User Research Plan

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Contents

Fedora's Audience and Why Fedora

Fedora's Target Audience

The target Fedora user audience is people who:

  1. are familiar with and comfortable interacting with computers.
  2. are not afraid to try something different when it comes to technology.
  3. want to change how they work with their computer.
  4. are not necessarily computer hackers or developers.
  5. participate in online forums such as online shopping product reviews, blogs, or movie fan sites.
  6. someone who does not mind submitting a bug report as long as it's not too time-consuming.
  7. are active users of the web, having accounts on a wide range of web-based applications.
  8. use their computer to produce content, whether it's an expense report for work or a photo slideshow of the kids for Grandpa.

Why should the target audience be interested in Fedora?

Fedora enables people worldwide to enjoy and contribute to free and open source technology without requiring them to be computer hackers or developers. It allows them to accomplish every day personal and work-related tasks in a safe and secure manner, presenting them with a selection of the best-of-the-best free and open source software to get the job done, either pre-installed or easily installed when needed. Fedora also makes it easy for people to put their own mark on the free and open source software community, whether its participating in a user forum or filing a bug to make free and open source software better for everyone. Fedora makes free and open source software fun and easy to integrate into their lives.

Guesstimation of Top 10 User Tasks

Based on our target audience definition alone, here is a guesstimation at the Top 10 User Tasks we'll want to support. Keep in mind that these may change based on findings in user research. Some of these are also on-board specific tasks.

Tasks

  1. Decide whether or not to download Fedora.
  2. Download and install Fedora, and personalize it, configuring email, bookmarks, wallpaper, etc.etc.
  3. File a bug with Fedora. Follow up on the bug and take a look at its progress.
  4. Take a photo of the kids and send it to Grandpa.
  5. While on a business trip, make a video call to your boyfriend/girlfriend.
  6. Print out invitations to your holiday party, including directions and mailing labels for the envelopes.
  7. Create a mix of tunes, save it for later use, and burn it to CD for an upcoming roadtrip.
  8. Get live help with Fedora.
  9. Find a good meeting time and book an appointment on your calendar for a business meeting.
  10. Write and send in your weekly status report for work, and figure out what you should work on today.

Defining Success

Success for Users

  • Fedora has the functionality they need to get the job done.
  • Fedora is not painful to use in getting the job done.
  • Fedora is enjoyable to use, and 'cool.' They *want* to use it and are happy with it.
  • Fedora is a sustainable positive experience, uninterrupted by broken applications or an unusable machine which requires command line heroics or other hackery to fix

Success for the Fedora Project

  • More bug reports!
  • More posts on Fedora-related user forums, and more activity and blog posts and general discussion of Fedora online and off.
  • More downloads of Fedora. Increased traffic to the website.
  • Increased awareness and mindshare of Fedora and free & open source sofware in general.
    • How do we make this measurable? --Duffy 22:15, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Stakeholders

