As the leading Open Source desktop, many from the private and public sectors have expressed interest in KDE and are currently using it on a daily basis. A message consistently received from those users has been that KDE's usability could be better. While the need for greater usability is not unique to KDE, what is unique is our ability to directly and positively affect the usability processes in KDE via the same Open Source methods that have been at the core of its success.
KDE is delighted to have received invitations from corporate users to leverage the expertise of their own usability teams to help improve our software. In order to take advantage of these generous offers, the current usability processes in KDE were reviewed so as to discover how best to marry these new opportunities with the KDE project in general.
To facilitate these efforts a new moderated email list has been set up: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscription to the list is open and the list will be publicly archived. The list will be moderated to keep the signal-to-noise ratio as high as possible.
The primary goal of this new email list will be to find, promote and implement methods to integrate ongoing usability efforts with existing KDE design methodologies. KDE developers will be encouraged and given the tools to include usability as a primary concern at the earliest phases of application development.
To provide additional support for these efforts, a new website is being developed that will become the incubator for a set of revamped and extended KDE UI Guidelines and house industry research papers, studies and findings in order to allow greater communication and cooperation between academic, commercial and Open Source usability efforts.