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Looking Back on Three Years of OpenUsability with Jan Mühlig

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Interviews

Just following the recent World Usability Day and a few months past the third birthday of OpenUsability I took some time to talk to Jan Mühlig, one of the OpenUsability founders and to get an inside look at some of the history of the project, how it works from the inside and some of the current direction.

Hi Jan — first I'd like to get a little background — could you tell us where you're from, who you work for, where you live?

I'm Jan Mühlig. I was born 1971 in Reutlingen, in southern Germany. I studied sociologiy, ethnology and philosophy in Regensburg (Germany), Mainz (Germany), Chicago (US) and Lausanne (Switzerland). I've been living in Berlin since 2000 and am currently the CEO of the usability consulting firm relevantive, which I founded.

How did you get into usability — was that something that came while you were studying?

Not really. I did user research during my studies (media sociology), mostly dealing with TV and I did ethnology, which has a lot to do with understanding others' behavior. After my degree (MA) I started working in an advertising agency where I projected TV audiences for commercials. Then, in 1999, I took a position as a marketing manager at a big multimedia agency. The problem there was that we made a lot of interactive things, but many of them were crap because we never took the users' perspective but just assumed that we knew what was best. A year later, after I quit that position (in the summer of 2000), I decided to do exactly what was missing in my previous work.

Full Story.

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Collaboration Events: Pakistan Open Source Summit, GNOME+Rust Hackfest, DataworksSummit Berlin

  • Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018 concludes [Ed: Not about software]
    A large number of attendees from industry, academia, government, and students participated in the summit. Portuguese Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa was the chief guest at the opening ceremony while former Naval Chief Admiral (r) Asif Sandila graced the occasion as the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
  • ‘Open Summit key to create industry-academy linkages’
    Ambassador of Portugal to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa has said that events such as the Open Source Summit are excellent for spreading awareness and for creating industry-academia linkages and enhancement of the information technology. He stated this while addressing a concluding ceremony of the two-day informative ‘Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018’ attended by large number of people from industry, academia, government and students. Former naval chief Admiral (R) Asif Sandila co-chaired the concluding session. Dr Joao Sabido Costa said that the organisations should utilise open source platforms to build their IT infrastructures in future. To build open source culture in Pakistan, he recommended roadmap with future activities and timelines for spreading open source.
  • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 2
    Yesterday we went to the Madrid Rust Meetup, a regular meeting of rustaceans here. Martin talked about WebRender; I talked about refactoring C to port it to Rust, and then Alex talked about Rust's plans for 2018. Fun times.
  • DataworksSummit Berlin - Wednesday morning
    Data strategy - cloud strategy - business strategy: Aligning the three was one of the main themes (initially put forward in his opening keynote by CTO of Hortonworks Scott Gnau) thoughout this weeks Dataworks Summit Berlin kindly organised and hosted by Hortonworks. The event was attended by over 1000 attendees joining from 51 countries. The inspiration hat was put forward in the first keynote by Scott was to take a closer look at the data lifecycle - including the fact that a lot of data is being created (and made available) outside the control of those using it: Smart farming users are using a combination of weather data, information on soil conditions gathered through sensors out in the field in order to inform daily decisions. Manufacturing is moving towards closer monitoring of production lines to spot inefficiencies. Cities are starting to deploy systems that allow for better integration of public services. UX is being optimized through extensive automation.

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