Ubiquity usability study

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Thu Jun 28 17:16:32 UTC 2007

Unfortunately I have not yet had a chance to go through all of this, but
I wanted to respond to a few points:

On Thu, Jun 28, 2007 at 08:05:45PM +1200, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> There are other visible errors in this screen, too.
> *   "Your new operating system" is comically vague. The installer knows
>     very well that it's installing Kubuntu, not some other OS.
>     (I do not think that reducing translation requirements for
>     derivatives is a good excuse for vagueness in Ubuntu and Kubuntu
>     themselves.)

There are translation requirements in Ubuntu and Kubuntu too; in fact,
these are the most pressing concerns. For example Ubuntu in Korean is
written thus:

  우분투 (stem)
  우분투가 (subject)
  우분투를 (object)
  우분투는 (something called "topic")

I'm not sure how to correctly write Kubuntu in Korean, though 쿠분투
would be my best guess. Given Korean spelling rules it certainly won't
be a matter of prepending a character. Edubuntu and Xubuntu are also

Or let's take Hebrew, where we have:

  אובונטו (stem)
  האובונטו (with definite article, e.g. "the Ubuntu such-and-such")

There are quite a few languages where I know that the name of the
operating system should be transliterated but I don't know how to write
Ubuntu in those languages. (Any Arabic-family or Indic-family speakers
reading this?)

You're effectively proposing that we maintain a table of all the
possible translations of all the strings mentioning Ubuntu for each
derivative into all the languages we support. We do that for precisely
two strings right now in packages I'm aware of, on the CD bootloader
screens, and I've already had complaints from translators about that. We
have multiple projects on the boil right now involving improving support
for more derivatives and reducing the patchsets they need to carry.
Translation efforts for more languages are appearing, and most of the
new ones are in language families that historically have tended to
transliterate the name of the operating system. The problem is only
going to get worse.

I also do not think that we are entitled to disregard the needs of
derivatives or of translators simply because it makes user interface
design a little easier. User interface design is important to Ubuntu,
but so is helping out derivatives, and so is localisation.

I have no problem, of course, with the string being rephrased in other
ways, and I think it probably should be; the current phrasing is rather
clumsy. However, we settled on the approach of removing unnecessary
branding years ago and I don't want all that work to be undone now.

> But if there are more than about half a dozen keyboard layouts, and 
> you're not even showing what they look like, asking people to choose 
> "Which layout is most similar to your keyboard" is completely 
> unreasonable *regardless* of how the options are listed. (So this was a 
> mistake on my part in the initial design.)

I think it's worth noting that people do often (I know, not always, but
pretty often) know what sort of keyboard they're using. It's not a
*total* black box that they have to guess.

I'd hazard a guess that the proliferation of options is confusing even
if you think you already know what keyboard layout you're using: the
fact that you can see all this choice means that you have to think about
it. Do you think it would help if the UI started out by just displaying
the default option for your language and country (the one we already
select by default) plus the text box, accompanied by a "Change..."

> >>By making the safest option the default option, the risk to
> >>accidentally destroy information on another partition could be
> >>reduced.  If the safest option cannot be identified, we would suggest
> >>to provide no default option and force the user to examine the options
> >>and make a choice.  Dual booting also seems to be the most likely case
> >>for less technical users, and so the Manual option would be the best
> >>default.
> I'm trying to reconcile the screenshot of this step with Celeste's 
> statement in the report that "the participants were given the scenario 
> to install Kubuntu along with Windows". Really? Where is that option? 
> Is that what "Manual" is supposed to mean? If so, no wonder people just 
> chose the default. I don't know of any dictionary where "manual" is 
> defined as "alongside Windows".

I think you're laying on the sarcasm a little thick. :-)

Though I haven't read the report yet, I suspect Celeste meant that the
participants were given a system on which Windows was installed and
instructed to install Kubuntu alongside it.

> >Building on Celeste's ideas, I think we should have the first page of
> >the partitioner include the existing radio buttons and titles for each
> >option, but also a long description below each option that explains 
> >what it does.
> Defining the options would be a step forward, but it would be much 
> better if they were reworded instead. For example:

This is roughly https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuExpress/PartitioningTool,
the last major piece of the original design that never got implemented
because it requires turning partman-auto upside-down and shaking it and
I never found the time.

> >Still, ideally I'd like to see something that gives you a better visual
> >representation of what's going on, such as two boxes with their size 
> >and percentage of the disk that they occupy labeled on them (perhaps 
> >even including an icon of the operating system present).  The 
> >interface would then allow you to resize from the point where they 
> >touch, updating the size of both as you drag.
> Definitely. The table would still be necessary, both for accessibility 
> and to cater for alteration of those partitions that were too small to 
> see. However, the table probably wouldn't need a border, grid, or 
> headers any more, so in most cases it would look just like a legend for 
> the diagram.

This is definitely the sort of direction in which I intended to go with
the new advanced partitioner but didn't quite make it for Feisty.

Once that's done, LVM and RAID would be possible too ...


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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