Provide a simple and quick way for a desktop user to get *live* assistance while using Ubuntu Desktop. Currently, there are two major support options: forums, and IRC. For the uninitiated user, going to IRC will be a steep learning curve full of unknown idioms, possibly leading them nowhere (or worse yet into the wrong room where they will be scared off).
The default desktop install should provide a simple and welcoming way for new users to receive support and further direction on more help avenues they can persue. This will be achieved by providing the user a simple one-on-one like chat client that will act as the lauching point for the user to get further help with their problems. The aim of the chat client is to provide an almost "live" assistance experience for the user.
The user impact is meant to be direct. When the user has a problem, it should be very easy for them to not only get assistance as soon as possible, but to also discover new avenues for assitance.
Ubuntu currently does not have an easy way for a new, uninitiated, user to get support. Most of the current support channels (forums, IRC, Answers) require that the user locate them and understand how each one works and the idioms associated with each.
The live assitant on the other hand will aim to make as few assumptions about communications idioms and just allow the user to receive help in a chat interface focusing around their current discussion.
The user has network access on the machine they wish to use the live assistant client application on.
The loading desing goals are simplicity and ease of use for new users. A help application is often consulted when something isn't going as the user expected, so the application itself should not further complicate the user's problems.
Version 1 aims to just provide a simple chat-like interface for the user to interact with a community member to help solve their problem. This version will also aim to have features like logging and abuse reporting so that the user experience can be carefully monitored by other community members.
Python will be the language of choice. This is not a performance critical application and thus ease of development is a higher priority. The backend "library" will abstract away all the communication to IRC (through a python irc library). The frontend (qt/gtk) will talk directory to this backend for all the IO needs. The frontends are also free to add other guiding features on top of the basic chat interface.
Testing will be done during the lucid development cycle. The initial testing will be done by developers (as new users are less likely to be using alpha software). The hope is that more users will test drive the live assitant during the beta cycles. The end goal is to be included in the distribution by default.
Gobby Notes from UDS Lucid
Provide a simple and quick way for a desktop user to get *live* assistance while using Ubuntu Desktop. Currently, there are two major support options: forums, and IRC. For the uninitiated user, going to IRC will be a steep learning curve possibly leading them nowhere (or worse yet into the wrong room where they will be scared off).
- channels will be logged
- if the discussion results in a bug, it could/would be created out of the session
- data can be mined for specifics which could be provided to help others with their issues.
- Conversations could be used to help with IRC comfort levels and learn of other methods where help can be found.
- People might actually start using something like this for all of their issues and stay out of the standard channels for help.
Other Support Inclusion Methods: * Select a window or a region for remoting. * Advantages of screen sharing is your teaching them and enabling them to learn in a way that a lot of people seem to feel comfortable with...
Ubuntu One could potentially provide some help in getting this achieved.
how could this tie up with 'social from the start'?
how is this to be staffed, knowledgeable volunteers from the community, or Canonical employees knowledgeable in specific areas (eg, server, desktop, flavor specific (eg ubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Kubuntu, etc.)?
- Keep it SIMPLE.
- Ask for user's name and question, but nothing beyond that.
- Transition to a friendly, one on one style chat interface.
- Button to report abuse. Logging.
- Start simple for the first version, to see how effective it is.
- Find an adequate protocol. IRC seems nice because the #ubuntu channel is always active, but it is not very powerful. Another advantage is that it does not require signin, but we need a way to allow one-to-one chats without signin (Freenode requires a registered nickname for one-to-one chat)
Ideas that would be nice (perhaps for later releases):
- Track how changes affect user experience for each version.
- Screen sharing. Take screenshot + send to other users.
- Quick way to send log files to other users.