Dear All, I'm Roshanak Zilouchian, a graduate student at the University of Illinois-Urbana. This semester I'm taking Prof. Bailey's course about Human Computer Interaction, and for the class project my group is interested in improving usability of open-source software. I'm writing to this mailing list as there are some known UI designers involved in the list. Our goal is to design, develop, and evaluate a tool which not only enables UI and graphic designers to be involved, but also communicate with each other and developers of the project. However, to develop an effective tool, we want to first gain deeper insights into the process of UI design in open source projects and the existing ways of communication between UI design team members. As a starting point, we have prepared a brief survey about UI design process and communication challenges in OSS and would appreciate your willingness to complete it. The survey should require no more than 30 minutes of your time. I've attached the survey as a Microsoft Word and plain text document for your convenience. If you are willing and you have experience in UI design, we would appreciate if you could take the time to complete the survey and mail it back to me (rzilouc2 uiuc edu). Regards, Roshanak Zilouchian
Description: MS-Word document
UI Designer Survey The variety and number of Open Source Software (OSS) increases everyday. However, many non-professional users still prefer to use proprietary software. One common entry barrier for new users is the lack of user-friendly interfaces in OSS. In order to improve the quality of the user interface in OSS, developers need to employ better interface design from the very start of the development process. We assume that a creative collaboration model among developers, UI and graphic designers would provide a solution to foster better UI design. In order to develop an effective model, we want to first gain deeper insights into the process of UI design in open source projects, the existing ways of communication between UI design team members and the community and the main challenges of UI design in OSS. We have prepared this survey to gain those insights. In this project, after investigating our proposed model, we plan to create a tool based on that model which not only enables UI and graphic designers to be involved, but also communicate with each other and developers of the project. In answering the following questions, you may draw from completed projects, planned projects, or knowledge of related research. We appreciate your willingness to assist us in collecting this information. The survey should require no more than 30 minutes of your time. Personal Information 1. How long have you been involved in designing user interfaces? How long have you designed UIs for OSS? 2. What motivates you to participate in the UI design of an OSS project? Design Process 1. Would you please briefly describe (or possibly sketch) the UI design process in a recent open source project that you have been involved (or an ongoing project)? (Please note where this differs from commercial practice if at all) 2. What tools do you use to design the UI in OSS? 3. To whom you will communicate your design idea? (If you are in a UI design team, how many members are involved?) How will you communicate?(e.g using a specific tool, talking, etc.) Is it effective? 4. What are the main challenges you encounter in designing a user interface for an open source project? Which challenges are unique to open source projects? 5. How do you overcome those challenges? 6. What elements of UI design are missing from OSS ? (e.g., graphic design, usability testing, user research, etc.). Community Culture 1. How important do you think the OSS community sees the UI in context of the overall project? 2. What are common communication problems between UI designers and non-UI design software developers and how do you overcome those problems? 3. What would facilitate communicating design ideas to the community?