Projects/Usability/Reports/2007

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Contents

KPresenter Review and Mockup

There are many, many bad presentations out there. Really bad presentations. Presentations that bore, presentations that confuse but more importantly, presentations that simply fail to function as a communication medium. But it's not always the presenter's fault, quite often it's just because they've just never learnt how to properly organise a presentation and they aren't able to recognise their mistakes. Other times it's because they've only ever seen other bad examples of presentations. To most people many of these problems are obvious, others are extremely subtle but all of them were of course allowed and often encouraged by mainstream presentation software. I've attempted to prevent or reduce some of these common problems by re-organising several aspects of the typical presentation software interface.

I have nothing to do with the KOffice project (although I would like to in the future), and I don't pretend that herin lies The Answer. I would however like to throw this into the public and see if it can be improved on and eventually implemented in an extremely usable presentation software package. I have far more confidence in the combined skills of the KDE community and the rest of the world, than I do of my own creativity and problem solving.

Report Date February 2007
Usability Engineer Will Hardy
Software Version KPresenter from SVN February 2007
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Usability Testing of Kubuntu Installation Process

We conducted task-based usability testing on the Kubuntu installation processes using 9 participants of various computer skill. We found major issues in the partitioning process and interface which prevented all of the participants from successfully installing Kubuntu without help. Also included are suggestions on how to improve the various usability issues we observed.

Report Date June 2007
Usability Engineer Celeste Lyn Paul and graduate students from the University of Baltimore
Software Version Kubuntu Gutsy
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Report on Printer Dialogs

This report was done as part of a Google Summer of Code project with the KDE print dialog. This report examines and discusses printing dialogs used by other major desktop environments, operating systems, and applications. The result are mockup suggestions for a new KDE print dialog.

Report Date July 2007
Usability Engineer Rutger Claes
Software Version KPrint from SVN July 2007
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KGet Usability Review

The KGet download manager for KDE is being rewritten for the upcoming KDE 4.0 and its developers Urs Wolfer and Manolo Valdes were looking for someone to do a usability review of their work so far. Two KDE usability evaluators, Florian Graessle and Tina Trillitzsch, agreed to do a Heuristic Evaluation of KGet. Before the review, the reviewers researched the current user base of KGet and that of competing download managers and determined their goals and needs. Together with KGet’s developers, a target user base was defined and the reviewers created a number of frequent tasks to guide their evaluation. During the evaluation the reviewers went through the interface separately, with the help of a few common usability principles (“heuristics”), noting down any problems they perceived for potential users. Later they agreed on a severity rating for each issue and devised a suggestion to solve it. The results were put into a wiki and presented to the developers in KGet’s irc channel. The reviewers discussed the issues and suggestions with the developers, who then almost immediately began solving some issues, so that these could quickly be marked as solved in the wiki. Overall 37 usability issues were found, most of which have already been fixed.

The findings showed a lot of promise: the browser integration is very well executed and KGet often offers very good feedback when adding downloads. There are some very innovative ideas for finding files to download on a web page. Most negative issues were minor, and only really significant in the main window, especially concerning the presentation and management of download groups and download details.

Report Date August 2007
Usability Engineers Florian Graessle and Tina Trilliztsch
Software Version KGet from SVN July 2007
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KDE Toolbars

This report describes some thoughts and suggestions regarding the toolbars in KDE.

Report Date August 2007
Usability Engineer Hans Chen
Software Version KDE 3.5.8
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Basket Season of Usability Project

BasKet Note Pads is a multi-purpose note-taking application for the K Desktop Environment (KDE). The goal of the student project was to do a complete usability-development cycle with direct impact on the further development of BasKet Note Pads.

Report Date September 2007
Usability Engineers Frank Ploss and Björn Balazs
Software Version Unknown
Download Document [| Season of Usability Report ]

Okular Season of Usability Project

Okular is the default document viewer for the next major version of the K Desktop Environment. As it is capable of displaying various document and image formats, a major challenge is the design of the toolbar to facilitate browsing, zooming and selecting text passages of the displayed document.

Consequently the objective of the Okular student, Sharad Baliyan, was to develop an alternative toolbar layout. This was to be accomplished by applying parts of the interaction design life cycle. The planned milestones for the student included user and task research, a best-practice and comparative analysis, prototype development and lastly designing the actual alternative toolbar.

Report Date September 2007
Usability Engineers Sharad Baliyan and Florian Grässle
Software Version Unknown
Download Document [| Season of Usability Report ]

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