Here’s a little presentation I wanted to belatedly share with you. It’s a talk I gave at the kind-of recent GUADEC conference. I’m not sure how much of it you can make out from the slides alone, but it’s a fairly entry level talk about the difference between Usability and User Experience, and the importance of identifying and understanding your end users, and also doing some observational research.

It was a great opportunity to talk to a bunch of developers and also to meet some of the people from the UX community working with GNOME and other free software projects.

I got some really great questions after the presentation, including:
a) how is user experience for GNOME (and similar) different from UX in large corporate environments? (My answer was that there were probably more similarities than differences, especially with regards to a widely dispersed audience and design/development team and that there was probably a lot to be gained from looking to companies like Google, Yahoo, EBay etc for ideas and inspiration)

b) how do you design a good user experience when your users are ‘everybody’ – from complete novice to highly experienced user, in different types of organisations and all over the world? (That question prompted this recent rant about the myth of the general public)

c) how do you enable the entire organisation/community to benefit from the UX work and observational research that different parts of the organisation are doing? (That question has gotten me thinking about ‘libraries’ of research and findings, imagining that you could share research like you share code… but some how making sure that it was being used correctly, which would mostly mean, in the appropriate context – I’ll write more about this soon, but I’d be interested to hear any thoughts/experiences you have with this!)

Free software projects are always looking for UX people to help out, so if you have some time or want to build up some experience, it might well be worth looking into!

Thanks for having me GUADEC :)