GNOME Shell User Observation: Jessy the Office Manager

User Profile

  • Office manager, uses computer for a few hours a day at the office.
    • common tasks involve handling shipping for office, managing office budget, managing and ordering supplies as needed, office branding projects
  • 14-15 years experience with Windows Desktop. 1.5 years experience with Linux desktop using GNOME.

User General Desktop Usage Profile

  • Using GNOME on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on a desktop workstation (as opposed to a laptop).
  • 19" LCD monitor with 1280x1024 resolution

Self-identified most-commonly used applications

  • Thunderbird
  • Firefox (Tabs listed below)
    • Intranet staff roster
    • Intranet corporate calendar
    • Intranet shipping ticket system
    • FedEx website

    • Personal email
  • XChat (uses for IRC / work-related communications)
  • Pidgin (tried to use for IRC, but it's too annoying with a lot of popups and things. Use mostly for personal use)

GNOME Panel Launchers

  • web
  • email
  • OO.o writer
  • OO.o calc
  • OO.o present
  • Yellow sticky notes (not sure which app they are, don't appear to be used)
  • Synergy (to transfer desktop from office to front desk)

Usage of Desktop

  • A storage place for stuff that is only needed temporarily and is typically not needed again.
  • Used basically as a drop box for transferring files between applications. For example:
    • email attachments
    • scans to attach
    • photos
  • Prefers to use taskbar. Never uses alt-tab.
  • Tends to use a combination of the task bar and clicking on stacked windows (Thunderbird compose windows, xchat window) to bring them to the front.
  • Typically keep windows full screen.
  • Default nautilus setup is a list view with a file tree panel on the left. Came that way and has not changed it. Files aren't in alphabetical order sometimes.
  • Likes using the 'show desktop' button in the lower left of the bottom GNOME panel.

Task Observations

Task 1: Place Order for Snacks

On a regular basis, orders are placed for the snacks that are made available in the office kitchens.

  1. Start: Desktop with all minimized windows showing.
  2. Click on Home folder on Desktop.
  3. Navigate to "Snack Program" folder, 6 levels deep.
  4. Double-click spread sheet to open in OO.o calc. Open up to be full-screen.
  5. Read print-out of needed inventory items placed on the desk to the right of keyboard.
  6. Cross off inventory item from sheet.
  7. Mouse over to spreadsheet field, using scroll wheel if necessary (spreadsheet not in alpha order so requires a lot of scanning.) Update number on keyboard, shift back to reading sheet.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until all items on sheet are crossed off.
  9. Save sheet by going to File > Save As. Erase name of sheet, update sheet name, and save out to same folder.

  10. Click over to thunderbird using taskbar. Thunderbird main window is full screen.
  11. Open up a compose window. Compose window is NOT full screen nor is it maximized to make it so.
  12. Type out to: address. Hit attach button. Navigate to file starting in home directory, 6 folders deep. Double click to finalize attachment.
  13. Click back over to spread sheet, not using task bar, but clicking on the bits of the OO.o calc window that are still showing.
  14. Double-check spreadsheet. Make some small modifications.
  15. Click down to taskbar on thunderbird item
  16. Remove attachment, reattach in same manner.
  17. Hit send.

Task 2: Send List of Office Managers to Marketing Project Team

This project involves providing marketing materials to world wide offices. The current phase involves the translation of informational postcards - determining which sets of languages are needed for which offices world-wide. So the task here involves taking research that was already done via email as to the various office language requirements, and sending that list of languages to another person on the team to put in a request for the translations to the translation team.

  1. Start: grab a stack of email printouts from marketing project
  2. Click on taskbar to open up main Thunderbird window, which is full screen.
  3. Scroll in email folder sidebar on the left of the main Thunderbird window. Scan folders, and click on postcards folder.
  4. Click on view pane and scroll, scanning message subjects.
  5. Locate email, mouse over, and click email to read. Email contains list of office managers per office with the list of needed translations.
  6. Open up a Thunderbird compose window, which is not full screen nor is maximized.
  7. Drags compose window by the titlebar to the right on top of the main thunderbird window, positioned such that the list in the main window's active email is visible to the left of the compose window. (see diagram 1 below.)
  8. transcribes list from the main window email into the compose window.
  9. Click on desktop icon to clear. (instead of minimizing compose window - interesting)
  10. Click on taskbar entry for main thunderbird window to go back to full screen main thunderbird window.
  11. Search in upper right search box for 'postcards'
  12. Scan in message results for messages with attachments, locate the correct message
  13. Click on message subject so it's viewable in bottom pane, double-click PDF to open it up (opens up in envince, it may have been full screen or almost full screen).
  14. Open up new compose window. It obfuscates the PDF with the postcard artwork in it underneath. (see diagram 2)
  15. Click on the evince window that is visible underneath the compose window to bring it back to the top of the window stack. Go to file > save as in evince to save the PDF to the desktop.

