Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Moved

Hi everyone,

some of you may know that I moved; we really needed more space, so we rented a nice flat only a few hundred meters from our old location. So, yesterday, we returned our keys to the owner of the old flat ... now it's time to decorate the new one and to start to feel at home.

Is this a true story? Yes, it is. We really moved ... and this was a real challenge, since it was the hot phase of the preparation of The Document Foundation you all are aware of. By the way, my deepest deepest thanks to all my friends who supported me to make my life a bit easier during that time ... they helped by e.g. painting our old flat. You are amazing, really!

Okay, back to amazing #2 and The Document Foundation. It seems that the dust settled a bit, and now it seems that our move to towards a more libre project is a bit similar. We already started to plan the interior, put some furniture in and started the decoration process ... to make our guests feel comfortable :-) So who are our guests? At the moment, there are a lot of people who seem to like the idea. It's incredible ... I really hope that Oracle sees the potential, too, and accepts our invitation to support the foundation and to finally get a better product.

Who is Oracle? In fact, it is the people ... I - being a volunteer - had always a more than great relationship with the guys being paid for the work on In fact, I consider some of them to be my close friends ... and I really (really) respect their work and their great engagement for the community project. So I'm looking forward that LibreOffice - as referred to in the FAQ - is a temporary name, but the foundation will become the new home of a more open development for all contributors. Either companies or individuals ... let's hope for the best!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stuff on the Shelf

Hi everyone,

as some of you know ... we are currently in the "hot phase" to prepare our upcoming move. After the flooding of parts of our house some weeks ago, the preparation for and being at the OOoCon, this is something that keeps us very busy at the moment.

However, I would like to share with you. I found something on the shelf: ancient StarDivision software that was my start to StarOffice, and later
Something I even mentioned in my very first UX blog posting.

If I had a computer with a floppy disk drive ... I'd try to install it.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Budapest, Day 2 and 3

I already proposed two days ago, that - if you like - we may have a look at Budapest together. Yesterday, I wasn't able to publish anything, so let's continue with a small photo series taken during the last two days.

What we found out: Budapest is absolutely amazing ;-) You may look at any house, any street light or any handrail - you will find tiny but interesting details. So if you are here, too - pay attention!

Something we didn't manage to see on Saturday was the Dohány Street Synagogue. So we went back on Sunday - here is a small picture showing some of the "leafs" of the memorial in the garden.

Where to go now? We decided to go to Buda Castle to enjoy some of the sights having a greatly improved weather situation. To avoid walking all the time (and we walked a lot ...), we used the famous Budavári Sikló (a hill funicular). Look down, but only this time :-)

Once we arrived at the top, we had to return to the Matthias Church (same game like the Synagogue) to get inside ... or better: insight. Although it has been said that both the interior and the exterior are astonishing, I slightly prefer the look of the latter one. But see for yourself ...

Once we finished that, we spent our evening with some community members. Delicious! The meals, of course.

Today, we started our tour with André and we decided to visit something that (most probably) won't be part of the usual tourist tours: the Szemlő-hegyi-barlang (flowstone cave). Maybe some pictures help to describe how amazing some parts look ...

Hint: the small lower part is the hiking route ...

Hint: his picture shows a ladder towards to top of the cave ...

Okay, let's finish this small excursion - most probably I'll be able to tell a bit more after our OOoCon Budapest City Tour that will take place tomorrow.

Good night!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Budapest, Day 1

Hi everyone!

Well, a few weeks passed by without providing any life signal. Sorry! To summarize it: many things happened that required to focus on the "real life".

Now I am already in Budapest and I'm looking forward for the Conference, especially to meet all the community members (again). Until that finally happens, there will be a few days for vacation ... if you want to join, here is a picture taken from the Géllert Hill.

See you!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Informal Meeting "FOSS and Usability"

LinuxTag 2010, anybody?

We invite you to take part in an informal meeting to share thoughts, experiences and other information covering the topics Usability and User Experience in the Free Software world. The meeting is organized by Björn from and Christoph from the User Experience Team.

You should join if you are interested in:
  • Integrating User Centered Development into the development of your FOSS project
  • Wanting to add your UX expertize to a FOSS project
  • Wondering how to take benefits out of community work with real users
  • Some usability tips for your FOSS project
  • ...

