After creating the third resource in our user testing series all about the synthesis processes, we wanted to make sure the information was clear so that real OSS tool teams could run and participate in a synthesis process of their own.

In our pilot with three team members of unrelated OSS tools, we used sample content from a previous OSS tool user research study. We had the hypothesis that any OSS tool team member could participate in the synthesis process, regardless of their familiarity with the tool or the research. We wanted to convey that synthesis allows everyone to gain a better understanding of the achievements of the user testing/user research and ‘get on the same page’ as those that conducted/observed the research.

We took our OSS tool team participants through the general theory of synthesis of user testing/user research phase. It was important to reiterate the goals of the user testing/user research. We then offered the participants three kinds of user testing/user research outputs (video, long-form notes, short-form notes) and did a preliminary synthesis of each output before doing a wider synthesis and grouping/theming exercise. Due to time constraints, we conducted this session in 90 minutes. This demonstrates what can be achieved in a short amount of time with a dedicated synthesis process.

This workshop led to the creation of the resource Synthesis for open source.

You can also check out our session at FOSDEM 2022 and watch the 20-minute video about the synthesis resource as well as some clips from the synthesis workshop.