Stakeholder Interviewer/ees Issues Questions
Fedora Board ?
Fedora Desktop Team mchua ?
Fedora QA mchua ?
Fedora Design Team spliction / mizmo ?
Fedora Release Engineering ?
Fedora Marketing Team tatica / mchua
  • how to *do* marketing "the open source way"
  • Metrics to measure progress towards FOSS marketing
  • Grow contributions to Fedora by growing the contributor base, by growing the user base
  • Make some pools with questions to beginners.
  • Make events with an explicit purpose of inviting new contributors to make their first contribution there. (on-ramp events)
  • Get Marketers (people with marketing domain knowledge / professional experience) to do Marketing.
  • how well are we leading the advancement of marketing free and open source software and content as a collaborative community? (Not just marketing FOSS, but marketing FOSS the Open Source Way - transparently, collaboratively, etc.)
  • how many contributions for a new release were done by people who had never made contributions to any release prior to that? (How do we measure "contribution growth"?)
  • how can we explain *what is Fedora* to other people? We first need to know what Fedora is.
  • What is our target audience?
  • is the target audience something that the board decides on once and it's that way forever? or is it something all of us as individuals decide at any time? or where in between the two is it?
  • who is doing valuable things, but is the only person doing those things and should not be? (Where would additional recruitment give us the most leverage right now?)
  • How do we make it easier for people to make portfolios that showcase the work they do in the Fedora community?
  • how can we get more Marketers to do Marketing?
Fedora Ambassadors ?
Fedora Spins Maintainers ryanlerch / sdziallas ?
Fedora Infrastructure Team mizmo / abadger1999 & smooge
  • Inter-team communication
  • Consistency across our web properties
  • Content plan
  • Explaining change.
  • Would like to know what kind of oversight do you (Board, maybe) want to give us over what runs in Infrastructure.
  • How can we enable them to contribute to Fedora?
  • (suggested) What web properties of fedoraproject.org right now are the most important to the target audience?
  • (suggested) What parts of infrastructure is the target audience likely to use?
Fedora Documentation Team ?
Fedora Websites Team ?
Fedora Help forums (#fedora, fedoraforum.org, Fedora Unity) mizmo / nirik
  • Many folks want spiffy 3d bling and are tempted to install blob drivers.
  • Our support offerings aren't as coordinated as they can be.
  • People running EOL releases seek support and we can't help them.
  • Which avenue they would seek help from first would be good to know - out of IRC, mailing list, or forum.
  • Perhaps what their expectation would be seeking on-line help... ie, how much interaction/help would they expect?
  • we could ask them for examples of what volunteer help they have used in the past that worked really well and get some ideas for improvement there
  • What do they typically need the most help with on their computer? What stuff do they have no problem handling?
  • When a problem happens, what are the first steps you take?
  • At what point would you go to a on-line help to solve a problem?
  • How important is a help/support channel? (of any kind).
  • If you got mad after using it, would that cause you to reflect poorly on fedora?
  • Would you consider helping on a support channel? irc/emaillist/forum? if no, why not?
Current Fedora contributors ?
  1. For each of these stakeholders, we'll need to ask:
    • How well do you think Fedora accomplishes its stated goals in light of your role in the project?
    • How is Fedora not meeting those goals?
    • What questions do you have about Fedora's target audience that you'd like to see answers so that your team can help get Fedora closer to its goals?
  2. We'll then need to prioritize the goals based on importance, severity, and priority.
  3. Per goal, we should formulate research questions, and come up with specifics to research for each question.
  4. Then we'll need to decide research methods for each questions.
  5. Then we'll need to come up with a research schedule.

Interview Notes

Infrastructure

  1. How well do you think Fedora accomplishes its stated goals in light of your role in the project?
    • Not utter fail, but definitely problems.
  2. How is Fedora not meeting those goals?
    • Two-way communication between groups can be quite poor. We need to improve inter-team communication. Things are poorly communicated if commnunicated at all at times, and projects end up getting dropped or implemented in a way that doesn't account for infrateam's needing to schedule and manage resources. this results in confused end-users, who may be expecting a project to come out and it never does. or it does but infra doesn't have the resources to support it properly.
      • Example: acrimony rather than discussion between desktop developers and unix users / system administrators. I like that we're on the cutting edge of desktop development but too often the cutting edge is thinking about single user desktop problems when our users use us because we're a multi-user desktop/unix solution.
      • Example: Amber project, was dropped then re-picked back up. Finally ended up working with pkgdb but was a long road to get there.
      • Infrastructure / design team / developers - interact one-on-one rather than all three together
      • too many different views at times; lack of central vision to move forward when 20% pull one way, 20% pull the other,and 60% don't care
    • We need to improve the consistency across our web properties. there still isn't a standard look/feel documented or design resource specifically allocated for developers to turn to. this hurts our end users because our web properties are a smorgabord of styles/looks and they don't seem the same. We also have multiple website templating language. Genshi and mako (fcomm/ bodhi). But they are in the same family (python / turbogears) so it's not as bad as it could be.
    • No content plan or allocated resources for it. We're pretty much only about rpm packages. Locally installed free content like copying deviantart as wallpapers or project Gutenberg for ebooks - RPM packaging is the wrong way here. But users want it and being able to get it to them fits with our mission. Other ways could be to partner with other services (like deviant art and project gutenberg). We don't have a good plan for locally installed docs (rpm and publican is showing that it doesn't scale in one or more directions depending on how we try to massage it.
    • No where are we going plan. Users get upset not knowing why website or applications change (even if they like the newer way). We make changes but forget to tell people sometimes we are going to do it, why we are doing it, and what we are trying to accomplish so they can see if we are meeting that or not. Sometimes it feels like change for change's sake.
  3. What questions do you have about Fedora's target audience that you'd like to see answers so that your team can help get Fedora closer to its goals?
    1. Would like to know what kind of oversight do you (Board, maybe) want to give us over what runs in Infrastructure.
    2. How can we enable them to contribute to Fedora?
    3. (suggested) What web properties of fedoraproject.org right now are the most important to the target audience?
    4. (suggested) What parts of infrastructure is the target audience likely to use?

