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Usability research



I wanted to run the following by you -- this is my proposed approach for
research for the Maverick cycle. Please comment as soon as possible, as I'd
like to lock to an approach rather soon.

Usability Research
Research is a key value for UMP. To adhere to this value, we will undertake
one or more research projects with every release cycle, in order to better
understand our userbase and to improve our products.
Maverick Cycle Research
During the Maverick cycle, we will conduct a series of *usability interviews
* aimed at improving the chapters of our manual devoted to operating system
installation, and run a *survey* aimed at understanding common computer
tasks with which users may need some help.
Usability Interviews
During the Maverick cycle, our goal for interviews is to understand the
effectiveness of the installation instructions contained in *Getting Started
With Ubuntu*. We are trying to answer the following research questions:

   - Are the instructions in our manual sufficiently helpful for new users
   attempting to install Ubuntu for the first time?
   - How can we improve our installation instructions for new Ubuntu users?

More specifically, we will interview users from our target audience and
observe them as they follow our manual and perform an Ubuntu installation.
To avoid bias stemming from prior knowledge of Ubuntu (which may skew
research results), we will attempt to recruit two groups of users: 1) users
without Ubuntu experience who do not express a desire to switch to Ubuntu,
and 2) users who have some Ubuntu experience but who do not use Ubuntu as
their primary operating environment.
We will interview a total of 10 Ubuntu users, most likely in the Los Angeles
area, for approximately 90 minutes. In order to compensate participants for
their time, we will run a crowdfunding campaign aimed at creating a fund of
$600-800 to be distributed amongst the ten participants (a common rate for
studies). We will video-record each usability session and present a summary
of the research to UMP. All video recordings and other research results will
be licensed using CC-BY 3.0 and posted online.
Our team will finalize the design of the usability test by the end of May
2010; at this point, we will begin recruiting participants. Recruiting will
cease by June 6, and usability testing will occur no late than two weeks
after this deadline.

SurveysOur survey goal for the cycle is to understand our target audience's
typical approaches to everyday computing on home desktop or personal laptop
computers; this way, we can help our team prioritize improvements and focus
for our documentation products. We will develop and administer a survey
asking questions related to demographics, technical expertise, lifestyle,
computer use. Subsequently, we will analyze the results in segments after
grouping survey responses by operating system choice and other factors. We
will present research results to UMP.  Could this section also include
clearly articulated research questions, as the first section does? -Bryan
Behrenshausen 5/21/10 3:29 PM Respondents
We will recruit respondents using multiple channels including direct user
outreach (craigslist, flyers, etc), email promotion (mailing lists, etc),
and social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, etc). By participating
in the study, respondents will earn a chance to win $100 delivered via a
secure payment method (PayPal, Western Union, etc). As the study will be
crowdfunded, the cost of prize delivery will be subtracted from the prize
Agree on course of action
    June 8
Finish test design
    June 22
Ensure funding
    June 25
Recruiting for test
    June 18 - 25
Test administration
    June 26 - 27
Test results
    July 4
Finish survey design
    July 9
Survey administration
    July 10 - 18
Survey results
    July 22

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