Maletsabisa Molapo

people design technology | africa women leadership

Tag: User Experience(UX)

Before Documentation: Involve Users Early, Maybe?

We come across many claims about how FOSS tools were created with ease of use in mind, and how documentation and user support are provided. But are documentation and post-launch user support enough for ensuring usability and promoting global adoption of FOSS products? Many studies in HCI and product management have shown the importance of involving potential users early in the process of developing new products. How, then, given the dynamics of the FOSS community can this be ensured? Part of our research work will be to develop guidelines on how to include more HCI methods (like early user participation) in the development cycles of FOSS projects.

On the question of cultural differences(especially with circumvention tools), researching the users’ background/culture helps developers build more culturally/contextually appropriate tools. We will seek to understand what challenges are faced in the attempt to involve users in the design process, and based on that recommend ways in which these challenges can be overcome to promote the process of engaging the user population in design.

If you are a developer/designer/project manager/or other form of contributor in open source, please help us in this work by taking this survey here.

Thank you!

GNOME Outreach Program for Women

In October this year, I attended the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) conference, where my interest in free and open source software was re-ignited; as well as the desire to contribute to the open source community. About a month after GHC, I learned of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women(OPW), an internship program organised by GNOME to bring women around the world to participate in open source projects coordinated by different Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) organisations (see OPW Program Details).

On Dec 12th, I received news that I had been selected as one of the interns in this prestigious program(yay!). I will start my internship on January 2nd, 2013, with OpenITP under the mentorship of Georgia Bullen; working on User Experience (UX) Design for free software anti-censorship/anti-surveillance projects [we are looking at Tor and GPG tools].  I look forward to learning from and being inspired by Georgia and everyone at OpenITP that I will interact with during my internship, and of course the chance to get involved in the FOSS community.

I will be updating the happenings of this internship on this blog…