I'm planning a UX survey targeted to new clients who just started using our web based administration tool. The goal is to collect opinions from brand new users who don't already know all the ins and outs of the interface. First impression/use is the key here.

Within this context, are there mandatory questions to ask when it comes to administration interfaces?

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I've built an admin interface recently, but I didn't ask for input. Frankly I should have, but I think it's fair to consider the use of administration interface the same as standard user interface. It's just got more navigation paths and configuration options.

Having said that, following is a list of things that I'd consider mandatory if I were launching a survey on any new admin interface:

UI shortcuts to most-frequent tasks: (info applicable to the entire collection of admin users)

  1. In advance, what do you think your most-common management task may be? (Text or list of 3-10 options that you come up with for the survey)
  2. Do you have experience with other admin interfaces? (Y/N) followed by "Can you tell us what you like most about them, and what general admin tasks you do most frequently with them?" (Text)

Front-page stream of updates (info about an individual admin's personal preference):

  1. Which style of streaming updates do you prefer, Facebook's conversation-style or Twitter's compressed format? (radio buttons)
  2. Regarding notifications of important system events (like new users, problem reports, etc) do you prefer every notification delivered immediately, or to your account inbox, or __ (fill in the blank for the admin system specific message delivery abilities) (series of checkboxes or radio buttons)

Extras, not so manditory:

  1. Do you prefer the design scheme (colour/layout/etc) as similar or very different to a standard user sign-in?

Parting thought:

You could also consider an event-based survey... Clearly inform the new client about a "Survey mode" currently active on the site while they're logged in, to watch their use and give applicable questions when they enter particular areas. You could permit them to opt-out, or choose to force them to give feedback, depending on how critical this survey is to you.

Hope that helps!

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