We are planning a GNOME usability study that will focus on GNOME on netbooks.
- Anton Kerezov
- Tim Mcconnell
- Guillaume Ardaud
- Mike Turquette
- Kirk Bridger
- Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay
- Loïc Minier
- Ameet Suri
- Calum Benson
- Jerome Blondon
- Stormy Peters
- Ivanka Majic
- Dan Fitek
Figure out exactly what we want feedback on.
- Power. A big aspect of netbooks is how much power is affected with regards to various bits and bobs inside of the software stack. However, I am not sure if it does form part of a traditional usability study. The other aspects could be towards figuring out the activities that are performed by netbook users to assess if these activities can be performed by a traditional GNOME desktop.
- making sure GNOME apps are convenient to use on the available resources.
- covers netbook use cases: web browsing, IM, mail, music/video playback, photo mgmt, photo booth, audio/video calls...
- Smaller screen : smaller fonts, smaller targets to hit. Is the GNOME desktop legible at those sizes? Are our default fonts and anti-aliasing good enough, and if not, are they easy enough to adjust? Are things like window manager buttons big enough, and if not, are they easy enough to adjust them? Is the trackpad too sensitive/not sensitive enough for manoeuvring around a smaller, more densely-populated space, and if not, is it easy enough to... (fits the screen: application can actually display in a 1024x576 (e.g. dell mini 9) or 800x480 (for the EeePC 7xx), including some room for panels)
- is actually usable on the display: not too many widgets for the available screen estate, some room to display *contents*; e.g. ensure all apps can be fullscreen-ed
- touch friendly: buttons are large enough to be hit by fat fingered users either with small touchpads or touchscreens
- system friendly: doesn't use too much RAM, disk (needs enough RAM to start e.g. a mail client and a web browser and should be able to install GNOME in 2 GB hard disk), has reasonnable startup time, not too many wakeups etc.
- Increased mobility : suspend/resume more often, connect to different networks more often. Is suspend/resume fast and reliable enough? Is it easy enough to join wireless networks, with appropriate levels of interaction for secure v. insecure, and for ones you've never joined before v. ones you join often?
- Connection to other devices: netbooks tend to have smaller HDs, no optical drive etc., so potentially more need to connect to other devices. How easy is it to connect to external or networked DVD drives, hard drives etc.?
- Data sync: netbooks often used as secondary devices, so more need to sync data with a desktop or laptop computer, or data from different cloud services. How easy is it to do that?
- Chips. ARM is going to become a key player in the netbook market, so its important for higher level layers like GNOME to not get attached to anyone one instruction set. The software needs to run well on ARM and maintainers need to make sure that their autotools/Makefiles/whatever are cross-compile friendly.
Figure out best way to get useful feedback
- base tests on apps or distros?
Work with usability experts/companies/consultants to finalize quotes based on what we want
Proposals from companies and consultants
Charline Poirier proposal (pdf)
User-Centered Design, Inc, Celeste Lyn Paul quote (pdf)
Figure out ways to keep costs low by involving volunteers, giving things other than money to those that help
(publicity, making all the data public and accredited to the organization, ...)
(Stormy has asked all our traditional sponsoring companies and then some and a few are interested in participating and helping out financially.)
References and Ideas
arstechnica article on ubuntu Netbook Remix release (Look at the problems Ubuntu is trying to solve)