I have been following the current discussions with interest (and I will likely start interjecting some of my thoughts on the matters at hand), but I thought that it might be useful to get an overall goal in mind. It is easy to get bogged down in little details, but if we want to have a coherent, easy to use platform, we need to give some consideration to what overall user experience we would like to offer. I have attached the first draft of a document that will eventually outline several different use cases, each focusing on a different class of user. Currently, I only have included one. Before I invest too much time in this, I want to make sure that it is something that is of value. If none of you see a need for such a thing, let me know, and I won't bother. ;-) But if it is useful, I will try and develop this use case scenario and others more fully. On other projects that I have worked on, I have found use cases to be helpful in drawing out the areas that need more attention. It is also useful to have some heuristic to see how well reasonably common desktop tasks can be accomplished with GNOME. If we have several of these, it is a reasonable measure of success once we can fully complete them. I tried to avoid any real bluesky ideas, or anything much beyond what the current state of the art is. As much as I like them, I made no claims about things like Vfolders and such. ;-) This initial case was generated based on some real people in my apartment, and what I see them trying to do with GNOME. Anyway, I hope this isn't a waste of bandwidth. --RyanTitle: /home/ryan/Documents/gnome use case draft.htm
Desktop Use Case Scenarios
The purpose of this document (and more to come, if this is deemed useful) is to help identify problem areas of the GNOME desktop. To do this, I have attempted to create a number of common usage scenarios, given various classes of users. Use cases will outline “ideal” usage - that is, the tasks that the user wishes to complete. Mention of features required will be made, followed by concrete suggestions for where GNOME can improve. This document is meant to provide a high-level view of the usability problems at hand for GNOME desktop users - this is not meant to serve as a fine-grained discussion of every usability issue in GNOME.
Case 1: College Student
Dana is an English major at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is comfortable with computers, but often needs help with applications or configuration options that are outside of her comfort level. She views a computer as a means to her ends, not an end in of itself. Dana is using a personal computer, so she does not wish to be exposed to the fact that she is using a multi-user system. She does not want to have to log in or log out - she just wants to be able to turn her computer on and off.
In the morning, Dana turns on her computer, and checks her email. She receives an email from a professor informing her that her upcoming paper's due date has been changed. Dana opens her task list, and updates the due date for her upcoming paper. Now that her weekend is free, she decides to schedule in some time to go running. She opens her calendar application, and reserves a block of her time for the following Saturday.
As Dana continues to get ready for classes, she wants to make sure that she is wearing warm enough clothes for the day's weather, so she checks the weather and the day's forecast that her computer downloaded for her. She also quickly scans the headlines of the papers she tends to read, by glancing at the “News” folder on her desktop. Noticing that nothing looks particularly interesting, she doesn't bother to open her web browser.
Later in the day, Dana comes back to her computer after being at classes all day. A friend of hers gave her a cd that she wanted a song off of, and so she put the cd into her computer, and from her file manager chose to turn the files into Music files on her computer. The files are then ripped, and placed for her in her Music directory. While the cd is being ripped and encoded, she copies onto floppy disk a draft of an image (from her Pictures directory) that she wants to print on the University's computer lab color laser printer.
After doing some homework, she decides to make sure that all of her software is up to date, and so she runs the software update utility. While it is running, she also looks on the web for a game that her friend told her about in class. After a little searching, she finds it, and downloads the game. It shows up on her desktop, and she double-clicks it to install it. Once installation completes, she opens her Programs menu. Under the Games menu, there is an entry for the new game. She clicks on it, and plays the game for a little while. She likes the game so much that she tells another one of her friends about it with her instant messenger client. The friend asks for it, so she drags and drops the game package that she downloaded to the friend's name in her instant messenger client. The friend then receives the game, and plays it for a little while as well. Dana, as she is getting ready for bed, decides to listen to the cd that she just ripped earlier that day, so she double-clicks on her Music folder, and then double-clicks on the album's playlist, which then launches her music player. After listening to the album for a while, she decides that it is time for bed, and turns off her computer.
Where GNOME can Improve: