Usability has grown over the year since the last aKademy. During the Coding Marathon portion of the conference, the KDE-Usability group gave several presentations and tutorials so developers can learn more about usability, and get live usability support while they hacked away. It was a great success and there were a lot of great bug fixes completed during the weekend. The following is a summary of the presentations and tutorials from the conference.
Usability experts Ellen and Jan (sitting) with core developers Dirk and Kulow
Report on KDE Usability
There was a brief report on the major usability work which has been done over the past year. There have been several reports and tests done for various applications as well as bug fixes. Major work has been done on Kontact, KMail, KPDF, and many other applications.
BoF Human Interface Guidelines
The usability section of the HIG has made slow progress over the past year. After speaking with developers, we found that they would like more technical code examples in the document, as well as more explanations about concepts. There are also grey areas as to how we would like the interface to look and react to the user and we need more community feedback. We are currently coordinating with some developers to collect code examples and technical information.
Exercise Usability Methods: Personas by Tina Trillitzsch and Florian Graessle
Tina and Florian presented a tutorial on how to build personas using KDissert. Personas are a good way to get to know who your users are, and to determin who is your number 1 user you should be designing for.
Live Usability Test: KDissertby Ellen Reitmayr
El demonstrated a live usability test with KDissert, showing developers one of the methods we use to discover and address usability issues. It was a very good test which found several issues with the behaviour of KDissert and allowed the developers to discuss solutions to the problems.
Usability Research: Alternatives to the KMenu by Celeste Paul
Celeste collected and presented research information related to some of the issues with the KMenu. She gave developers background information in recent research in information management, information retrieval and menu design. Additionally, she applied this research to the KMenu, explaining the good and bad things about it. There were also some suggestions for reworking the KMenu and replacement applications based on her findings.
Exercise Usability Methods: Paper Prototyping by Tina Trillitzsch and Florian Graessle
Tina and Florian presented a hands-on demonstration with developers on how paper prototyping can save interface development time and discover usability issues early on in development. Several developers participated in the exercise and performed on-the-fly paper prototyping tests with each other.