My preferred computer operating system, Ubuntu Linux, upgrades later this week. One approach for improving usability was for the community that supports it to attack “a hundred papercuts” at the same time others improve more complex systems.
The project, defined:
A paper cut is a trivially fixable usability bug that the average user would encounter in default installation of Ubuntu or Kubuntu Desktop Edition.
100 paper cuts were drawn from 1,600 submissions (some surely duplicated or filed in error) and of these 76 were fixed for the version about to come out. The project begins again with the new version — another 100 to resolve! — and related free software projects have adopted the model.
Some of the not-major fixes included:
- Login screen clock has AM/PM suffix despite 24-hour format
- Inconsistent spelling of â€œFilesystemâ€ (vs. â€œFile systemâ€)
- Background image geometry options are confusing
- “Home Folder” has 3 different names
Small things that needn’t be a issue, and which can be fixed with little effort.
Which makes me wonder: what paper cuts within the UUA can be fixed before the end of 2010? Problems that might not be seen with 25 Beacon Street — they’re too close or of low priority — and would ordinarily be though trivial, but annoying, by “average users.” Â (The same thing can be said about any congregation, so consider that too.)
And who is an “average user”? I’d include those who have to work with a UUA office, or with a UUA resource, on a more than casual or infrequent basis, but less than a constant or expert basis. Congregation presidents, students seeking fellowship, district board members, ministers looking for settlement and resource developers are a few I can easily imagine. But not, say, occasional, unaffiliated UUA.org readers or members of the UUA staff or Board of Trustees.
The method of resolving paper cuts doesn’t quite map from Ubuntu Linux to the UUA, but otherwise this could easily lead to easy efficiencies and better esteem among stakeholders.
What would be on your list of paper cuts?