Friday, July 13, 2007

Tell the world about your first time impression - Usability Reports

MySQL, like most software companies, has a complex organization to deal with the creation and improvement of its products.
There is a well oiled machinery that evaluates the needs and decides where to invest resources to create new products or to expand or change existing ones.
Ultimately, what affects the decision is the users satisfaction.
However, funnily as it may sound, the best organized activity in our company is bugs processing i.e. the one dealing with users dissatisfaction.
I would like to see more positive input from the users, and thus I put together the guidelines for a Usability Report.
What is is?
In short, it is the account of a user first impression with a product or a feature. If you decide today to start testing, say, the Falcon engine, you could write a usability report to convey your experience to MySQL.
The usability report should be divided into sections, to make it easier for you to write and easy to read for the ones evaluating community feedback and taking decisions.
  • product identification
  • Expectations
  • Clarity of documentation
  • Ease of use
  • Real world usage
  • Bugs
  • Missing pieces
  • Level of satisfaction
  • (optional) Test units
You can see an example in the Forge. It's a report that I wrote in August 2006, a month or so before joining MySQL. You can use my first experience with logs on demand as an example of how to write a report.
Want to have your voice heard? Visit MySQL Forge, and submit your first Usability Report.

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