tasks performed

Here is a list of the basic tasks we asked users to perform:

  1. Pick an image and edit it’s title
  2. Navigate to another image (staying in the modal) and edit it’s title too
  3. Return to the grid view (from the modal)
  4. Delete several duplicate images in the grid
  5. Upload new media to the library
  6. Locate and preview audio file

In addition, for the final test we hid all of the metadata information from the grid view, to see if this had any effect on performing tasks.


All the users we tested had no trouble with understanding the purpose of the Media Library, viewing and navigating in the modal, editing metadata, previewing files, and other basic tasks.  Several users remarked at how easy it was to use, and how quickly they were able to find/view items in the grid.

To test if parity with the list view was a factor or not, we also hid the metadata in the final test (image grid only) and noted that tasks were no more difficult to perform than for those where metadata was displayed in the grid.  As a reminder, metadata was seen as important in user interviews (when asking about the traditional list view) which was a strong argument for some parity in the grid; this challenges that assumption.

Bulk Selection Needs work

Bulk Selection proved to be a challenge for most users we tested.  It seemed easy to understand the purpose of the checkboxes in the grid, and users were readily able to select groups of files, but from there it was easy to get confused about the next step.  Here’s what happened:

  • User 1 – Selected several images, could not figure out next step.  Clicked around until they stumbled upon the modal, and used the “delete permanently” link in the modal to delete the images one at a time.  (video)
  • User 2 – Same Outcome.  Bulk select no problem, gets lost from there.  Ends up deleting in the modal. (video)
  • User 3 – Success!  User bulk selects items, then chooses “Delete” and applies the action. (video)

Uploading? Yes. Bulk upload and drag-and-drop? Not so much

While all the users we tested were able to successfully upload files, none used the drag-and-drop feature, and none successfully uploaded groups of files, just single files only. Here’s what happened:

  • User 1 – Misses the “Add Media” button, and instead stumbles across the “+” menu in the admin toolbar, ending up on media-new.php where he successfully uploads an image.  User is not sure they were successful, so ends up clicking on Media>Add New, landing on the same page.  After uploading the same image again, they return to the grid and see they uploaded it twice. (video)
  • User 2 – Finds the “Add Media” button, but does not drag-and-drop any files, instead choosing the file uploader, only selecting single images.  (video)
  • User 3 – Same as user 2.  Finds “Add New” button, but uses file uploader interface to upload a single image.  (video)

#media-grid, #user-testing