Create a new PPA view that targets users

Bug #339951 reported by Toni Ruottu on 2009-03-09
18
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Launchpad itself
Low
Unassigned

Bug Description

The current PPA front page is designed to serve the owner of the PPA and I suppose it is well suited for that purpose. However, problems arise when PPA unaware users are directed to that page.

Use case:
 1.) Joe Artist wants to install a piece of painting software currently unavailable in Ubuntu
 2.) Jane has packaged the software and throws her PPA front page url to Joe

What currently happens:
 3.) Joe doesn't understand a thing
 4.) Jane drops her rather important packaging tasks and helps Joe to get his stuff done
 5.) Joe thanks Jane for her help desk work

What should happen:
 3.) Joe takes a look and understands this is a place where he can get custom packaged software from Jane
 4.) By reading the page further Joe is able to start using the PPA without further help from Jane
 5.) Joe thanks Jane for her packaging work

Michael Nelson (michael.nelson) wrote :

Thanks Toni!

Hopefully it won't be too long before we can see:

3) Joe sees the "Install this application" link next to the package she wants to use and clicks
4) Joe starts using the app.

Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

PPA specific instructions would already be a great improvement, as they could be followed word by word. Currently users have to understand the generic instructions and vary them to their needs.

Ursula Junque (ursinha) wrote :

Hi Toni,

Have you seen the instructions on https://help.launchpad.net/PPA ? If so, what do you think that could be done to improve it? Suggestions welcome!

Thanks,

Ursula

Changed in launchpad:
status: New → Incomplete
Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

First of all, I'm not so sure Joe would figure out he should be reading that guide, but lets assume he does. The guide contains lots of useful information. Most of which is of no use to Joe here. The only chapter which is at all relevant to Joe is chapter 2. So the page Joe sees should not confuse him with all that stuff about administrating PPAs. Let's treat the two sub chapters individually.

First we look into "Adding a PPA to your Ubuntu repositories". The chapter gives Joe an example that has actual apt configuration line, but they don't work because this example is not about the actual repository Joe is trying to get working. Also it does not tell him how to make use of them, but points him to a third web page. Now Joe has to look at three distinct pages (PPA page, PPA guide, repository guide) and combine information from all of those pages correctly.

Lets continue and look at "Adding a PPA's keys to your system". This provides options to Joe. That is just something you don't do. You never provide options to a guy who doesn't know what he is doing. The right thing to do would be to only tell him about the graphical way to do this. In addition you could have a link "command line instructions (for advanced users)". Again this chapter shows Joe an example that he is not going to follow, because it is not the AWN PPA that he is interrested in.

These are things that you could fix by having a new page for Jane's PPA. A one that is targeted for Joe and his fellow men. Ideally this page would contain a title Jane's software packages, maybe a picture of Jane and a list of software packages she has published. At some central location the page would state "Before you get to install these packages, you have to add Jane to your list of trusted software publisher's. Once you have done so, you can add individual packages from 'Add/Remove...' under 'Applications' menu on your desktop."

In that message "add Jane to your list of trusted software publisher's" would be a link to a web form that asks Joe the compulsory questions such as distribution he is using, and explains how he can find out that information. (it would be cool, if this information could be detected, but I'm not sure it is trivial) Filling the form would take Joe to a customized guide that'd tell him the minimum steps that he has to go through before he can install packages. There should be no choices, and all examples should only show data that Joe is actually going to need to complete the task.

Changed in launchpad-documentation:
status: Incomplete → New
Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

I don't think this is a documentation bug. It is the user interface that is wrong. The user interface (as I described it) should be fairly simple to use and should not require end user documentation. On the other hand this is not a bug in anythin that already exists, but a feature request for a new view. As I said earlier, the current PPA view is clearly targeted to the administrator of the PPA.

Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

This blog post http://blog.launchpad.net/general/soyuz-3-0 says
"PPA page split into two pages; one user-focused, one developer-focused."
However, I wasn't able to identify these two pages by surfing Launchpad,
so I don't feel like closing the bug just yet.

Matthew Revell (matthew.revell) wrote :

This doesn't feel like a problem with launchpad-documentation so I've reassigned it to Soyuz.

affects: launchpad-documentation → soyuz
Julian Edwards (julian-edwards) wrote :

Toni

The two pages are, for example:

https://edge.launchpad.net/~bzr/+archive/ppa - which is the user-focused page.

Clicking on "View package details" takes you to: https://edge.launchpad.net/~bzr/+archive/ppa/+packages

which is more like the original developer-focused view. Do you have any more specific comments to make about these pages?

Thanks.

