Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank you, Doris!

I know that many people are involved in a project like, but my today's personal favorite is Doris... :-)

On the German users mailing list, Doris asked why the new Notes functionality in the Writer behaves in this or that way. It soon became clear, that she is a kind of hardcore notes user - at least I don't know many people having more than two dozen Notes on one page, some of them originally created in WordPerfect 5.1 (DOS), imported via Microsoft Office 97 and edited in 3.0. Phew, this is real-world testing for scalability and stability!

We ended up in a nice discussion, uncovering some bad issues like 98002 and improving other behavior, e.g. the person editing the document (you) will always get yellow notes.

Not everything could be resolved so far - some things are still on our roadmap (even for volunteers, resources are somehow limited *g*), but it was a very pleasant experience, especially since this was very constructive criticism. I hope she will further contribute to - as she already does for Wikipedia.

A big thank you!

Max & Christoph

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Using Linkedin's Poll application for research

Hi folks,

I just discovered a cool way to collect information on They have an web app that allows you to pose questions either inside your own network (free) or worldwide in (not free). So I took a first shot to check who uses which office tool in my network. The cool things is that I am able to post the link to the app anywhere on the web and as I just found out, the not-so-cool thing is that you have to have a account to fill out the poll. Hmmm :-(

However, anyone who has an account, here is the link: does the analysis automatically and displays them in your profile.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009 User Feedback Extension Beta is Available

as you might know, a data driven approach [1] is an essential part of the Renaissance Project [2]. On element is the User Feedback Program [3]. It collects anonymously data about how is used. This information is used to better understand how people use
Especially with regards to the user interface.

The extension is now available for public beta testing

How can you support the Renaissance Project?

This is simple.

Download the extension, give it a try. Provide Feedback.

Please be aware, that the use of these Beta builds has risks associated with it. Don't use them with production data, as data loss and other scary things can occur. The User Feedback Extension Beta runs as an extension for 3.0.1 or 3.1

Please note that the User Feedback Extension requires a Developer Snapshot of 3.0.1 [4] or 3.1 [5].

A list of known Bugs can be found here [6]

Thanks for your support,

[6] Known Bugs

Monday, January 12, 2009 User Survey Part II

I took some time and analyzed the data [1] posted recently by Frank. Based on the data it was possible to create a pretty good person profile. The map below sketches out some characteristics of the person based on collected data.

I've also created a bunch of diagrams. These provide a more in depth view on the users who participated in the survey.

Some of the results are really surprising....

Happy reading,


Saturday, January 10, 2009

A great story about the Renaissance Project from a personal perspective

... me again!

Look what I found on the net, Bruce Byfield, is talking about the current and the future UI of OOo. A story that is well ellaborated and nice to read. Actually, it's a must-read for everyone who is interested or involved in the Renaissance Project in any way. I'd really like to discuss the content with you guys.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Yet another task we can put on the OOo list

Good evening people,

here is a statement I recently stumbled upon in a book about user research:

"This book was written entirely using OpenOffice, from the first keystroke to - well, just about to - the last. It only crashed a couple of times. Really."

Impressive! Who says we are not feature complete? The book has more than 500 pages! "Observing the user experience. A practisioners's guide to user research" was written by Mike Kuniavsky and was published in 2003.

So, here we go, people write books with OOo, not only letters and resumes.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Merry Open Source!

Now that the busy holiday season is over, I thought I might share what I just discovered: Open Source is like Christmas to me.

In my family, we always get presents from many friends and relatives and some from Santa Claus, too. We write thank you notes to all the people who send us presents, except Santa. In my husband's family, the children think that all the presents they get come from Santa, so there is a lot of exchanging of packages secretly as the relatives and friends give each other the presents that will be discovered under the tree. Nobody in his family writes thank you notes, because every present comes from Santa, who you of course do not know personally. He is a just a magical mystery who only comes by once a year, otherwise living incongnito. This difference in tradition was especially important this year because we had to figure out how Christmas presents would be “defined” for our son.

I like knowing who gave me what and being able to say thanks directly to the person responsible. If I don't like a present, I can ask the person to exchange it or return it. I also want to give presents to people and see their happiness and feel their appreciation.

For me, Christmas is about the joy of giving and receiving! That sounds a lot like working on an open source project, doesn't it? We know who contributed what and can say thanks for that contribution or ask them to change it. In addition, we have fun contributing and are pleased when our "presents" are appreciated.

How did we end up doing Christmas presents for our son? Open source style, of course!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some ideas and questions on how to look at the User Survey data

Hi folks,

first things first!

Happy New Year!

Now, since the Renaissance wiki is down, I thought sharing some of our data analysis ideas over the blog might be an alternative. As you might know, we have collected a huge pile of data with the user survey. Now is the time to take a closer look at the numbers and the survey content as such. Some of you already did that as revealed by the discussion that is going on on the mailing lists. Thanks for that! However, here are some questions/hints/aspects you could pose/keep in mind when looking, analyzing and drawing conclusions from the collected data.

1 Who are our users as revealed by the survey?
1.1 Do the users represent people we have/had in mind?
1.2 Are these the users we actually design and develop for?

2 What value these users most in OOo?
2.1 Is that something we have expected?
2.2 Is that something we were hoping for?
2.3 Is that something we actively worked for?

3 For what purposes is OOo used?
3.1 Is that something that we anticipated?
3.2 Is that something we have worked for?
3.3 Is that something OOo is really made for?
3.4 To what extent does that usage cover the functionality of OOo?

4 What makes OOo so popular among these users?
4.1 Is that a quality we have expected?
4.2 Is that a quality we worked/work for?
4.3 Is that a measurable quality?

5 How does the distribution of the users look like?
5.1 Do we have some peaks e.g. in age, usage, language etc.?

6 To which questions did we hope to collect answers by this survey?
6.1 Did we get the data we were looking for?
6.2 Can we get the answers to all our questions from the data?
6.3 Did this survey meet our own quality criteria in terms of objectivity, reliability and validity?

I hope that this will help us a bit to direct our discussions from a descriptive to a more inferential analysis of the data. Finally, we would like to draw conclusions from these results that are valid and valuable for generating design ideas in a later phase.