Re: [Gimp-developer] [Gimp-user] Gimp for casual users

Hi Peter,

I didn't mean to imply it is a fully controlled, scientifically valid study. So let's call it an experiment. Just a single data point. As such it doesn't prove anything. But it can be the beginning of more solid work. Maybe in our community, others are willing to contribute more experiments in a true open source effort. If there is interest, I might do more myself.

Your second point is about the target Gimp user population. It is stated that Gimp is not made for those you just wish to touch up a few holiday pictures. That seems to imply that Gimp is not for casual users. My personal feeling is that that would a pity for several reasons. One of them is that casual users might grow into power users/professionals. Something like that was the case for myself. I started by touching up photos and then discovered the power of the software to do more, e.g., Web art. I was in my apprenticeship but I didn't know it at that time.

So, what does it mean: software for professionals? Clearly it means powerful tools, fine-grained control, efficient working. We cannot trade these characteristics for support of casual users. We cannot simplify the program to the point that professionals are hampered. Nevertheless, we can set a challenge for ourselves. Every professional will start as a beginner. The challenge is: keep the power and still lower the learning curve. User interface designers know that there are many subtle ways to help beginners. One way of doing this is through affordances as they have been pioneered by D. A. Norman already in the 1980s.

Does this make sense?



Am 28.07.2012 19:20, schrieb peter sikking:
Andreas Lemke wrote:

I have done a simple usability study with a novice Gimp user (only one, not 1000 :-). Would it be ok if I post it on  But I would need to have an account. There doesn't seem to be an option to register.

to be a usability study it needs to be a usability study.

this does not take 1000 participants, one-way mirror labs and
video cameras.

but the bare minimum needs to be there:

test participants recruited from the core user groups (these are well
defined for GIMP, see: <>)
yes, the participants can be serving their apprenticeships / be on
the learning curve to the groups defined there, but on their way
they must be.

six or more participants (not the more the better, above 12 really the
law of diminishing returns kicks in).

beyond that a solid report with a clear test protocol description
and clear outline of findings would convince me that it is really
a usability study.

usability folks know that, apart from the effort that goes into
recruiting, what I ask for above is really easy, practical
and minimal.

when really a usability study was done or will get done, we can
talk about how that can go into


         founder + principal interaction architect
             man + machine interface works
 on interaction architecture

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