Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the grantee's first 3 months.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
Methods and activities
- all contractors have been recruited;
- The guy we'd initially recruited to do the UI has dumped us right before signing, so rather than restart the hiring process (and delay everything by 3 months) we've asked our core engineer to step up. This is a costlier solution than initially budgeted for, but we were rather short of options.
- multizim support has been achieved;
- we also have most concepts and mockups sorted;
- Kiwix-Android 3.0 is late, partly the result of our spending most of March-April handling a tsunami of volunteers during the GSoC application period, and also the fact that our lead volunteer on Android has to prepare (and pass) his exams.
The full list of milestones and where we stand vis-à-vis these can be found here.
As indicated above, we have most of our UI sorted, the UX is still under discussion. For the curious, here's where's we are coming from and heading to (click on slideshow arrows; also, Kiwix 1.0 has never been officialy released, the current version is therefore 0.9.):
If anyone ever argues that UX design isn't an actual job, you can show them the above on our behalf.
Using our C++ senior developer to replace the Qt one and develop the UI will severely impact costs: we expect the final cost to be around 67'000 CHF for dev (UX+UI) alone (instead of the ridiculously optimistic 55kCHF we'd initially budgeted). Another worrying trend is the constant rise of the euro (our C++/Qt contractor is paid in euros): it's gained about 3-5% since we budgeted for this grant. A 5% variance may not seem much, but it will probably add up to an extra CHF 2'000.- by the time this grant is over.
So when life, labour- and currency markets serve us lemons, we try to make lemonade: the large Spring hackathon will be replaced by a much smaller Google Serve event (expected budget: 2'000.- CHF; note that the hackathon itself isn't canceled but postponed to September). Infrastructure costs (hosting, certificates) are on course.
What are the challenges
Again, the HR part proved the most difficult: as far as coding is concerned, it really is a sellers' market and it did hurt our feelings that the guy we'd initially recruited to do the UI dumped us overnight. There is also a little bit of paperwork involved for the work contract for our Swiss-based UX gentleman. It is very manageable but somewhat tedious: if there is one learning to share here, it is that chosing between contractors and employees is essentially a tradeoff between money and time: a contractor is more expensive but requires almost no paperwork, whereas an employee is somewhat cheaper but more time-consuming in admin tasks.
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
Big up to the Wikimedia Foundation's UX team (Nizar, Rita et al.) : they're being extremely supportive, from helping in the recruitment process to making Robin available for us and spending some of their time to give him feedback. Thanks, people!
Next steps and opportunities
The next big thing will be the implementation of all UX recommendations and the release of the first Kiwix 2.0 (alpha) nightlies in the second half of May.