Dries Buytaert, the creator and project lead for Drupal, mentioned two recent Drupal usability studies last week on his personal blog - one conducted at the University of Minnesota and another in the Interaction Design and Information Architecture program at the University of Baltimore. Both studies came to similar conclusions - although strong in many areas, certain aspects of Drupal's administration interface can be confusing and intimidating, particularly to new users.
As he states in his post:
"The results (from the University of Baltimore study) are consistent with the results from usability tests done at the University of Minnesota.
The results can't be ignored.
I printed the report, taped it on my wall, and I won't release Drupal 7 until I crossed off at least 90% of the problems they identified."
Major Drupal releases have typically been 12 or more months apart, and with Drupal 6 debuting earlier this year, it's likely to be a while before 7 sees the light of day. Fortunately, it appears that the Drupal development team has heard what the user community is asking for, and is working hard to deliver it.