I've officially started the ball rolling on my usability test! This afternoon, I downloaded the GNOME 3.12 bootable image, and did a little testing in that. I'm currently verifying my test scenarios against this version, but things look good so far.
So I have taken the next step, and invited people to participate in a usability test. As a "thank you," I am giving out $5 gift cards to our local coffee shop, Higbies. Here's the email:
Hi there! I am working on a project to look at how people use certain computer programs, and I would like your help. It won't take much of your time, and in return you'll get a $5 gift card for Higbies!
It's easy: I'll ask you to complete a few tasks in 4 or 5 different computer programs. These tasks represent typical usage, such as using a web browser, editing a document, or copying files. The tasks aren't designed to be tricky or hard. After you do the tasks for each program, I'll ask a few questions to see how things went, and to get your opinion of the program. You should be done in about 45 minutes overall.
I am looking to do these sessions next week (Monday, 3/31 - Thursday, 4/3) in the afternoon and evening. You can pick a time that works for you by reserving an appointment for yourself on the "Usability testing" sign-up page.
Please email me if you have problems reserving a time on the sign-up page. (Note that the test should only take 45 minutes, but the appointment slots are 60 minutes so there's extra time before the next person shows up.)