If the user is new to linux, I would not recommend Ubuntu because of unity desktop. I would recommend kubuntu or kde version of linux mint. Those are the closer to looking like windows than the other desktops and not as confusing.
To match the number of steps or add more I use this site -> http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
More steps = more of a workout. Genius!
I know there are many Ubuntu fans but I found installing openSUSE 13.2 KDE was a breeze. I came from Windows and it would always take a long time. openSUSE 13.2 KDE took less than 15 minutes. What I love about openSUSE 13.2 KDE you don't need to use the terminal to install software which is great for people coming from Windows. I haven't tried other Linux distros though. With Ubuntu do you need to use the terminal to install software?