Season of Usability Projects Kicked Off

In November, OpenUsability announced six mentored projects for students of usability, user interface design, interaction design, or related. We received applications from all over the world - New Zealand, India, South Africa, Europe, South America, USA and Canada. Most of the applicants were highly skilled, and it was sometimes difficult to take a decision. Finally, the following teams formed up:

  • Basket

    Student intern: Frank Ploss, Germany
    Usability mentor: Bjoern Balazs, Germany
    Technical mentor: Sebastien Laout, France

    Frank Ploss, student of computer science, performs a usability analysis and redesign of the Basket Notepad for KDE. He adopted the topic for his diploma thesis he just started to write and set up a web page where you can follow his progress.

  • GeeXBoX

    Student intern: Francesco De Rose, Italy
    Usability mentor: Celeste Lyn Paul, USA
    Technical mentor: Benjamin Zores, France

    The team had its first kick off meeting in the beginning of January and started its work on a redesign of the GeeXBoX multimedia system. One of the challenges of designing an interface for this kind of system is the low resolution (must be clear enough to read on a TV) and limited input devices (a joystick of simple controller should be enough).

  • Open Printing

    Student intern: Andrea Alessandrini, Italy
    Usability mentor: Peter Sikking, Germany

    The goal of this project is to design first low, then medium, fidelity printing dialogs, using the information that is gathered by questionnaires and testing of the integrated usability part of the project. The project will start on the first of February.

  • Okular

    Student intern: Sharad Baliyan, India
    Usability mentor: Florian Graessle, Germany
    Technical mentor: Pino Toscano, Italy

    The team is currently in the project management phase and will soon advance the usability of Okular, the next generation document reader for KDE.

  • Serendipity

    Student intern: Prabhath Sirisena, Sri Lanka
    Usability Mentor: Ellen Reitmayr, Germany
    Technical Mentor: Garvin Hicking, Germany

    We are currently planning a user survey to collect the major use cases for casual blogging with the Serendipity weblog system. The project progress will be documented in a wiki on OpenUsability.

  • SIP Communicator

    Student intern: Fabiana Meira Pires, Brazil
    Usability mentor: Jan Muehlig, Germany
    Technical mentor: Emil Ivov, France

    The team had it's first kickoff meeting on IRC and started its work to design a solution for transparent management of multiple VoIP and IM accounts with different functionality in a single application, namely SIP Communicator.

In addition to the "Season of Usability" openings, we found support for two more projects:

  • OpenWengo

    Student intern: Paula Bach, USA
    Technical mentor: Jerome Wagner, France

    Paula will work on one or more of the following tasks to improve the usability of OpenWengo, a VoIP client:

    + Design a a quick launcher for essential functions of the application.
    + Integration of the download/update part with the plugin framework.
    + Addition and integration of 3-way video conferencing.
    + Addition and integration of "video smileys".

  • Inkscape

    Student intern: Jennifer Ferreira, New Zealand
    Usability mentor: Alan Horkan, Ireland
    Technical mentor: Cedric Gemy, France

    Jennifer is going to develop user models for the layout application Inkscape.

A big thanks to all students who showed so much interest in FLOSS usability!

For those who were not selected: Please don't hesitate to apply again next season. In the meantime you might have a look at our project openings and lead your own OpenUsability project. Don't be deterred - working in FLOSS is first of all fun!


we are actually holding our third meeting of the project today and it is going very well. i hope everyone else has a great experience with their projects!

By seele at Fri, 01/26/2007 - 19:04