Fedora Help Forums

Note there are three major forums:

  1. IRC (#fedora) (nirik is most closely affiliated with this one)
  2. mailing list (fedora-list@)
  3. forums (fedoraforum.org)
  1. How well do you think Fedora accomplishes its stated goals in light of your role in the project?
    • well, those are pretty sweeping goals... ;) I think we are doing 'ok' but can always do better.
  2. How is Fedora not meeting those goals?
    • 'Many folks want spiffy 3d bling, and our X drivers are just starting to catch up. We need to keep improving in this area to keep users from using non free blobs.
    • I think we could do better coordinating our support offerings'... fedoraforum/#fedora/fedora-list seem to just be doing their own things, and could help have a unified front for users. The pool of helpers is different in each... so you may get different answers from each.
    • We get a fair number of people running EOL releases looking for support. The policy we have currently is that we would help them to upgrade, but not assist with the eol/non supported release issues. Of course if it's something easy we can tell them that - at least point them to the archive if they are looking for a package.
  3. What questions do you have about Fedora's target audience that you'd like to see answers so that your team can help get Fedora closer to its goals?
    1. Which avenue they would seek help from first would be good to know - out of IRC, mailing list, or forum.
    2. Perhaps what their expectation would be seeking on-line help... ie, how much interaction/help would they expect?
    3. we could ask them for examples of what volunteer help they have used in the past that worked really well and get some ideas for improvement there
    4. What do they typically need the most help with on their computer? What stuff do they have no problem handling?
    5. When a problem happens, what are the first steps you take?
    6. At what point would you go to a on-line help to solve a problem?
    7. How important is a help/support channel? (of any kind).
    8. If you got mad after using it, would that cause you to reflect poorly on fedora?
    9. Would you consider helping on a support channel? irc/emaillist/forum? if no, why not?

