Week of June 15, 2009

Goals for this week (Monica):

  1. Literature review around software installation process, potential names, etc.
    • Looked at software choice/behavior where do they find software? how do they get it? Searching on software discovery, installation, installability, information seeking, purchase software, software diffusion, distribution, pre-packaged software, software delivery method, open source software usability
    • Not a ton out there, maybe more in white papers? Most is in management of info sys literature and is from a management perspective (e.g. Szajna, B. "Software Evaluation and Choice: Predictive Validation of the Technology Accep- tance Instrument," MIS Quarterly (18:3), September 1994, pp. 319-324.)
    • Some more formal OSS Usability studies:
      • Smith, S. Engen, D., Mankoski, A., Frishberg, N., Nils Pedersen, N. & Benson, C. (2001). GNOME Usability Study Report. Sun GNOME Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Sun Microsystems, Inc.

      • Athena, 2001. "Usability Testing of Athena User Interface," MIT Information Systems, at

      • David M. Nichols, Kirsten Thomson, and Stuart A. Yeates, 2001. "Usability and Open Source Software Development," In: E. Kemp, C. Phillips, Kinshuck, and J. Haynes (editors). Proceedings of the Symposium on Computer Human Interaction. Palmerston North, New Zealand: SIGCHI New Zealand. pp. 49-54.
      • Susanne Eklund, Michal Feldman, Mary Trombley, and Rashmi Sinha, 2002. "Improving the Usability of Open Source Software: Usability Testing of StarOffice Calc," Presented at the Open Source Meets Usability Workshop, Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (CHI 2002), Minneapolis, MN, at

      • Bruce Sterling, 2002. "A Contrarian Position on Open Source." Presented at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, July 22-26, 2002. San Diego, CA, at

      • Nancy Frishberg, Anna Marie Dirks, Calum Benson, Seth Nickell, and Suzanna Smith, 2002. "Getting to Know You: Open Source Development Meets Usability," Extended Abstracts of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (CHI 2002). New York: ACM Press. pp. 932-933.
    • M. Twidale & D.M Nichols, publish extensively about F/OSS usability:

    • J Seydel, OpenOffice. org: When Will It Be Ready for Prime Time?

    • Methodology ideas
      • apply exploratory learning, constructivist education theory: Zhao, L. and Deek, F. P. 2006. Exploratory inspection: a learning model for improving open source software usability. In CHI '06 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 - 27, 2006). CHI '06. ACM, New York, NY, 1589-1594. DOI=

    • Overall, what do we learn from the literature?
      • General consensus that usability is a blocking factor to increasing use
      • OSS development process does not match that of traditional software development (obviously), can existing usability methods still find relevance? When and where? What can be imported from nearby fields?
      • Struggling around methodology - how do you actually involve novice end users?
        • Lot of talk about using existing tools, such as bug reporting tools. How to make them more visual and better for conveying interface ideas/issues.
        • Building in automatic bug reporting
        • Patterns, guidelines applied by developers
  2. Review of wireframes
    • Nielsen Heuristics (full descriptions -> )

      • Visibility of system status
      • Match between system and the real world
      • User control and freedom
      • Consistency and standards
      • Error prevention
      • Recognition rather than recall
      • Flexibility and efficiency of use
      • Aesthetic and minimalist design
      • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
      • Help and documentation
    • Notes:
      • what are our options for categorical display - i.e. does it need to be traditionally hierarchical?
      • can we show # of software in each category (and total)?
      • do we know how much screen real estate typically allotted? designing for netbooks to desktops?
      • abstract these even more for initial testing, relatively high fidelity
      • categories are important but people will probably lean heavily on the search
      • does there still need to be a link/connection to synaptic? when would that be exposed?
      • software vs. app, should be consistent
      • like how left column handles "state" instead of exploration taxonomy - like miro, hulu desktop might be interesting too

Next week:

  1. Naming!

SeasonOfUsabilityWeek2Notes (last edited 2009-06-22 18:34:53 by mgm36)