The simplest way to contribute to LibreOffice is to submit bugs and enhancement requests to our bugtracker. This is also true for design and usability related issues, where up until now we had the ux-advice component that these bugs were assigned to. This was changed recently and we now have a keyword to assign and identify user experience (UX) tickets.
Problems with the previous procedure
Most tickets are filed by the average user against a certain component of LibreOffice. For example, people think the cursor up/down behavior has room for improvement and set Writer as component. To get input from the UX team for such tickets, the QA (Quality Assurance) team would change the component to ux-advice, the UX team would give their input and then revert the component back. Sometimes the opposite would happen and tickets were assigned to the ux-advice component and developers may not discover these issues. That’s obviously a tedious workflow. Therefore we introduced the needsUXEval keyword earlier this year and after a transition period, the ux-advice component was removed. That means all tickets were moved to LibreOffice component, as a temporary placeholder, and have been assigned to the new keyword.
Problems with the new procedure
Do new brooms sweep clean? The previous ux-advise component was directly linked to the ux-advice mailing list, where new tickets and their changes were sent to the mailing list. Some may not like the massive amount of notifications arriving in the mailing list, or misunderstand this as a thoroughly discussion per se. While others like the simple workflow. For those who liked the simple workflow, the good news is that we still want to “spam” the mailing list and add the address explicitly to the CC list. That’s not 100% safe, and you can use the RSS feed of Bugzilla additionally to track what’s going on. Unfortunately the RSS feed will update on new tickets only – perhaps that’s the good news for people who do not want to read each and every change on the ticket.
How to contribute to LibreOffice
We want to encourage all users to contribute to LibreOffice. That means writing tickets should be as easy and simple as possible. So at best you do not care too much about UX and let the QA team set the keyword (of course your ticket should be compliant with the basic needs as stated in How to Report Bugs in LibreOffice). If you want to go ahead feel free to read the tickets and add your opinion. We have a lot of tickets waiting for some love.
Figure 1: Bugzilla report with all tickets having the keyword needsUXEval subdivided by severity and component.
And if you feel like going even further you may start with easy hacks, sometimes simple design only tasks that do not need any programming knowledge.