Moving to the project phase in Outreachy

A few weeks ago we officially started the usability testing phase of the internship, and in this post I’d like to share some insights of the work that is going on. It took some time to settle into a project focus, figure out who wants to do what and start building out the usability tests. Now our team is working on three usability testing projects for GNOME:

Renata will perform a traditional usability test of other ongoing work in GNOME. In previous cycles of Outreachy, our mentor Jim Hall and the interns Sanskriti and Gina uncovered design patterns that work well and others that need improvements, and this time Renata will look at those design patterns that have been improved in recent GNOME design iterations.

Ciarrai is preparing to perform a paper prototype test of the new Settings app. This would be testing a “future” Settings design — testing on changes that haven’t even been implemented in GNOME yet.

On my side, I am getting ready to examine a “user experience” of a user’s first exposure to GNOME. I will look at product identity and user experience, rather than straight usability. In this test, I will ask testers to simulate an unboxing of a new system. The tester will turn on the computer, watch it start up, and login to a fresh test account so they get first-user experience.

The tester will experiment with the system, using a few scenarios to suggest real tasks that real people might do, so they get an opportunity to poke around and launch a few applications.

My goal is to find out how people feel about their experience: whether GNOME is something that appeals to them, feels welcoming, is something they can imagine themselves using.

With help of Jim Hall and the GNOME Design team I have created the opening script, scenario tasks, and wrap-up questions for the UX test. The final version of the test is ready and I will share it with you soon!

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