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From Christoph Noack <christ...@dogmatux.com>
Subject End-Users of OpenOffice.org
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 20:28:49 GMT
Hi all,

I hope you don't mind that another new face appears on this mailing
list. I followed some of the discussion during the last days and like to
add that I'm generally happy to see the OpenOffice.org project moving
forward. That said, I have to admit that I'm rather inexperienced with
regard to ASF processes - so I'm happy for any guidance from your side.

So, what is this mail about? I noticed that the user base of
OpenOffice.org has been mentioned several times, and that such an
end-user targeted project is something new for the ASF. Since users play
an important role for me, I might probably help to get an idea about
their needs and their perception.

Before talking about others, I should introduce myself ... :-)

My name is Christoph Noack and, first and foremost, I'm a user of OOo
codebase related products since roughly 17 years. Being a volunteer, I
don't have any corporate affiliation with either OpenOffice.org or
LibreOffice. But I enjoyed to serve as the most recent "Product
Development Representative" in the "OpenOffice.org Community Council" -
taking care of non-code topics like QA, Marketing or User Experience.
Concerning the latter, I'm also (still) the Co-Lead of the
OpenOffice.org User Experience Project [1]. Some people may now raise an
eyebrow ... maybe user-centered design, user oriented engineering,
usability, customer focus, etc. ... sound more common to your ears.
Finally, I'm one of the founding members of the Document Foundation -
trying to take care of end-user interests there as well.

It's crystal clear that I do not represent the XYZ millions of OOo users
out there, but maybe I can help to shed some light on them. Why? Because
UX always tried to "connect" the project with the (usually) invisible
end-users like: "Joe Average, the 40 years old guy, who works in SMB /
professional services - not being a developer" [2].

Guys like "Joe" worry about stuff like: 
      * Having the least possible effort to get information on, and to
        install a product like OpenOffice.org from a source that looks
        trustworthy
      * Using the computer without knowing how to identify the version
        of MS Windows on their computer, or what RAM means, or why some
        features require a Java Runtime Environment (what?)  ... it
        should "just work"
      * That the product just fits to 90% of _their_ work topics and is
        easy to use. If it doesn't fit, then it should be simple to
        change that (use another product, change configuration, get
        extensions, add templates ... without much effort).

Sorry for talking about such stuff in such a great detail, but my aim
was to make clear that the Joe Averages we have (and we have lots of
them), don't care about licensing details, or whether the code is well
structured, or what build machinery is used. Instead, they judge whether
a product fits to their needs (in this moment).

Consequently, it takes both experience and tools to connect the both
worlds - otherwise one may start developing and missing the acceptance
criteria of the majority of users. So just to name a few tools we
have/had at OOo which I still consider to be important in the mid- and
long-term: 
      * User survey tooling and data, including different questionnaires
        with over 3 million detailed responses 
      * Usage data backend and data, covering millions of user actions
        to create statistics for development decisions 
      * ...

And, accompanying the code development, you need resources to develop
additional end-user facing content, like: 
              * Artwork sources for the thousands of icons/design
                elements (e.g. Adobe Photoshop files)
      * Specifications, guidelines and databases to ensure consistent
        documentation and localization 
      * Special help content tooling that is currently unavailable to
        the community 
      * ...

I may have missed discussions on this list covering these topics - if
yes, then please bear with me (and ignore this mail). If not, then
please note that I consider this important for the near future of this
project proposal.

Finally, if you'd like me to elaborate on specific user related topics,
I'm happy to help. May it be during the current, or the next phases of
the OOo project proposal. The only downside is that my spare time is
currently very limited - I currently try to reserve the major "time
slots" for our newly born child (also the reason for not reading that
much about the ASF processes).

Enjoy your day!

Regards,
Christoph

[1]
http://ux.openoffice.org/

[2]
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Renaissance:Phase_1:OOoUser_Survey


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