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February 23, 2005 » 5:22 pm

FLOSS Usability Sprint Redux

We wrapped up the FLOSS Usability Sprint last Sunday, and I’m just about recovered. It was a wonderful, wonderful event: thought-provoking, inspiring, and most importantly, productive. The key, as always, was having a great group of participants, great facilitation (thanks to my partners in this endeavour, Allen Gunn and Katrin Verclas), and a great space (thanks to Jeff Shults, environmental and listening master). Also, many thanks to our sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible.    (ICD)

We accomplished many things. First and foremost, we helped improve the usability of the six projects that participated: AMP, Chandler, CivicSpace, Fotonotes, Identity Commons, and OpenACS. So far, the follow-through with this event has been significantly better than that of previous events with which I’ve been involved, and we’ll be able to point to some very concrete achievements that are a direct result of the sprint.    (ICE)

Second, we explored several broader issues surrounding usability and Open Source software. It was an unbelievable learning experience for everyone involved. Those of you who have heard my Blue Oxen spiel know that my ultimate goal is to foster a Learning Community around collaboration. My claim is that these collaborative learning processes are many times more effective and accelerated than traditional learning methods. They are also better suited for continuous learning. Our participants got a first-hand taste of this phenomenon this past weekend.    (ICF)

Third, we laid the groundwork for what I hope will be a burgeoning community devoted to improving the usability of Open Source software. This will not be a quick process, and it will depend on brilliant, passionate, good people. We were fortunate to have forty of them at our event, and I’m already looking forward to reconnecting with all of them.    (ICG)

I’m in the process of writing up a final report about the weekend’s accomplishments, but if you’re interested in seeing the unpolished artifacts of the event itself, check out the sprint Wiki and the photo gallery. I’ll also be speaking about the event at next month’s BayCHI (March 8 in Palo Alto), and I hope to see many of you there.    (ICH)

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