What inspires?

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Francis of Assisi
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What inspires your OSS users/operators? What is it that makes them rave about your product?

Is it having a flexible layout? Is it the colours and graphics? Is it the navigation and flow? The number of clicks in which they can achieve an objective? Is it the ability to do something they’ve never done before?

Have you ever done this type of testing, to know what real users actually think?

In my experience in OSS, the only testing done is by insiders (ie from within the team that is building / configuring the tools) and their testing is limited to whether a functional objective / requirement can be met. It doesn’t matter to the typical tester if the process of arriving at the objective is irritatingly cumbersome, just that the objective can be met.

Does your testing ever get run by outsiders? Are variants ever tested (eg A-B tests) to determine which layout, colour, flow, click-pattern, etc are preferred by a majority of users?
Do you ever run tests to determine what percentage of new users find your solution confusing (and why)?

Do we even conduct tests to determine what is necessary? Do we then take the next logical step by asking ourselves what we want our clients to do with our OSS and how easy it is to do what’s necessary (as opposed to what’s possible)?

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