Reporting usability problems: please be more tolerant when you triage bugs!
mikus at bga.com
Wed Jul 22 21:53:57 BST 2009
>> However, it is very easy that a developer does not recognise an
>> usability-related bug report, and confuses it with a more or less
>> strange support request, and I often have to discuss to have it
>> accepted as a bug.
> The issue is that Ubuntu doesn't write most of the softwares it
> distribute and the current team doesn't have the manpower to work on
> those and isn't well placed to decide on behavior changes that should be
> done a software they are not writing. Ideally submitters would open
> those bugs upstream too and argue directly there.
I would like to speak up for the users out there - they too might
have only limited resources and time.
The following happened to me on a platform different than Ubuntu,
but has colored my attitude ever since: A beta release failed to
provide one significant multimedia function. I reported it. The
report was rejected (with the notation that I should go upstream),
on the grounds that I had used an application not supplied by the
platform developers. That mode of response upset me:
* *Every* multimedia application I had tried on that particular
beta failed to produce that kind of output, whereas on other
versions those same applications worked correctly -- and I had
said so in my report. I had expected the developers to check
into my claim (of *every* - i.e., that it was the fault of that
beta system), rather than suggesting that it was my fault for
choosing a third-party application. [The application I had
named was the one easiest to install.]
* It would have taken significant effort on my part to discover
whom to contact regarding the application I had named. And in
my mind I could imagine that person's reaction if I requested:
"Although your application works on platform XYZ-111, and on
all other platforms I have tried, it fails to produce the
expected output on beta XYZ-112. Please fix your application."
Let me suggest that Ubuntu appoint an usability triager/ombudsman,
to determine (from the Ubuntu users' perspective, not from an Ubuntu
developers' perspective) how much attention ought to be paid to each
and every usability-related bug report.
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