We will get maximum traction with 'momentum users/opinion leaders'. We should actively seek what features they are interested in and implement these features. The feature set is not just normal use of computers, but what would their innovative uses be ? The activities need to happen are :

  1. Form a plan to reach out (user groups, adult classes in community colleges, teachers, ...)
  2. We are missing success stories - ie what are the ways Ubuntu makes life easier
  3. Usability team ? Marketing team ?

This article is a must-read!

This wiki was built solely for the purpose of "WhatDoNonGeeksWant" (the creator had no knowledge of this but wanted the same thing anyway) Check it out and add stuff!

Maybe you should also take a look in the very interesting discussion about this issue here: http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=199744


Make an OS that is truly part of practical, global life. Most of the features we add are for geeks ! To truly transcend beyond the current OSs, we need to poll users and find out what they would use the OS. We do not have to talk to all the billion people ;o) but still need to touch the representative groups.

We need to understand that people are social beings. They need to communicate. No hassle video conferencing should be a top priority. If Skype beats us to it, then a non-free software will be the most popular video conferencing software on Linux.

Use cases

To come from talking with users from various walks of life and interpolating their aspirations ...


Like my son says "Infinity and beyond ..."! Actually the scope is bounded, but would require working across different packages and possibly developing couple of protocols and definitely a few skins ...


Ask the non-geeks some /StandardQuestions



Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion

Users and developers have all sorts of interesting and intriguing reasons and stories to tell about why they chose to use F/OSS. We should encourage each of them to write a short essay on their reasons for doing so. There won't be any prize to win, just a chance to wax lyrical on what they enjoy about F/OSS and how it has worked for them. Put these in a shared place and take the best of them to use for marketing purposes. As a source of inspiration compare the short stories football fans write to explain how they came to support their favourite club.

  • Features we can implement now
  • Results from usability studies across the globe
  • What would you use it for - Campaign ?
  • Web site to enter new ways of using computer - with some periodic prize ?
  • Proactive queries in User group meetings ?
  • OLPC usage scenarios
  • Some forum for people who have never used computers ?

Discussion Notes (KS) (June 19,2006 14:00-15:00)

  • "Features we can implement now" - This sounds a lot like developers don't know what users want but can't wait to implement things users would find cool? Is that so? If so then I find this particularly funny, since the way most users have the exact opposite problem. They are full of ideas what would be cool, but can't find a way to persuade developers to implement their ideas. And they themselves are not skillful enough to do it themselves. They are hardly skillful enough to cope with using a computer.

If anybody can find a certain number of developers supporting the idea that they would implement anything somebody could prove to them to be of general public interest, I am happy to find ways to identify these tasks for them. I can think of a number of concepts to get to those results - surveys are not amongst them. I was thinking about setting something up to serve this purpose for some time now, I just have not been convinced yet that developers are actually after that kind of information.

KrishnaSankar are you such a developer?

  • What does the term non-geeks mean ?
    • Users who use computers, not for their own sake, but as a tool to get things done.
    • Quality is very important. They should not have to wait for six months to get that feature fixed. Their stuff should just work
    • While the argument that safe and secure computing is easier on a non-windows platform could be valid, this is not a reason enough to switch
  • What fraction of the users do we want to appeal to first ? What is our market segmentation ?
    • Windows Users
      • Provide feature set to make their decision to switch easier
    • First time users
      • Great 1st time experience (like Apple which focuses on 1st time users and will sacrifice usability for the next 1,000 times for that great 1st time use)
    • Momentum users/Opinion Leaders
      • Use it for a month, experience the difference and tell a frient to use it (This should be our primary focus)
    • Make sure we do not create a bad experience for the casual user and they will not come back again
  • What are the ways of getting feedback and suggestions from them ?
    • Survey - user data, constant stream, fine grained geography, target groups,...
      • Verifiable, structured way to support the request for a feature
    • Other sources like top 5/10/50 from download.com (does not show why, for that we need to talk to users)
    • Find users and motivate them to talk to us
    • Questions from Andreas' survey
    • Feedback from teachers (especially ones teaching 1st time computer users)
    • Intuitiveness to children not same as intuitiveness for adults
    • Community College/Evening schools - where adults go for learning
    • Bookstore ? Library ?
    • User forums
      • Comb forums for the difficulties folks face and correct them
      • Start a general annoyances forum ?
      • Poll ubuntu forums regularly to get feedback, suggestions,...
    • Entry Point Analysis
      • Experience when you installed Ubuntu
      • Motivate all to watch friends and family install Ubuntu and report annoyances
    • One of the things we are not doing - success stories
    • Get data from search (application) and search (help).
      • But this data is difficult to get.
      • May be get user agnostic aggregated data which will tell us what is the most sought after topic in help ? What application do users search for ? et al
  • What can we do about it ?
    • Key painpoints and create alternatives in configuration ?
    • Small things do matter - many times people get frustrated by them
      • Counter point - people do fall in love with small features that work very well
    • Go to places where W is very bad (for example places where cost is an issue. SO they will never use W and so no compatibility problems)
  • General Comments
    • One specific difficulty - want to open word format and save in windows format. Can this be default in openoffice ?
    • Challenge - barrier of binary driver
    • Experience of Ivan installing Linux at Hospital
    • Users would go to user forums or wiki than IRC or places where they have to logon
    • Forums are a good tool; people first start asking questions, get expertise and then they help others ...
  • UbuntuDemon : Here's the thread about this specification : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=199744

Discussion Notes & Brainstorming (BaL) (June 21,2006)

Session - What do non-Geeks want from Ubuntu Discussion of various user groups, marketing strategies, ways to gather user data and how to translate that into usable information for developers.

