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

Andreas Lemke wrote:

> I didn't mean to imply it is a fully controlled, scientifically valid study.

I am not asking for any of that. I work now 19 years in user interaction,
in the software industry. all of that highly practical and unscientific,
just create software that (for once) does not suck (usability) and
delivers value (product realisation).

since ages I cooperate regularly with usability experts, I brief them,
observe some tests, analyse the results with them. all very practical.
that is where it comes from what I ask for.

> So let's call it an experiment. Just a single data point. As such it doesn't prove anything.

it is disinformation. information gathered with a faulty test set-up.
to call that a ‘usability study’ is really not helping the
GIMP project in any way. and as the vice-chairman of openUsability,
I can say that you are doing the usability community a big disfavour,
as this will ultimately reflect badly on them, because you are implying
you are one of them.

I can deal with this, every day I have to separate information that
matters from that that doesn’t. but now we have not one, but two
mailing lists with predominately usability and interaction design
laymen that think you sent some useful information, and I will have
to deal with the fallout.

if you found, why did you not asked for a briefing
from me, I would have gladly given one, and discuss the test setup.

I could have told you from the beginning that you could have skipped
the file dialog thing, it is a GTK thing, GIMP has no control over this.
I could have told you that the floating selection is a known problem,
nothing to prove anymore. next useful test of that is when there is
a prototype of the new pasting/compositing design.

and that test has to be an ease-of-use test, not an ease-of-
learning one. I do discuss this difference with usability folks
(like when Tobias Ehni got in touch with me) and they see the
point, and the challenges.

Tobias then proposed to do a new, experimental method he was
studying at that moment. I completely supported him in that,
just putting the boundary conditions what user insights I want
out of it for the GIMP project.

> 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.

I really wished you would have done the work to make this solid
work. create a framework for collaborative testing, cool. but not
gone public with what amounts to a single non-test.

> Your second point is about the target Gimp user population.

there is a big difference between who can use GIMP (everybody,
it is free software world) and who it is designed for. who it
is designed for is very clear. all user research has to be conducted
in these core user groups, not to be useless or disinformation.

this speaks 100% for itself for usability experts and interaction
designers. zero discussion. it is usability research 101.

> So, what does it mean: software for professionals?

did you actually read the vision briefing? there is a whole section
called ‘professionals?’ I quote the first sentence of it:
‘Saying a piece of software is ‘for professionals’ is meaningless.’

> 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.

here you are showing you get it.

> 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.

I would say that researching that asks for the right participants,
people who are moving to GIMP (a commitment of months that is) and
are aspiring to be part of the core user groups. everything else
does not matter.

then there needs to be a research process that tracks them over, say,
two work-weeks (i.e. 80 hours of GIMP use) what their learning
curve is (that takes observation of a competent usability researcher)
and how it feels to them (that takes conversation between the
participant and the researcher).

that, times at least six, and well analysed, would really help.


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

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