KMenu: Users and Usage

Celeste Lyn Paul celeste at
Wed Oct 19 20:42:37 CEST 2005

I've compiled some of my notes together on users of the KMenu and how/why
they use it.  Any comments?  I know I havnt hit every possible use case,
but these were the most prominent. This applies only to launching
software, and not controlling the current session or doing system

KMenu Audience
+ All users
  * Beginner users...
    - not familiar with the available software (browse and learn)
    - who dont know how to create shortcuts on Desktop or Kicker
    - who do not know other ways to launch applications
# Primary source of starting tasks, learning software, almost acts as a

  * Moderate users...
    - browsing for applications (learning software)
    - who do not have a shortcut somewhere (less frequently used apps)
# Often use shortcuts, uses the KMenu but less frequently than Beginner
users.  Not as reliant on the menu to discover and launch applications.

  * Advanced users...
    - sometimes browsing for applications (learning software)
    - who do not have a shortcut somewhere (very infrequently used apps
which they dont remember the executable)
# Tend to use the CLI more often to launch applications as well as
shortcuts, however may use the menu to find less frequently used apps. 
Very rarely uses menu.

Beginner users rely on the menus as a *primary way* to launch applications
both familiar and frequent, also for browsing and learning the system.

Moderate users are nota s dependent on the KMenu.  They have other
resources such as the ability/knowledge of creating shortcuts.  However,
they still use it as a means to browse software and launch less frequently
used applications.

Advanved users rarely use the KMenu to launch applications, however they
may use it to browse for software they do not use frequently (infrequently
enough they dont remember the executable).

It seems to me addressing the 'middle ground' user (re: Moderate users)
will be the most difficult task of redesigning the KMenu.  They are the
most sensitive because they are familiar enoguh with the system to know
what they want and how to get it, however still rely on the KMenu as a
source of launching tasks.  They may be discouraged and annoyed by the
difficulty of using the menu.

Beginner and Advanced users are less sensitive to the poor design;
Beginner users are constantly exploring and learning and may blame
themselves for errors instead of the poor information layout, and Advanced
users rarely use the menu to experience it.

Primary audience revisited: By volume there are more Beginning users
actually using the KMenu (in most to all cases of application launching,
browsing for software, learning the system), however it is just as
important for Moderate users (primarily for browsing software, but also
launching applications).  Improvements to the menu may change usage
patterns of all groups.  A good target audience for the KMenu would be in
between Beginner and Moderate users.  The menu will be easy enough for the
newest user to train and overcome, but advanced enough with features to
accomodate Moderate users.  Beginner and Moderate users are the bulk of
our targeted KDE audience as well as the primary users for the KMenu.

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