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By Darryl Bayliss, John Das, Daniel Lee & Paul Malloy
Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………………… ….. Page 3 Key Words………………………………………………………………………………… ………. Page 3 Introduction………………………………………………………………………… ……………. Page 3 Literature Review………………………………………………………………………………. Page 4-5 Methodology………………………………………………………………………… …………… Page 5-7 Results……………………………………………………………………………… ………………. Page 7 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………… ………….... Page 7-8 References………………………………………………………………………… ……………… Page 8 Appendices………………………………………………………………………… ……………..Page 9-17
Abstract The aim of this Project is to identify the quality of user experience within Google Chrome OS Linux and to heighten awareness of the accessibility of the operating system. The usability of the OS has been tested by conducting a series of tests that are designed to challenge the usability of the OS. The participants were mostly technical users. In order to log the raw data, the participants provided a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data through the use of questionnaires. The results show that 90% of participants agree that the GUI (Graphical User Interface) is user-friendly and easier to use than traditional Operating Systems (IE, windows & leopard) Key Words User Experience, Accessibility, Google Chrome, Windows, Operating System, HCI, GUI
This document researches the usability of Google Operating System, Chrome, which is available to the public for beta testing purposes. The report identifies how the usability compares to other corporate operating systems. In order to show this research, a series of tests and questionnaires were conducted to challenge the usability of the Operating System. The participants included a mixture of technical users and non-technical users. The following research includes a number of different methods and approaches to ascertain the usability features of the Google operating system. The following document consists of a literature review, which details the critical aspects of an Operating System, the features of a high performance Operating System. The methodology section explains the collection of the primary data and justifies the methods used, and the results section highlights the benefits and drawbacks of the system. The aims of this document are listed below: 3
Aim Identify the quality of user experience within GOOGLE chrome OS Linux
Objectives To identify positive and negative responses from users To understand the functionality of the OS.
Methods Conducting research via testing and questionnaires Literature review of Operating Systems
Literature review The Literature review is a breakdown of Operating Systems in general and what crucial aspects need to be considered during construction to make a functional piece of operating software. Various journals and Author’s will be consulted during this review to give a more rounded view of the subject; the review will focus on four main fields. The first section will focus on what factors make a good operating system; this is to ensure a fair understanding of the workings of operating systems has been understood during testing. The second section will look back at the operating software Google Chrome is based on and where it is today, this is to understand the main underlying factors Google has decided to build their operating system on. The third section will take a look at the argument between open source and commercial software and the benefits to each, this is required because Google Chrome is based upon open source software and a good understanding of the benefits of this was deemed necessary by the author’s. The fourth section will discuss the functions of Google Chrome and weigh up arguments for and against the operating system’s success, this was required to gather a more balanced, non-biased opinion regarding the functionality of the operating system. Learning about what makes a good Operating System was considered key to understanding why Google Chrome OS will provide a good user experience, Colin Ritchie (2001, pg 23) begins by describing the barebones of an OS as “a provider and manager of machine resources”, John English (2005, pg 17) continues the 4
description of a OS by saying Operating Systems should be “Efficient, The Purpose of a computer is to perform tasks for you, the user. The more time and space the operating system uses, the less there is left over for you to use productively. Reliable, you want to be able to guarantee that the operating system will not fail unexpectedly” In essence, this shows that an operating system needs to be able to provide and manager machine resources in an efficient, reliable and simple manner. The authors then moved onto looking behind a brief history of Google Chrome by looking at its predecessor, Linux. To this end, it was necessary to gain knowledge of Linux’s history and how it became free source. The works of Author’s Jose M. Garrido & Richard Schelesinger (2008, pg 15) were referred to and found information regarding the history of Linux dating to its parent, Unix. “Unix was originally introduced in 1974 by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson while working at AT&T Bell Labs. The operating system was developed on a small computer and had two design goals: small size of the software system and portability. By 1980, many of the users were universities and research labs… The Unix family includes Linux, which was primarily designed and first implemented by Linus Torvals and other collaborators in 1991. Torvals released the source code on the internet and invited designers and programmers to contribute their modifications and enhancements” With Google Chrome being based upon a free source operating system, The author’s delved briefly into the argument between commercial/free source programs to gather a understanding of the benefits of each, Steve Qualline, (1997, pg 3) comments on free software versus commercial software and why people consider commercial software as good software. “Consider Quality. Commercial Software gives people the impression of quality. After all, if the software wasn’t any good, how could they charge money for it” • Moving specifically onto Google Chrome OS, the author’s looked at the functionality Krishnan Subramanian at cloudave.com (July 7, 2009) highlights the attributes Google Chrome will provide “First let us look at some facts about this OS and then I will offer my first thoughts… Web, Web, Web, Web, Web (Imagine someone from Google jumping up and down and shouting this similar to what Steve Ballmer did about developers). Web is their mantra and this OS is designed with that in mind. It will be open source. It will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of this OS. They are redesigning the underlying security architecture based on the idea that the user experience will be purely on the web.”
