Bugzilla, YUI, and other things.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lots of Design Feedback and Bugzilla Usability Data

There has been a lot of interest in the Bugzilla UI recently, which I'm super excited about. Attending usability conferences like CHI, I'd often hear about how hard it is to get any interest in usability or design in the open source community for various reasons (1, 2, 3, 4).

However, thanks to the post that LpSolit posted, many designers at Mozilla have stepped up with improvements to the Bugzilla UI, there is Boriss's suggestions for a new UI as well as Fligtar's new skin. Even a graphic designer from Spread Mozilla, graphicguru, stepped up to help improve my pathetic attempt at graphics(1,2,3). We've gotten some developers, like SS, to give some very useful feedback about how he'd prefer a more minimalist skin in general. And to top it off there has been feedback about new ways to think about the workflow from Jesse. Not to mention the meeting we had with the some of the Mozilla designers about future directions for Bugzilla, as documented by Aza. And today we had a small meeting with even more Mozilla folks about how they thought the tool could be improved. We're hoping to have more meetings in the future with Mozilla developers and get even more thanks to Jono.

It's been extremely exciting it is to see so many people interested in the Bugzilla UI. I'm hoping that with all these ideas you all can expect to see many design and usability improvements in future versions of Bugzilla.

But as my professor Bonnie John would say, one shouldn't design or develop without data. Turns out Mkanat, and many of the Mozilla folks feel the same way! And thanks to a very dedicated and smart group of HCII Carnegie Mellon students we've got usability data. This data was collected this past fall on Bugzilla 3.0, and I've attempted to post their research more or less unedited from their project to the Bugzilla wiki.

I haven't had a chance to look through and write an executive summery/conclusion to all their great data, but I thought to post it without one and perhaps let you all peruse the data and supply me with your important take aways from the data. This research was not based on how people use Mozilla's Bugzilla, but how people use bug trackers in general at software companies and other domains.

Let me know what you think of the data, what takeaways you find and what conclusions you draw from the data and maybe I can crowd source this task conclusion writing task.

Unfortunately Bugzilla 3.4 is going to be out the door pretty soon, and we won't be able to get many of these improvements into this version, but maybe we will see some of the improvements suggested this past week as well as ideas from the usability research appear in 3.6 or later versions of Bugzilla.

Again thanks to everyone who has become interested in redesigning Bugzilla, keep the designs and ideas coming! Feel free to email me when you've got ideas or designs and maybe we can work together to get the ideas into the source.

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