Squid Kung Fu – Or “Can I have more hands, please?”

Squid Kung Fu

(“Squid Kung Fu”, CC-BY by Windell Oskay)

The image above as well as its original title reflects both what my work for KDE currently feels like and what I’d frequently wish for these days: More arms to reach out to all the people I’m currently working with. It is exciting, inspiring, exhausting, all at once.

Currently, I’m not deeply involved in a particular project, but instead I’m involved in lots different things at once. Here are some examples of things I do (in the order they came to mind):

  • Coordinate between the Visual Design Group and the Usability group (Jens Reuterberg usually calls us “the HIG group, but we do more than writing HIGs), currently specifically the effort to integrate Visual Design Guidelines which Andrew Lake is currently writing into the Human Interface Guidelines. It makes sense that Jens started the VDG as a separate group, but we agree that in the long term, there will have to be a single user interface / user experience / whateveryoucallit group which consists of both (visual) designers and usability experts (and developers with a particular affinity to GUI development), because creating a great user experience is an interdisciplinary effort. That’s why it’s important that Jens and me talk often to keep “our” groups in sync
  • Try to keep up with the amazing creative energy materializing in the VDG forum (Jens mentioned that already in his latest blog post) to give input whenever I feel it’s necessary
  • Read the Plasma mailing list to provide input on things such as the new Desktop Effects control module
  • Play the role of the client in a university project which creates a modernized UI for KAddressbook
  • Read through several GSoC proposals (especially those related to Plasma Active)
  • Work on the HIG themselves, of course
  • Read the KDE Telepathy mailing list to give input on anything UI-related

The fact that I’m feeling like a squid-man shows two things:

    1. There is a hell of a lot of awesome stuff currently happening in KDE, these are exciting times indeed!
    2. We have too few usability people. Heiko Tietze is putting great effort into the HIG (without him, not much would have happened since I rebooted them) and Björn Balazs helps where he can as well, but there is only so much they can squeeze in around their contract work at User Prompt. Therefore, if you know someone with a background in usability / user experience who would be interested in working with our fantastic community, just point them towards me!

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Researcher on usability / usable security / user experience Volunteer KDE usability consultant Open Access / Open Science supporter

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Posted in KDE

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