Fedora disconnection?

Máirín Duffy duffy at fedoraproject.org
Wed Jul 30 01:39:25 UTC 2008

Hi folks,

Paul W. Frields wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-07-28 at 21:35 -0500, Gian Paolo Mureddu wrote:
>> Like Paul suggests, maybe it would be a good time to conduct a usability 
>> study among Fedora users?  I understand that Fedora advances through its 
>> contributors, but it's supported by its users.
> Just to be very clear, I'm not suggesting that the Fedora Project has
> the resources to do such a study.  They're very time consuming and can
> be costly.  So the chances are *very* small of all those costs coming
> out of our (equally) small budget.
> What I suggested was that interested and experienced community members
> band together to design and implement these tests.  There is much more
> to usability testing than simply making lists of what people would like
> to see.  It's a highly organized science of its own.  Those difficulties
> translate directly into high costs, which is why we don't conduct them
> centrally.  So while I agree that now is "a good time" to do it, that
> doesn't solve the problem of *who* is going to do it, and *how*.

If it's any help at all, it is really really easy to conduct your own 
usability tests. You need to have a target for the test first. We did 
this recently at FUDcon for the Fedora website. I'll walk you through 
exactly how we did this quickly so you can see how to do it yourself:

1) First the Fedora websites team discussed what were the most important 
tasks we wanted users to be able to accomplish on our website: 

2) Then we came up with a testing plan: 

3) Then we conducted a test! It did not take very long. Here's our 

Do note that usability testing doesn't fix problems. It identifies them. 
It does not identify solutions. However it's really valuable to see for 
yourself first hand how others experience what you're working on.

I wonder if it would be cool to have a "usability test a friend" day, 
where some project or focus within Fedora gets together to write up a 
pre-defined set of tasks to test, and then we publicize the usability 
test a friend day. Then everyone involved in Fedora can find just one 
person within their circle of friends and run them through those tests, 
and contribute their usability report back. It might be cool to give 
some kind of recognition to the person who tests the most people and/or 
writes up the best reports :)

Even if only 10 folks were willing to go grab one friend and watch them 
try out some of the features of Fedora or our website, and then report 
back to us the experiences they had, we would have a really valuable 
body of data from which to understand what basic problems we need to 
solve to make Fedora better. It really should only each person take 
20-30 minutes of their time per user they test.


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