Silver Bullet or Fool's Gold: Supporting usability in Open Source Software development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

At first glance it can look like Open Source Software development violates many, if not all, of the precepts of decades of careful research and teaching in Software Engineering. One could take a classic SE textbook and compare the activities elaborated and advocated in the various chapters with what is actually done in plain sight in the public logs of an OSS project in say SourceForge. For a Professor of Software Engineering this might make for rather depressing reading. Are the principles of SE being rendered obsolete? Has OSS really discovered Brooks' Silver Bullet? Or is it just a flash in the pan or Fool's Gold? In this talk I will mainly look at one aspect of Open Source Development, the 'problem' of creating usable interfaces, particularly for non-technical end-users. Any approach involves the challenge of how to coordinate distributed collaborative interface analysis and design, given that in conventional software development this is usually done in small teams and almost always face to face. Indeed all the methods in any HCI text just assume same-time same-place work and don't map to distributed work, let alone the looser mechanisms of OSS development. Instead what is needed is a form of participatory usability involving the coordination of end users and developers in a constantly evolving redesign process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 27th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE05
Pages35
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2005
Event27th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE05 - St. Louis, MO, United States
Duration: May 15 2005May 21 2005

Other

Other27th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE05
CountryUnited States
CitySt. Louis, MO
Period5/15/055/21/05

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Software

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