UX Review

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Title User Experience Review
Overview Students will interact with an existing open source software project, review the user experience, sketch mock-ups of how to make the software work and flow better, and document ideas for betterment of the software. Optionally: instructor can initiate contact with the open source project leaders to determine which parts of the software they would like feedback on. Then, the students can focus on those areas and contribute the best write-ups back to the open source project community.
Prerequisite Knowledge Prior to attempting this activity, students need to know
  • How to draw a mock-up of a user interace using a simple drawing tool (such as LucidChart, draw.io, etc.)
Learning Objectives After completing this activity, students should
  • Be able to describe what is meant by the term "user experience", why it is important, and specific challenges faced by open source software


Background reading material includes:

Are there other activities the student should have done first?

  • Might be helpful for students to conduct a FOSS Field Trip type activity, such as OS_Project_Comparison_Activity, to learn more about this or other open source projects before working with it

What is the rational for this activity?

Helpful hints for faculty:

  • This activity can be enhanced by having the instructor develop a relationship with members of a specific open source community. This would allow opportunities such as
    • Having a conference call with open source community manager to answer student questions about the project
    • Having a conference call with users of the open source project that describes how they use it and what issues they have with the software
    • Having the opportunity of suggestions getting accepted back into the community


What should the student do?

Selection of project: Compare usability of GNOME 2 vs. GNOME 3 vs. KDE

In groups of 3, the students will perform a Virtual Usability Review by doing the following steps

  • Roles: Interviewer, Recorder (screen capture, video recording of the user, and audio feedback), and Participant
    • Observer: Note what the participant does AND what the outcomes were. For example, how many places did they click before getting to the correct place? How long did it take to complete the task? For example: "On task 5, user first tried to look at Desktop. Then, user tried to look at Taskbar and didn't find it there."
  • Students will complete a set of tasks without any instructions
  1. Open a terminal
  2. Create a text file
  3. Make a directory or folder
  4. Search for and launch the application "GIMP", an open-source image manipulation tool similar to PhotoShop
  5. Launch a Web Browser
  6. Using the Web Browser, find a picture of the Linux Penguin and save it to the computer
  7. Insert the picture into a word processing package


What will the student hand in?


How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.


What should the instructor know before using this activity?

What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

Additional Information:

Knowledge Area/Knowledge Unit What ACM Computing Curricula 2013 https://www.acm.org/education/CS2013-final-report.pdf knowledge area and units does this activity cover?
Topic What specific topics are addressed? The Computing Curriucula 2013 provides a list of topics - https://www.acm.org/education/CS2013-final-report.pdf
Level of Difficulty Is this activity easy, medium or challenging?
Estimated Time to Completion How long should it take for the student to complete the activity?
Materials/Environment What does the student need? Internet access, IRC client, Git Hub account, LINUX machine, etc.?
Author Who wrote this activity?
Source Is there another activity on which this activity is based? If so, please provide a link to the original resource.
License Under which license is this material made available? (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/)

Suggestions for the Open Source Project:

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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