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  • mirek2
  • yoroy



[17:33] <yoroy> mirek2: hi. I'm curious
[17:33] <yoroy> I'm a UX designer for the Drupal project and looking into how other (large) open source projects run their ux work
[17:35] <mirek2> alright
[17:35] <mirek2> well, we're run entirely by volunteers
[17:35] <mirek2> and rarely have the chance to work with developers, as there's not much developer interest
[17:36] <mirek2> we're a very small team, though, and lately not as active as I would've liked
[17:37] <mirek2> what we do depends on the situation
[17:37] <mirek2> for example, right now we're working on a refreshed icon set
[17:38] <mirek2> and we're also in the process of weeding out the Options dialog
[17:40] <yoroy> sounds similar :)
[17:40] <yoroy> though we work directly with developers in the issue queues
[17:40] <yoroy> getting them interested to do things can be a challenge though
[17:41] <mirek2> yes
[17:41] <yoroy> do you run usability tests?
[17:41] <mirek2> the business model for libreoffice is built around providing support
[17:42] <mirek2> yoroy: no
[17:42] <mirek2> we try to base our decisions on our Principles and the Gnome HIG
[17:42] <yoroy> test data can help convince that UX problems really exist
[17:43] <yoroy> and need fixing
[17:43] <mirek2> the problem for us isn't that the devs are unaware of UX bugs
[17:44] <mirek2> the problem is that paying customers are asking for interoperability bugs to be fixed instead
[17:44] <mirek2> and there's no devs for the UX bugs
[17:45] <mirek2> in the future, though, once we have more time and volunteers, I'd love to do user tests
[17:46] <mirek2> for now, though, we're planning a UX hackfest, so I'm hoping that will get things started in the UX arena
[17:46] <yoroy> ah ok, that's a different model indeed.
[17:47] <yoroy> In Drupal almost nobody is paid to work on development
[17:47] <yoroy> And definately nobody from the Drupal Association
[17:48] <mirek2> that's too bad
[17:48] <yoroy> Sometimes some folk are sponsored to work on certain aspects
[17:49] <mirek2> ok
[17:49] <mirek2> such as?
[17:50] <mirek2> something like gnome is doing now with "privacy"?
[17:51] <yoroy> Somebody was allowed to work 50% of his working time on the 'configuration management' initiative for a year
[17:51] <yoroy> There was a small team of devs who worked to get the most popular 'Views' module into core
[17:51] <yoroy> Another person is paid to make MongoDB integration possible
[17:52] <yoroy> I don't know about the Gnome privacy thing :)
[17:53] <mirek2> they have an initiative once in a while, "accessibility" was their first one
[17:54] <mirek2> "privacy" is their second
[17:55] <mirek2> we're also held back by our toolkit (which is too hard to switch)
[17:56] <mirek2> actually, not just the toolkit, but old code in general
[17:56] <mirek2> e.g. adding custom colors is unnecessarily hard, but it's a hard thing to fix
[17:56] <mirek2> and pictures are impossible to rotate in Writer
[17:57] <mirek2> in terms of the toolkit, we can't do a lot of things
[17:57] <mirek2> but things are slowly improving, though
[17:58] <mirek2> we are moving our dialogs to Glade's .ui format
[17:58] <yoroy> ha, yes, adding custom colors is quite a lot of work
[17:59] <mirek2> how many people are involved in Drupal's UX team?
[18:00] <mirek2> also, do the Drupal contributors ever meet (conferences, hackfests, ...)?
[18:01] <yoroy> there's about 4 or 5 people who contribute regularly and consistently and have a grasp on the whole thing
[18:01] <yoroy> I'd say 10 - 15 people who help out with research, visual design
[18:01] <yoroy> Similar amount of devs who are interested in providing the code for things
[18:02] <yoroy> oh yes, we just had Drupalcon Prague this week. 1600 attendees
[18:02] <yoroy> We have weekly irc meetings
[18:03] <yoroy> Drupalcon is twice a year, once in US, once in Europe each year
[18:03] <mirek2> :) funny, I'm from Prague
[18:03] <mirek2> and we just had a conference these past 3 days
[18:03] <mirek2> in Milano
[18:03] <yoroy> ha really, nice. We took over the Corinthia hotel next to the conference center
[18:04] <mirek2> so do you do any usability tests?
[18:04] <yoroy> yes
[18:05] <yoroy>
[18:06] <mirek2> great :)
[18:08] <yoroy> This is our discussion group
[18:10] <mirek2> so what does your design process look like?
[18:11] <yoroy> good question :)
[18:12] <mirek2> :)
[18:12] <yoroy> It's a mix between 1: fixing things based on usability tests
[18:12] <yoroy> 2: introduce new features to extend Drupal capabilities
[18:12] <yoroy> 3: fix the mess all the devs are making
[18:12] <yoroy> mostly 3 :-)
[18:13] <yoroy> But for Drupal 8 we identified some specific areas that needed improvement. We researched, designed and brought that as a spec into development issue queue.
[18:14] <yoroy> There is a lot of debate, but in the end we often get our way :)
[18:14] <yoroy> Might take up to 3 years though
[18:14] <mirek2> :)
[18:14] <mirek2> how do you design a spec?
