GNOME Shell UX validation [Was: My thoughts on fallback mode]

> Well, now that people are throwing percents at each other, it is a
> very interesting point as such - does anybody know anything about
> userbase whose experience GNOME3 is going to improve? I am not
> ranting/trolling here, I am really interested. Was there any research
> made?

There is an evidence base that has been utilised and developed during
the shell design process:

 * The shell design is a response to well documented issues with GNOME 2
and similar interfaces. (We can extrapolate a lot from what other OSs
are doing here.)

 * Jon did a pretty extensive literature review (some of that can be
found here [1])... I'm sure he can tell you more about the results of

 * The shell has been used extensively by its developers, designers and
community members. Some have inevitably complained after using the
shell, but there are also a lot of people who prefer it over GNOME 2
(myself included).

 * Previous studies and experiences which have been drawn upon by the
shell designers.

 * Stock usability principles and knowledge have been routinely referred

 * I recently conducted a small usability study on the shell (results to
be published soon). It established that the basics of the shell UI
essentially work. It was a sanity check, nothing more. But the shell

The shell design wasn't formulated on a whim. It involved a lot of
research and a lot of work. I know from working with Jon, Jimmac and
others that empirical reference points have been sought whenever
possible, and many options have been explored (and discarded) during the
design process.

> I realize that my references to voting on cannot be
> seriously considered - but perhaps someone made serious usability
> testing or survey, someone could say XX% are not happy, YY% are not
> happy with GNOME2 (of course, ZZ% do not care at all or not using
> gnome), the first figure is going to increase with GNOME3 to XY%, the
> second will drop as low as YX%?

User attitudes or opinions are not the best guide for measuring the
effectiveness of a user interface. We can test usability (though the
resources for doing so are limited), and we can explore user experience
(ditto), but it's very difficult to get a definitive answer through

> That kind of research, if properly
> made, is usually a conclusive argument for/against any serious visible
> design changes.

I am personally convinced that GNOME Shell offers an improved user
experience over GNOME 2. It avoids a whole bunch of mistakes from the
past, adds useful features that are relevant to contemporary users, it
will be more visually attractive, and it is better suited to today's
screens and input devices. And we know from my study and from dog
fooding that it works.


IRC: aday on

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