Open Source Usability: The birth of a movement

The last few months have been an exciting time for open source usability. Here is a first hand story of what has been happening, some photographs and reflections.

This article is divided into three parts.

Part 1: Some recent developments
Part 2: The issues around open source usability
Part 3: Why you should care, and how to get involved

I first became interested in the usability of open source software (or the lack of it) while still at UC Berkeley around 2000. I did some work (actually my students did the work!). In the process, I also, met others interested in the topic such as Nancy Frishberg. But I was soon convinced that it was a wasted effort – open source developers did not really understand what usability had to offer, and it was difficult for a UX (User Experience) professional to have much impact.

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