Changed in soyuz:
status: New → Incomplete
tags: added: ppa
Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

The user-focused page needs a complete redesigned. It should be something users can understand. The most important goal for the page would be explaining what it is. I'd go with something like:

"This is a site used by _Bazaar Developers_ to provide some customized software packages for Ubuntu. They claim to provide fresh beta versions of Bazaar version control system. By subscribing to their software, you express your trust in them installing software on your system, and providing updates to your previously installed software. [subscribe]"

...and this is pretty much it. I understand there might be a need for filing bugs specific to their PPA or browsing the packages in some form, but any such functionalities should be low profile links somewhere on the side. Currently the page is full of all kinds of stuff. Most of it is useful in some use case, but won't help my father start using the PPA, when I simply email him a url to this page instead of going to his computer and doing it myself.

Changed in soyuz:
status: Incomplete → New
Download full text (3.6 KiB)

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Toni Ruottu wrote:
> The user-focused page needs a complete redesigned.

Hi Toni! Julian was trying to point out that the user-focused page just
had a redesign (I wasn't sure if you realised), based on feedback like
your bug :) We've tried to ensure that this landing page addresses the
varied needs of potential PPA users, with "Adding this PPA to your
system" section and latest updates etc., some statistics to evaluate
activity etc. (soon to have download counts).

Now, on to your specific points...

> It should be
> something users can understand. The most important goal for the page
> would be explaining what it is. I'd go with something like:

Great point... it is very important that people who do not know what a
PPA is can get an idea what they are looking at.

Currently we have left this the responsibility of the PPA owner - to use
the description, like:

"This PPA contains a lot of Mozilla related projects, some libs and some
apps I'm interesting in.

If you have any questions about those packages, please come on irc and
ask me. I'm "fta" in #ubuntu-mozillateam (on freenode), I'm also on moznet."

But without a decent description like this, the PPA index page currently
 makes the assumption that a user knows what they are looking at even if
they're not sure whether they want to add the PPA to their system.

Perhaps we should have a brief sentence before the PPA description as
you've suggested. What do you think Julian?

>
> "This is a site used by _Bazaar Developers_ to provide some customized
> software packages for Ubuntu. They claim to provide fresh beta versions
> of Bazaar version control system. By subscribing to their software, you
> express your trust in them installing software on your system, and
> providing updates to your previously installed software. [subscribe]"

Great - perhaps "By adding this PPA to your system..." rather than "By
subscribing to their software", just so the "Adding this PPA to your
system" heading is an obvious next step.

And yes - it would be great to have a [subscribe] button :), currently
the best we can do (with Karmic) is as described in the "Adding this PPA
to your system" section, but I hope that we'll soon be able to make this
a link instead which will automatically bring up Software Sources on the
users computer with the ppa ready to confirm.

>
> ...and this is pretty much it. I understand there might be a need for
> filing bugs specific to their PPA or browsing the packages in some form,
> but any such functionalities should be low profile links somewhere on
> the side.

I'm glad you think so :), most of the feedback we've had so far has all
been from developers who want the package/detailed stuff to be back on
the index page.

> Currently the page is full of all kinds of stuff. Most of it
> is useful in some use case, but won't help my father start using the
> PPA, when I simply email him a url to this page instead of going to his
> computer and doing it myself.

Unless you've setup your father as an admin, I think it'll always
require you setting it up (but not needing to be at his computer), as
adding a PPA to a system requires adding/edi...

Read more...

> Perhaps we should have a brief sentence before the PPA description as
> you've suggested. What do you think Julian?

Yes, we do need something. I've asked Matt if he can get some more
introductory text aimed at end users in the help wiki, and then we can
reference it from the PPA index page, maybe in a pop-up.

> And yes - it would be great to have a [subscribe] button :), currently
> the best we can do (with Karmic) is as described in the "Adding this PPA
> to your system" section, but I hope that we'll soon be able to make this
> a link instead which will automatically bring up Software Sources on the
> users computer with the ppa ready to confirm.

Remember that this is down to the Ubuntu guys, and they are very much against
installing PPAs from web links.

> > ...and this is pretty much it. I understand there might be a need for
> > filing bugs specific to their PPA or browsing the packages in some form,

Bugs on PPAs will be coming in the near future!

Changed in soyuz:
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Medium

Julian Edwards wrote:
>> And yes - it would be great to have a [subscribe] button :), currently
>> the best we can do (with Karmic) is as described in the "Adding this PPA
>> to your system" section, but I hope that we'll soon be able to make this
>> a link instead which will automatically bring up Software Sources on the
>> users computer with the ppa ready to confirm.
>
> Remember that this is down to the Ubuntu guys, and they are very much against
> installing PPAs from web links.

Well, if I understand correctly, they are against a package being
installed (or more generally, admin things being done) by
clicking on a link (ie. without going via the normal Ubuntu desktop
apps). What I've outlined above is something that I chatted
with mvo about a while back, a link that would open up Software Sources
to the correct tab and put the required ppa line in the box. That is,
the ppa addition is still all in the hands of Software Sources as the
user still has to use the UI there to add it, we'd
just save the user opening it up and copy-paste the PPA identifier.

