Some Simple Usability Experiments

Enthusiasts often tout that the Linux Desktop is ready for the masses. If that claim is true then try some usability experiments.

  • Remove the terminal window button from the desktop and panels. The only place a terminal window can be launched is from within the panel menu.
  • Ask a non tech savvy user to update the system without using a search engine to learn how.
  • Ask the user to install word processing or spreadsheet software. No specific package names or other dependent knowledge is allowed.

Do not help or coach the user in any way.

Another experiment:

  • Grab any random laptop.
  • Ask a non tech savvy user to install a distro.
  • Ask the user to connect to the web using wireless.

Another experiment:

  • Grab any random computer.
  • Ask a non tech savvy user to install a distro.
  • Verify the GPU graphics are fully functional with no tweaking.

Some people might argue these experiments are not fair. That in many environments all of these issues would be resolved by tech support before rolling out systems to users. Such arguments have merit but do not apply to home users.

These same experiments could be conducted with Windows. Have non tech savvy users install Windows from scratch and repeat the experiments.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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