GNOME Character Map Usability Test
I did the usability test for the existing application with three participants. I did it to sort out the issues different users would face in using the application. These were the results for different users.
She is an architect by profession and doesn't use Ubuntu. She is well versed with graphic softwares such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and 3D S Max and Autocad and uses them very frequently. Since she doesn't use Ubuntu, she was exposed to Character Map for the first time. I told her what the application was all about and what was it used for.
Task: Find the 'heart' symbol
Results and Insights
- She kept shifting between random characters and character details. Since, that is the most prominent part of the application, she spent about 3-4 minutes figuring the relation of the characters displayed and the Unicode Block drop down options that were on the left pane of the application.
- Upon noticing some relation between the character symbol grid and the options on the left pane of the application, she assumed they are the categories of characters sets, and wanted to search for 'Heart' in that category. She was initially assuming these drop downs are the fonts, but she is already familiar with a lot of fonts and she couldnt find the names here, so she assumed that she is not able to get around with this system as this might be made for the developers and not for people like her.
- She did not notice the 'Text to Copy' till a very long time into the application, and when she did, she tried to drag the characters into the 'Text to Copy'.
- She tried the 'Bold' and 'Italic' options, which were applicable to the entire character set on the screen, and not to the chosen/highlighted character.
- On failing to find the symbol, she kept scrolling the character set window looking conciously for the required symbol, till she spotted it.
- She did not notice or use the drop down for font selection.
- She tried to access options on the navigation menu, such as 'Search' but was confused by the options like 'Find', 'Find Next' and 'Find Previous'
- Options like 'Snap columns to power of two' were also very confusing to her.
- After doing a search with the seach string 'heart', there was no visual distinction between the character selected and the other blank characters, she had to do a 'find next' and 'find previous' to figure where exactly is the cursor placed.
- She was also looking for 'faqs' in the documentation, but she didn't find them.
Aware Non user
The second participant is aware of Ubuntu and has been a user in his past, but doesn't use it currently. He is a user experience professional in a startup and has been a developer before. That is the reason he knows the open source platform, although doesn't use it in his daily work.
Task: Search for a symbol that you could use for a hospital. (I changed the task deliberately, because I knew he would directly jump to 'Search')
Results and Insights
- He glanced at the character symbol set and directly opted to search it with a keyword. He typed in the keyword 'Hospital' and could not find anything.
- He also tried scrolling in the Scripts panel, but was immensely confused by what it meant.
- He was unsure of where the categories were and decided to search for the symbol in Google!
Open Source Contributor
Luckily my third participant is also an open source contributor and readily agreed to be a participant in this usability test. He brought a very different set of opinions to the table.
Task: To search for a symbol which can be used for a hospital
Research and Insights
- Started off with using the 'Search' option, and searched for the following keywords to no avail(Hospital, person, medical, patient, cross and bed)
- When he checked the option of 'Search in character details', the matching symbols were displayed, but were not highlighted, so, he had to go to the previous and next symbols thrice to check exactly where the highlighted symbol was located.
- On clicking once on a character, he was expecting the character details to be available, rather than switching tabs.
- Even on selecting the font and the script, there were symbols which belonged to a different font being displayed on the grid. This confused the participant.
These were the results of my first usability test conducted on Character Map and has yielded immensely powerful results. These results will help me in defining better use cases for the application.