We are looking forward to see you at LinuxTag in Berlin, Germany!

Go ahead and find more information on the Informal Meeting Wiki page. And if you would like to know how this event looks like, have a look at the last year's LinuxTag blog posting.


PS: Of course there will be a presentation on current Renaissance topics. I'll provide some more information soon ...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

You definitively know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", don't you?

Low Fidelity vs. High Fidelity

Generally speaking, the saying is absolutely true! But why do some of our drawings, sketches, GUI mockups or software prototypes do cause such an amount of discussion ... afterwards? Very often it turns out, that some of the discussions don't focus on what the original author intended.

I would like to show you two examples to guide you towards what the main intention of this posting is ... Tell me, what of the following mockups has the higher fidelity?

Do you think the right one? My answer: Nope.

The right picture might look better, because the there has been more attention to visual detail. But when looking at the interaction quality of the dialog designs (taken from the printerpullpages effort by the way), the left drawing offers nearly equals the interaction quality, maybe it even uses a better approach of visualizing content (the print page preview).

Got the point? When looking at ideas, it doesn't work better if it just looks better. Moreover, strange guys like the UX people do even try to avoid keeping too much attention on visual design (in the first run). Mostly we use something called "wireframes" to present our ideas. Why? Because otherwise you might easily run into something called "taste war" :-)

Problem solved, and now?

Not really! Now it gets even more complicated. As you may have noticed, there is an effort to improve the StartCenter. The original idea was to apply the refreshed the branding, then changes have been added which address the handling. Well, many people already brainstormed and presented ideas for this and that ... but what's the problem?

Now, it is really easy to mix up the "visual design" and the "interaction design". What is your idea about? Terminology also unchecked yet? Then, you are in real trouble ;-) At least if it is just intended to show your "visual" ideas.

When I was at the CHI (see CHI 2010, Day Four) I attended the course "Developing an Effective Prototyping Strategy". The guys proposed to address such problems with an fidelity matrix which is supplied to each design artifact. To me, being the author of the pictures above, it would have been easy to rate the intended fidelity of the content. Have a look ...

Of course, the example pictures have been discussed in detail and the intended use has been described. But does everybody like reading that? I assume not :-)

So, if people would like to discuss the graphical content of something like the StartCenter, then simply add the matrix. For example, it might then be very unlikely that get "hit" by UX comments about unfinished interaction design or sub-optimal information design. So, it also deals with your comfort ;-)

Another thing the guys in the course proposed has been the expiration date. Simply speaking: things change and you cannot do anything against it. In the first months your ideas might be great ... but then technical constraints change and your design might look like the wrong approach. Take care of that. So here is how this might be avoided ...


At work, I found this "fidelity matrix" and "expiration date" approach work very well. So I propose to add at least the former item to each of our proposals - website design, software mockups, marketing stuff, ... And then, let's keep focus! Then, a picture is really worth a thousend words. And doesn't cause a thousand lines.


PS: Is there anyone who can help me to work on a small template for our wiki? I don't have any clue ... Currently, I think of replacing the fidelity numbers by little stars or dots.

Update: I've added a SVG template to the User Experience Tools Page.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Departure ahead!

I was wrong. Simply wrong. In my last posting, I announced to go back to Germany ... but the "vulcano ash situation" changed the schedule a bit. The flight has been delayed by 6 days ... so I will leave today. Most probably.

But I wasn't the only one. Some people of the Georgia Tech University did start to organize stuff. Managing events and keeping us up-to-date via Twitter, Facebook (there is an own group for people "stranded" after the CHI 2010), Google Documents ... they have been just great. The lists contained about 160 people who - partly - needed help. Imagine all the students and their limited financial resources. Or all those business people who required a simple desk. They took care - thank you so much!

Yesterday for example, the guys organized a movie night ... we all watched The Terminal. To be honest, this has been fun because we already knew that things are moving on in Europe.

Europe. There have been many people from Germany, so we went out on Sunday to hang out at the Dogwood festival. And, some of us spent also some time in the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Funnily, they had an exhibition called "Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters" ... and they had some control boards to "build your own vulcano". Strange. At least in the current situation.

However, I've learned a lot in the last days. Most important: sleeping during the waiting loop when calling the airline support hotline :-) Please keep your fingers crossed that I can avoid that in the future.