User Testing: Six people in a cafe

Registered by David Siegel on 2009-07-22

Tested opening an archive containing photos using Archive Manager (default behavior) and auto-extract on six subjects, mostly students, ages 20-45.

Subjects were shown a folder named "Files" on the Desktop. Subjects were told that there were pictures "inside that folder" and that their task was to "open the pictures." Inside the "Files" folder was an archive named "Nature.tar.gz" for the first five subjects to test archive files that do not have the extension ".zip." For the last two subjects, the archive file was "Nature.zip." Inside the Nature archive was a folder named "Nature" with assorted jpeg images inside of it.

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Whiteboard

### Subject 1: Micky, M, 20, Student. Tested Archive Manager.

Micky called the archive ("Nature.tar.gz" in this case) a "zip file". He quickly opened a picture from within Archive Manager by double-clicking on it. He remarked that it was "easy as can be" and there were "no problems."

### Subject 2: Edward, M, 45, Mac user. Tested Archive Manager.

Immediately expressed dissatisfaction about using Windows (believed he was using Windows).

Edward clicked on the archive, then clicked on a file in Archive Manager and remarked "sooner or later you're going to get to it," saying that his strategy was to just keep clicking until he found photos, which he found quickly.

After the test, Edward was told he was not using Windows. He tried to discover what the operating system was by going into the System > Preferences menu. He did not discover that he was using Ubuntu.

### Subject 3: Erich, M, 29, Part-time student. Tested auto-extract in Nautilus, and Archive Manager.

With auto-extract on, Erich clicked on "Nature.tar.gz" three times, extracting the archive three times, creating directories "Nature," "Nature (1)," and "Nature (2)." After extracting for the third time, Erich decided to open one of the extracted folders and found the photos. He checked the other extracted folders and discovered that they were duplicates.

With Archive Manager behavior enabled, Erich opened "Nature.tar.gz" in Archive Manager and immediately clicked "Extract" in the toolbar. Erich got stuck in the file chooser dialog, unable to make sense of step where he was required to pick a destination folder for extraction. Erich closed the file chooser dialog by clicking on the "X" in title bar. Back in Archive Manager, Erich clicked "Open" in the toolbar and opened the archive in another Archive Manager instance and clicked "Extract" again. Confused, Erich gave up.

### Subject 4: Eric, M, 32, student. Tested auto-extract in Nautilus.

Eric clicked on the archive three times, causing it to be extracted three times. Eric did not understand what was happening. Eric then right-clicked and chose "Open with Archive Mounter" but didn't understand what that did. He then tried "Open with Other Application..." and chose F-Spot, at which point the test stopped.

Eric said "I expected to see the photos" after clicking on the archive because he thought that "Nature.tar.gz" was a folder.

For the remaining subjects, a .zip archive was used for testing.

### Subject 5: Jill, F, 23, student. Tested auto-extract in Nautilus.

Jill immediately located the "zip file," double-clicked to extract it, and opened the extracted folder of photos. Jill opened the photos directly but not intuitively, saying that her strategy was "clicking on whatever changed."

Jill said that she expected to see thumbnails "in a folder" after double-clicking on the "zip file."
When asked what a "zip file" was, Jill answered "a zip file is a compressed file" and made a compressing gesture with her hands.

### Subject 6: Adam, M, 29, Research assistant in speech and language science. Tested auto-extract in Nautilus.

Adam clicked on the "Nature.zip" file repeatedly, extracting the archive three times before he opened one of the extracted folders. He expected something to say "unzipped"

When shown how archives are extracted in Archive Manager, he said he preferred auto-extraction, but that it was unfamiliar to him which is why he extracted the archive three times before he understood what was happening.

### Observations:

 * All subjects expected something new to open when they clicked on the archives. Auto-extraction occurred in place with a transient progress dialog, and they often didn't see that a folder had been created with the extracted files until they had extracted the archive a few times.

 * Three subjects tested Archive Manager. Two tried to extract the archive and failed, one did not try to extract the archive.

 * Four subjects tested auto-extraction. Three of them extracted the archive multiple times before trying a different approach of opening one of the folders being created, the other subject extracted the directory of photos and opened it immediately.

 * No subjects used the word "archive." A few called the archive a "zip file" or a "compressed file."

 * Subjects seemed more confident that they had completed the task when the archive contents were shown in Nautilus than when they were shown in Archive Manager. Of the three subjects who tested Archive Manager, one was confident that he had accomplished the objective once Archive Manager was open; the other two felt that they had not succeeded once they had opened Archive Manager.

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