Gary Marshall from Techradar.co.uk provides more information about the functionality of Google Chrome OS (10th December, 2010) “There's no underlying operating system to Chrome: unlike, say, Apple's iOS you don't have a choice between native applications and web applications. Every Chrome application is a web application; think browser-based apps rather than desktop ones. As a result, apps in the Chrome Web Store will run "all [desktop] browsers that support this technology." One observer has already drawn attention to why Google Chrome will be a failure. Farhad Manjoo from slate.com (July, 2009) says “Linux is hard to love. Chrome OS will be based on Linux, the open-source operating system that many techies have long held up as the white knight that will one day slay Microsoft. Scores of engineers and eager entrepreneurs have tried to turn Linux into an operating system that appeals not just to server ninjas but to regular people. They've had limited success”
From the review above, it is suitable to conclude the following:• • • Google Chrome OS is designed for users of the web Google Chrome is based upon a open source Operating System that can be technical to use in some versions There is both optimism and scepticism for Google Chrome OS in the future
In order to acquire the information required, methods of data collation were used to gather the information and layout in a meaningful manner. The author’s considered various means of data collation but decided to use just two, Laboratory experimentation and Survey research. These two chosen methods provided the author’s with a suitable amount of qualitative and quantitative data to use. Ethical considerations will be taken into account during the collation of data; this includes the University and BCS (British Computing Society) Ethical Code, which can be found in the appendices. Experimental Design Due to Google Chrome OS being a fairly new operating system, there were very few people who would have had exposure to the system. This fact alone made it clear the author’s had to expose people to Google Chrome OS before they could gather any meaningful data. Laboratory Experiments focus on keeping all variables the same except the one being measured, the unchanging variables are known are dependent variables.. In the case of this 6
situation, the changing (independent) variable will be the individual being exposed to Google Chrome OS. The individuals were specifically chosen to ensure that there was less chance of biased during the experiment and to increase the variety of backgrounds that could be obtained from random screenings. During the Laboratory Experiment, the individual was asked to perform various activities using Google Chrome OS from a sheet of tasks. Their ability to complete the tasks was recorded and was compiled into graph’s to show who could complete the tasks and who couldn’t. The benefits of this method are that the author’s can acquire a small sample of thoughts and opinions on the functionality of the OS, which can be used to gain a verdict on the functionality of Google Chrome. A copy of the experimental design can be found in the appendix Sample Questionnaire Apart from obtaining data from the individual during testing, it felt necessary to obtain data prior and after testing. This was to gather opinion about Google Chrome OS before exposing the individual to the OS and allowing them to perform the tasks set out by the author’s. Once the individual has performed completed/failed the tasks, they will once again be asked questions regarding the OS now that they have had a chance to use it. The questions designed allows the individual to give both qualitative and quantitative data (open ended/closed ended answers), the qualitative data will be looked through for key phrases which will be matched upto codes decided upon by the author’s that are considered key to the functionality of the operating system. The quantitative questions will be arranged into graph’s to show how the individuals exposed to the OS perceive the system; this ties in with what Catherine Dawson says in her book (2009, pg 31) “Many researchers tend to use a combination of both open and closed questions. That way, it is possible to find out how many people use a service and what they think about that services on the same form.” The benefits of this method is that the author’s can acquire data about those who have not used Google Chrome OS and compare the data they gave against the data the individual gave after they had used Google Chrome. This allows the author’s to compare opinions and to gauge how easy people think it is to pick up using Google Chrome OS. 7
Rejected Methods Although two methods were used, others methods were discussed although not used. These were: • • Case Studies Focus Groups
Case Studies required sufficient information about a situation which could be studied, unfortunately Google Chrome has only been about for the last few month’s which means there is not enough information to build a case study about Google Chrome. Focus Groups are used to gather information quickly from samples of people chosen by yourself, these groups are asked questions about the topic studied and their opinion on it. Once again due to Google Chrome being new, it was deemed not worth using a focus group, as the likelihood of gaining useful information from it was low. Catherine Dawson also backs up the decision within her book (pg 30) “Disadvantages of Focus Groups include… Other people may contaminate an individuals views.. Difficult to extract individual views during the analysis.”
The results gained from the questionnaires show that the majority of people that took part in the study were highly optimistic about the operating system before having a chance to use it, the main reasons were they believed Google had established its reputation as a trustable company to produce such software and that it was believed they had the resources to do so. The majority of people classed themselves as technical users, the literature review showed that non-technical people may struggle using Google Chrome OS, unfortunately the results could not confirm this but they do show that technical users do not have a problem with using Google Chrome. The general consensus regarding performance and functionality was that Google Chrome booted from startup quicker than their preferred operating system, one individual estimating as much as a thirty second gap. None of the participant’s reports having any issues with using the OS.
