When Ubuntu 11.04 was announced, one of the announcements which sent shockwaves was the fact that Ubuntu would no longer have Gnome as the default Desktop Environment, instead settling for Unity. Last week, Canonical’s User Experience Lead Charline Poirier ran a user experience test of Unity.
The user test sample size was rather small ( spread over 11 people) and comprised mainly of Windows and Mac users. Each of the users were given a Lenovo ThinkPad T410i running Ubuntu Natty (11.04) with unity 3.8.2-0ubuntu1 and asked to perform several tasks. After analysing the results, here’s what they found:
- Everyone understood most of the launcher items, the indicator icons, used Firefox to check their mail, launched LibreOffice Writer to write a letter and found and opened an existing document.
- Only about half the participants could easily rearrange the items in the launcher, figured out how to change the background wallpaper and were about to find and launch a game that was not present in the launcher
- Few participants though that LibreOffice Calc is a calculator, the Me Menu icon as the close close button.
- Two people were asked to play MP3 songs on a USB key, but none of them were actually able to accomplish the task
- Nobody understood what Ubuntu One was. ( Ubuntu One is Canonical’s online data storage and file sync application)
During this test, the participants found some unexpected bugs:
- About half the participants crashed Ubunty within an hour of their testing, and on double clicking Applications/Files& Folders resulted in screen flicker with no other effects.
- None of the participants were able to understand the Intention of the Ubuntu button
The user feedback was quite positive – most found Unity very nice, clean, easy way to get their documents. Some of the participants did wish that some settings and a way to find out their hardware info placement could be a lot more prominent.
What’re your thoughts on Unity? Do you like it? Or will you go back to classic Gnome? Do drop in a comment and let us know!