Brussels / 31 January & 1 February 2015


The Problem of Representativity

Challenges of User Centred Work in FLOSS Projects

Presenting challenges, experiences and a possible solution for problems we face in FLOSS, when we try to understand our users.

Usability or User Experience essentially is optimizing a software for users needs. To accomplish this, we need to know who the users are, what they think, do and want to achieve with our tool.

In Free Software projects this kind of work often is especially difficult. Our work can be distributed freely, so we do not know who or even how many people are using our product. And we usually do not have enough money to do market or customer research to fill this gaps. Finally, developers have become good to ward off anything that doesn't scratch their own itches. And without real user data, we often lack "objective" arguments to win developers to implement changes needed.

With this talk, I want to reflect on my experiences with user research and user driven design in different FLOSS projects, esp. KDE and LibreOffice. Based on this, I will present an idea, how tooling could possibly improve the situation. And, of course, I want your feedback on all of this!


Photo of Björn Balazs Björn Balazs