Livna Usability Assessment (Was: Re: cursed nvidia fedora my lack of knowledgeness)

Christopher A. Williams chrisw01 at
Sat Nov 12 16:32:55 UTC 2005

On Thu, 2005-11-10 at 17:05 +0100, Thorsten Leemhuis wrote:

> Well, there was the mail that described rebuild the srpm. That's okay.
> But having one central place for documentations and Step-by-Step guys
> would help avoid confusion IMHO. 
> We have a documentation already at
> (normally that
>, but the server is still down) that's describes the
> rebuild-process. If that's not good enough please tell us and/or help
> fixing.
> >  Perhaps the
> > solution is more timely communication and a little re-org on the Livna
> > site to make it easier for people to find what they're looking for.
> Yeah, that might be a good idea. IMHO a wiki would also be good, but we
> can't serve that currently at Should we open a external wiki
> somewhere?
> >  I'd
> > be happy to help  [...]
> That's great! We really could need some more help. 

Excellent! While I agree a wiki would be a benefit, I think we could
more easily start with a re-design of the Livna Website itself. I had
one of our usability guys (the passionate one) look things over and he
has some very good feedback. He's also a dedicated NBM kind of person,
so I think his feedback is even more useful because he gives the kind of
feedback that's useful for taking Linux to the masses.

Here's a summary of his comments. I'm placing them here because they
also may be helpful to others on this list. Keep in mind this is coming
from someone who also doesn't understand the tools available for
automatic install and update of wanted applications (yum, yumex, etc.).
If he did, I guarantee he would say quickly showing how to enable and
use these would definitely be a highest priority...

Well, clearly the site is mistaken. It claims to be a repository, yet
offers only news, RSS feeds, and bug reports.

I would think that the #1 goal of a user visiting this site is to
download stuff, so they will be looking for a downloads section, or a
bunch of file icons, or hyperlinks to files. Seeing none, they will

Hence, the site is a failure. 

What would make this site a success?

Think of what the end-user wants. Not in terms of “tasks” (honestly, we
all could use fewer tasks), but in terms of “goals”.

For instance, you may think the tasks are:
      * Learn how these updates fit into the Fedora Core universe
      * Find out what the latest news is regarding a specific add-on
      * Obtain an RSS feed to keep track of add-ons
      * Spend countless hours and days of reading, reading, reading, and
        searching, searching, searching, so that they can proudly
        proclaim that they are an expert on nVidia driver support for
        Fedora Core.

But really, the user’s goal is:
      * Watch that funny Star Wars spoof, but it’s encoded in Windows
        Media Player format, therefore my #&^% computer won’t play it.

In this case, the tasks the user is willing to perform are:
      * Find your #&^%@ site
      * Click on the ^%*$ link to something called “Windows Media Player
        support for Fedora” (or something this clear and explicit)
      * Wait for the ^%&# thing to download.
      * Install the *&^*$ file, quick and easy, ideally with just a *&#@
        double-click, and not too many $*^# arcane questions and obscure
      * Skip any %(*# configuration step, in hopes that the default
        configuration ^&%*# works.
      * FINALLY get to watch the @*&# video.

So satisfy the user’s goal: Give them a big fat list of files on the
homepage. Unless you’ve got more than 100 files, DO NOT provide a
hierarchical navigation: One big list with category headings peppered
through is faster to scan than layers and layers of
not-quite-yet-what-I-want folders. 

Then, for the 5% of users who are genuinely interested in understanding
why everything is so damn complicated, go ahead and flood them with news
and RSS feeds.


Let me know how to get fully involved. I'll peruse the site to find info
there as well.



"Only two things are infinite,
the universe and human stupidity,
and I'm not sure about the former."

-- Albert Einstein

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