Usability Testing

Josh Rhoderick rhoderickj at
Mon Mar 24 12:17:19 GMT 2008

I think this sounds like a fantastic idea, and it'd be a great way for our
team to contribute to Ubuntu without requiring any special skills. A while
back I had a section on our wiki for "projects" but I removed it because I
wasn't sure whether or not it would be used, but I suggest that we wikify
this and place it on the wiki under a "projects" page or something similar.
Any objections to that? I look forward to discussing this at the next IRC
meeting. Just a reminder, the next meeting is Wednesday, April

-- Josh

On Fri, Mar 21, 2008 at 2:31 PM, Celeste Lyn Paul <celeste at> wrote:

> Chuck forwarded me the notes from last night and we talked a little about
> your
> idea for usability testing in the LoCo.  I think this is a great idea if
> we
> plan it right.  I added it as an agenda item for our next IRC meeting, but
> I
> also wanted to open the conversation up on the mailing list.
> What to test:
> Your first reaction is probably the installation process, but to tell you
> the
> truth Ubiquity has been tested to death.  It has had two usability tests
> conducted on it and multiple UI reviews (I just submitted some UI bugs the
> other day).  Unless the partitioning process changes much, I don't think
> there is much more we can learn.  The developers just have to implement it
> all.
> I would suggest picking one of the Desktop Experiences the development
> team is
> focused on:  Doing this
> would also gain attention and support from Ubuntu.
> Once we figure out what we are going to test, I will write a testing
> script
> and whatever questionnaires we will use to gather data, in addition to the
> other documentation such as participant consent form.
> Who to test:
> Friends and family are probably the easiest audience to get a hold of, and
> the
> most diverse.  We all have geek friends who might not yet use Linux or
> Moms
> who just need an email client and web browser.
> Moderating:
> Before hand, I would suggest whoever is interested in moderating get
> together
> to run through the test and practice on each other.  In theory, moderating
> is
> easy, but it can be intimidating the first time you do it.  Also, I want
> to
> give you some pointers on how to interact with participants so you don't
> lead
> them to the answer, feel comfortable with them struggling with a task, and
> know how to help them go in the right direction.
> I would also suggest we do this in teams of two.  One person leads the
> participant through the script and the second person takes notes.  Since
> the
> second person will most likely be in the same room, it will be very
> important
> that they sit off to the side or behind the participant and moderator to
> take
> notes.  It is also very important they ONLY take notes and not talk with
> the
> participant, otherwise you get a double-teaming effect on the participants
> behavior.
> Equipment:
> I would suggest a laptop with an external Monitor and keyboard.  This will
> give us ultimate mobility but provide a level of comfort to the
> participant.
> If possible, also a KVM so an observer can sit and take notes without
> being
> interruptive.
> Where:
> 1) Since it will probably be a friends+family recruit, we can just go to
> people's houses.  The problem is that the LoCo member associated with that
> participant would have to be the moderator.
> 2) The library is another possibility.  We could schedule a room and set
> up a
> computer.  The benefit is that other people's friends and family can show
> up.
> The only problem is our participants will have to come.
> Stipends:
> Even though this will probably be a friends+family recruit it is always
> nice
> to provide some kind of gift for the participant.  Money is expensive for
> us
> and tacky for family, so I think the best bet would be to get CDs or swag
> as
> the gift.  If this is the way we want to go, I will contact Ubuntu and see
> what they will give us.
> I hope this doesn't sound too hard, it is just a lot of careful planning.
> Cheers,
> ~ Celeste
> --
> Celeste Lyn Paul
> KDE Usability Project & HCI Working Group
> --
> Ubuntu-us-md mailing list
> Ubuntu-us-md at
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