[18:14] <mirek2> do you test your designs as you go?
[18:15] <mirek2> or do you resort to heuristics, HIGs, and standard behavior?
[18:15] <yoroy> large redesigns we research and test before starting implementation
[18:15] <yoroy> smaller changes we rely on heuristics and available patterns
[18:16] <yoroy> Example of a big one is the redesign of the content creation form
[18:16] <yoroy> Research:
[18:16] <yoroy> Design:
[18:18] <yoroy> We usability tested a prototype of that, can't find the link
[18:18] <mirek2> very thorough
[18:18] <mirek2> what kind of prototype?
[18:18] <yoroy> Then we brought that as a 'spec' into the issue queue
[18:18] <mirek2> and how was the prototype tested?
[18:19] <mirek2> (how many people, how did you select them, ...?)
[18:19] <yoroy> yeah, this is thorough, takes a lot of work. We can't always do it like that
[18:20] <yoroy> Here's an example usability test script:
[18:20] <yoroy> 5 to 12 participants, recruitment via-via, social media
[18:21] <yoroy> In person usability tests are often organised when there is a conference or a camp
[18:21] <yoroy> We had one which was done at google and we live-streamed the sessions. Up to 100 people viewing those.
[18:22] <yoroy> Which was great because directly observing people going through the struggle is the best way to make developers feel the pain users go through
[18:22] <mirek2> definitely :)
[18:22] <yoroy> So, how does it work for you?
[18:22] <yoroy> design process
[18:23] <mirek2> we start with a topic, make a whiteboard for it
[18:24] <mirek2>
[18:24] <mirek2> there are 5 phases for a whiteboard
[18:25] <yoroy> Ah yes, I see
[18:25] <mirek2> first, there's analysis, which can be done just by the person creating the whiteboard for certain topics
[18:25] * yoroy is afk for a bit, bringing kids to bed :)
[18:26] <mirek2> it's usually just defining the problem, its scope, finding the related resources and bugs, and the relevant art
[18:27] <mirek2> sorry, meant to link to
[18:43] <yoroy> looks good
[18:44] <yoroy> We can only artificially time-box things
[18:44] <yoroy> During actual development, new people get to see the designs and we often have to rehash lots of the previous parts of the process
[18:45] <mirek2> as in, you have to tweak the process, or just tweak what you've designed so far?
[18:49] <mirek2> yoroy: still there?
[18:49] <yoroy> tweak the design or provide the rationale again.
[18:50] <yoroy> the issue queue (bug tracker) is not a useful environment for design, so we do that elsewhere
[18:50] <yoroy> but many developers only follow the queue so they miss the first part of the process
[18:50] <mirek2> yeah, that's similar to us
[18:50] <mirek2> whiteboards are pretty easy for devs to follow, though, so I don't think that's an issue for us
[18:51] <mirek2> I think that the elementary team does design on the bug tracker, though
[18:52] <mirek2> they use launchpad, which is somewhat suited for the task
[18:53] <mirek2> (I really dislike bugzilla and wish we used launchpad as well)
[18:56] <yoroy> elementary team?
[18:56] <mirek2>
[18:56] <mirek2> it's a group of volunteers who are making their own OS based on Ubuntu
[18:57] <mirek2> they're very passionate about design, and what they've built is quite impressive
[18:57] <yoroy> Aaah, right, I have heard about this.
[18:57] <yoroy> One of the keynote speakers mentioned this project last week
[18:58] <mirek2> what did he say about it?
[19:00] <yoroy> That it's a design driven project :)
[19:00] <mirek2> it is :)
[19:01] <yoroy>
[19:02] <mirek2> thanks, I'll watch it later
[19:02] <mirek2> I watched the "A Happy Grain of Sand" talk by this guy
[19:02] <mirek2> had no clue he was involved in Drupal
[19:03] <yoroy> He isn't :)
[19:03] <mirek2> oh, ok
[19:03] <yoroy> Keynote speakers are always outside experts. For the other perspective
[19:04] <mirek2> prometheus seems intriguing
[19:04] <yoroy> So what's your position? Are you a lead designer for libreoffice?
[19:04] <mirek2> :) it's quite funny, actually
[19:05] <mirek2> there is very little hierarchy inside libreoffice
[19:05] <mirek2> it's a meritocracy
[19:06] <mirek2> theoretically, I guess I'm one of the main designers, just based on my involvement
[19:07] <mirek2> but anyone who volunteers is basically on an equal footing
[19:08] <yoroy> right
[19:08] <yoroy> same here
[19:08] <mirek2> at the end of the day, it's basically the devs' call
[19:09] <mirek2> if they listen to us, and let us commit things :)
[19:09] <yoroy> how many people can actually commit new code to the software?
[19:09] <mirek2> anyone can commit, but new contributors need approval
[19:10] <mirek2> I myself don't have commit rights
[19:10] <yoroy> really?
