Saturday, March 29, 2014

My usability scenario tasks

My usability test starts on Monday, and I've gone through GNOME 3.12 & 3.10 to check and re-check that my scenario tasks make sense, and work under GNOME. It's important that I don't ask a tester to do something that you can't do in this version of the software, because the feature isn't there. In my previous usability test, I had testers do various tasks in Firefox; for this usability test, we'll use GNOME Web - but not every feature from Firefox is available in Web.

I also tried to pare down my list of usability tasks, to make sure I wasn't asking testers to do something that was too obvious. We won't learn much from the usability test if the tasks are too easy, or if they are repetitive (testing the same thing over and over). So I dropped a few tasks that I had used in the previous usability test.

And as I said in my other post, due to a few bugs, I won't be able to do the whole test in GNOME 3.12. I'll need to do some of them in GNOME 3.10.

Here are my scenario tasks that I will use in the GNOME 3.12 & 3.10 usability test:

1. You want to finish writing a draft of a blog post that you are using in a project. You start the Gedit text editor (this has been done for you).

Please open the file blog post draft.txt from the Documents folder, into the Gedit text editor..

2. You realize that you got a few details wrong. Please make these edits:
  1. In the first paragraph, change the dash (“—”) to a semicolon (“;”) - Relationships are currency—you to Relationships are currency; you
  2. In the second paragraph, change “me” to “others” - relationship to me. to relationship to others.
  3. About 2/3 into the document, there’s a list of the “4 I’s” of relationships, but the first two items are out of order. Put these into the correct order, so the list reads like this:
  1. Initiate
  2. Inquire
  3. Invest
  4. Inspire
When you are done, please save the file. You can use the same filename.

3. Some of the names are incorrect in the file. Please replace every occurrence of Applejack with Fluttershy, and all instances of Rainbow Dash with Twilight Sparkle.

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 Leadership lessons.txt in the Documents folder.

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

5. You decide the text in the editor is difficult to read, and you would prefer to use a different style. Please change the text style to be Nimbus Mono L, 12 point.
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. Your research partner has given you a bunch of files that you can use in your project, but you’ll need to copy them from his USB flash drive to your computer. Copy the Project001 folder (all the folders and files) from the USB flash drive (provided) into the My Project folder in the Documents folder.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

Create a shortcut to Space Photo Project.

6. Your research partner included a few files that aren’t needed for the project. Specifically, the email to mom.txt file was included by accident. Find the email to mom.txt file in the files you copied.

7. 6. You don’t need the email to mom.txt file that was accidentally included in the project files, the same file that you searched for in the previous task. Delete the email to mom.txt file in the Mars photos folder. This is located under Space01, then under Photos, then under Mars photos.
Update (March 30)
I realized that the file-search action being tested in #6 will generate artificially positive results. In Nautilus, when you search for something, the default is to search starting from your current location. Since the previous tests were all in the Space Photo Project folder, and the file to search for is buried within that folder tree, users would immediately find it. But I want to see how well people can use the search function in Nautilus, even if the file they are looking for is elsewhere. I'm modifying the test to find a file not under the current folder tree. The new task #7 replaces the old task #6.

7. You would like to update a draft of your Space article, which you started several weeks ago. You don't remember where you last saved the file, so you need to find it. Find the file Draft of space article.txt. When you find it, open it.
1. Your friend has told you about an interesting arcade-style game that you’d like to try out on your computer. Install the game Robots.

2. After installing Robots, try it out to see what it’s like.

3. This is the last task for Software. Please uninstall the game Robots.
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.

Find the BBC News website, and bring up the site.

2. 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 website.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

When you create the shortcut, name it simply FreeDOS.
1. You need to type up a few quick reminders for yourself, so you don’t forget to do them later. Enter these two reminders into the Notes program. Match the formatting as best as you can:

First reminder:
Don't forget: Jeff’s surprise party this Thursday. Check with Mark.

Second reminder:
Things to buy at the grocery store:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

2. You decide to be more clear in your reminder about Jeff’s surprise party, so you don’t forget the time. Update that note to say this:
Don't forget:

Jeff’s surprise party this Thursday.
Get together at 5:30.
Party at 7:00.

Check with Mark.

3. You decide the text in Notes is difficult to read, and you would prefer to use a different style. Please change the default text style to be PT Sans, 14 point.

4. This is the last task for Notes. Please delete all notes you may have created during this part of the usability test.

1 comment:

  1. I've put Notes at the end of the usability test because I'm somewhat concerned about time management. Ideally, the test will last 30-40 minutes. I also have to leave time to welcome the tester and provide an introduction, and do a wrap-up at the end. Altogether, that will be 45-50 minutes. Any longer than that, and I think I'd lose my testers to fatigue.

    So if it looks like the test is going too long, I'll have us skip the Notes tasks.