[openstack-dev] How to best make User Experience a priority in every project

Jaromir Coufal jcoufal at redhat.com
Fri Dec 6 10:19:57 UTC 2013

Hi OpenStackers,

I am replying to this thread with a smaller delay. I was keeping very 
close attention to it but I wanted to let the discussion flow without me 
interfering, so I see the community opinion on the UX effort.

First of all, thanks Thierry to starting this thread and the whole 
discussion. I believe it was/is very valuable.

 From the discussion I see some hesitations of approving UX as 
independent program and lot of (strong) opinions that this is important 
to happen. I appreciate both because from concerns we can learn and from 
the positive feedback we get a lot of support and also a lot of 
suggestions where we can continue helping. (BTW: Huge thanks for this, 
all the listed areas are very important and I am happy that I could have 
added some new items to the list of future spots where we can help.)

As for me, I am (of course) on the side which fights for UX to be an 
individual program from various reasons.

I share the same opinion that we (UX) shouldn't be completely separated 
team which is 'dictating'. Our purpose is to be strongly integrated with 
other projects. But on the same time be cross-project wise and one leg 
out. We should organize and prioritize our efforts as well as very 
tightly communicate with related project team members (coordinate on 
planning features, assigning priorities, etc). And that's what we are 
doing. We started with UIs which is the most obvious output. We have 
have limited resources, but getting more contributors on board, getting 
more people interested, we can spread to other areas which were 
mentioned here.

We are growing. At the moment we are 4 core members and others are 
coming in. But honestly, contributors are not coming to specific 
projects - they go to reach UX community in a sense - OK this is awesome 
effort, how can I help? What can I work on? And it is more and more 
companies investing in the UX resources. Because it is important. We are 
in the time when not just functionality matters for project to become 
successful. And showing publicly that OpenStack cares about UX will make 
our message stronger - we are not delivering just features, we care and 
invest in usability as well.

Contributors who might get interested in UX can be largely from other 
OpenStack projects, but on the other hand they might be completely 
outside the project experts. Experts in cloud-solutions, they can have 
huge amount of feedback from OpenStack users, they can be experts in 
testing... usability in general. This group of people is not interested 
in particular project, but in global effort of moving OpenStack closer 
to users. If we don't have special program about this - whom are they 
going to reach? Where can they start? How can they be recognized? Their 
input is as valuable as input from all other contributors. Just a bit 

I don't agree much with the argument that everybody should keep UX in 
mind and care about it. Well to be more accurate, I agree with it, but 
this is very ideal case which is very very hard to achieve. We can't say 
- OK folks, from now on everybody will care about UX. What should they 
care about specifically? This is area where engineers are not 
specialized. It takes a lot of time for everybody to do their own search 
for resources and figuring out how somebody else does that, how it 
should work for user, etc. And instead of focusing on the architecture 
or implementation part, people will have to invest big amount of time to 
research other sources. Yes, it is part of responsibility, but... If 
there is anybody else helping with this effort, focusing cross-project, 
thinking user way and proposing solutions it's so big help and support 
of others work. Of course we can do UIs, APIs, CLIs without specialized 
group of people, but each engineer thinks a bit differently, each can 
have different perception of what is valuable for user and the lack of 
unification will raise. And that's actually what is happening.

At the moment we are not the biggest group of people, so I understand 
the concerns. Anyway, getting the blessing for UX is not a question of 
us continuing in the effort, but supporting us and spreading out the 
message - that we as OpenStack care.

I am not trying to convince anybody here, I accept the decision 'no' (at 
least for this moment). I just feel that it was not consensus that most 
of people thinks that this is nonsense. I don't see any strong reasons 
why not. In time, I believe more people will see how important it is and 
hopefully OpenStack will recognize UX efforts officially.

Anyway... I want to encourage anybody interested in the UX (any area) - 
reach us and help us to make OpenStack more usable. Everybody's hand is 

Thanks all for contributing to this thread and expressing your opinions. 
I really appreciate that.

-- Jarda

--- Jaromir Coufal (jcoufal)
--- OpenStack User Experience
--- IRC: #openstack-ux (at FreeNode)
--- Forum: http://ask-openstackux.rhcloud.com
--- Wiki: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/UX

On 2013/20/11 16:09, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> How should we proceed to make sure UX (user experience) is properly
> taken into account into OpenStack development ? Historically it was hard
> for UX sessions (especially the ones that affect multiple projects, like
> CLI / API experience) to get session time at our design summits. This
> visibility issue prompted the recent request by UX-minded folks to make
> UX an official OpenStack program.
> However, as was apparent in the Technical Committee meeting discussion
> about it yesterday, most of us are not convinced that establishing and
> blessing a separate team is the most efficient way to give UX the
> attention it deserves. Ideally, UX-minded folks would get active
> *within* existing project teams rather than form some sort of
> counter-power as a separate team. In the same way we want scalability
> and security mindset to be present in every project, we want UX to be
> present in every project. It's more of an advocacy group than a
> "program" imho.
> So my recommendation would be to encourage UX folks to get involved
> within projects and during project-specific weekly meetings to
> efficiently drive better UX there, as a direct project contributor. If
> all the UX-minded folks need a forum to coordinate, I think [UX] ML
> threads and, maybe, a UX weekly meeting would be an interesting first step.
> There would still be an issue with UX session space at the Design
> Summit... but that's a well known issue that affects more than just UX:
> the way our design summits were historically organized (around programs
> only) made it difficult to discuss cross-project and cross-program
> issues. To address that, the plan is to carve cross-project space into
> the next design summit, even if that means a little less topical
> sessions for everyone else.
> Thoughts ?

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