[19:10] <mirek2> but it's not something that would bother me
[19:10] <yoroy> that's different
[19:10] <yoroy> we used to have only 2 committers for each version
[19:10] <mirek2> and if I wanted them, I'm relatively certain I'd be given those rights
[19:10] <yoroy> for Drupal 8 it has become 4 persons
[19:10] <mirek2> just to be clear:
[19:11] <mirek2> anyone can submit a patch
[19:11] <mirek2> not everyone has commit rights
[19:11] <mirek2> but frequent patchers can get commit rights, I think, relatively easily
[19:11] <yoroy> Right, anyone can provide patches.
[19:12] <mirek2> LibreOffice in general, though, is a multiparty project
[19:12] <yoroy> For each version of Drupal, the project lead Dries invites one other person to be his co-committer for that version
[19:12] <yoroy> ah ok
[19:12] <mirek2> there's Red Hat, Collabora, CloudOn, Lanedo, Canonical, volunteers, ... (I'm sure I'm missing some parties, but oh well)
[19:13] <mirek2> the project is very open to contributions
[19:13] <mirek2> and most patches go through
[19:14] <yoroy> So all these orgs are member of the Document Foundation?
[19:14] <yoroy> I can look this up of course :)
[19:15] <mirek2> I have no clue if organisations can be members...
[19:15] <yoroy> Within Drupal it's primarily individual contributions, only very little through companies
[19:17] <mirek2> ok
[19:17] <mirek2> the individuals are using drupal in some way, though, right?
[19:18] <mirek2> the motivation being fixing something for themselves and contributing it back?
[19:18] <yoroy> yep
[19:20] <mirek2> in general, I'd love to have more UX conscious devs in LibreOffice, and in open
[19:20] <mirek2> source in general
[19:20] <mirek2> (accidentally hit enter there)
[19:20] <mirek2> I'd love to see floss projects ask for money
[19:21] <mirek2> really dismayed with the response elementary's been getting with their pay-what-you-want model
[19:21] <yoroy> Yeah, it's getting more and more important to go beyond feature lists and focus more on providing the right thing at the right time
[19:22] <yoroy> yup, making drupal development sustainable is an ongoing discussion as well
[19:24] <mirek2> what really frustrates me is that e.g. Ubuntu Software center allows you to pay only for software that's not in the repositories
[19:24] <mirek2> so you can pay mostly just for proprietary software there
[19:25] <yoroy> hmm yeah. It's all about providing additional services
[19:25] <yoroy> support, training, …
[19:25] <mirek2> many projects build their business model on that, but it seems wrong to me
[19:25] <mirek2> because, in addition to development, you have to do this extra stuff to make money
[19:26] <mirek2> while proprietary software just makes money from the app
[19:26] <mirek2> I'd love to see open-source apps actually ask for money
[19:27] <mirek2> not as a "donation", but as "set your price", because the app is worth it
[19:28] <mirek2> I talked to one of the Gnome designers
[19:29] <mirek2> and he floated the idea of building a flattr donation model into their Software app
[19:30] <mirek2> so, basically, at the end of a month, a set amount of money would go to the software that you have installed
[19:30] <yoroy> right
[19:30] <yoroy> It hasn't really worked for Drupal module developers yet (module = plugin)
[19:31] <mirek2> what does their business model tend to be?
[19:32] <yoroy> basically there is none that directly supports development and maintenance of their work
[19:32] <yoroy> We just got started on
[19:33] <yoroy> Mostly it's people working at Drupal shops who get some time to contribute
[19:35] <yoroy> As for Drupal being used to make money with, you can build websites with it and get paid for that :)
[19:36] <mirek2> perhaps you could integrate "tips" into the drupal modules website?
[19:36] <mirek2> to make the experience a bit more seamless?
[19:37] <mirek2> or even allow a person to link his drupal account to flattr so that it would automatically tip all the open-source modules he has installed every month
[19:38] <yoroy> yes, that stuff happens already. Numbers are still very small though
[19:38] <mirek2> by "drupal account", I guess I mean the admin account on his site
[19:38] <mirek2> where does that happen?
[19:39] <mirek2> (I'm probably just looking at the wrong modules, but I haven't seen a tip button or anything similar)
[19:40] <yoroy> yeah, that's only some people adding a link there. It's not something that's part of the infrastructure
[19:40] <mirek2> maybe it should be, then? :)
[19:41] <yoroy> that usueally gets shot down on principal grounds
[19:42] <yoroy> not to be used as a platform for monetization etc…
[19:42] <mirek2> :( that's too bad
[19:42] <mirek2> I'd love to see more monetization opportunities for floss devs
[19:47] <yoroy> we'll get there :)
[19:47] <mirek2> I hope so :)
[19:48] <yoroy> It was nice talking to you!
[19:48] <mirek2> nice talking to you too :)
[19:48] <mirek2> and if you have any tips or lessons or encounter some cool stuff as you go, I'd love to hear about it
[19:49] <mirek2> either on the IRC or on our design mailing list
[19:49] <mirek2> (you know about the list, right?)
[19:51] <yoroy> yes, I'm on the list
[19:53] <mirek2> ok; feel free to send pointers, resources, and invitations :)
[19:57] <yoroy> we'll keep in touch :)
[19:57] <mirek2> great :)