Author Archives: brobinson9999

Incomplete removal prevents users from trying out software

A powerful option for selecting which software packages to install is to install several relevant packages, and test them out directly. Participants in a usability study on package manager were reluctant to use this method of selecting between the many … Continue reading

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Un-installation is frequent when users try many alternatives

Some users installed multiple competing software packages to try them out. In some cases the software packages that they installed were not at all what they had expected. This is an indication that the discovery and/or evaluation processes had failed … Continue reading

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Updating is easier than knowing if you are up-to-date

In a previous post, I discussed the results of users attempting to add the Wine PPA using Synaptic Package Manager, so they could download the latest version of Wine. Users found instructions using web search, and followed those directions to … Continue reading

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Big catalogs need more navigation features

In Jakob Nielsen’s recent article on international usability, he makes the following statement: If you’re designing an e-commerce site for a 5-item product line, you shouldn’t confuse users by offering search or filtering options. Focus on brief descriptions that clearly … Continue reading

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On-line tutorials make usability better, but not good

Sometimes the software a user wants to install is not available in the standard repositories of a package manager. In other cases, the software is available, but is not the most recent version. To explore this case, I had users … Continue reading

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Mark-and-apply paradigm is unpopular with regular users, while users who need it prefer command line anyway

The package managers we used had two main methods of interaction for installing software once the user has found it. In one paradigm, there is an install or un-install button provided, and the installation or un-installation begins immediately when the … Continue reading

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Minimal Interfaces are easier to learn

In what may come as no surprise, my tests with users confirmed the intuition that a less complicated interface was easier to use. In all cases, the users went for either search or category navigation as their first operation, and … Continue reading

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Users look for an application installer in the application area

Before a user can use a package manager, they first have to find and run it. There were three locations in the interface that were used for this purpose: Listed as a regular application In the same area as regular … Continue reading

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Packaging separately leads to better discovery and less fart apps

In the open-source package managers I studied, there is typically a distinction between the person who develops a package (the developer) and the person who adds it to the package manager. (the packager) In package managers like Apple’s App Store, … Continue reading

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0x800A0062 when using COM Interop on ASP.NET

Like many exceptions related to COM Interop, the exception COMException(0X800A0062): Exception from HRESULT: 0X800A0062 can have many causes. The information is out there on the web, and I was eventually able to track down a solution for my application. However, … Continue reading

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