A very tricky part of core has always been the teaser/summary, our changes in Drupal 7 where positive but we are still not quite there. The label “Edit Summary” was confusing to many new and existing users. The label “Edit Summary” did not make clear about what is it’s functionality. Some participants did understand the functionality once they clicked on it but most of them were not completely clear or had more questions about how it works.

What do you think “Edit Summary” is?
“It is a summary of content for search engine spiders” (Existing user, participant 4)
“It is a summary of edits” [Participant assumed this to be the revision log because she is an active wiki user and on the wiki, “Edit Summary” refers to the summary of the edits to a particular content] (Existing user, participant 5)

It seems like we need to do further iterations to make this usable, it seems like much of the confusion was about the labeling and the help text seems to communicate what we want to do with just a label.

Comments

I definitely think we need to come up with a better term for it, and perhaps have some hint text on how to use it.

One popular method would be to have a little speech bubble with a ? in it, that when you clicked it, a little pop up appeared with helper text. That way if someone wasn't clear what it did by it's title, they would immediately know to click that little help button to get clarification.

I would definitely be against getting rid of it, as I, and clients of mine use it a lot. But I do think it should be minimized by default as it is now. Also, it might be nice if when you create a new content type, you have the ability to control the creation of the body field, including choosing either a plain textarea, or a textarea with summary. That would be a good place to educate people as to what it does.

Finally, in addition, or in lieu of text, perhaps a visual aid on what it does. When I did my UX session with the user who was confused by the user was confused by the summary because that exact phrase meant something different in the wiki community. When I visually showed her what it did, it clicked immediately.

OK, good point, let's fix it up. The problem seems to be two parts:

The word Summary can be confusing or inaccurate.

The field is actually an alternate view mode of a long text area. Sometimes it might be used as a summary, sometimes a teaser, sometimes as something different. The description needs to be more specific without being too long.

Possible solutions: "Teaser", "Preview Version".

The word Edit in this context can be ambiguous

Is it an adjective or a verb?

Possible solutions: "Add a [noun]", "Click to add [noun]", "Create custom [noun]".

My suggestions aren't the most exciting, let's get some more.

I like 'Teaser' as that seems to be the most common use of this feature. I can't think of a better noun than that.

One thing I have been thinking of is what about contextually setting up the link? This is something that Apple has been very good about in their UI guidelines. Whenever possible, they recommend setting the text of a button to be a specific description of what that button will do. Unlike other UIs that you 'Ok/Cancel' or 'Yes/No' all the time, you'll often see buttons that say 'Save your work/Discard Changes'

What about something similar for this button. If there isn't a teaser or [noun] already, it will say 'Add a [noun].' If there is content in the field, have it change to 'Edit your [noun]' THat way, it will be much more clear what that button does in the appropriate context. It would be relatively simple with JS and I think it would make things much clearer.

Nice point, Ryan. Once there is content in the field isn't it expanded by default? In that case the label of the text area will say "[Noun]", the action link should say "hide [noun]", and after it's hidden I would think it should say "show [Noun]".

Teaser is probably better than Summary, but the more I think about it, the box is not necessarily either of those. It's content available for display on an alternate view mode of a long text area. If there's any way we can describe this without being verbose I think we should.

"Short Version of [Fieldname]" is almost better than "Teaser", but would need some help text. Something like "Can be displayed in alternate content views, including teasers and summaries". I'm dead set against adding help text in 99.99% of cases, we should be cutting back on the redic verboseness of help text as much as possible in D8, but maybe this is one of those 0.01% times.

In general I think your suggestion of specific action descriptors would improve Drupal's usability by leaps and bounds, and maybe deserves it's own issue.

Other possible solutions:

- "Edit the teaser"
- "Edit the summary"

IMO, the "the" makes all the difference. ;)