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Statistics about how KDE software is used

AGuiFr
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This idea is not so much about what to change in KDE workspace to make it better, but about a way to know better how people use KDE to make it easier to meet their needs. Forums are a great way to get feedback from users, but you might be aware that mostly unhappy people complain on the forums, while people who are satisfied often don’t take time to say thank you.

Since Firefox 4, Mozilla decided to allow users to send statistics about how they use their software, thanks to the “Test Pilot” plugin. They gather information about hardware of people using Firefox, frequency of use of each feature, etc... For instance, they decided which features to include in the Firefox button’s menu after reviewing these statistics.

I think the same approach would benefit KDE workspace as a whole. You could have an option in system settings to send your user statistics and help improve KDE software, after logging in into your KDE forum account. This could provide some useful data for many projects. For example, for Plasma, knowing what plasmoids are installed by users could help to define better defaults. The average number of activities by users could be a valuable information when designing new activity switcher, etc... For KWin, knowing the statistics about graphic cards could help to keep or drop support for non-compositing. In system settings, knowing how many modules are opened before an actual setting is changed would help to know if it is well organised.

Obviously, gathering statistic about all the KDE software would be neither desirable nor realistic, the development team of each application should decide whether it would be beneficial for their project or not. But the KDE community could provide some tools to help developers who want to have statistics to do it more easily. There could be a software library to implement easily in an application, and web servers to stock and access the data gathered. I think this could be a great way to have feedback from users without relying on their willingness to actively contribute.
User avatar ronnoc
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I like the idea. Futhermore, Canonical has the optional Popularity Contest where a lot of good information is gatehred.

I would participate, if I knew the how data would be acted upon.


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AGuiFr
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Ubuntu Popularity Constest is interesting, but the idea would be to produce statistics more valuable to developers, helping them to evaluate how their software is used and helping them to take decisions on what to improve. Popularity contest seems to be about what packages users install, whereas this idea would help developers to answer questions like "do people use more the menu bar, the toolbar or the context menu to use this feature?". This is application level.


On a related topic, enabling users to give feedback to developers more easily, I liked a lot the LikeBack Feedback tool developed by the Kmess team. LikeBack can add the little icons on the top right of the main window. These are buttons, each of them represents a different type of feedback. Available feedback types are Like, Dislike, Bug, and Feature. When one of them is clicked, the feedback dialog pops up, allowing the user to enter his or her comment, and also opt to send an email where to be contacted back by the developers, in case of need (for example, if a new feature was asked for).

Using that during Beta and RC phases would be nice. For example, I am thinking about using a breadcrumb instead of the back button in Kickoff in 4.7. Many people complained in the forums about that change, but if there had been a system like that and if developer had encouraged testers to give feedback, it would have been possible to know whether or not most people thought it was a good idea.
AGuiFr
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I was very pleased to read that there was a talk at Akademy 2014 to implement exactly this. I think this will be very useful for KDE.
User avatar hook
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As long as it would be anonymous and no sensitive data would be leaked, I am very much in favour of this.

I think KDE could learn a lot from its users and together we could make it even better.

Obviously this would need to be done as an option and the user should be very well informed about what, how and why is being reported.


It's time to prod some serious buttock! ;)

 
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