Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gedit: what needs work

It's easier to talk about what needs to be improved (the "deltas") than to analyze what worked well (the "plusses") so let me take a moment to discuss this for Gedit.

"5. 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."

In Gedit, testers were really confused about how to set the font and the color. Part of this confusion stemmed from thinking of the editor like it was Word, which makes it easy to change the font. But even Windows Notepad lets you change the default font using a Format menu item.

Testers reported they were looking for a menu item called "Font". Quotes from users during this part of the test:

  • "Looking for Font."
  • "Looking for the font change menu."
  • "Not showing a Font menu."
  • "Where do I change the font?"
  • "Looking for a Font menu, but it's not in the toolbar."
  • "Is it an 'input method'?"

While looking to set the font, testers looked in all the menus, but mostly in the File, Edit, View, and Tools menus.

A few testers (3) eventually discovered how to set the font, but all of these took several minutes to do so. Upon discovering the correct menu item (Edit - Preferences - Font & Colors) to change the font, two testers actually exited the menu because they didn't know how to change the font. They did not realize that they needed to uncheck the "Use the system fixed width font" item.

"6. 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."

Changing the default colors presented similar problems. Quotes during this part of the test:

  • "Looking in Tools, not seeing it."
  • "Looking for a menu with a font."
  • "Looking for a toolbar to do this."
  • "Look for colors."

The 3 testers who were able to set the font in the previous scenario also were able to change the colors, and one reported that it was easier because they saw the colors in the other exercise.

Testers looked in all the menus to find the colors setting, but mostly in the File, Edit, View, and Tools menus - the same as in the font exercise.

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