The GNOME design team is in the process of overhauling the settings app. They are hard at work rethinking the whole model of access and emphasis for various GNOME settings. It involves some interesting potential shifts and I would recommend checking out the progress. In my role as a usability testing intern, I am conducting a paper prototype test for these settings changes. I get to test on design changes that haven’t even been implemented in GNOME yet!
Paper prototyping an application is:
Building (parts of) an application’s GUI using low-cost materials, such as pen and paper.
Executing end-user scenarios against that paper GUI, effectively testing the GUI’s interaction design.
Feeding the knowledge gained back into the design of the real application’s GUI.
A paper prototype is used early on in development to catch design problems with little overhead or cost before they become set in stone on the application.
Below is a list of a number of brief scenarios that involve the settings app. These are tasks I think would help GNOME designers and developers identify areas of the settings app that need improvement. Some of the tasks are specifically meant to test out the proposed changes to the settings app so that we can see if they actually represent improvements in usability.
1. Tester has set an alarm for one hour from now. Tester wants the alarm to be really loud so they will notice it from across the room.
2. The tester would like to split the workspace over two screens so they can see the web browser and a spreadsheet at the same time.
3. It’s morning and the tester would like to shut off the sleep assistance button they enabled last night.
4. The tester frequents a local cafe and has the wifi password cached on their laptop. They would like to locate the password and share it with the person sitting next to them in the coffee shop.
5. The tester wants to pair a blue tooth speaker with their computer to watch a movie.
6. The tester just connected a usb microphone to their system. Now they would like to lower the volume.
7.The wifi at the office is going down a lot today. The tester wants to switch from wifi to their LAN connection.
8. The tester is a really fast typer and would like to increase the keyboard speed to match the rate of work they do.
9. The tester, an English speaker, is letting their Spanish speaking friend borrow their laptop. They would like to change the default language to Spanish.
10. The tester doesn’t trust public network connections. They wants to configure a vpn so they can work in a cafe.
11. The tester, a student, wants to know how much battery life remains on their laptop to see if they need to go retreive the charger before entering a 2 hour lecture.
12. The tester would like to show a work presentation with a projector. They want to connect their laptop to the projector.
13. The tester realizes that another family member is logged in on their computer and wants to switch to their own user account.
14. The tester wants to print their resume on high quality paper. There is some nice paper already loaded into the printer, but it isn’t the printer that is set to default on their computer.
15. The tester just got bought a new printer. They want to be able to access the printer via wifi from their laptop.
16. The tester is from Zurich. They are studying abroad In Mexico City and want to change the time on their computer to reflect the local time.
17. The tester is torrenting a lot of files and doesn’t want to be distracted by the noise that signifies the completion of each download.
18. The password for the wifi at work was just changed. The tester needs to replace the old password with the new one.
19. The tester wants to replace the lock screen stock image with a picture of their family.
20. The tester doesn’t like how their computer locks after 5 minutes of inactivity. They would prefer it to lock after 10 minutes.
21. The tester plugged headphones into their laptop. They can hardly hear the music now.
22. The tester wants to be able to scroll with the touchpad of their laptop.
23. The tester sometimes shares their computer and doesn’t want other people having access to their private network. They want their computer to connect to the guest network by default.
So, here are my ideas for possible testing scenarios. Now my mentor and the design team will look over these scenarios and pick out the ones that seem reasonable for my usability test. I’ll keep you posted on the next phase of creating this paper prototype usability test as it unfolds!