Finally settling back into the groove after an exciting week in London at the GNOME 3 Usability Hackfest. Despite the title of the event, I’m glad that it turned into a wide-ranging, and multidisciplinary discussion of user experience design for GNOME 3. These kind of free-form, high bandwidth, and deep tissue discussions are so much more effective in person.
We started the week by talking about high level goals and broad stroke experience design. It was awesome that Seth Nickell was able to be present for this and, as always, brought a lot of fantastic ideas and energy to the conversation. These discussions and the goals for GNOME 3 that we list in the GNOME Shell designs seemed to inspire some of the various blog posts he made during the week. It was a lot of fun to “throw up waves of leaves and dance in them.” However, of course, one of our next challenges will be to try and figure out how to rake them back into piles. I’ll try to cover that in another post, soon.
For me, two things became clear after these discussions. The first is that we have a really compelling and exciting story to tell about GNOME 3. The second is that we need to do a lot better in telling that story.
This kind of big picture thinking and goal setting is really valuable and far too rare. It allows us to establish markers to help navigate and iterate our way forward with more confidence and less risk than simple dead reckoning. Without overly specifying or constraining the path. This is an important thing to remember on any journey – be it a trip to London, a stroll through the woods, or a software design and engineering effort that may change the world. Don’t believe a 5 year plan. Allow for the unexpected. Leave room for fun.
What are the goals for GNOME 3? I can throw at few at you. But feel free to come up with your own.
Yes, I’m super serial. It’s in the GNOME Shell design document.
Inspire the world. With our designs. Our code. Our culture. Our ability to listen and adapt. Our get shit done ethic. Our spirit of adventure.
Prove we’re relevant to a broad spectrum of people. Finally start to meet the promises and match all the big talk. Show that everyone deserves great design, an open and accessible platform, and a participation model that facilitates and encourages personal growth from “reader to leader.”
Provide a framework for taking responsibility for the user experience. No more excuses. No more: NOTGNOME, not my module, not my problem.
Help us cope with modern life in a busy world. Help us connect, stay on track, feel at ease and in control. Manage being informed without being disrupted. Allow us to get deep in the zone while our next activity only a gesture away – right where it always is.
Sound good? Love to hear what you think.
[Will continue with more from the hackfest in the next few posts]