The curtains are up on GUADEC 2014, and the first keynote was delivered by Jim Hall. Jim is the Director of Information Technology at Morris, University of Minnesota, and he presented his work on usability in GNOME. We took some time to talk to Jim about his keynote and about his research on GNOME.
Nowadays many designers are interested in user experience rather than usability. Do you believe that usability alone is still relevant?
Usability and user experience are related, but different. Usability is about getting something done; user experience is about the user’s emotional impression. Lots of things can affect the emotional experience of a graphical desktop like GNOME. Colors, fonts, location of elements, and window decorations are just some of the things that can influence how a person feels about using GNOME. That’s the user experience.
Usability focuses on the user. The general rule about usability is that people use programs to be productive, and they are busy people who are trying to get things done. Through usability testing, the user decides when a product is easy to use. Because if a program is hard to use, no one will want to use it. And if they don’t use the software, then they won’t have an emotional experience about it.
So I believe that usability and user experience go hand-in-hand. Programs need to be pleasant (user experience) but people need to be able to use them, too (usability).
In your experience, what are the biggest difficulties you can incur in arranging an user testing?
It is critical to plan a usability test around the users. Who are the users? Do you only expect programmers to use it, or is it intended for a general audience? With GNOME, that means everyone, so any usability test of GNOME must be designed for “general users with average knowledge.”
The next step is to decide what tasks those users need to do in GNOME. What are these general users trying to get done? In this usability test, we wanted to focus on new design patterns, but we first had to work out a set of tasks that real people would probably do: manage some folders and files, browse the web, take some notes, and so on.
Once you figure out what the usability test should cover, the hardest part is to make sure the tasks are realistic. You want each task to be something a real person would probably do in GNOME. But avoid using words or terms that actually appear in the program. That would only test if the user can match your task description to a menu item. Instead, you want to describe things using general terms. For example: when I asked testers to increase the font size on a website, I didn’t use the word “font.” Instead, the task was:
“You don’t have your glasses with you, so it’s hard to read the text on the website. Please make the text bigger on the website.”
You have done a lot of work on improving usability in GNOME: what was the hardest issue you found and the biggest satisfaction you have got?
I was really glad to see Allan and the other GNOME folks create entries in the GNOME Bugzilla. It’s really satisfying to see GNOME developers taking usability seriously.
In doing the usability test, it is hard to watch someone struggle to complete a task. You can’t give hints; you almost have to sit on your hands to keep from saying “the menu item you’re looking for is right there.” You must let the tester explore for themselves, in order to understand how users interact with your program.
I was surprised by some of the test results. For example: installing a program using Software. When testers searched for the program (“Robots”) they got a list of programs that matched the search, and a convenient “Install” button they could click. But if they navigated through the categories to find the program, the “Install” button was in the upper-right corner, and users didn’t see it. Instead, they clicked on the link to visit the program’s website, which got them totally off track. So testers either completed this task very easily, or they were not able to do it at all.
What do you expect from this GUADEC?
This is my first time at GUADEC, so I really don’t know what to expect. I have attended other similar conferences, so I expect to meet lots of interesting people. I am a very friendly person, so if you see me, please do say hi.
While I’ve visited other countries, this is my first trip to France. Unfortunately, I don’t have any French, so I am hoping someone will help help keep me from getting lost. I also speak conversational Spanish and a little bit of Klingon, but neither will help me in France.
Can you give us a quick introduction to your GUADEC keynote?
My keynote will be a summary of my usability research with GNOME. This is based on my Master’s capstone project, which you can download from my blog: “Usability Themes in Open Source Software.”
The presentation walks through the usability test of GNOME. I think folks will be very interested in the “heat map” of the usability test, which shows how testers fared in the test. It’s a new way to share results of a usability test, and I think it helps to make issues more clear.
I will wrap up with a discussion of five themes from this usability test: how GNOME developers can extend this usability test to help them with other GNOME programs.
