Monday, April 7, 2014

Outline of my paper

This has been a very busy week, doing the usability tests and the analysis to identify trends. I'm using a heat map like last time, which I think shows the trends more clearly. This heat map also shows the same tests from the previous usability test, so I can start a comparative analysis.

I've also shared this with the folks from GNOME. We're going to try for a Hangout in the next week or so to go over the results and talk in more detail, discuss themes, and generally about how things went.

From here, my next steps are too finish up the next draft of my paper. I think the next draft will be much closer to the final form (which is good, based on where we are in the semester). The previous draft reused some text from my blog, so had a very informal tone. The next draft will step that up.

Since this is for my M.S. capstone, this iteration will be a much longer and more detailed document than the paper I wrote for a previous class on usability (later turned into an article for Linux Journal). My outline is currently shaping up this way:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is usability
  3. Usability needs to be an integral part of the development process
    1. context
    2. development methods in closed software v open source software
  4. Why is usability overlooked in open source software
  5. My usability test
  6. Usability test results
  7. Themes and conclusions


  1. I think your outline looks great! I assume you'll include comparisons with your previous test in the themes section in the paper. Have any of the programs you tested previously changed in the newest update? Were the tasks easier for users after the updates? I think a discussion of that would be really interesting.

    1. Looking at the heatmap, it seems like users this time had a few more issues in GEdit and a little bit in Web.

  2. I have two opinions on your outline.

    your draft is trying to embrace two topics: (1) A usability test should be an essential part in open source software development although it has been overlooked. Your outline section III and IV will cover this topic (2) A usability test of GNOME shows certain results (I didn’t read the usability test result yet). I think that your outline section V, VI and VII will cover this. I think that you need to decide on which one you would emphasize more in your draft.
    At the first time, I thought that you would just mention why a usability test is necessary and why it has been overlook in the introduction section, but it seems that the amount of the introduction got larger and took two sections.
    I think this is a preference issue, but you need to care about.

    I think you can add the “recommendation” section. In the recommendation section, you can give a message to the developers as a takeaway.