Schedule: Usability research of KDE at openSUSE

Stephan Binner
Will Stephenson
Day Sunday
Room H.1308
Start time 14:30
End time 15:30
Duration 01:00
Event type Podium
Track openSUSE
Language English
Slides (PDF)
Video (Ogg/Theora)
Video (Ogg/Theora/Low quality)
Usability research of KDE at openSUSE

The KDE team at SUSE has been applying usability research principles to the user interfaces they design. This talk presents their research methodology and the resulting applications.

The Interfaces and Applications team at the SUSE research and development department in Nuremberg, Germany is composed of usability experts and KDE developers. The team evaluated the start menus of common desktops including KDE 3.5, the GNOME main menu developed for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Desktop and Windows Vista Beta 2.

Central to this research is a usability study where about 30 users of different types are divided up into four groups to perform a test cycle with three phases:

  • Questionnaire: user's habits during use of their commonly used start menu
  • Observation: execution of 13 different tasks stored on videotape for later evaluation
  • Questionnaire: user's evaluation of the given start menu (joy of use, suitability to the task, controllability, etc.)
This aKademy talk will summarize the findings of these ongoing tests including showing video excerpts. The whole team then discussed the central functionality that an improved start menu for KDE 4 should have, and with the test results in mind, brain-stormed and produced mockups. For further discussion and testing a prototype, code-named 'Kickoff', was produced and iteratively refined. To validate this design, a fourth group of users repeated the usability tests with the prototype to get data for a comparison of old and new designs. The talk will present major points of the discussion and results and of course will not miss to showcase the current 'Kickoff' version.