Many thanks to Jim for all his work, and for his excellent keynote presentation.
= Minutes for Tuesday, July 18th, 2014, 16:00 UTC =
== Next meeting ==
== Attending ==
The first day of this year’s GUADEC conference has wrapped up in Strasbourg, France. As usual, there were lots of fond reunions for long-standing contributors, as well as new faces who got their first chance to meet fellow GNOME contributors face-to-face.
In the morning, Jim Hall gave a well-received keynote on his user testing work on GNOME. Jim has been working closely with the GNOME Design Team, and has been helping to identify usability issues in GNOME’s applications. His presentation described his testing methodology, and presented the results of his tests. There was a positive response to Jim’s talk, and plans are already underway to resolve the issues he found for the next GNOME release, version 3.14.
The schedule also included a range of talks, covering both developments in GNOME, as well as more general issues in Free Software. There were presentations on GNOME’s geolocation framework, the new GObject to SQLite Data Mapper, and GStreamer. There were also talks on ownCloud design, women’s participation in technology, intellectual property, and Free Software business models.
The day ended with the first part of the GNOME Foundation Annual General Meeting. Representatives from each of GNOME’s teams gave a summary of their work over the past year, including accessibility, documentation, design, engagement, the Release Team, system administration, outreach, and GNOME.Asia.
Tomorrow there will be more talks, another keynote, and lightning talks from GNOME’s interns.
GUADEC, the main GNOME conference, is about to start in Strasbourg, located in the eastern part of France. It will gather users, developers, governments and businesses to talk about the status and future of the GNOME project between the July 25 and August 1.
As always, the conference schedule features talks, hackfests, and social events for the attendees. Besides that, Matthew Garrett, Nathan Willis, and Jim Hall will deliver this year’s keynotes. They will discuss topics such as the place of free software in the automotive market, the future of the desktop, and usability aspects of GNOME.
GNOME.org will be updated during GUADEC, sharing the highlights of the conference with those who couldn’t be there. You can also follow what’s happening via #guadec on Twitter and Google+. More information about GUADEC 2014 is available at the official GUADEC website, including the conference’s schedule.
The GNOME Foundation wishes everyone a great conference! And a huge thank you to the local organizing team for all the time and effort they put into making this year’s GUADEC happen!
Salut à tous! Here the new GNOME release just in time for GUADEC, this time from Strasburg!! Remember this is a development release, so go ahead and test it, break it, send bug report and patches! And of course enjoy GUADEC! To compile GNOME 3.13.4, you can use the jhbuild modulesets published by the release team (which use the exact tarball versions from the official release). The release notes that describe the changes between 3.13.3 and 3.13.4 are available. Go read them to learn what's new in this release: core - http://download.gnome.org/core/3.13/3.13.4/NEWS apps - http://download.gnome.org/apps/3.13/3.13.4/NEWS The GNOME 3.13.4 release itself is available here: core sources - http://download.gnome.org/core/3.13/3.13.4 apps sources - http://download.gnome.org/apps/3.13/3.13.4 WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! -------------------------- This release is a snapshot of early development code. Although it is buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status. For more information about 3.13, the full schedule, the official module lists and the proposed module lists, please see our colorful 3.13 page: http://www.gnome.org/start/unstable For a quick overview of the GNOME schedule, please see: http://live.gnome.org/Schedule Regards,
Every edition of GUADEC is organized by passionate contributors who work hard to welcome the GNOME community to their home town or country. They are part of what we call the Local Organizing Team, and they make sure GUADEC has a place and the structure needed to happen.
This year’s GUADEC is being organized by a team led by Alexandre Franke, who lives in Strasbourg. Alexandre is a GNOME Foundation member since 2010, and also a very active member of the GNOME community in France. He’s currently the coordinator of our French Translations Team, and the treasurer of the GNOME-FR group.
Alexandre has been leading the organization since 2012, when the bid for Strasbourg was accepted by the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors. With GUADEC starting tomorrow, we took the chance to talk to him about the experience of organizing the conference in his hometown:
Why makes Strasbourg a great place for GUADEC?
