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A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 15:39 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation by ovitters
Parent article: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

> "missing the point"

Look, you said you needed usability studies (long, complicated, expensive etc.). I told you that simple common sense would suffice for now and named examples. You didn't get those. What else was I supposed to conclude?

Trust me - no offence was intended - I just called it like I saw it.

I just wish I could put into hours the amount time I've lost on Gnome 3 being less useful than Gnome 2, so that you don't think I'm making stuff up. And I use it all day, every day.


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A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 15:58 UTC (Tue) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Look, you said you needed usability studies (long, complicated, expensive etc.). I told you that simple common sense would suffice for now and named examples. You didn't get those. What else was I supposed to conclude?

The utter uselessness (and non-commonness) of "common sense" is the very reason usability studies are so important.

They show you precisely what folks actually get stuck on, as opposed to what they say they get stuck on, or what you think they will get stuck on.

As for your conclusions, I recommend you look up Confirmation Bias.

> I just wish I could put into hours the amount time I've lost on Gnome 3 being less useful than Gnome 2, so that you don't think I'm making stuff up. And I use it all day, every day.

I counter your anecdote with my opposite anecdote -- I'm more productive with Gnome3 than I was with Gnome2 -- It fits my workflow far more closely and is far less intrusive for what I do most often. (And yes, I spend 10+ hours a day in that environment too!)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 16:10 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Your argument is that in version 3, for whom the product sucks is switched when compared to version 2 and that is OK. My argument is that if version 3 is an upgrade, it should suck less for both of us.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 4:32 UTC (Wed) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

On Usability Studies:

"They show you precisely what folks actually get stuck on, as opposed to what they say they get stuck on, or what you think they will get stuck on."

In theory that is what they should do. With enough funding, the right design and careful execution, they can do that. It's hard but not impossible.

But like studies in other fields, they can also give you the results you want, cheaply, quickly, and easily. Good design is difficult, and good experiments can get expensive. And who wants to waste a lot of time and money on a more elaborate experiment than they need to do before they get on with the fun part?

With unlimited resources and a lot of creativity and imagination you might make mockups of a few hundred different systems, built around different design assumptions, following users long term... yeah no one does that. Yet everyone seems to be able to draw from the much more limited work that's been done absolute certainty for their own preferred theories.

So usability studies are no panacea. They need to be looked at skeptically and yes, both designed and evaluated using common sense if you can find any. It seems to be quite rare though.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 13:24 UTC (Wed) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> So usability studies are no panacea. They need to be looked at skeptically and yes, both designed and evaluated using common sense if you can find any. It seems to be quite rare though.

FWIW I agree completely with what you said. I've been through this before [1] (albeit only peripherally), and it wasn't the utter skewering of the front-end developers' assumptions that impressed me so much as the massive disconnect between what the end-users/subjects said versus what they actually were doing.

[1] we had some real usability experts contracted to perform the testing, with an explicit goal of "find out what's wrong with this, and why" instead of merely seeking to confirm our obvious brilliance in constructing UIs. :)


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