Jan Holesovsky – LibreOffice Design Team

Guiding principles for the LibreOffice design team

LibreOffice UX team doesn’t have a rigid structure. Channels are mailing lists, IRC, issue tracker and the git repository. The team has defined some concepts they strive to adhere to:

Provide a platform for conflict resolution

Consider all the different views that people have about what is “better”. First step is to try and find consensus. If that fails, search for usage statistics or existing patterns. Working on a HIG, documenting user interface standards. Using the Gnome HIG as the basis. In the end, a decision will be made and reverted if it really doesn’t work

Results oriented

The task is finished only when it gets included in the git repository. Implementation is key. Ideally, people push those code changes themselves. There is Gerrit, a code review system to help automate some of the work.

Effective communication

Avoid bike shedding. Most discussions start in the bug tracker. When a discussion gets out of control the discussion is moved to a faster, more realtime channel like IRC or G+ Hangout. There are also weekly G+ hangouts for two or three hours (6–7 participants).

Inclusive nature

Maybe you don’t even know you are already part of the design team. Weekly reports on UX changes that were implemented. Highlighting those efforts is very much appreciated.

Open to change

Changing or removing user interactions is hard, have to be careful about breaking existing workflows. Ongoing refinements and cleanups are very important to keep doing.

New in LibreOffice 4.4

  • Complete overhaul of the 1000+ icons. It’s the new default for OS X, available on other platforms as well
  • New approach to templates, now part of the start center.
  • Improved color selector and toolbars, style dropdowns