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From Robert Burrell Donkin <robertburrelldon...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: End-Users of OpenOffice.org
Date Tue, 07 Jun 2011 16:03:59 GMT
On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM, Christoph Noack <christoph@dogmatux.com> wrote:
> Hi all,

Hi Christoph

> 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.

Apache is open :-)

As communication as possible is done on public mailing lists and
anyone with an opinion is encouraged to contribute it to the list.
Apache tends towards low ceremony. Please feel free to dive in and
help anyway you can.

> 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.

Great :-)

> 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).

+1

Licensing, code quality and build machinery are areas of interest,
knowledge and expertise at Apache. (It's a lot of what we can bring to
the table.) So, it's essential that a wider community contributes
their knowledge and expertise to evolve other process capacity needed.
So thanks for starting this thread :-)

> 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
>      * ...

Sounds like ensuring that all documents that need to be included
within the grant is going to be important

> 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.

IMO ensuring these topics are well covered by the project proposal is
much more important than catching up on the mail

> 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).

Congratulations :-)

If you could find some time to ensure that the grant covers everything
that the community (both here at Apache and downstream) will need
going forward, I think that will be time well spent. If you have any
spare for elaboration then that please just jump in.

And firstly, please don't forget to sign up as a commiter [1]

Robert

[1] http://wiki.apache.org/incubator/OpenOfficeProposal

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