Strasbourg is very active in the Free Software world, but GNOME is not very well represented here. By making the GNOME community come to Strasbourg, we have the opportunity to reach out to the local community and raise awareness of the project.
I also hope the institutional role of the city will inspire our attendees. With the European Court of Human Rights just around the corner, we’re dealing with Freedom on a different level than just software.
What is the the most exciting part of organizing GUADEC?
I was born and raised in Strasbourg and have been living in the area for 30 years. I’m a bit biased, but I think Strasbourg is the most beautiful city in the world. I’m really excited to have the GNOME community in my hometown, and to have these wonderful people discover it.
What is the most challenging part of organizing GUADEC?
We had a bad surprise five weeks before the event, when we learned we couldn’t have the venue we planned to have since 2012. It was a crisis that led to many sleepless nights, and a huge relief when Epitech told me they’d be happy to provide the venue for the event.
What is your favorite place in Strasbourg? Which places should we check out?
There are several museums in Strasbourg, all worth visiting. My favorite one is the Museum of Modern Art. I like to go there and sit for a while in front of the 54m² painting by Gustave Doré, “Le Christ quittant le prétoire“. Once I’m done visiting, I usually go to the café on the roof, where I can enjoy the most beautiful view of Strasbourg. And while you’re there, you can go for a walk in la Petite France!
You can also add those to your checklist:
Thanks for the tips, Alexandre! And, most of all, thanks so much for having the GNOME community in Strasbourg!
GUADEC 2014 is almost upon us, and we are talking to the three keynote speakers who are lined up for this year’s conference. Nathan Wills – LWN editor, typeface designer and author – is one of these keynote speakers. His talk, titled Should We Teach The Robot To Kill, addresses issues relating to Free Software and the automative industry. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about this fascinating subject, as well as his views on Free Software conferences.
The automotive industry has been a latecomer to open source software. Why do you think that is?
I guess I think there are two reasons. The first is that automotive is highly, tightly “vertical” — carmakers have long-standing relationships with their manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors that involve multi-year contracts, and each car model takes years to go from design to implementation. I mean, it’s the prototypical assembly-line industry, after all. Thus, it takes quite some time to orchestrate a major change.
The other reason, though, it that it has only been recently that consumer electronics has become an important factor for carmakers. Now that smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, not just accessories for people with disposable income, customers are asking for different things in their cars than they used to. A few years ago, your biggest concerns were DVD players in the rear seats, CDs in the front, and maybe some kind of remote-unlock/service-you-can-call. Now people want installable apps and they expect a full-blown 3G Internet connection; that means a very different software stack is expected than there used to be.
What is the most exciting improvement the automotive industry could bring to everyday life, in your opinion?
Okay; so this may sound nebulous, but I think one of the best things the automotive software market could do is demonstrate to people that software is just another component in all of the machines & things that we already use everyday. Because people have a different relationship to their cars than they do to, say, their phones and their netbooks. We change our own oil, we replace parts that wear out; we keep our cars for decades at a time and we learn every little thing about how they work (admittedly, it’s not always by choice…).
So automotive software will have to encompass part of that experience already. And, since so much of that software will be based on Linux and FOSS, I hope it will expose lots of new people to programming — as something that they can do if they decide they want to.
You attended the coolest worldwide conferences about open source. Which one has been the most exciting? (GUADEC apart, of course!)
Yikes…. It’s so hard to choose, because they’re all so different. I really love the “community” conferences like Texas Linux Fest, SCALE, and Ohio Linux Fest, because the attendees are so fired up. But I also really love developer conferences, because you get to see the connections being made and major things happening that just don’t occur in mailing-list discussions. On that side of things I would put conferences like GUADEC and the GStreamer Conference. But then I also have to single out Libre Graphics Meeting, which is a favorite of mine because it’s right in between: developers and users meeting with each other.
