Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's all about people

Hi everybody,

a few weeks ago Frank announced my participation in the UX project in terms of the co-leadership. I think it is time to shed some light on my motivation, my personal wishes concerning the future of the project and – finally – me.

Explaining my motivation for usability is easy: „It's all about people“. Some examples? I'm tired of seeing students investing more time in formatting their thesis instead of working on the content. I want my girlfriend to be able to create stunning presentations to present her scientific research results. I'm happy when my mother can work flawlessly with spreadsheets at home, originally created with „the big competitor's“ office suite at work. And finally, I want people to enjoy working with OpenOffice.org instead of telling me that it feels like crap - without looking at the great capabilities it offers ... I presume you got the point.

At the moment, my motivation is even more boosted by the impressions I got at the CHI 2008 last week. There, I had the chance to get in touch with many people from industry, research and the open-source software world. It may sound a bit strange, but there I have seen, heard and felt the spirit of “User Experience” - and it still surrounds me.

Concerning our project, I wish that you can share my excitement for the ongoing efforts. But I also have to admit that some things have to be improved if we want to have substantial impact. Some weeks ago, people took part in some great discussions how to improve the visibility of our activities, the cooperation within the projects and other community efforts and to lower the hurdles for new contributors. I just want to point out that these arguments are not forgotten and we (Frank and I) are working on some first proposals to be presented soon.

Besides that, I would like to finalize my personal understanding of the co-lead role: I'm now enjoying to be the human spam filter for our mailing lists. Sounds challenging, hey? ;-)

Challenge is a good key point, because you might wonder what I do during the daylight hours. I earn a crust as an interaction designer in the advance development of a rather large company. Although we work on „real-world physical objects“ instead of software user interfaces, it's still people we want to be able to achieve great things.

You might also ask why I'm interested in OpenOffice.org. About 14 years ago I bought my first products from the company StarDivision. My favorite application in those days was StarDraw 2.0 for DOS. Some time later StarOffice 3.0 was the only viable business suite for my operating system of choice, IBM OS/2. Since then, StarOffice and later OpenOffice.org were my preferred software on Microsoft Windows or different flavors of Linux. Maybe this knowledge will be useful for our discussions.

Back to the now. I didn't have the chance to say thank you. First to Frank who offered me the role of the co-lead, and of course to the people who supported me with their compliments. And finally, to all the people who spend their time to improve OpenOffice.org and therefore believe in it's future.

Do you get tired? Maybe I should consider to come to an end, because I'd like to spare some text for later blog posts. So if there are any questions left or if you have personal comments, then please feel free to discuss this blog entry or just drop me an email! Anyway, I'm glad to be part of the UX community and to work with you!

Thanks for reading (or printing) :-)


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