Samstag, 22. Oktober 2011

LibreOffice Conference 2011, Personal Summary

Well, seeing all the nice reports from the LibreOffice Conference, let's add another one ...


First and foremost, it has been great fun to see all the people (again) - I really missed to be with them. And, thanks a lot to the organizers and the presenters who made up our first conference that great! Finally, kudos to all people who drive LibreOffice and make it the best free (as in speech) office suite out there.

Visual Design

I really loved to see all the nice graphics that have been created by (or at least originated from) the Design Team. For example, I was really pleased to see that almost everyone used the official conference presentation template and it seemed (despite a few glitches) to work quite well.

And, Nik's Paris Conference logo could be seen everywhere at the venue. And, I think that the conference team turned that into the most stylish bags we've ever had ...

The LibreOffice Conference Bag

Moreover, you may have noticed the work on LibreOffice Online - a browser accessible version of LibreOffice. To support the initial announcement (being meant as some kind of surprise), I have been asked in advance to provide a preliminary logo for it. Of course, my proposals and the sources have been made available in the meantime.

User Experience and Usability

Before the conference I was a bit unsure how to address topics like usability when talking to developers. Now I know that there was no need to worry, because so many developers I've talked with seriously want to improve LibreOffice. Some examples:
  • In his presentation, Cédric mentioned the good feedback on the libreoffice-ux-advise list when he worked on the special indicators in Writer (header / footer indicators, page break indicators). Vice versa, Cédric, thanks for being so open to our proposals.
  • Markus from the Calc team offered to fix some UX issues within the next releases, if we provide some hints what really needs to be improved. Awesome!
  • Kendy did the talk "Polish LibreOffice Rough Edges" where he asked the auditorium for paper cuts (tiny issues). He'll turn them into Easy Hacks :-) (For the curious, I've proposed Navigator improvements related to issue 36309, correcting the Edit - Selection Mode menu, the Help - Credits, Zooming behavior.)
  • Thorsten asked for further LibreOffice usability issues and Lior was so kind to support to collect them ... at the conference, we already had a discussion where to find relevant user feedback. Furthermore, he joined the LibreOffice design team mailing lists to support us with regard to CTL questions. Thanks a lot!!!
  • After talking about the Design Team, Christophe Strobbe asked how accessibility is considered ... I proposed him to join the Design Team as well. In the past, I really appreciated a helping hand for accessibility when designing features.
  • Finally, some people at the conference talked about Usage Tracking and how it could be (re-)implemented. In the long run, we really need such usage data ... thus, I'm happy that other people care about that as well.
Design Team Stuff

There have been some nice presentations that directly relate to Design Team activities, so here is a brief overview:
  • Björn Balasz (Detecting signals in the feedback noise), talked e.g. about the needs of the development when it comes to UX issues. He talked about the importance of both quick and high quality feedback - which led to the question, whether parts of the UX work should be professionalized in the long run. To me, this also leads to the question how we can get more efficient / effective in the Design Team, to get more people involved ...
  • André Schnabel and myself (Developer tasks for non code hackers), covered the importance of non-code contributions ... and how to start. Have a look at the presentation (Direct Link PDF, and more info)!
  • Lionel Dricot (What is usability and what does it mean for us?) highlighted the importance of usability in general ... after the talk we've met and I gave some insights about the Design Team and our UX work in the former OOo days. Due to his experience, I really hope that his time permits supporting us ... would be cool! 
Björn Balasz

Lionel Dricot

LibreOffice - The Software

Talking about usability usually leads to the question: What is our overall goal for users? Thus, Björn Balasz, Lionel Dricot, David Rajchenbach-Teller (Mozilla), Andreas Mantke and myself sat together and tried to formulate a vision for LibreOffice.

Well, we tried for 1,5 hours, but it was (and is) really hard to identify a unique selling point that works for "normal users". Although, we do have an excellent free software productivity suite and we're supporting open standards ... Joe Average doesn't care about that.

Consequence: Open question, discussion to be held on our mailing lists :-)

LibreOffice - The Project

At the first day of the conference, there has been a SC meeting where we also discussed how teams currently collaborate. We noticed that there is some confusion what the teams to and how everything (should) work together ... so it was proposed to provide an overview that gives a rough overview over the community. Moreover, the teams (here: including the Design Team) are asked to provide some documentation (maybe on their wiki page) summarizing how they work and what they do. Any volunteers for that? :-)

The End

Well, thanks for reading this summary. I hope you found it insightful ...


2 Kommentare:

Wicho hat gesagt…

Hi Chris,

My name is Luis Barron...

First things first, I want to congratulate you and encourage you in the
development of this great project.

In my opinion the UI of Libre Office is the weakest part of the project.

Have you ever seen the Citrus UI mockup?, it gives elegance, usability,
clear look to everything, are there some plans for completely renewing the
UI? I bet that if the UI changes, a lot of people will turn their heads
towards LibreOffice.

Please excuse me for my english, hope you can understand it,

Thanks for reading this

Best regards!

jvin248 hat gesagt…

Following the breadcrumbs through LO design team ...

1) how to make a fast track to improvements for LO?

2) When LO Writer identifies a misspelling, how about like Firefox (we all use blogs & comments) where you right click and it brings up the option to spell check or even offers possible correct words to choose?