[Foundation-l] A qualitative study on usability with n=1 |Re: Usability Study Results (Sneak Preview)

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Fri May 8 12:21:23 UTC 2009


the results Parul and the team shared with us touched some frustrating
memories of mine. I often found it difficult to explain to Wikipedians
how hard it is to edit, and that we should consider to modify some of
the MediaWiki.

A couple of years ago I had a usability test of my own, when the
Antwerp Esperanto group invited to its 100 years anniversary. In the
programme there was also a Wikipedia lesson organized by Chuck and
Yves from Esperanto Wikipedia. We instructed people, often elderly
people, on a personal basis how to edit - or at least, we tried to.

I was working in fact with one person only; her name sound familiar to
me and it turned out that she was the daughter of a higly respected
Belgian Esperantist, deceased maybe ten years before. He was a teacher
and founder of a school in Africa, and she told me that he certainly
would have been enthusiast about Wikipedia. Friends suggested to her
to write a Wikipedia article about him, which she as a relative found
a bad idea (a healthy point of view not every newbie has).

Actually I did not teach very much to her. She was very interested in
everyting, but found it difficult to understand how to edit and what
this wiki syntax means. (She had a very nice laptop, but only since a
couple of weeks.) In more than an hour I concentrated on showing her
what Wikipedia is and how she can use it more efficiently, rather than
editing by herself.

At the end, I instigated her to try the functions again, like the
search. I asked her to enter the name of her father, maybe one of his
books is cited or he is mentioned in an article about Belgian
Esperanto movement. She did so, and with surprise the search engine
led us to a well written article about him, even with photograh.

When I tell this story to male persons, and ask them what the lady did
then spontaneously, they say: she saves the page, she corrects it by
making an edit, she looks at the version history... Only women know
instinctively what she actually did: she cried. Someone had found her
father so important that he had written an article, and this now is in
an encyclopedia online.

Don't call me sly, but I wished there was a Belgian chapter so I could
have used the moment to make her a member. :-)

So this is what can happen to you when you teach Wikipedia or make
usability tests.


2009/5/8 geni <geniice at gmail.com>:
> 2009/5/8 Brian <Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu>:
>> I will have no part in your efforts to redefine the scientific method on its
>> talk page.
> Fortunately you don't need to. People who have put far more effort
> into the subject than you are ever likely to do so have pretty much
> shot apart the idea of a single hard scientific method that scientists
> actually use.
> --
> geni
> _______________________________________________
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Ziko van Dijk

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