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DIY User Research for Open Source Projects

DIY User Research for Open Source Projects

Presented at Open Source Bridge 2014
Open source is only about open code, right? Wrong. Interviews, questionnaires, quick usability tests, and many other research types all have a place in the open source development process. With a few easy steps and a set of scripts to follow, your community can make user research an easy and essential component of your open source project.
User research and better usability are about understanding the behaviors and motivations of your target audience. It’s an area built around observations, questions, and feedback gathering. User research is something that even a single open source developer or small team can learn and do, without having an extensive budget and a lot of time. User research can highlight potential issues, save you time, and prevent you from building in the wrong direction.

In this talk, Erin will share experiences, research methods, and results from performing user research for a growing open source project. You will learn about different tests and techniques, as well as how to recruit participants, how to design surveys, and how to conduct interviews and tests.

We’ll cover software and tools that you can use for recording conversations, screen sharing, and collecting data. You’ll take away scripts and forms for interviews, survey questions, and tasks that you can easily customize to start using with your open source project today.
An overview of the talk is available here: http://stream.withknown.com/2014/open-source-user-research-tools

Erin Jo Richey

June 25, 2014

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  1. In  open  source,  a  lot  of  projects  start  out  

    because  we  want  to  scratch  our  own  itch.     But  if  we  want  to  build  so8ware  that  solves  a   greater  need  and  is  accessible  to  a  wider   audience,  we  need  to  test  and  get  feedback.  
  2. Experiences  with  Known   Survey  of  amateur  bloggers   What

     blogging  pla=orms  do  they  use?   What  social  networks  do  they  use?   What  tools  are  most  important?  
  3. Experiences  with  Known   Interviews  with  people  on  our  mailing

     list     Interviews  with  content  creators  (bloggers,  photographers)     Interviews  with  PR  and  social  media  people  who  create  content  for  orgs  
  4. Experiences  with  Known   Upcoming  things  to  test:    

    User  onboarding  and  new  account  creaBon   PosBng  with  our  different  content  types  (mobile  and  desktop)   Pla=orm  setup  in  a  hosted  environment  vs  DIY  self-­‐hosted  environment   Comments  and  social  interacBons   Browser  plugins