Re: GNOME 3.0 Marketing Brainstorming #1 - Audiences

On Tue, 2009-05-12 at 21:20 -0500, Paul Cutler wrote:
> Good evening,
> I'd like some feedback on the Market Segmentaiton page on lgo:
> This page was put together at the end of 2005 but I personally think
> the information is over 80% accurate.

Hey, thanks a lot! :-)

Unfortunately, the images got lost during the switch of the Wiki
versions. I may still have them somewhere.

Would you mind telling me what's the 20%, you find to be inaccurate?

> I'd especially like feedback on the 3 types of users (beginner,
> advanced and expert) and the comments on advanced:

The post in the Ubuntu forum was more of an example, not really a
reference. So please don't concentrate on that.

It's very easy to provide other and more recent examples. Nearly every
digg or reddit discussion about Linux's (lack of) success on Desktops
has comments that exemplify the basic principle: 

(1) There's always someone with anecdotal evidence about having switched
his parent's or grandparent's or girlfriend's computer to Linux, and any
existing maintenance burden stopped. No more reinstallation due to
viruses, for example. These parents, grandparents, etc. are what I
called "beginner".

Here's a comment how Ubuntu looks like from a beginner's point of view:

  "I am the stupid girl friend who was forced to put linux(kubuntu) on
  my laptop, simple task are easy, what is difficult for a non-geek
  linux user is installing things that are not in “add-remove programs”.
  One of my favorite games on linux is super tux that I installed the
  way I know, but it was not the version i was looking for, I look on
  internet to find out how, after long and boring research on the
  subject I found that I need to go in command line, what i was not able
  to do correctly, my boyfriend did it for me. Linux is not ready yet
  for non-geek like me with no one to take care of their computer(not
  like me)." [1]

(2) There's also always someone who complains about hardware that didn't
work or was hard to set up, about missing or "bad" software, and other
issues. The following article is basically a summery of typical

"Advanced" users often want to have fun using computers, they like to be
"opinion leaders" [2] and that means testing new hard- and software.
They tend to have favorite applications they use often. 

These people together with most Linux users are what I call "advanced"

(3) Examples for "expert" users can be found on the Desktop Devel list.

The important thing, however, is that this distinction is not just a way
to segment end-users, it's also a simplified diffusion model [3].

While "beginners" may be a perfect segment to target from a product
point of view, the segment is neither accessible and actionable:

 * "Beginners" don't read computer magazines or computer-related web
   pages (not accessible). 
 * They don't install Linux by themselves or buy computers with
   Linux pre-installed (not actionable).

"Beginners" don't trust unknown technology and want somebody close to be
available to help and recommend products. In other words: They are
looking at "advanced" users for help -- see the girlfriend story above.

But advanced users are not going to recommend Linux (and thus GNOME) as
long as they themselves have problems! So, in order to reach
"beginners", Linux (and thus GNOME) also needs to cater to the needs of
"advanced" users.

In my opinion, this is what the usability guys don't get. It's also the
reason why GNOME has PR problems every now and then (Spacial Nautilus,
File Picker, Linus' comments about "dumb" users, etc.) GNOME Shell may
add another example in the future.

Web apps have only a slight impact on GNOME's utility for "advanced"
users. No web app is currently able to replace Photoshop, Dreamweaver or
some other often requested application, AFAIK.

True, some web apps have replaced specialized desktop apps for small
enterprises: Invoice, billing, project management, etc. This, however,
is only a small fraction of the market.

In contrast, web apps (in a loose sense) may have also increased the
needs of advanced users: Youtube increased the demand for video editing
software, for example. MySpace increased the demand for recording and
music editing software.

Web apps also don't fix the hardware problem.

To summarize: No, GNOME (and Linux, in general) is still not suitable
for many advanced users. Therefore, we have trouble to reach the
audience, GNOME would be suitable for.

Best regards,


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