What do you expect from this GUADEC?
Mayhem of the highest order. But mixed in with talks showcasing interesting new work that I might unintentionally miss if I was just reading release announcements, a glimpse of where GNOME and GTK+ applications will be six months or a year from now, and, naturally, a lot of people enjoying geeking out (so to speak) about making and using software. Also hopefully some font talk….
What can we expect from your keynote at GUADEC?
Well, I hope people will come away with a clearer picture of where things stand today in the automotive Linux software realm — especially what the various projects’ goals are and what parts of the overall picture those goals cover. Then I also hope I can get people interested in participating in automotive software space, starting with where they can get involved today as a user and as a contributor.
And, finally, my ultimate goal would be to persuade some people that the free-software community can — and should — take up the challenge and view the car as a first-rate environment where free software belongs. Because there will naturally be lots of little gaps where the different corporate projects don’t quite have every angle covered. But we don’t have to wait for other giant companies to come along and finish the job. We can get involved now, and if we do, then the next generation of automotive software will be stronger for it, both in terms of features and in terms of free-software ideals.
Thanks Nathan! We can’t wait to hear your keynote.
The GUADEC organization team is happy to announce the availability of the
= Minutes for Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, 16:00 UTC =
== Next meeting ==
== Attending ==
Hello Foundation Members!
I’ve been in contact recently with the GANDI.net team  and they’ve
GUADEC, the GNOME Users and Developers European Conference, is the largest GNOME event of the year, drawing contributors from all over the world. This year’s conference is approaching, and will be held in Strasbourg, from July 26 to August 1.
GUADEC is an invaluable opportunity for contributors to share what they have been working on over the past year, and to have face-to-face working sessions and meetings. As usual, it will consist of four days of presentations, followed by three days of BoFs (“Birds of a Feather” sessions).
Strasbourg looks set to be an excellent location for this year’s event. The local area has a strong Free Software community and, as the home of the European Parliament and European Court of Human Rights, is a highly symbolic city. Strasbourg is also known for its beauty, culture and food. As one of this year’s conference organisers said, “it is a lovely city, and we hope that attendees will fall under its charm”.
The schedule for this year’s GUADEC has now been published, and gives an idea of what we can expect from the event. GTK+ and the GNOME application development platform are a major theme, with talks on GTK+, GStreamer, geoclue and Wayland. Application development will also be a focus for this year’s event, with talks about core apps, such as Documents, Photos, Web and Boxes, as well as other applications, including Pitivi, Corebird and SDAPS, a paper surveying tool.
A number of talks cover exciting new developments in the GNOME project. Ones to watch include Christian Hergert’s presentations on GOM and Builder, Alberto Ruiz on Fleet Commander and Emmunuelle Bassi’s talk on the GTK+ Scene Graph.
As usual, the GUADEC schedule also includes important non-technical talks, on subjects such as usability testing, documentation, outreach, intellectual property and funding models for open source projects.
More details about this year’s GUADEC, including key note speakers and social events, will be made in the coming days and weeks. Watch this space.
= Minutes for Tuesday, June 17th, 2014, 16:00 UTC =
== Next meeting ==
== Attending ==
It is time for another development snapshot in the GNOME 3.14
The preliminary results for this year’s elections were not challenged.
= Minutes for Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, 16:00 UTC =
== Next meeting ==
== Attending ==
URL for the detailed results is https://vote.gnome.org/results.php?election_id=22. Sorry for the confusion, Fabiana On 9 June 2014 11:41, Fabiana Simões <fabianaps< at >gnome.org> wrote: _______________________________________________ foundation-announce mailing list foundation-announce< at >gnome.org https://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-announce
Name: David King
I would like to serve as a director so that I can help out wi…
Affiliation: Intel Corporation
I’m running for a second term as Director of the GNOME Foundation. I
Name: Ekaterina Gerasimova (kittykat)
I have been a board member for a year now, having run in 2013 with an