Sonntag, 11. April 2010

Usability

Considering that simon was designed to be as easy as possible, someone who just downloads and installs simon might say that we failed.

To many new users the concepts behind simon are - at first - too complicated and simply getting the recognition to work seems needlessly hard.

However, those that stick with it seem to "get" the ui pretty soon and it proves very powerful for expert users.

This is why one of the goals for 0.3 was to make this initial learning curve as flat as possible at get simon up and running quickly.

After I released the first alpha of 0.3 about a month ago, I posted a review request to the KDE Usability mailing list asking them for ideas of how to improve our interface. I got great feedback (thanks!) and it quickly became clear that it would be best if simon provided an assistant on the first start that would guide new users through an initial setup.

Some users might remember this concept from 0.1. Back then we had a first run wizard but it took ages to complete because it consited of dozens of pages with quite complicated instructions.

In 0.3 however, with the introduction of scenarios and base models we designed another such wizard. It now includes just 5 pages (including welcome and finish pages) and includes short but precise instructions for every step. If the users follows through, they will be rewarded with a completely functional simon within minutes.



We are still fine tuning the wizard (updating the descriptions, everything is already fully functional) which is why it still resides in its own branch ("hci") for those of you who want to check it out.

The wizard will be included in the next release.

Thanks again to the KDE usability team for their valuable input!

Kommentare:

nshmyrev hat gesagt…

Usabilty people should know that users never go through wizards heh. Obviosly you could reduce the required setup process to zero by using some other library :)

Also, you'll solve HTK website downtime issues like the one this week.

Peter Grasch hat gesagt…

I'm not so sure. Of course there are a lot of people simply skipping them but still... Think about e-Mail programs. There a setup process is completely normal when the program is started the first time and yet people expect speech recognition software to work out of the (multi-lingual) box.

All we can do is provide documentation and help for users. If the choose ignore it it's their loss :)

What do you mean by using some other library? We have three content pages.
One of those is completely filled out with default values and can be accepted as is in most cases (still has a very good reason to be there).
The other two pages are for language and use case specific configuration.

Btw, nothing bad will happen if you close the wizard. You'll just spend a lot of time reading the manual / other documentation on trying to find exactly those options the welcome wizard conveniently already contains.

Also, the HTK is completely independent from simon. I have as much influence on their homepage as you.