[sugar] OLPC Usability Testing Class Project

Tomeu Vizoso tomeu at tomeuvizoso.net
Thu Mar 20 08:04:52 EDT 2008


Hi,

On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 11:24 PM, Frederick Grose <fgrose at gmail.com> wrote:
> This note is a request for the broader community to consider potential topic
> areas that might be prime for some usability testing.
>
> (Here is a quick review of usability testing,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability_testing.)
>
> Professor Keith Karn in the Information Technology Department,
> http://it.rit.edu/it/, of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in
> Rochester, NY will have 4-5 graduate students (from his class of 20)
> propose, and over the next 10 weeks, execute a usability testing
> consultation around the XO or OLPC project.  The class met for the first
> time on Wednesday 12 March 2008, and will meet, as a whole, every Wednesday
> 6-9:50 pm EDT through 21 May 2008.  This OLPC project team will be asked to
> review the wiki.laptop.org and then contact me as client representative.
> Because of the academic schedule, we need to review and select a testing
> topic area in the next 7 days and have a final testing plan prepared by 26
> March 2008.
>
> What usability issue is currently most timely and significant to the
> project?  Since OLPC is developing a new information and communication
> technologies platform, there are many possibilities for significant target
> users, subsystems, components, and activities.

I suggest starting first with observing general usage of the Sugar
shell and base activities (Browse, Read, Write, Paint and Journal) and
move from there to other activities. At this point, I don't think more
focused testing will be as useful.

> Please think about the project design needs, possibilities, and constraints,
> and suggest topics or issues here or to our wiki page,
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Rochester%2C_NY#Project_ideas.
>
> We have a few G1G1 XOs in Rochester that we should be able to use for live
> testing with local children.  Larger scale tests could be performed with
> emulated XOs or hosted Sugar in the RIT Usability Laboratories. The class
> will be expected to go through the human subject reviews as required.
>
> Because so many cultural variables may be important modifiers of
> understanding user interactions with the OLPC project, perhaps there may be
> some more basic or common psycho-physical aspects of usability we could
> address that would be timely and significant for the project. Or, we might
> be able to recruit user participants from one of the recently settled
> immigrant communities in the Rochester area to delve into the
> internationalization and cultural domains.

Having different groups of children based on age and previous contact
with computers may be more important than cultural differences, in my
opinion.

> Some reviewers of OLPC have been critical of the shortage of reported
> usability testing results, so far, however, if we appreciate the pace and
> resourcing of the development, perhaps this is a chance to address any gaps
> or curiosities that you may have.

We have already had some feedback from the pilot tests, but until now
and because of time and other constraints, hasn't been as systematic
as we need. Having your commented observations about which tasks are
more problematic would already be extremely useful.

> We would welcome your thoughts (particularly on usability issues in the near
> term).
>
> Thanks to everyone for all their efforts!

I'm afraid now is not a good moment to ask a big involvement from the
Sugar developers, but I'm sure we'll make our best at answering more
concrete questions that you have.

Thanks and good luck,

Tomeu


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