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Beyond Putting Lipstick on the Pig: Usability Testing and Design New UIs for Open Source Projects

A talk by Mark Reilly at edUi 2014

About the Talk

September 30, 2014 5:00 AM

Richmond, VA

Richmond, VA

In the higher education field, we’re often asked to create institutional skins or themes for software to ensure the institutional logo, branding, and colors are added to a vendor’s product. When working with open source projects, however, we have the unique opportunity to contribute back to the larger online community with our efforts.

When my institution moved from the learning management system Blackboard to Sakai, we created a basic skin but we also conducted a series of usability tests. This was the first time we had undertaken any user testing, and we observed a great number of usability issues. We had a number of ideas on how to resolve these issues, but we weren’t quite sure where to start or how to get the buy-in necessary to resolve them.

In this session, we will discuss strategies on dividing usability issues into quick wins and long-term fixes. We’ll cover creating a new modular UI from the ground up, creating a style guide and a design pattern library for developers, and how we can then contribute these efforts back to the community. Most challenging of all, we’ll tackle how to bring innovation to a risk-averse culture by successfully changing the UI without alienating users.

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