The Usability of Open Source Software
Michael B. Twidale, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
David M. Nichols, Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
- Is there a problem with the usability of open source software?
- Are many products technically advanced, powerful, robust, secure, but rather hard to use by ordinary people?
- Is Open Source a matter of designing by hackers for hackers?
- Who is Aunt Tilly and what are lusers?
- How can we improve open source usability?
This project aims to look at the problems (and successes) of designing usable open source software. It looks at the reasons why OSS projects may pay less attention to usability than to other aspects of the software development process, and how usability issues are discussed or dismissed in different projects. Based on this analysis we aim to work towards a range of technical, educational, managerial and social mechanisms to integrate usability into open source software development.
- Nichols, D.M. & Twidale, M.B. (2003).
The Usability of Open Source Software.
First Monday 8(1).
- Nichols, D.M., McKay, D. & Twidale, M.B. (2003).
Participatory Usability: Supporting Proactive Users. Proceedings, CHINZ'03, Dunedin, New Zealand. 63-68.
- Twidale, M.B. & Nichols, D.M. (2005). Exploring Usability Discussions in Open Source Development. Proceedings, Thirty-Eighth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-38, Track 7:'Internet and the Digital Economy', p.198c. [PDF]
- Nichols, D.M. & Twidale, M.B. (2005). Usability Processes in Open Source Projects. Submitted to Software Process - Improvement and Practice Journal: Special Issue on Free/Open Source Software Processes.
Nichols, D.M. (2003). I'd like to complain about this software... SIGCHI Bulletin, 35(2), p. 12, ACM SIGCHI.
- Nichols, D.M. Thomson, K. & Yeates, S.A. (2001). Usability and open-source software development.
Proceedings of the Symposium on Computer Human Interaction, (eds.) Kemp, E., Phillips, C., Kinshuk & Haynes, J., 49-54. Palmerston North, New Zealand. ACM SIGCHI New Zealand. (PDF)
- Free/Libre/Open Source Usability
- Open Source Usability Group
- OpenOffice.org User Interface Design Project
- KDE Usability Project
- FOSSUL: Free and Open Source Software Usability Laboratory
- Eklund, S. Feldman, M. Trombley, M. & Sinha, R. (2002). Improving the Usability of Open Source Software: Usability Testing of StarOffice Calc. CHI 2002 workshop on Open Source Usability
- Raymond, E.S. (2004). The Luxury of Ignorance: An Open-Source Horror Story
- Distributed Testing for Firefox
GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
- Smith, S. Engen, D., Mankoski, A., Frishberg, N., Nils Pedersen, N. & Benson, C. (2001). GNOME Usability Study Report. Sun GNOME Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Sun Microsystems, Inc.
- Nickell, S.(2001). Why GNOME Hackers Should Care about Usability. GNOME Usability Project
Frishberg, N., Dirks, A.M., Benson, C., th Nickell, S. & Smith, S. (2002). Getting to Know You: Open Source Development Meets Usability. Extended Abstracts of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (CHI 2002). New York: ACM Press, pp. 932-933.
- Thomas, M.P (2002). Why Free Software Usability Tends to Suck
- Thomas, M.P (2002).
Why Free Software usability tends to suck even more
Garrity, S. (2004). The Rise of Interface Elegance in Open Source Software
Use of Bulletin Boards, Blogs and Wikis in UI Design
M.B. Twidale Home Page