Launchpad Entry: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/new-user-education
Created: 2008-05-29 by Michael Hall https://launchpad.net/~mhall-lakeland
Provide new users with enough Ubuntu-related educational material for them to feel comfortable using Ubuntu as their everyday operating system.
Since new users will not be familiar with Ubuntu, and many of them will be thinking in terms of how they accomplished certain tasks in Windows, they will need to learn the Ubuntu way of doing things. Even long-time users may not know about certain features of their applications that would make them more productive.
- New users will not be familiar with concepts like software packages, package managers and repositories.
- New users will not look for features that don't exist in Windows, like multiple-desktops, ability to add/remove/customize Gnome panels, middle-click copy/paste, etc.
- New users will not be familiar with available open-source alternatives to the proprietary applications they are used to.
- New users will not know that a default Ubuntu install will have applications that a default Windows install doesn't have, like an Office suite, IM client, zip-file manager, etc.
New users will not look for features that their proprietary applications don't have, like Flickr-upload in F-Spot or multiple account & network support in Pidgin.
- Adam was given a Ubuntu CD by a techie friend. Adam is not a techie, but is a long-time Windows users. While he has no trouble loading the LiveCD session (or installing via WUBI), once he's at the desktop he's not sure what applications are available, or what they are capable of.
- Brandon is a Windows power-user who decides to try Ubuntu. After installing a dual-boot setup and launching Ubuntu, he goes out to the internet to look for applications to install (AIM/ICQ, Winzip, Firefox, Winamp, etc) because that's what he does on a new Windows installation. He's disappointed at the lack of Linux software available because he doesn't know what's already installed, or that more is available in Ubuntu's repositories.
- Carry's uber-geek husband decided to buy a new Dell with Ubuntu pre-installed. All Carry wants to do is download her pictures form her digital camera, and share them with her friends online. She knows how to do this in Windows (use the camera's proprietary software to download/tweak the images, go to her preferred photo-sharing website and upload multiple images at a time using an ActiveX control for IE. Much to her dismay, none of that software is available on Linux, so it looks like things are going to be much harder than they were on Windows, she's not happy.
Collect and Create How-To guides for new users that would go beyond the explanation of what Ubuntu is, into something semi-technical and somewhat more extensive that a simple "tip-of-the-day". Pick an activity, like "Managing your photos: From your camera to the web", and give a step-by-step tutorial about how to accomplish that in Ubuntu, highlighting the features that make F-Spot so much better than what they're used to. Do this weekly, or even monthly, and I think a lot of people will find that they can do things with Ubuntu they didn't even know were possible from their Windows background.
Other activity ideas:
Integrating Google Mail & Calendar
- Connecting to all your IM buddies from one application
- Find, Install and Upgrade all your applications, the Ubuntu way.
- Organize your life with Tomboy, the last sticky note you'll ever need.
At the end of each educational article, provide a feedback survey where users can not only say whether the article itself was helpful or not, but can give details about their own setup. In the above example about managing your photos, you can ask the user what kind of camera they have, what photo-sharing services they use, etc. This will tell us where we should focus on adding polish & functionality. They could also send suggestions for future articles.
Article Discussion Forum
Each article can link to a Ubuntu Forum thread specifically for that article, where people can share their successes/failures while following the tutorial, and give and receive help from other Ubuntu users. Our community is our strongest source of support, and this would get new users used to going to the community for help.
If we get this started in Intrepid, we should have enough articles by the time of the next LTS, that new users who switch then will have a detailed tutorial for anything they might want to do in Ubuntu. It would be like having an entire "Teach yourself Ubuntu" book immediately available to new users, plus all the troubleshooting and additional help that would come from the Forums. It could actually become the official Ubuntu "How-To" book, released under a CC or FDL license. It would also be nice to have a set of these available on future LiveCDs, both in the LiveCD session, and from the Windows menu.
Create an RSS feed that can be displayed to new users when they log in for the first time, and will also be available as a "live bookmark" in Firefox, and as part of the "About Ubuntu" dialog. Maybe even an applet in the panel? We need to make sure that new users know these articles exists and that they are told when new articles are available. We should make sure that these articles are accessible from anywhere they might be useful (Firefox, About dialog and Help system). Articles should be saved locally for offline use.
Link with the Help system
Since many things that a user might need help doing in Ubuntu will be covered by these articles, they should be accessible and searchable by the desktop help system. Both the article itself, and perhaps optionally the associated forum thread should be searchable. Perhaps having an option to suggest a topic for a new article would be useful here: If the user can't find the help they're looking for in the help system, then a single click could both send a support request and propose that a new article be made to cover that topic.