Adding Chapters to Totem

Ivanka and I had a great discussion on Monday at the GNOME London UX Hackfest about how what free & open source tools / integration we need for a good FLOSS usability data capture workflow. While I still have to document them properly, you can get a sneak peek at our notes from this discussion in a whiteboard photo I took: One of the wishlist items that came up is if there was a way we could set marker points within our large and long usability test video files, in order to be able to document and skip to points of interest within the file quickly, and also so that we would be able to export small and short clips of video to be able to share widely. You see, not only is it timely to view an entire usability test video – they are very large and unwieldy, and expensive to host which makes it tougher for us to share the great data we’re gathering. For example, the markers I’d love to set up in a usability test video file would be to indicate where test task 1 started, where test task 2 started, so on and so forth. …

Happy Blog vs. Misery Blog

This is how I’m used to blog posting and receiving comments on said posts operating, for the most part: This is how I feel like my blog has been working out lately: I don’t think I can be as diligent in responding to comments to my blog anymore. It’s making me feel really unhappy and constantly attacked. I do not understand what outcome people who post comments like this expect. I am really quite unaccustomed to this kind of behavior at this scale. I am really against censorship in principle, but I think I’m probably going to have to put all comments on my blog under moderations because of this. I really wish I didn’t have to though. Please be more thoughtful when you post comments to people’s blogs.

Charline's Empathy Usability Report

This morning Charline from Canonical presented a report on an empathy usability test she’s completed. These are rough notes split into topics: Usability reports in general There was some discussion of the usage of user quotes in usability reports and their utility Audiences for test: People who report bugs, developers Some confusion over how testing on Ubuntu would have effected the test results – e.g. how did notify-osd behave to the user… Usability folks Consider referencing products / screenshots that show a solution to the problems presented as inspiration When users fail to do a task, it would be useful to document the paths they tried / the mental model they had that failed. Even things they wanted to do that could never work in the current implementation – could be good ideas for a way the UI could work. Indicate how many users said something. If only one user suggested something, that should be clear from what all or most users said. We need help to get these filed as bugs. Would community members be willing to support usability by splitting reports like these into actual bug reports? On-Board Experience The on-board experience in empathy confusing. There’s one status …

Misc. Notes from GNOME UX Hackfest, Tuesday

Here’s just a quick summary of notes from the discussions I was in yesterday at the GNOME London UX Hackfest: OSD & Panel Icons Yesterday jimmac and hbons worked on Moblin icons, with the idea we could use the style for GNOME OSD (on-screen display, e.g., when you change your system volume, the big speaker icon pops up) and possibly the panel / applet icons. Why use the moblin style? It’s much quicker to put together than the high-res icons (it can take 15 hours straight to do one of these); the Moblin style requires much simpler artwork. The style, because of its simplicity, could potentially be good high-contrast / accessible icons as well. How do you get the Moblin icons? git clone git://git.moblin.org/moblin-icon-theme Challenges We’d like complete coverage but won’t have it immediately. We should have a fallback – the Ubuntu folks suggested using a suffix for naming/calling icons from apps. E.g, if an application that wants to use this style they need to explicitly ask for it, if it doesn’t exist it falls back to the normal icon. (I’m not 100% sure how accurate my notes are here.) One issue with the style is that it doesn’t work …

GNOME Vision Brainstorm

This is just a brainstorm, no hard and fast rules being set here. A bunch of the designers here at the GNOME London UX Hackfest got together yesterday to talk about Nautilus, and after talking about Nautilus those of us left had a bit of bigger-picture view discussion (mostly Garrett and I at the whiteboard with hbons & jimmac listening as they worked on awesome icon stuff). Us GNOME designers see each other on pretty much an annual basis for the past few years either at usability hackfests, GUADECs, or GNOME Boston Summits, and we end up having variations on the same ‘big-picture’ vision for GNOME. Somehow, we never end up really fulfilling that vision, and the climate changes slightly every time (for example, microblogging I think is a big difference this go-around that wasn’t as much of a consideration in previous iterations of the discussion). Why does this keep happening? I think we go back home and work in individual silos again – and when we meet next it’s difficult work I think to resolve the different perspectives behind the progress we’ve made over the past year. It seems we then keep trying to redo the vision, maybe with …

Painless accessibility tips for GNOME designers and developers

This morning at the GNOME 3 UX Hackfest in London, Willie Walker gave us some tips for ‘painless’ accessibility. First he reviewed the three main types of access users need us to support: 1: Some people can’t use the keyboard These users use devices such as: head tracking eye tracking switch-based access (they press buttons on a switch – the accessibility layer translates these to keyboard stroke) For head-tracking and eye-tracking, they hover over an area to cause a click. Some of these users can’t use keyboard or mouse at all. They may use a button/switch to interact and translate to keyboard. You need to think about users who cannot use the keyboard at all. 2: Some people can’t use the mouse These users use devices such as: switch-based access (they press buttons on a switch use joystick instead of mouse A big category of users who cannot use the mouse are users who are completely blind. Since they cannot tell where on the screen the mouse is, they can’t use it. These users rely on keyboard access To make sure you’re accounting for these users, try unplugging your mouse and see if you can use your interface: Can you …

Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS) talk on Fedora

So a couple of weeks ago, as I mentioned previously, I made a couple of trips out to my alma-mater Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. First, my co-worker John and I ran the Red Hat booth at the RPI Spring 2010 Career Fair. We were there for a little over four hours and by the end of it I had all but lost my voice. As one might expect at a school like RPI, every person who came up to speak to me (except for a biology major) knew exactly what Linux was, and the majority of them ran or had at least tried Linux themselves. Ben Boeckel, a current RPI student as well as Fedora contributor, dropped by so I got to say hi to him at the career fair as well. A couple of days later I drove back out to RPI to give a talk on how to get involved in Fedora at the Rensselaer Center for Open Source meeting. Professor Mukkai Krishnamoorthy, one of the directors of RCOS and a much-beloved RPI CS professor, made all the arrangements for the talk. Now, the Rensselaer Center for Open Source is an initiative to support RPI …

authconfig-gtk UI revamp

Recently I’ve been working on a UI revamp of authconfig-gtk AKA system-config-authentication. Here is the existing UI: From what I’ve gathered about this UI: It’s fairly old. It’s grown organically, with new options and features added on piecemeal without an overall design vision. It exists in firstboot too, under the ‘network login’ button. It allows you check off as many and whatever identity and authentication methods you desire, even if the combinations make no sense. That last point leads me to classify it as a good example of a box of chocolates GUI, meaning ‘you never know what you’re going to get.’ Configuring isn’t really a task that most people really have as a life goal nor is it something generally considered fun (it’s the cool stuff the configuration eventually enables you to do that’s fun!), so I think configuration / administration UIs like this often degrade to the ‘box of chocolates’ state. Authconfig-gtk will try each combination possible from your selections, trying each little chocolate, er, moving on from failure until it hits one that ends up being cherry creme-filled, er, actually works. The catalyst for revisiting the UI is a cool new technology called SSSD that folks such …

Random idea for design collaboration tool

This might be nothing, it might be something. I’ve been getting rather fed up with mailing lists as the primary tool for organizing the Fedora release artwork process lately. Just for fun tonight I did a mockup of one page of the kind of web application I’d like to use to manage the process instead. Inkscape source – please feel free to download and work it. Maybe this goes nowhere (except to prove I really ought to find something better to do with my Friday nights…. 🙂 )