Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gedit usability scenarios

In asking testers to exercise the Gedit text editor, I will ask them to run through these scenarios:

(Before beginning the Gedit usability test, I will start Gedit for the tester. Note that Gedit starts up with an empty document.)

1. You need to type up a quick note for yourself, briefly describing an event that you want to remember later. You start the Gedit text editor (this has been done for you).

Please type the following short paragraphs into the text editor:

Note for myself:

Jenny and I decided to throw a surprise party for Jeff, for Jeff's birthday. We'll get together at 5:30 on Friday after work, at Jeff's place. Jenny arranged for Jeff's roommate to keep him away until 7:00.

We need to get the decorations up and music ready to go by 6:30, when people will start to arrive. We asked everyone to be there no later than 6:45.

Save this note as party reminder.txt in the Documents folder.

2. After typing the note, you realize that you got a few details wrong. Please make these edits:

  • In the first paragraph, change Friday to Thursday.
  • Change 5:30 to 5:00.
  • Move the entire sentence Jenny arranged for Jeff's roommate to keep him away until 7:00. to the end of the second paragraph, after no later than 6:45.

When you are done, please save the file. You can use the same filename.

3. Actually, Jeff prefers to go by Geoff, and Jenny prefers Ginny. Please replace every occurence of Jeff with Goeff, and all instances of Jenny with Ginny.

When you are done, please save the file. You can use the same filename.

4. You'd like to make a copy of the note, using a different name that you can find more easily later. Please save a copy of this note as Geoff surprise party.txt in the Documents folder.

For the purposes of this exercise, you do not need to delete the original file.

5. Gedit can also be used to write programs. For the purposes of this exercise, let's assume you are a programmer. Please open the test.sh program file in the Documents folder. It should look like this:

#/bin/bash

echo "Hello there!"
echo -en "The date is: "
date

if [ "$COLS" -lt 80 ] ; then
    echo "this is a narrow terminal"
fi

if [ "$UID" -eq 0 ] ; then
    echo "you appear to be the administrator"
fi

You realize that the middle section that refers to COLS is not working, so as a debugging step you decide to comment out the three lines, starting with if and ending with fi.

Comment out these lines by placing a # at the start of each of the three lines. When you are done, the file should look like this:

#/bin/bash

echo "Hello there!"
echo -en "The date is: "
date

#if [ "$COLS" -lt 80 ] ; then
#    echo "this is a narrow terminal"
#fi

if [ "$UID" -eq 0 ] ; then
    echo "you appear to be the administrator"
fi

When you are done, please save the file.

(UPDATE 11/11/12) I've decided to drop scenario 5 from the usability test. This really isn't something that an "average" user with "typical" knowledge would do, and it would skew the results. I did a "dry run" usability test with family over the weekend, and it caused problems and added too much time to the test.

6. You decide the font in the editor is difficult to read, and you would prefer to use a different font. Please change the font to DejaVu Sans Mono, 12 point.

7. You decide the black-on-white text is too bright for your eyes, and you would prefer to use different colors. Please change the colors to the Oblivion color scheme.

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