Re: [Usability] measuring and improving user productivity

I think the productivity is related to the Average time of Average users to accomplish Average tasks.

In the desktop, the time is measured by mouse clicks, mouse path, and key strikes. A desktop that could use least mouse clicks, shortest mouse paths and fastest key strikes to accomplish average tasks, is a desktop of of the most productivity.

2008/10/30 Matthew Nuzum <newz bearfruit org>
Hello, I've had on my mind for a while the topic of user productivity
which could be thought of as a subject that falls under usability.

Several times I've composed emails on the subject and with each I tend
to be too detailed or they turn into a rant (or both) and I don't send
it. So I'm writing briefly to see if others here are interested in
discussing this. My thoughts in the matter are this:

The goal of a highly usable desktop environment might be to make you
more productive. That means when you set your mind to a task that is
possible to accomplish you should be able to accomplish it with the
least amount of effort. Especially repetitive tasks.

Optimizing for new user productivity may not be beneficial to
experienced user productivity and vice versa. For example, many call
centre applications from days gone by used green screen terminal apps
that used keyboard short cuts to speed up the experienced users.

Testing for user productivity is also a challenge. In my experience
the more detailed or lengthy the user test is, the less the results of
the test reflect real world results. Meaning that testing in the lab
produced results that were inconsistent with what users were doing in
the real world.

As a daily GNOME user I often get frustrated because the environment
seems to be working against me. For example, the focus is often in the
wrong place in the file chooser dialog and programs like GIMP often
revert to a default setting each time the application is launched.
This caused me to start thinking about how a series of disparate
pieces could be changed to work together to improve productivity. Yet
I'm completely mystified how to measure and test for productivity.

So here we have it, not too long, not too much of a rant. I'm just
curious if anyone else is thinking about this and if anyone knows how
to quantify it so that effort can be made to improve it.

Matthew Nuzum
newz2000 on freenode
Usability mailing list
Usability gnome org

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