Lastly, the majority of people actually considered using Google Chrome OS when it is publically released, which the author’s believe is a major contribution to the conclusion of this project.
The author’s of this project set out to achieve the following: • • Identify the quality of user experience within Google Chrome OS Linux To heighten awareness of the accessibility of the operating system.
Following the data collection and analysis conducted, the author’s of this project believe they have succeeded in both points and can now say that the quality of user experience within Google Chrome, even within its early stages of development is very high. The majority of participants believed Google Chrome easy to use and quicker in performance than their preferred OS. The majority of participants also said they would consider using the OS in the future, this means that the author’s second point to heighten awareness has succeeded and hope it will flourish in the future. After coding the collected data, the majority of words gathered from the open-ended questions suggested a positive and high-quality experience before and after using Google Chrome. These codes included • Loaded Quickly • None (In response to any problems encountered) • Yes due to trust put in company/ Amount of resources company has (In response to faith in Google being able to construct a OS) The adherence to the project plan that was constructed at the beginning of the study was extremely good; the author’s believe that it was the adherence to this plan that allowed them to gather the information promptly. The plan can be found in the appendices below.
Colin, R.,2001. Operating Systems: Incorporating UNIX and Windows, 4th Edition. Thomson Learning English, J., 2004. Introduction to Operating Systems. Palgrave Macmillian 9
Garrido,J.M, Schlesinger, R., 2007. Principles of Modern Operating Systems. Jones & Bartlett Publishers Qualline, S., 1997.Discover Linux. Wiley Publishing Dawson, C., 2009. Introduction to Research Methods 4th Edition. How To Books Ltd Google Chrome Information, 2009 [Online] Available at: http://www.cloudave.com/1893/google-chrome-os-why-why-why/ [Accessed 5th March 2011] Google Chrome Information , 2010 [Online] Available at: http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/googlechrome-os-what-you-need-to-know-914070 [Accessed 5th March 2011] Five Reasons Why Google Chrome is a Bad Idea, 2009 [Online] Availablt at: http://www.slate.com/id/2222564/ [Accessed 5th March 2011]
Ethical Code of Conduct The following work will adhere to all ethical practices that are part of Edge Hill University and the BCS (British Computing Society) Links to the ethical Code of Conduct of the BCS can be found below: http://www.bcs.org/category/6030 The following Edge Hill Ethical considerations will be particularly taken into account: 1 The primary responsibility for the conduct of ethical research lies with the researcher. It is a fundamental principle that students engaged in research adopt a continuing personal commitment to act ethically, to encourage ethical
behaviour in those with whom they collaborate, and to consult where appropriate concerning ethical issues. 2 General Responsibilities 2.1 Towards research participants: Researchers have a responsibility to ensure as far as possible that the physical, social and psychological well-being of their research participants is not detrimentally affected by the research. Research relationships should be characterised, whenever possible, by mutual respect and trust. 3 Informed Consent 3.1 Research should be based, as far as possible and practicable, on the freely given first person consent of those under study. 3.2 It is the responsibility of the researcher to explain as fully as is reasonable and appropriate, and in terms meaningful to the participants: the aims and nature of the research, who is undertaking it, who is funding it, its likely duration, why it is being undertaken, the possible consequences of the research, and how the results are to be disseminated. 3.4 The researcher should explain how far research participants will be afforded anonymity and confidentiality and participants should have the option of rejecting the use of data-gathering devices such as taperecorders and video cameras 4 Confidentiality and Anonymity 4.1 The anonymity and privacy of research participants should be respected and personal information relating to participants should be kept confidential and secure. Researchers must comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act. 4.2 Where possible, threats to the confidentiality and anonymity of research data should be anticipated by researchers and normally the identities and research records of participants should be kept confidential, whether or not an explicit pledge of confidentiality has been given. 5 Procedures for Approval . Course Leaders in undergraduate programmes are responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate students are aware of, and agree to abide by, the principles expressed in this Code of Conduct, through their respective Course Handbooks. All students are required to signal their adherence to the principles expressed in this Code of Conduct by filling in the appropriate form and including it with their assignment cover sheet.
Questionnaires Collected Questionnaires Questionnaire 1
Coded Phrases/ Collated Graphs Before Testing Question Two Do you feel sceptical of the fact that Google can successfully design an Operating System similar to other corporate operating systems, such as Microsoft? If so, why do you think this?
Question Three Would you describe yourself as a technical or non-technical computer user? (For instance, are you knowledgeable with things such as computer programming?)
After Testing Question Seven You should have observed how well the Operating system started up. Did it successfully load? If so, did it load quickly or slowly? (If the OS doesn’t load the first time, try again.)
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “Very Difficult” and 5 being “Very Simple”), how easily could you navigate the user interface?
Question Ten Google Chrome OS is currently in its beta testing phase, and not scheduled for release until mid-2011. Despite this, and after testing it for yourself, could you see Google Chrome OS being successful when officially released to the general public?
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