Would anyone be interested in helping me with a bit of user research?
I really care about making the open source IC design tools not just work, but to actually make them usable and user friendly. To this end I enrolled in a Udemy course in User Experience. The first real assignment is to go out and understand your users, not by abstract surveys, but by "looking over their shoulder". These observations will then be grouped into archetypal "personas" that will guide the rest of the design process.
I think the best way to go about this in these online pandemic days is to do a (30-60 minute?) screen recording(+questions) or a video conference where you go about your tasks as a chip designer. It does not matter if you're working in academia or industry, in commercial or open source tools, junior or senior. The goal is to get a clear picture of different types of users, their workflow, needs, and challenges.
All the outputs (minus sensitive info) of this user research and the rest of the user experience design will be made publicly available, to the benefit of everyone working on open source IC design tools.
I also posted my question about user research on twitter and was reminded NDAs are a big problem. So now my idea is to do some sort of podcast where I just talk with IC designers about their work. No idea how that will work out, but if anyone wants to be on my podcast to talk about anything at all, let me know.