Contributing usability expertise to ubuntu project

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Wed Jan 21 13:48:59 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Hi Jon

Jon Bolt wrote on 19/01/09 21:11:
> I want to start contributing my user experience expertise to the Ubuntu
> community. Currently I work for a user experience consultancy as a
> usability analyst, although my background is in software development. 

Welcome, and thanks for getting involved!

> Although I will have to okay it with my employer, I would like to start
> working with different projects under the Ubuntu or Gnome umbrella. I
> have experience in using a wide variety of usability techniques, both in
> academic and commercial environments. 

Excellent. One thing Ubuntu (and Free Software generally) has been
chronically short of, so far, is methodical user testing. If you have
the resources to do that, it would be very useful to test basic tasks
such as acquiring a copy of Ubuntu in the first place, installing
Ubuntu, connecting to the Internet, getting a photo off a digital camera
and printing it, sending an e-mail message, printing a birthday card, or
finding and playing a video on YouTube.

For improving specific programs, it's generally most productive to work
on changes with the individual projects themselves, many of which are
part of Gnome. <>

You're already on the right mailing list for discussing Ubuntu's
interface. Our other major communication methods are IRC (which I'm told
you've been using already), the Ubuntu wiki <>,
and Launchpad <>.

> So if anyone would like to point me in the way of contacts that would be
> great. Additionally, if any project developers would like me to
> collaborate with them, please let me know.

I work for Canonical in our Design team, specializing in Ubuntu (I'm
"mpt" on IRC). Other people involved in usability in the Ubuntu
community include Celeste Lyn Paul ("seele", specializing in Kubuntu and
KDE), Andreas Nilsson ("andreasn"), Martin Albisetti ("beuno"), and Rick
Spencer ("rickspencer3").

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Matthew Paul Thomas
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