Monday, June 27, 2016

Moving to the project phase in Outreachy

I want to start this week by taking a step back in review.

When we worked together during Ciarrai's, Diana's, and Renata's applications to Outreachy, I would have provided the same schedule to everyone. This is the schedule template we used in previous cycles​:
original timeline, OPW
1234567891011121314
What is usability
Personas
Scenarios and tasks
Design patterns
Review usability test
How to display results
Perform usability test
Analysis
Write results
Wrap-up
​That was a 14 week schedule, transitioning out of the "research" phase at the end of week 3, although some research in week 4 as we prepared the usability test.

I recently drafted an updated schedule for our work, so we can plan the weeks ahead. Our internship period is May 23–August 23, so that's 14 weeks. This updated schedule includes the dates for each topic:
updated timeline, Outreachy
1234567891011121314
Date:5/235/306/66/136/206/277/47/117/187/258/18/88/158/22
What is usability
Personas
Scenarios
Scenario tasks
Decide project focus
Design patterns
Review usability test
Perform usability test
Analysis
Write results
I've coded the research phase in blue, and the usability testing phase in red.

As you can see, we moved pretty quickly through the research phase, learning about "What is usability," different ways to test usability, personas, scenarios, and scenario tasks. And Ciarrai, Diana, and Renata have done very well here.

We've taken the last week to settle into a project focus, and figure out who wants to do what. And today, we are officially starting the usability testing phase!

We are planing three usability testing projects for GNOME:

1. Paper prototype test of the new Settings app (Ciarrai)
This test will require using a paper mock-up of the new Settings app. The usability test with a paper prototype can be very similar to a traditional usability test with a final product. With the paper prototype test, you'll need to be careful about the test design. We can go over this in more detail individually. Collecting data and performing analysis (heat map) will likely be similar to a traditional usability test, although we'll probably modify the analysis somewhat so we can uncover themes.
2. Traditional usability test of other ongoing work in GNOME (Renata)
This is basically the same usability test you performed as your initial contribution. Not much new to learn here. Similar to the paper prototype test, you'll build up your test design by starting with an analysis of design patterns and features, matching the patterns/features of interest to your scenario tasks. Data and analysis (heat map) is just as you exercised during your initial contribution, so this should be fairly straightforward.
3. A "user experience" of a user's first exposure to GNOME (Diana)
This is a bit different from what the above usability tests. As you learned in our first week, "usability" is different from "user experience," although they are related ideas. The "first experience" test will involve observing testers as they boot a computer running Linux, and login using a fresh account, so they go through the whole "welcome" GNOME experience. The testers will have some time to explore the desktop and applications, using scenarios and scenario tasks you provide them as a guide. The data will come from your observations and a brief interview with testers. Analysis will be identification of themes uncovered in the test, and the testers' self-reported engagement, connection and response to GNOME.

We plan to take the next two weeks to figure out the details on each of the usability tests. For a traditional usability test, this will include comparing the design patterns and other areas of GNOME that we wish to investigate. For the first experience, this may include considering the areas of GNOME that impress an experience on the user. In all tests, we'll also use the next two weeks to start building usability tests. I encourage you to follow Ciarrai's, Diana's, and Renata's blogs for more updates.

image: Outreachy

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