[Health] OLPC Usability Testing Class Project

Frederick Grose fgrose at gmail.com
Thu Mar 13 18:24:12 EDT 2008

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,

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.

Please think about the project design needs, possibilities, and constraints,
and suggest topics or issues here or to our wiki page,

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.

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 would welcome your thoughts (particularly on usability issues in the near

Thanks to everyone for all their efforts!
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