  16. Click on the thunderbird main window to bring it to the top. double-click another PDF attachment to open it up in evince ( again not full screen)
  17. Save a copy of the second PDF to the desktop
  18. click on the compose window in the task bar to re-maximize it. Hit the attach button, click on desktop, select one of the pdfs just saved out to attach it. Do the same for the second PDF.
  19. hit send

Diagram 1


Diagram 2


Task 3: Generate a Shipping Label

There's a package that needs to get shipped to the Brisbane office, so we need a shipping label for it.

  1. Start: click on taskbar to bring full screen firefox to the front. click on firefox bookmark for worldwide offices listing.
  2. Click on Brisbane office details. (need the office postal address)
  3. open a new tab to the Fedex site, and log in.
  4. Click back to Brisbane office tab - select address, hit ctrl-c, click back to fedex tab, control v in shipping form fields until address is copied.
  5. Need to look up cost center for shipment. A long time ago a particular person sent that number. Click on thunderbird taskbar item to open up thunderbird full screen, and search emails for messages from this person. Locates message and finds cost center number.
  6. Click on firefox item in taskbar, it's full screen.
  7. In the Fedex form, enters in cost center number.
  8. Label is generated, now need to print it. Go to firefox file > print menu item. In the print dialog, search list for correct printer, and select it. (won't let her print, 'print' button is greyed out. It does this sometimes. Sometimes if you wait the button becomes active, sometimes it doesn't. After waiting it still doesn't come active.) Click print to file, and print to the desktop.

  9. Click the 'show desktop' button in the lower right of the bottom panel.
  10. Double-click on print-to-file generated PS file.
  11. PS file opens up in evince. Click file > print in evince menu.

  12. Grab printout from printer.
  13. Click show desktop. Right click printout PS file on desktop and move it to trash.

Task 4: Sending Email for Fundraiser Organization

The actions of this task were very similar to placing the snack order, task 1. The two main take-aways from this task:

  1. She used the numpad for filling out numbers in a spreadsheet, and used non-numpad arrows to key around the spreadsheet.
  2. When she sent the email with spreadsheet, she stacked her full-screen thunderbird window with the original email being replied to showing, with the compose window small and pulled over to the left so that she could refer to the text of the original email as she composed the new email. (see diagram below)

Diagram 3


Task 5: Arrange Shipment

There is a regular shipment of supplies from a remote office to this one. This week, there is a temp working in the remote office, so she may not know where to find the materials to be shipped or where to ship them to. We don't know the temp's name, so we're going to find out, look up her email, and send her instructions to make sure the shipment goes through.

  1. Click on xchat in the taskbar to bring to front. Not maximized nor is it made to fit the full width of the screen.
  2. Right-click a name in xchat from a channel user list, open up dialog to ask someone for temp's name
  3. Click on taskbar to bring thunderbird to front. Hit compose.
  4. Open up firefox from the taskbar to bring to front. It is maximized.
  5. Click on the staff roster tab. Look up temp's name based on information from xchat dialog.
  6. Click on thunderbird compose window in taskbar. It is not maximized. Drag it to the lower right so the roster info in firefox is still visible on the left side of the screen.
  7. A new xchat message comes in and it blinks in the task bar. Click on it to bring to front.
  8. Once xchat message is read, it's time to get back to writing the email. Click on the compose window itself to bring it to front. (see diagram below)
  9. Email is finished, hit send to send.

Diagram 4


Task 6: Fill out expense report in web accounting app

  1. Open up firefox from taskbar, full-screen
  2. Click on tab for intranet applications. Log in.
  3. Click on 'show desktop' button.
  4. Click on 'Home' folder, navigate to spreadsheet, open up in OO.o Calc.
  5. Calc opens full-screen.
  6. Go back to firefox via taskbar.
  7. Fill out form in webapp.
  8. Pull out desk calendar, use to determine dates for form (see diagram below)
  9. Pull out calculator, use to calculate values for form (see ow.)
  10. Copy values from notepad into webapp.
  11. Open spreadsheet back up from the taskbar, full screen OO.o calc. Read over spreadsheet, click on firefox in taskbar to open fullscreen, back and forth as needed, always through taskbar.
  12. Submit form in firefox.

Diagram 5



  • The taskbar was an important method for bringing needed windows to the top of the stack.
  • The second-most common method of bringing needed windows to the top of the stack was to click on the window contents directly (not the titlebar).
  • Some windows were always treated as full-screen 'anchors' - firefox, thunderbird main window, OO.o Calc - but some were always treated as smaller, movable windows - thunderbird compose window, xchat window, pidgin.
  • The desktop was used almost exclusively as a 'temporary storage place' for files that were only needed once. Print-to-file files, files copied out from a very deep directory structure, files pulled from a camera or scanner, and email attachments that were saved out to the Desktop. The other observed usage of the Desktop was to click on the Home folder to navigate the directory tree in search of a file.

Projects/GnomeShell/UserObservationData/Jessy19Jan2009 (last edited 2013-11-22 17:00:26 by WilliamJonMcCann)