The UX Lead Initiative
The Sakai software is evolving as a leading platform for scholarly collaboration in teaching, learning and research, using the emerging community source model for directed open source software development. Over the past two years Sakai has pioneered models for community organization and coordination that helped us adapt success in open source infrastructure software to the community source model. Our next frontier is to incorporate successful models in the development of user-centered applications.
We have an opportunity to tap the talent in our community and harness it to achieve unprecedented results in the Sakai software. The design talent in our community is exceptional, and there is a strong collective will to make Sakai exceptionally usable and accessible. Adding a key leadership position will help us harness the talent and collective will and utilize them effectively to achieve a dramatically improved user experience. Although no one person is going to single-handedly handle all of Sakai's usability issues, there is a strong need for this leadership and coordination to help the community take on these challenges. A lack of this leadership to date has stood as a barrier to settling on clear and coherent design goals and strategies, while a lack of this coordination has stood as a significant barrier to designer engagement, since designers cannot themselves simply dive in and start reworking or producing tools the way a developer might.
During the recent 6th Sakai conference in Atlanta the Sakai board heard a clear call from the community for the Foundation to increase leadership and accountability for Sakai's user experience. An exceptional user experience in Sakai will be the result of a coherent vision and coordination of the user experience designers, user interface developers, and architects among us. The amount of effort required of this leadership, coordination, design, and development merits a full-time foundation staff position.