Marketing

  1. How well do you think Fedora accomplishes its stated goals in light of your role in the project?
    • I think we're on the forefront of trying to figure out what it means to *do* marketing "the open source way" not just marketing *of* FOSS software and content, but doing that with the same sort of culture that we use for our code. transparency, a do-ocracy, etc. I'd say that we're still in the very early stages of being able to do that marketing-wise, but open souce marketing is also still pretty young (compared to open source for code development) Fedora's leadership in other areas is what makes it possible for us to do this in Marketing as well. i.e. first you need a cutting-edge distribution to market before you can market it. Fedora is doing well, because we have (1) a good distro to market - a distro that's leading the way, advancing FOSS, and truly made by a community, and (2) a good selection of opportunies to contribute that we can market ("hey, you can join these teams and do cool things to help, here's how!"). We could be doing better by... and now your second question comes in, so let me try to answer that.
  2. so, you say that foss marketing is young... which are some goals you think are need to get it more mature?
    • I think one of the things that FOSS marketing needs to mature is a notion of what kinds of goals - and metrics to measure progress towards those goals - FOSS marketing might have. The same way we count things like "number of commits" or "number of packages" or "number of committers" or "lines of code" or "tickets closed" for coding. Now, keep in mind that my background is in engineering, not in marketing... but I get the sense that usually, in a marketing department for a company, that metric is money. Sales, revenue... basically, income. And that doesn't work as a metric in the Fedora world, because we don't sell anything, our 'users' don't pay us in cash. But what we do hope they will do is to contribute. So "contributions" are our "income," in a way. (Some other projects might measure "users" or "downloads," and we do that too, but I think "contributions" are the metric we would value more.)
    • NOTE: (suggestion) Measure how many people start using fedora with this release, and then we could count how many of them turn into contributors, like an ID or smolt
  3. is there some goals that are really difficult to get in marketing? even if you already say that FOSS marketing is starting
    • Our goal is to ensure "that people in Fedora can consistently explain to everyone what Fedora is, why the project can help them, and how they can help the project. " we're in the middle of lots of discussions (on f-a-b, mostly) on "what is Fedora?" if we can't explain it to ourselves, how can we go explain it to other people? So that goal is difficult to reach because it seems like Fedora, as a community, is still trying to figure out what Fedora (as a project, and as a distribution) is. Also, If we don't know who our users are, who we're targeting for our contributors, it's hard for us to say "here's how this helps you."
  4. How is Fedora not meeting those goals?
    • I think that what we're missing is a sense of what it's like for a beginner. Fedora has been leading the advancement of FOSS for so long, it's sort of become "normal" for us to do this. (which is good.) but part of leading is not just being out in front, but making it possible for others to follow after you. And I think that sometimes people look and go "wow, they're leading... and I have no idea how they do this magical open source thing!" or "wow, that's really cutting-edge... and it's not for me, I don't see how a new person like me could get started, and learn to be at that level." Which - if Marketing's mission is to grow the user base and the contributor base of Fedora (which is another way of wording it) makes it really hard for us to do our job, because the barrier to entry is so high. I would phrase that as "I think people get scared when they see success, and don't understand how it was done - it looks like magic to them."
  5. What questions do you have about Fedora's target audience that you'd like to see answers so that your team can help get Fedora closer to its goals?
    • (By that I mean "is the target audience something that the board decides on once and it's that way forever? or is it something all of us as individuals decide at any time? or where in between the two is it?") And once we have a target audience, there are some questions I would want to ask that audience. (And I would hope that target audience includes existing Fedora contributors, Fedora users who are not contributors, and people who are not Fedora users.) For those who are contributors:
      • how did you start using Fedora?
      • how did you start contributing to Fedora? (I'd like stories for these)
      • tell me stories of cool Fedora contribution experiences you've had
      • and stories of things you've tried to do within the Fedora community but which were really frustrating (whether they worked out in the end or not) like "I tried to make X happen, but it was blocked by Y and Z, and this is really aggravating" This next question is a weird one, and I don't like the way I'm phrasing it right now, but...
      • "If you could make 10 clones of anybody in the Fedora community, who would you clone?"
    • What I'm trying to get with that question is "who is doing valuable things, but is the only person doing those things and should not be?" for instance, we should have 1 FPL (as a position), not 10 but maybe an additional 10 people in QA might give us "more benefit" in a way that another 10 packagers might not, because we have more packagers than QA people right now (this may not be a good example) so that would help us figure out where we need to concentrate, for recruiting.
  6. once you know what people you need (to start), how do you think to recruit them?
    • I'd want to start with people who are Fedora users, but not contributors because I think we're usually motivated to make the things we use better :) some questions I might have, for people who use Fedora but don't contribute to it:
      • how did you start using Fedora?
      • did you know you can contribute to Fedora? (I think a lot of folks either don't know that, or don't realize that this applies to them) (you know, the "oh, they mean other people who Know How To Do Things can contribute, I don't know how to do this" sort of thing)
      • what things do you enjoy doing (because we can probably find a way that this will help us out) or what things do you want to learn (because you can learn by doing it and also help us out that way)? and that's how I would recruit them. I think it needs to be individual-to-individual. (This fits in with my notion of the Marketing Team as helping Ambassadors do their job.) If FOSS is water, and the goal is to get everybody wet, Marketing makes the water balloons, Ambassadors throw them.
  7. Beside do questions, what else would you like to do?
    • I would like to host more "getting started" events - FADs, but with the explicit purpose of inviting new contributors to make their first contribution there. ("We'll teach you what you need to get started.") That would be an Ambassadors type thing, I think. But Marketing could help with the materials and the infrastructure for that, so Ambassadors can focus more on deploying and actually working with people at their event. I would like to be able to measure contributions from two different points of view.
      • The first one is from the project point of view (or maybe the subproject point of view, even) - how do we make it possible for people to ask and answer the sorts of questions like the ones you were asking earlier? questions like "how many contributors first started using Fedora with F11 as opposed to F12?" or "how long does it take someone to figure out how to make their first package?" or "how many bugs does someone usually find on their first Test Day" or "out of 100 design students who install this spin, how many of them end up coming back and contributing to the Design Team"?
      • The second one is from the individual contributor point of view. A better way of phrasing that is "How do we make it easier for people to make portfolios that showcase the work they do in the Fedora community?" For instance, I know people use the work they do in Fedora as examples when they're applying for school, or for jobs. And I know that schools and employers look at Fedora contributors as one source of good students/employees.
    • Fedora as a distribution showcases the best in free and open source software. Or rather, we make it possible for the best in free and open source software to showcase themselves. And we should make this true for people as well as code. Give people the ability to display the value they're contributing *and* the value they're getting from contributing. it's tricky because I *love* the Fedora community's focus on "being rather than seeming" that is, we do good work, rather than worrying about "do I look good"
  8. (mchua self question) ow can we get more Marketers to do Marketing?
    • if you look in the Infrastructure team, you see a lot of sysadmins being sysadmins, if you look in the engineering teams you see engineers being engineers, if you look in the documentation teams you see writers being writers, but if you look in the Marketing team - I mean, take me as an example, I'm an engineer trying really hard to figure out what "marketing" is and I would like to be able to look at Marketing 6 months from now and see marketers doing marketing. not necessarily that they've studied marketing, or are a marketer for their day job, but people who want to "have their marketing hat on" when volunteering for Fedora stuff. "how Fedora helps you, how you can help Fedora"

Resources / Meta

Meetings