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Subject: Re: Useability concerns

Re: Useability concerns

From: Karl Kurbjun <>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 18:23:10 -0700

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM, Sam Pattuzzi

> OK, what I think I will do is conduct a usability test with my family.
> I'm going to have a go at building a list of most common tasks with
> Rockbox and share them here before I start. Ideas for these tasks are
> welcome, I'm thinking along the lines of:
> * Load music
> * Play music
> * As above for podcasts
> * Save a bookmark
> * Resume a bookmark
> * Make a playlist
> * Should installation be included?
> One thing I want opinions on before I do that though is, how important
> is the manual? Should it have been read religiously before touching the
> device? Should it be there just in case they need a hand? At what point
> is it a problem if the user has to refer to the manual?
> Looking forward to responses.
> Sam
I think it is a great idea to do a usability study on Rockbox. I think a
larger sample size than just your family is needed for a useful study
though. It should cross a large demographic range too.

Just a fore-warning: the usability study may not render any actual changes
as development is volunteer based and is largely driven by what the person
doing the work feels is the best way to solve a problem. We currently do
not have a formal "Human Interface Guidelines" which are followed or used to
my knowledge beyond trying to make it as consistent as possible across all
targets. Also keep in mind that there are hardware limitations where, for
example, things like certain button combinations may not be possible
depending on the target.

If the usability study had a large enough sample size then it could
potentially be used as a more objective source of how something should
appear to the user.

Personally, I think it would be ideal for the user just be given a "quick
start" introduction to Rockbox and then be able to do your standard jukebox
tasks without referring to the manual. I think it is fine for the user to
have to refer to the manual for more advanced features that are beyond the
scope of most players on the market.

Another note I have is that a usability study does not have to be limited to
the software. It should also include the manual by testing tasks that the
user "should" refer to the manual for.

In short: basic tasks should be easy to accomplish without having to read
detailed instructions, while more advanced topics should have the
information intuitively located for the user to accomplish the desired task.

You might want to take a look at a gnome usability report that has a nice
summary of the results along with detailed information from each
Received on 2009-11-24

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