vrijdag, juni 15, 2007

UX stands for "User Experience"


IMG_3478
Originally uploaded by wytze
Already in Atlanta I heard about the Fluid Project. At that time I didn't really understand the possible impact, ambitions and scope of this endeavour. Ofcourse not everything could have been clear at that time either, because the project team was still working ong the proposal. Eventually the project received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in April 2007 for a 2-year timeframe. The Fluid project is led by the University of Toronto, with core participation from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Cambridge, the University of British Columbia and York University..
This Amsterdam Sakai conference was the second encounter I had with the project. And I am impressed and I am really looking forward to the results.
Friday morning, while the official conference was already over, I attended an extensive session on the project and its goals. I am not even going to try to sum up all the good things I heard, also because some things are fairly technical. I will just give you my summary here.
First of all this is not just a project within the Sakai context. It is a project that actually all open source software projects should benefit from. The closest relations right now are with Sakai, Moodle, Kuali Student and uPortal. IBM and Sun Microsystems are also partners in the project. The project will provide common tools, as well as guidelines and software components for improving the usability and the accessibility of software. The goals of the project are very ambitious and are described as flexible user interfaces (what do you think of 'swappable interfaces at runtime'!). The project will also explicitly build a community around the efforts, so that it will be sustainable after the funding period. Every contribution is appreciated.
If one wants to put it a little bit differently, one could say that this project will infuse Sakai and other systems with those Web 2.0 features that everyone has come to love, combined with complete accessability, through keyboards and screenreaders. There is already (and we are only two months in the project) a very nice demonstration of what is possible, which is called Lightbox.
The first thing that will be done next, is what is called UX walktroughs. This will mean very detailed analysis of usage of the system right now. Sakai will be one of the systems that will be analysed like this. Signup for this effort is possible; I am seriously thinking about doing this. Go to www.fluidproject.org (website and wiki are being organized while you read) if you also want to give your contributions to this great project.

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