GNOME Usability Test Observations (Part 1)

It’s been quite a while since my last post, so today may well be overkill – anyhow, it’s high time I documented and published results and observations from my usability test! So here goes:

The Usability Test had a total of 12 participants, distributed across various categories such as age, gender, computer experience, mobile experience and previous OS exposure. Each tester took 38 minutes on average, to complete (or omit) all scenario tasks. Here’s a graph showing the time taken by all the testers:


Test Duration

You may notice a step-up pattern for every three testers – this is because the graph is ordered by the testers’ expertise level within other groups based on age and OS exposure. Following are a few pie charts that represent the test participants’ distributions across various categories:






Mobile OS Exposure


OS Preference



I chose the testers specifically to have an even distribution across various categories as far as possible.

The testers had some interesting feedback/remarks/doubts during and after the tests! They could prove to be useful insights, some of them at least, so I’m including them below, grouped by application:


Why is there no font change option in this menu? (3B)
Is the replacement over?
What is this button for? (3B)
This scrollbar is narrow
Where are the preferences?


How to save this note?
Font change should be in the selection popover
No ticks for the notes I choose?
I like this font better!


There should be a remove from playlist option when you select a song
How do I search within the playlist?
Where can I add to a playlist? (before selecting anything)
Why is it searching everywhere?
Is there a playlist-specific search?
Right click is good to select also


What exactly does the Esc key do? It works sometimes
This blue bar and tick is confusing
Help is not very helpful
How to create a new album?
Does this set the photo as the app background or the desktop background?
When to open and when to select?

You can read my observations and view a “heat map” of the results in the next blog post, here.


2 thoughts on “GNOME Usability Test Observations (Part 1)

  1. Loved this post! Great visualisation and insights. I am sure GNOME Dev and Design team would act on these pointers and make open source software more usable :)
    Great contribution :D

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