Meet the Team: Joomla Experience Team
While our beloved Joomla CMS is of high quality there are always things to improve. This can be because of changes in how the internet looks at things or just that something works better another way. The Joomla Experience Team is working on this. But I will let them explain it much better than I can in the following team interview.
What is the main goal of the Joomla Experience Team?
Crystal Dionysopoulos: Our goal as a team is to improve the experience of Joomla as a whole through research-supported strategies and guidance that will help other teams do their best work. That means that we will do UX research for the websites and CMS, create long-term strategies and visions to guide the direction of the project, collaborate with the accessibility team to ensure Joomla is inclusive, and more.
What is your place in Joomla’s ecosphere?
Crystal: We are technically part of the Production Department, but our projects and tasks span across Joomla’s ecosphere. We’re working on the CMS along with the main Joomla websites, consulting with many different teams, and more. Joomla has many parts; there is the CMS, the community, and various supporting services surrounding it. All of these parts add up to a person’s experience of Joomla.
What roles do you have within the team?
Crystal: Typical roles that you would see in most UX-focused teams. Design Ops, UX Engineers, User Researchers, Content Designers / UX Writers, and more. You can see a full list of roles on the volunteer portal—and if one of them calls to you, you are welcome to reach out!
Team members: introduce yourself please :). Who are you, what do you do in the team, and how long have you been a member?
Angie Radtke: I have been working with Joomla since it exists. During this long time I was always more or less actively involved in the development. Depending on how much time I could spend on this work. Sometimes I was an active member of the accessibility team, sometimes I just worked in the background. There were also times when I only followed the development from the outside. Accessibility has been an important topic for me all these years. Already in the Mambo days I worked together with Robert on a core hack to improve accessibility and the Beez templates are my work. Today I am a member of the Joomla Experience and the Joomla Accessibility Team. Looking back today, I am very happy with what we have achieved in terms of accessibility, especially in the backend.
Peter Martin: I have used Joomla since the start (and Mambo before that). I have my own company to give professional support to Joomla websites and do custom optimization and programming. And I’m using the Linux operating system and most of the software I use is open source software.I’ve done different roles in the past: Community Leadership Team, Operations Department Coordinator, Joomla Board of Directors, Google Summer of Code mentor, helped to organize a Joomladay in The Netherlands, co-organized “Pizza, Bugs and Fun” events. At the moment I’m one of the UX Engineers in the Joomla Experience Team. Since 2006 I've been one of the Global Moderators at Joomla Forum.
Furthermore I like to share my knowledge at Joomla conferences and User Group meetings and I co-organize a Joomla User Group in my hometown.
Mark Fleeson: I’ve been using Joomla since its Mambo days, and have written custom components for clients since Joomla 2.5. I have my own company that offers bespoke development of solutions for other Joomla integrators to offer to their clients. I also work as a professional author/editor for a UK publishing house. Within Joomla, I’m a UX Writer for the Joomla Experience Team and also the current Team Leader of the Joomla Extension Directory with a special focus on writing the new JED 4 version.
How often do (or will) you have meetings, and how do they take place?
Crystal: The team in general has meetings once a month. However, depending on what projects we have going on, we may meet more frequently to collaborate. We meet via whichever video call software is cooperating that day.
What tools do you use to work together?
Peter: Just the regular tools that you use to work together with people in various places over the world. Shared documents (spreadsheet & text), email, video conferencing (Zoom, Jitsi Meet, BigBlueButton) and services like https://joom.la/chat (powered by Mattermost).
Crystal: We’re also working on getting set up with Userbit, which is a user research platform that will help us answer specific questions or solve problems with people from all over the world who use Joomla, even if they’re not as involved in the community. Oh, and of course we are collaborating with other teams via Github!
If you had three words to describe the atmosphere within the team, what would those words be?
Angie: rich in ideas
Peter: friendly + open minded
Crystal: Diverse, welcoming, enthusiastic!
Where do you hope your team is at in one year?
Crystal: I hope that in a year we have a thriving continuous research process that any contributor in any team can use to get answers to their questions about what people need from Joomla. This would be a major step forward in becoming a usability-led organization.
What are the first goals you would like to achieve?
Angie: All team members have a different background and therefore different goals and that's great. Good user experience spans so many different areas and has to do with everything that can be perceived: Content and its structure is just as important as design or code. Developer experience is particularly close to my heart. A system like Joomla does not develop itself. Behind it are great people who spend their free time developing Joomla. The more people working on the system, the more we can spread the load. Many external web developers simply do not know what Joomla can do, how much fun it is and that is much more than a CMS. Here we should explain and inspire to find new contributors.
Peter: Our team has different goals. I like consistency and efficiency and I’d like Joomla CMS to be like that. Furthermore I’d like to achieve with our team that we improve the Joomla.org websites with a more logical structure and better navigation.
What difficulties do you think the team will face(, and how do you (plan to) overcome them)?
Angie: Our scope of work is very diverse and has an impact on the work of other teams. It is important to work in a goal-oriented manner and not get bogged down. We have to be careful not to set ourselves too big goals that we can't achieve because of a lack of contributors and time.
Peter: Open source software gives its users freedom and possibilities to change everything to their liking. An open source system like Joomla has a lot of different people with different opinions about everything. Therefore making changes in software is difficult. We have to overcome that by showing why the changes that we advise are improvements to the software.
Do you need extra volunteers, and if so, in what capacities?
Peter: Yes, we can always use extra volunteers. Please check the volunteers portal for an actual overview: https://volunteers.joomla.org/teams/joomla-experience-team
Crystal: I think most teams would welcome any new contributors :) Ours is no different! People can join the team as a full member if they want to help out over a longer period of time; we also welcome one-time volunteers for specific tasks or projects. If you have something in mind, please reach out!