Saturday, April 30, 2005

Usability in practice?

At my university students get the chance to offer courses in which they teach others things they have extra knowledge of or are especially interested in. The topics usually deal with "Programming with the penguin", "Developing an OpenGL game", "PHP + MySQL", "XML for Beginners", "Linux for Switchers" and the like. Since the software ergonomics lectures the students have to attend here cover pretty dry and old stuff Tina and I thought it may be a good idea to offer a course "Usability in Practice" to give others insight about how usability is done in practice. The proposal was accepted, and we started preparing the course.

While other courses normally get crowded in no time, exactly three (3) people showed interest and registered for "Usability in Practice". We postponed the date, prolonged the registration time and tried a more offensive approach by sticking posters everywhere. In the end it's four (4) people (whoohoo! one more! :-)) who will finally listen to what we have to say about the usability lifecycle, card sorting, paper prototyping and heuristic evaluation. The not so overwhelming interest may have to do with how usability is perceived among the students at my university. It's still considered as boring and unnecessary.

Anyway, during the course the current usability efforts of open source software in general and KDE in particular will be covered as well. So who knows... maybe one of the participants gets interested and wants to get involved and contribute.

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