Monday, February 29, 2016

Internships in usability testing

Are you interested in free and open source software? Do you use GNOME? Then consider applying for an internship with Outreachy!

GNOME and other projects are offering paid, mentored, remote internships to people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software as part of the Outreachy project. This round is open internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Outreachy is also open in the U.S. to participants with Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander backgrounds.

I've mentored two previous cycles for Outreachy, both in usability testing. I have committed to mentoring again in this cycle. You can see mine and other projects at GNOME's Outreachy project ideas on the wiki. Internship dates are May 23 to August 23. Learn more and apply by March 22.
Usability testing (mentor: Jim Hall)

Benefits: Usability is important in any user interface. Usability focuses on the user and how they expect to use the software. The general rule about usability is that real people use programs to be productive, and they are busy people who are trying to get things done. GNOME needs to be easy to use if we expect others to want to use it.

Importance: Through usability testing, we can make sure everyone can use GNOME.

Requirements: Pretty flexible. It will help if you have some experience with user interfaces, even some coursework in this topic.

Mentorship: I have been very involved in the usability of open source software since I made it the focus for my Master's degree in 2014. I have mentored two cycles of Usability testing in GNOME, and taught an online class on the usability of open source software (CSCI 4609 Processes, Programming, and Languages: Usability of Open Source Software). I also write occasional articles in Linux Journal and other places about usability in open source software.

Project team: The project team will be you and me, pretty much as a two-person team. I find it works best if we follow a course outline: every week, I'll ask you to do some research and write about it on your blog. Over the course of the internship, you'll work your way up to a formal usability test of GNOME, and conclude with analysis and recommendations.

Note: You can learn more about usability testing methods by following my blog at Open Source Software and Usability. You can also search my blog for previous usability testing in GNOME, to get an idea for the work expected.
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image: Outreachy

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