I attended the course "Developing an Effective Prototyping Strategy". As far as I understood, the term "prototyping" comprised everything from idea creation phase until the start of the implementation phase. Personally, I tend to think a bit different about that ... I prefer to distinguish between idea generation, requirements engineering, design proposals. The latter one may be prototyped via paper, computer graphics, ... whatever is available :-) And this is already an important information - use whatever is appropriate for a certain problem.
One of the trainers published the book "Effective Prototyping with Excel". I am not kidding; he presented astonishing results of famous web pages and their Microsoft Excel counterparts. However, they affirmed that they had been using Calc for that purpose, too.
Two nice things popped up in the course: First, they use fidelity matrixes and and mockup expiration dates. I think I'll cover that later until figuring out how to make use of them.
After that, I went to a few presentations and joined a discussion group ... day job related. Finally, the conference ended with the Closing Plenary and "Doing what’s right with robots: an ethical appraisal of robot application". Very interesting.
Open Source User Experience
Later, I had the chance to talk with Paula Bach (Pennsylvania State University, Microsoft; I mentioned her in the previous blog posts) and Alex Faarborg (Principal Designer on Firefox). We went out for dinner and I introduced them the project and our UX team a bit.
Alex asked some very good questions about our goals and the overall strategy ... but since we (whole OpenOffice.org Community) haven't commonly agreed on anything, it became (again!) clear that there are still major issues within the project. At least when it comes - he also asked questions about that - the kind engagement of our volunteering community members. However, we will stay in contact since they (and others) are interested in a general open-source usability / user experience / human-computer interaction / ... activity. Cool!
Sorry for the picture of us three. I mean, not for the picture itself, but for the low quality ... there is always a risk when asking strangers to help out ;-)
So, to sum up the nice guys I've met in the last few days:
- Máirín Duffy (interaction designer, RedHat)
- Paula Bach (open source researcher, also working for Microsoft)
- Roshanak Zilouchian (open source researcher)
- Alex Faaborg (principal designer, Firefox)
Today I will depart - unless the recent activities of the vulcano Eyjafjallajökull will again cause delays or cancellations in the European air traffic. But even if everything wents fine, please don't expect further messages to soon ... I'll cure a bad jet lag ;-)
PS: By the way, the next conference is the LinuxTag in Berlin. My proposal "Project Renaissance in the year 2010" has been accepted. Great, isn't it?