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Hello? Is There a User in the House?

Amy Hoy, Lead Interaction Designer, Lime Wire, LLC

Track: People
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 2:35pm - 3:20pm
Location: F151

Why does so much open source software fail to find its audience?

Two questions: Who are you building for, really? And what do they need?

It's very difficult to build a good product, open source or otherwise, without solid answers to these questions. Those answers provide much-needed focus, and help guard your project against the triple threat of featuritis, scope creep, and the paralyzing and unhealthy "what ifs." Even better, being aware of your audience makes it dramatically easier to create a usable, marketable product that people will be interested in.

Despite this, many, many projects do fail to ask these questions when they start out... or even when they run into trouble.

If you feel like you're trying to run in five directions at once, this might be the talk for you. The good news is, it's never too late to learn, and there are some simple techniques you can start to use at any point in the game.

Talking points will include:

  • Identifying your people
  • Determining what they really want, and what they truly need
  • The basics of user personas
  • User-focused information gathering
  • Planning user "task paths"
  • Getting started with paper prototyping
  • Interface as a lens, a specification, and a communication tool
  • The importance of your message