Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Other references

Aside from the GNOME usability effort, I found two other references about usability in open source software projects:

Calum Benson, Matthias Müller-Prove, Jiri Mzourek. "Professional Usability in Open Source Projects: GNOME, OpenOffice.org, NetBeans." Proceeding, CHI EA '04, CHI '04 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 1083-1084, ACM New York, NY, USA 2004.
(available from ACM)
Abstract:
Working as a usability professional in the open source arena is a challenging task. The decentralized and engineering-driven approach of open source projects can be at odds with corporate processes and usability engineering methodologies. Nonetheless, there is great potential for large corporations to contribute to open source projects. Providing usability know-how that leads to usable and useful products is a win-win situation for developers, the corporations, and – most importantly – the users.

David M Nichols, Michael B Twidale. "Usability Processes in Open Source Projects." Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA.
Abstract:
In this paper we explore how open source projects address issues of usability. We describe the mechanisms, techniques and technology used by open source communities to design and refine the interfaces to their programs. In particular we consider how these developers cope with their distributed community, lack of domain expertise, limited resources and separation from their users. We also discuss how bug reporting and discussion systems can be improved to better support bug reporters and open source developers.

The "Professional Usability in Open Source Projects" article is quite short, and does not seem to contribute new material to usability in open source software. While an interesting find, I doubt this will be a useful reference to me.

However, the "Usability Processes in Open Source Projects" article has more useful material. In the next few days, I'll review this article further!

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