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2012/5/8 Björn Balazs <>

Hi all,

thanks for your feedback. And no excuses needed for anything that is beeing
said. I assume everyone (including me) has only the best in mind, so do not
take anything personal...

I will try to address the major points.

1. Made bad experiences with User Research

Anyone who is working in UX and does not believe in the power of working
users should actually question him / herself wether (s)he is doing the
job. Funnily enough, there was a great dilbert about this issue just a few
days ago:

:D good one

If we do not go out of the house and work with real users (think of
social and many other factors influencing UX) we automatically do imply we
the users. But we are not. We are users, but not the users. Any UX process
that does not take this into account will only accidently produce good

If anyone has made bad experiences with that, then do should not resign.
Instead work harder on making this work. It is a difficult topic. At least
never said anything different.

I am not saying anything about the arguement, that we cannot do it any
than it is, even without asking the users. If I have to say anything about
this it would propbaly turm out to be personnal... So we agree on this
beeing said, ok?

I feel like I phrased what I meant to say badly -- looking back, I do feel
stupid for what I said.

What I meant to say is that I'm not sure testing our current UI for the
things we're working on now would be worth the effort. We plan to
restructure some things in a major way to target the major problems that
are blatant (just look at the template dialog or the color picker or the
settings dialog). With the GSoC projects, we're also under a deadline of 3
weeks, and I doubt we could set up a good design workflow that takes user
testing in mind, then follow it, and still make it on time. On the other
hand, I certainly believe we will need to do user testing once we produce
those designs.

I can see how analysis of our current UI could be useful, though, and I'd
like to incorporate it into our workflow. It would also be helpful to test
the designs of our competitors. If you have tips on how to incorporate it
into our workflow, especially in such a way that any volunteer could do it,
please voice them in a reply.

2. If you want to help use our structures.

I will not use the structures you set up, because I think they are
fundamentally wrong (disclaimer: as far as I could follow them, seeing
have been tons of mails about this topic that I did not read all - correct
if anything I say is wrong).

You propose a waterfallish modell with a closed design phase at the

Not sure what you mean by "closed design phase". Everyone is welcome to

All I have learned in software development is: This does not work out.

Not all designers should work on every topic. We have to build small teams
apply best principles of agile software development.

That sounds great, down the road. Right now, though, I don't really think
we have enough people involved to be able to form small teams. I'd also
like to get some basic design principles, maybe a small HIG, approved so
that we'd have something to guide our designs.

You are isolating topics. The personas for Impress remote are different
those I saw at some other place. This will never lead to a consistent user
experience across LibreOffice. This might lead to some isolated really cool
solutions, but the user will never feel this is one applications suite.

As I said, I believe we need some guiding principles.
I also agree that our personas right now are basically worthless given
their quality. Please feel free to improve upon them.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by isolating topics. I feel we have to
work on one topic at a time, though of course we have to take the whole of
LibreOffice into consideration, and some topics are interconnected. For
example, the design of the file manager for Android will depend in part on
the design of our Template dialog, as is clearly stated in the whiteboard's

So, sorry, but I am not willing to invest my valuable time into these

Could you offer some tips for creating a better structure, though?

3. Vague offers of help
You said my proposals are very vague. I partially agree with this.

I did make a very concrete suggestion to help you solve the "bold,
icon discussion, by showing you a way how to solve this problem with users,
taking different languages and cultural backgrounds into account. But there
was no reaction to this. This offer still stands and could be a extremely
concrete starting point.

I completely agree with user testing icons. I think it'd be great.
That said, I hoped an experienced icon designer would come in and help with
the project -- and some experienced designers did show interest at first,
but, unfortunately, were never heard from again. The submitted icons used
varying line widths, some used rounded corners, some used sharp corners,
all were different widths and heights and used differing amounts of detail,
and since I personally have never designed an icon set, I'm not sure how to
best coordinate development to end up with a consistent-looking set. So I
personally gave up on the project, at least for now (I might come back to
it later). If anyone wants to take control of it, he/she is welcome to do

My following suggestions were indeed vague, because I felt it would be a
of time to offer something concrete again, if there is no interest. As I
- my time is strongly limited.

So, still staying vague, I can help to build up the artifacts (vision,
personas, scenarios,...) that can help us to create a consistent UX within
LibreOffice suite, help to validate these artifacts with real users, create
solutions together with developers and again validating them with users -
to name some things we need to work on.

Sounds great.

But be aware, this will shift the focus in this list from designing (which
still see as a craftmenship) to research and understanding. I strongly
believe: if we understand, finding the solutions is easy. This is why the
we need to do is research.

I agree.

So if there is anyone interested in this resaerch based approach on
LibreOffice design, give me a sign and we will find a way to start working.

Definitely interested. How do you suggest we start?

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