  1. How do you gather user information?
  2. How do you define the various user groups, realizing that there is overlap?
  3. How do you translate that data into useful information for developers?

User Groups: New Users - no computer background New to Ubunutu -

  1. Migrating from other Linux Distros
  2. " " Windows
  3. " " Mac OS

IT Professionals IT Decisions Makers General Decisions Makers Trend Setters Developers (new, intermediate, advanced)

We recognize that these groups overlap particularly in the IT areas, and that Developers are also uses but the focus here is on standard end users who just want things to work. "Trend setters" are an good first target area in that, if they have a good experience with Ubuntu, they will tell help promote it to others.

Possible Overlap with existing Ubuntu & F/OSS Teams

  1. Marketing - is there a Canonical plan/process in place for reaching each of these user groups? The Community Marketing Team is still in the early stages of formation and needs guidance. The team also overlaps with the Artwork team and other user groups. There needs to be more cross Team communication to help eliminate any duplication of effort; i.e. artwork for the next release can also be used in marketing materials, artwork needs to meet certain technical requirements for developers etc.. Current newsletters are a good first step in this direction.
  2. Edubuntu - a very concentrated user group, aimed at K12 educational markets and "small human beings." This is how you grow users over times. Convince teachers and other not-so-small technology decision makers to use Edubuntu which sets the seed for a lifetime. Again, a cross team communication strategy might help both groups make the best use of resources (marketing/artwork/documentation/other common things/) and eliminate any duplication of work effort.
  3. F/OSS - common evangelism with existing groups, KDE, FSFE, etc.
  4. Training - If there are plans to create end user training, there is an obvious overlap. Any materials that might be developed to help market and document can also be used to help train (and vice versa).

Next Steps - Clarify User Groups, Marketing Strategy, ways to integrate with Developers - new Ubuntu Community Mgr. I wish I could remember Chris Kenyon's questions/matrix he used to help frame this discussion in terms of users/usability/other so that the informaton could be communicated over to specs and useful information for future releases.

Usability Team - Can we look at creating a Usability Team that is focused on gathering this information? The KDE Team has Usability specialists who help gather data and turn it into useful information.

Ubuntu Release Survey - We can make a Survey within the Ubuntu Forums every Ubuntu Release, I think that after a week (or two) of every Ubuntu release we can make that when a user log in into his/her account in the Ubuntu Forum a pop-up windows appear telling him/her to contribute to the community by answering the survey, if s/he say no then no more pop-ups and if s/he answers then there's no reason to ask again, the Survey would be something like https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/+spec/ubuntu-census-survey but it will be directed to users no developers, some of the question in there would be taken for the new survey, and adding some more, in order to see the worries of the users in the community, the technologies they would like to see in Ubuntu for short, mid and long terms.

BoF @Ubucon Aug 18,2006

<AUg 17,06 KS> Panel at Linux world and associated slashdot comments (need to summarize the main points) Linux's iPOD generation Gap http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=18023&hed=Linux%E2%80%99s+iPod+Generation+Gap

Follow-up Notes

<Nov 3, 2006> This topic is much hotter now - The world just isn’t ready for Linux !

Non-Geek Volunteer

I categorize myself as an early trier, i.e. one of your momentum users/ opinion leaders. I'm a newbie to Ubuntu having migrated from MS Windows XP. Although I've had Ubuntu installed since May06, I've learnt very little because nothing went wrong until a power failure wiped my hard disc, and the small bits that annoyed me I was prepared to live with until after my exams. I decided that I would get involved with the documentation project because finding stuff I can understand is so very difficult. I would probably be able to give you lots of relevant information and feedback, but don't know how to do it most easily. This wiki, unlike Wikipaedia does not have the backpages for discussion etc. Shame that. Tzumli_D

Make Ubuntu work flawlessly

I have no idea if this is the right place to add suggestions, but I didn't find a better one, so here it comes...

In my opinion this blueprint goes into the wrong direction, twice:

  • it requires non-geeks to "invent" tasks that can be done with/by a computer; that's a very computer-centric view, when we should instead center on the user. The problem with being user-centric can be that probably the wishes you hear have nothing to do with computers Smile :-)

  • a more "real" point that I find quite important: make sure that Ubuntu does its tasks well! As has already been written by someone else, people mostly want to do very simple things with their computer (web browsing, read/write emails, look at photos...), and Ubuntu basically can already do all this. But there are many subtle and not-so-subtle bugs (or missing mini-features) that make using the computer harder than necessary. So I think concentrating on on making Ubuntu and its applications work really unobtrusively and flawlessly would help a lot.

Two more points that I find interesting for this blueprint:

  • what is the target group of Ubuntu? Who is the guy/gal you want as a user? How old? How experienced with computers?
  • related to that: what kind of hardware do you want to support? What is the oldest machine for a standard Ubuntu Hardy Desktop? And what is the exact dream machine for that? (for example, it seems that monitors with 640x480 are not appropriate (many Gnome dialogs are bigger), but screens with really high resolutions might not be supported by the default drivers, either). In that vein, it might be quite interesting for users if they would get a perceived "Vista killer" (ie. at least appearing to be way better than WinXP) which runs on their existing hardware.

Highlight the Differences

One of the biggest problems I've seen people face when they start using Ubuntu is that they're still thinking in Windows terms. It would be nice to have an "Introduction to Ubuntu" that is more technical than philosophical. This is something that can tell new users about software packages, and how they can search for and install them automatically, and for free. This whole concept is so foreign to Windows users that our "killer app" goes completely unnoticed. If they only try to do things the way they did them on Windows, they're missing out on the benefits that Ubuntu offers, and will likely be disappointed too.


WhatDoNonGeeksWant (last edited 2008-08-06 16:20:50 by localhost)