Sunday, November 11, 2012

Usability scenarios

This weekend, my wife helped me with the study by agreeing to be a usability tester, by doing a "dry run" of the usability test scenarios. This helped me to gauge time and determine if the scenarios could be completed by a "typical" user with "average" knowledge. (Although she runs Linux on her laptop, my wife admits she is not very technical - she has "average" knowledge.)

I previously shared a draft of the usability scenarios/exercises for Gedit, Firefox, and Nautilus. Here are the new questions after the dry run: (I also updated the previous blog posts, but this is for reference.)


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. 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.

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.


1. You would like to see what's happening in the news. Your favorite news website is BBC News, but you don't remember the website's address.

Search for the BBC News website, and bring up the site.

2. You would like to bring up the BBC News website every time you start up the web browser. Please set the BBC News website as the default page.

3. You don't have your glasses with you, so it's hard to read the text on the BBC News website. Please make the text bigger on the BBC News website.

4. You now would like to see what's new with your favorite "open source" project, FreeDOS. The website's address is

However, you want to keep an eye on the news while you are looking at the FreeDOS website. In a new site, navigate to the FreeDOS website.

5. You would like to save a copy of the FreeDOS front page, so you can view it later on your laptop during your bus ride home tonight. Save a copy of the page to the Documents folder.

6. You decide to download a copy of the FreeDOS program screenshot, the sample program image on the right side, under "Welcome to FreeDOS". This image might come in handy for a document you are working on (writing the document is not part of this exercise).

Save a copy of this image as freedos.png in the Pictures folder.

7. You would like to visit the FreeDOS website later, but don't want to keep typing in the address every time. Create a bookmark for the FreeDOS website.

When you create the bookmark, name it simply FreeDOS.


1. You are about to start working on a new project, and you would like to keep all your files in the same folder.

Please create a new folder called My Project in the Documents folder.

2. Oops! You realize that the files in your new project will be photos, so you prefer to keep them under the Pictures folder instead of Documents.

Please move the My Project folder from Documents to Pictures.

3. Your project now has a new name, so you decide to rename the project folder to use the new name.

Please rename the My Project folder to Space Photo Project.

4. As you work on your project, you expect to go back to the folder frequently. A shortcut or bookmark to the folder would be handy, rather than having to navigate to it each time.

Create a bookmark for Space Photo Project.

5. Do you remember the party reminder that you created earlier, in the text editor exercise? In that exercise, you created a copy of party reminder.txt as Geoff surprise party.txt, but did not delete the first file.

Please delete the party reminder.txt file in the Documents folder.

6. Do you remember the image that you downloaded earlier, in the web browser exercise? The filename was freedos.png, but you don't remember where you saved it.

Find the freedos.png file and move it to the Pictures folder, if it is not there already.

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