I'll try to chat with mvo again and if he agrees, create an actual bug
for it.

--
Michael

Toni Ruottu (toni-ruottu) wrote :

> Great point... it is very important that people who do not know what a
> PPA is can get an idea what they are looking at.

Personal Package Archive might not make sense to a user, because it is
in no way personal to him. Maybe we should call it Public Package
Archive instead, or something else instead when we are presenting it
to a user.

>> "This is a site used by _Bazaar Developers_ to provide some customized
>> software packages for Ubuntu. They claim to provide fresh beta versions
>> of Bazaar version control system. By subscribing to their software, you
>> express your trust in them installing software on your system, and
>> providing updates to your previously installed software. [subscribe]"

> Great - perhaps "By adding this PPA to your system..." rather than "By
> subscribing to their software", just so the "Adding this PPA to your
> system" heading is an obvious next step.

I don't think the user is "adding an archive to his system". He is
agreeing to trust the maintainers to provide him software. Maybe the
button/link should say "list Bazaar Developers as a trusted software
provider".

> And yes - it would be great to have a [subscribe] button :), currently
> the best we can do (with Karmic) is as described in the "Adding this PPA
> to your system" section, but I hope that we'll soon be able to make this
> a link instead which will automatically bring up Software Sources on the
> users computer with the ppa ready to confirm.

The button is not too important as long as our language matches the
mental model of an arbitrary user.

>> ...and this is pretty much it. I understand there might be a need for
>> filing bugs specific to their PPA or browsing the packages in some form,
>> but any such functionalities should be low profile links somewhere on
>> the side.
>
> I'm glad you think so :), most of the feedback we've had so far has all
> been from developers who want the package/detailed stuff to be back on
> the index page.

You should probably provide them a way to get to their admin pages
more efficiently then. That page is linked from the user page to my
understanding by accident, and not by design. I'm also not sure, if
linking that page from the user page is a good idea.

>> Currently the page is full of all kinds of stuff. Most of it
>> is useful in some use case, but won't help my father start using the
>> PPA, when I simply email him a url to this page instead of going to his
>> computer and doing it myself.
>
> Unless you've setup your father as an admin, I think it'll always
> require you setting it up (but not needing to be at his computer), as
> adding a PPA to a system requires adding/editing files that only an
> admin can edit (sources.list entries). But the point still holds - users
> who don't know what a PPA is (but are admins of their computer) should
> be able to add it easily.

I used to be the admin of my father's pc when he was using Windows.
With Ubuntu, I just watched him install it and become his own admin.

Toni Ruottu wrote:
>> I'm glad you think so :), most of the feedback we've had so far has all
>> been from developers who want the package/detailed stuff to be back on
>> the index page.
>
> You should probably provide them a way to get to their admin pages
> more efficiently then. That page is linked from the user page to my
> understanding by accident, and not by design. I'm also not sure, if
> linking that page from the user page is a good idea.
>

Thanks for the further feedback. I've actually tried to be careful with
the terminology there - there isn't a division between the 'user' page
and the 'developer/owner' page. Rather, there is the PPA landing page -
which presents an overview of the PPA itself. This page is designed with
the end-user in mind, but should be useful to both audiences for
interacting with the PPA itself (for eg. it is here that the owner of
the PPA edits the title/description etc.). The distinction will be more
obvious when we stop presenting the source packages on the PPA landing page.

The 'packages' sub-page is specifically for working with the multiple
packages for a specific PPA - and this information is usually more
appropriate for developers/owners (who want to investigate failed builds
etc.) - but should still be useful to users of the PPA.

Before Launchpad 3.0, we had just one page to deal with the concerns of
both the archive itself and the packages within the archive, and it was
getting way to busy with options and details, but developers knew where
they could find all the options - now they have to relearn :/

> I used to be the admin of my father's pc when he was using Windows.
> With Ubuntu, I just watched him install it and become his own admin.
>

Great to hear!

--
Michael

Changed in launchpad-documentation:
assignee: nobody → Matthew Revell (matthew.revell)
tags: added: docs help
Changed in launchpad-documentation:
status: New → Invalid
assignee: Matthew Revell (matthew.revell) → nobody
Changed in soyuz:
assignee: nobody → Matthew Revell (matthew.revell)
Changed in soyuz:
assignee: Matthew Revell (matthew.revell) → nobody
Robert Collins (lifeless) wrote :

I believe this has been fixed now, we have a simple custom view for users of PPAs as the default view.

Changed in launchpad:
status: Triaged → Fix Released
William Grant (wgrant) wrote :

There is a "simple custom view", but it's now just an infuriating crippled version of +packages which exists as a placeholder for the user-friendly page that never made it into 3.0.

Changed in launchpad:
status: Fix Released → Triaged
Curtis Hovey (sinzui) on 2011-10-02
Changed in launchpad:
importance: Medium → Low
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