Open letter to designers and UI experts
We've sent out a letter to a number of designer and interface mailing lists, asking for help improving the user interface of the upcoming Horde 4. Here's the text of that letter, if you feel addressed, don't hesitate to talk to me personally or leave a note on one of the Horde mailing lists.
I am writing today representing the Horde Project (http://www.horde.org). Horde is an open source web-based collaboration suite, best known for its mail and calendaring applications. Having been around for over 10 years, Horde is widely deployed internally by enterprises, publicly by educational institutions, clustered by hosting providers as well as bundled with control panels such as Plesk and Cpanel. Installations range in size from personal webmail systems all the way through sites counted in the millions of users.
Today the Horde project is working toward its next major release of the software framework, which will be known as Horde 4. The current stable version of Horde, version 3, was originally designed around 2003 and is now showing its age. In addition, as the software matured, we have added many, many new features which have had the unfortunate side-effect of cluttering the user interface with buttons, toggles and details.
I am interested in talking with designers, especially those with user interface design experience, to develop a proposal to redesign the Horde user interface in time for Horde 4. As an open source project, this work will be seen by millions of people and potentially influence developers and designers for years to come. That being said, we are not asking for charity; this would be a paid engagement. At this point in the process we want to better understand what our options are for developing a new user interface specification and design guide to be used by the our community, and what it will cost to get it done.