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by Tony Chang

All opinions on this site are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Creative Commons Attribution License

Lessons Learned

Mar 11, 2005, 06:58am EST



I went to a talk a couple days ago about by Eugene Eric Kim about Lessons Learned from the FLOSS Usability Sprint. The points I took away from the talk:

  • Some forms of user testing are hard to conduct due to a distributed user base.
  • We can open source usability. That is, some usability problems are common to applications (e.g., an admin page for a blog or CMS). Lessons learned from one user study should help future projects that have similar components. Taken further, one could try to create a usable frontend with interchangeable backends.
  • What are the incentives for usability analysts to help open source projects? Eugene mentioned having public work that one can cite in a resume, but there must be more than that…

Overall, it seemed pretty successful. Real changes were made and people are still discussing the event and future steps.

DC at Mar 11, 2005, 11:48am EST

Michael Twidale gave a talk on a similar subject not too long ago here at UIUC. One thing he suggested was distributed user testing. So, instead of one person running all the user testing (which they don’t want to do because they’re a coder probably), they get 100 (or whatever number) people to each test 1 or 2 users. Then they compile the results and make the next step.

dlpeters at Mar 22, 2005, 06:53pm EST

The issue with distributed testing is there would almost certainly be inconsistencies in the testing environments. Perhaps they would be minor enough that the results would still be helpful/useful?

DC at Mar 22, 2005, 06:57pm EST

I believe that’s why the number is 100 rather than 12. I don’t really know though.