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Spotlight on SIG Usability


Are you interested in learning about what SIG Usability does and how you can get involved? Well, you're at the right place. SIG Usability is all about making Kubernetes more accessible to new folks, and its main activity is conducting user research for the community. In this blog, we have summarized our conversation with Gaby Moreno, who walks us through the various aspects of being a part of the SIG and shares some insights about how others can get involved.

Gaby is a co-lead for SIG Usability. She works as a Product Designer at IBM and enjoys working on the user experience of open, hybrid cloud technologies like Kubernetes, OpenShift, Terraform, and Cloud Foundry.

A summary of our conversation

Q. Could you tell us a little about what SIG Usability does?

A. SIG Usability at a high level started because there was no dedicated user experience team for Kubernetes. The extent of SIG Usability is focussed on the end-client ease of use of the Kubernetes project. The main activity is user research for the community, which includes speaking to Kubernetes users.

This covers points like user experience and accessibility. The objectives of the SIG are to guarantee that the Kubernetes project is maximally usable by people of a wide range of foundations and capacities, such as incorporating internationalization and ensuring the openness of documentation.

Q. Why should new and existing contributors consider joining SIG Usability?

A. There are plenty of territories where new contributors can begin. For example:

  • User research projects, where people can help understand the usability of the end-user experiences, including error messages, end-to-end tasks, etc.
  • Accessibility guidelines for Kubernetes community artifacts, examples include: internationalization of documentation, color choices for people with color blindness, ensuring compatibility with screen reader technology, user interface design for core components with user interfaces, and more.

Q. What do you do to help new contributors get started?

A. New contributors can get started by shadowing one of the user interviews, going through user interview transcripts, analyzing them, and designing surveys.

SIG Usability is also open to new project ideas. If you have an idea, we’ll do what we can to support it. There are regular SIG Meetings where people can ask their questions live. These meetings are also recorded for those who may not be able to attend. As always, you can reach out to us on Slack as well.

Q. What does the survey include?

A. In simple terms, the survey gathers information about how people use Kubernetes, such as trends in learning to deploy a new system, error messages they receive, and workflows.

One of our goals is to standardize the responses accordingly. The ultimate goal is to analyze survey responses for important user stories whose needs aren't being met.

Q. Are there any particular skills you’d like to recruit for? What skills are contributors to SIG Usability likely to learn?

A. Although contributing to SIG Usability does not have any pre-requisites as such, experience with user research, qualitative research, or prior experience with how to conduct an interview would be great plus points. Quantitative research, like survey design and screening, is also helpful and something that we expect contributors to learn.

Q. What are you getting positive feedback on, and what’s coming up next for SIG Usability?

A. We have had new members joining and coming to monthly meetings regularly and showing interests in becoming a contributor and helping the community. We have also had a lot of people reach out to us via Slack showcasing their interest in the SIG.

Currently, we are focused on finishing the study mentioned in our talk, also our project for this year. We are always happy to have new contributors join us.

Q: Any closing thoughts/resources you’d like to share?

A. We love meeting new contributors and assisting them in investigating different Kubernetes project spaces. We will work with and team up with other SIGs to facilitate engaging with end-users, running studies, and help them integrate accessible design practices into their development practices.

Here are some resources for you to get started:

Wrap Up

SIG Usability hosted a KubeCon talk about studying Kubernetes users' experiences. The talk focuses on updates to the user study projects, understanding who is using Kubernetes, what they are trying to achieve, how the project is addressing their needs, and where we need to improve the project and the client experience. Join the SIG's update to find out about the most recent research results, what the plans are for the forthcoming year, and how to get involved in the upstream usability team as a contributor!