OPW Internship Wrap-Up

My OPW internship with Fedora has ended, and I am feeling a little bittersweet about it. I enjoyed working for Fedora and it was a great learning experience, but now I have more time for school and other fun things.

This blog post is a final wrap-up of the work I did for the past 3 months. During the course of my internship, I worked with Mairin Duffy to create a usability test plan for Anaconda, the installer for Fedora, where the tests were held at DevConf in the Czech Republic.

The first thing I did was created a Pre-Test Survey which was given to potential users before the usability test so we can find users with the correct skill set and match them with the correct profile of the type of users we want to test. The three different types of users we wanted to test are the following:

  1. Novice users who may be new to linux who just want to install a desktop system
  2. Experienced linux users who may dabble in system administration, are very technical, and like trying out different technologies
  3. Professional system administrators who work with advanced storage devices and configurations, typically on the job, not for fun

I created a first draft of the pre-test survey, then Mairin sent it off to the Anaconda developers for feedback on the types of questions we asked, if we asked them correctly, and if they thought there were any other relevant questions we should ask. Their feedback was very helpful; Mairin and I discussed all of the suggestions we received then made changes accordingly. I sent off a second draft to the developers, and the only feedback I received were typographical suggestions. I made those changes, and the Pre-Test Survey was completed!

Before writing the usability test scripts, we identified the five different use cases we will be testing. The use cases we tested are the following:

  1. Non-English/US Install: 4 of the novice users will simply go through the installation process without any special requirements or customizations.
  2. Dual Boot Install: 1 of the experienced/professional users will install Fedora 18 alongside a Windows install.
  3. Customized LVM Install: 1 of the experienced/professional users will install Fedora 18 with a specific LVM disk layout we provide for them.
  4. Customized RAID Install: 1 of the experienced/professional users will install Fedora 18 with a specific RAID layout we provide for them.
  5. Preserve /home directory: 1 of the experienced/professional users will install Fedora 18 on top of Fedora 17, which was already installed on the Virtual Machine, without deleting or overwriting the Fedora 17 /home directory.

I made the first drafts for each of the use cases, and the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ for each use case is the same. We sent them to the developers for feedback and did not get too much, so I made the changes and finalized the test scripts.

The final task I needed was to create an Administrator Worksheet the administrator’s of the usability tests could have with them to make it easier for them to take notes as the users go through the testing. It aided the administrators with taking structured notes and gave them specific things to note throughout the usability test.

The usability tests that took place at DevConf were very successful and overall they went well, and only one out of eight of the users was unable to complete their given task. The records and documentation are still being translated, but I’m pretty sure they’re almost done. I’m excited to hear how all of the tests went!

After finishing the Anaconda Usability Tests, I helped Mairin with several usability bugs for Anaconda. We discussed several usability bugs with some Anaconda developers over IRC chat and came up with solutions for a lot of them. Some mockups I made for the RAID screen are in one of my previous posts, and Mairin worked with Dave Lehmen on a redesign, which I think looks really good!

Overall, I really enjoyed my internship at Fedora and I learned a lot. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again! I think the OPW Internship program is a great way for women to get introduced and integrated in the FOSS community. I know that if I did not do this internship I wouldn’t have been a part of the FOSS community for awhile, and now that my internship is over I feel more comfortable and familiar with it. I would like to thank Marina Zhurakhinskaya for coordinating the OPW internship and all of the meetings, and Mairin Duffy for being a great mentor!

-Stephanie

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