Earlier this week we talked to Heiko Tietze, LibreOffice’s user experience (UX) mentor, and then looked at some of the changes that the Design team has made in recent releases of the suite. You’ve seen that even the smallest updates to the interface can have a significant effect, and the Design team is always looking for new ideas and contributions. So read on to learn how you can get involved and make LibreOffice better for everyone.
1. Check out the design guidelines
When new features are added to LibreOffice, the Design team works to ensure they fit into the guidelines. These guidelines are part of an overall vision for LibreOffice on the desktop, which is: “Simple for beginners and powerful for experts”. Making software that appeals to both type of user is a challenging task, as workflows can vary so much. But if you read the UX manifesto you can see how this is achieved.
2. Submit bug reports and suggestions
Have you found a user interface bug in LibreOffice, or an issue that violates the guidelines? Learn how to submit bug reports so that the Design team can investigate them and work on fixes. Alternatively, if you have a suggestion for improving usability in the suite, you can submit an enhancement request on the bug tracker. Of course, the more detail you provide, the better: saying “Feature X is hard to use” isn’t helpful, but “Feature X could be improved by adding Y to Z or moving A to B” is much better. And you could even add a mock-up to show how you think an improvement would be implemented.
3. Start communicating
The Design team is active on social media, with a Twitter account, Google+ page and blog. Some activity takes place on the #libreoffice-design IRC channel on Freenode (webchat link), but it’s also worth signing up to the mailing list. Don’t miss the weekly Hangouts meetings on Friday – see here for details and minutes of the last meeting.
So with October coming to a close, that’s it for the Community Weeks! We hope you enjoyed reading about the different teams and projects involved in LibreOffice, and got a sense for what they all do. Most of all, we hope you’re encouraged to get involved – not only would your help be good for LibreOffice and free software in general, but participating in a well-known open source project is also good for your CV and future career. So join us!