According to this article on Yahoo! news, the OLPC “Sugar” UI has had absolutely no user testing carried out on it yet. Shameful stuff! I’ve also heard rumours that the UI design has taken place predominantly behind closed doors at Redhat. In other words, apparently no prototypes, mock-ups or even sketches have been put in front of any of the target user groups to ascertain whether the proposed features are either useful or usable.
I guess the folks on the design team haven’t heard the axiom “test early, test often”. This is surprising since it’s on pretty much the first page of every undergrad HCI / CS textbook under the sun.
The OLPC is a phenomenal piece of hardware, and has such worthy goals. It would be such a shame to find that it falls down on usability just because of lack of planning.