Trip Report: GNOME UI Hackfest

Erik Garrison erik at
Thu Oct 9 15:12:52 EDT 2008

On Thu, Oct 09, 2008 at 12:46:56PM -0400, C. Scott Ananian wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 9:13 AM, Michael Stone <michael at> wrote:
> > This is just a brief note summarizing our experience at the
> >
> >
> >
> > In short:
> >
> > * Scott gave a long talk on his
> >
> >   and on his crazy journal ideas.
> >
> > * Michael gave a short talk on
> >
> >
> > * We caught an *awesome* slideshow by David Richards
> >
> >   in which we learned that enterprise users and children are remarkably
> >   similar.
> >
> > Perhaps cjb and cscott will contribute other more detailed thoughts
> > about what we learned?
> On key insight from the Largo presentation was that adult users are
> generally unable to use the standard files-and-folders metaphor as
> well.  Once they save a document, they've got *no idea* where it goes
> (inconsistent default folder choices in applications don't help here),
> and one of the most frequent help desk requests is to "find my file".
> Also, they often add all sorts of crazy characters in their file
> names, like leading and trailing spaces, and don't understand why
> 'foo.doc' and ' foo.doc ' behave different (and are not sorted
> together).

Are we sure that we can generalize these observations to younger users?

In an attempt to better understand the issue I found
"Barriers of Information Access in Small Screen Device Applications: The
Relevance of User Characteristics for a Transgenerational Design"

Please see section 2.1 of this paper for a nice review (with citations)
of the factors affecting older users.  Most applicable to this situation
are lack of prior experience, reduction of working memory capacity,
decline in psychomotor and sensory functioning with age, and difficulty
filtering relevant information out of complicated user interfaces.

I am seeking an equivalent review of the user interface issues affecting young users.  Can anyone find one?


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