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Hi all,

I like to step into the Impress Remote discussion - not presenting a mock-up, 
but trying to get you guys to reflect a little bit about they way you are 

In the past I (and many other experienced design and usability people) more or 
less left this group / mailing list. This is definitely not due to a lack of 
interest - I still read a lot of the stuff written here. 

I think the thread about creating an impress remote UI at least for me is a 
prototype to illustrate what is going wrong here at the moment.

Let me tell you a little bit about my background: Personally I have spent more 
than 10 years now working on the usability for free software projects (and 
almost 15 years of professional consulting in UX, including running small 
companies offering UX services). Next to LibreOffice I have worked for 
Wikipedia or KDE just to name some you might know. I have also co-initiated and was in the jury of free-software awards.

I am not writing this to show off - I am writing this in the hope you might be 
interested in the experience I gained over the past years and you might accept 
my following criticism to be constructive - and not as trolling or ranting 

So what do I actually want to say?

So far there have been 16 mails and a couple of possible solutions in this 
thread and - as far as I understood - 

- nobody from the design team even talked to the GSOC student or the mentor
- there was no proper analysis of requirements
- there was no agreement on the goals that need to be achieved (just to name 

Working this way will never work out. I predict a great amount of frustration 
for a lot of people and lasting harm to the standing of UX within the 
LibreOffice community.

UX is a service discipline to the coders. If we do this service well enough, 
we might be able to set our own topics on the agenda - but to my experience 
this will take a (very) long time of providing excellent service first.

There is a simple reason for this: Coders work either for topics that interest 
their employers or that tickle them personally. They simply won't work to make 
our visions come true (at least not until they gained trust in us as persons).

So on every topic - the first thing we always have to do is to understand why 
the coders are working on a it - aka what tickles them. Next is a polite 
question if they are interested in any UX support at all - and what extend 
would suit them. If they want us to step in, we have to discuss criteria first 
that allow us to evaluate the solutions we create - and make sure the coders 
agree with these criteria (sometimes we even need to do user research for 
this). Only then we can create actual solutions and judge them by applying the 
criteria. In this judgment we have to take coding effort (and other relevant 
aspects) into account and together with the coders agree on the final 

If we do not roughly follow this agenda, it is very likely the coders will 
simply ignore whatever we do - thus we do not need to do it at all, because 
everything is wasted anyhow. This will predictably lead to frustrations on 
both sides - coders and UX people.

The impress remote thread shows that we do a lot of work without even 
reassuring that our work is welcome - or evaluating the criteria for a good 

A bit unrelated, but also important: with the current way of doing things, we 
are creating such an amount of white noise on the mailing list that some 
people (like me) simply cannot follow the discussions anymore. Again, this 
will not lead to acceptance, but to frustration and to a loss of knowledge and 

To sum it up, please:
- think before you start working on a topic
- think before you send a mail to a mailing list

Hope this mail is fruitful - LibreOffice as a project is too important for the 
Free Software ecosystem, and we really need the energy you guys show. Simply 
do not waste it to create tons of frustration.

Thanks for reading.


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