I recently announced that one of the ways in which Acquia is contributing to Drupal is by providing funds for Mark Boulton and Leisa Reichelt to help the Drupal community improve usability in Drupal 7. Mark and Leisa are beginning their work at DCDC this week!
One of the things they're hosting, with the help of Jeff Noyes, are "Blue Sky Design Workshops". The workshops are Wednesday 3-4pm and Thursday 9-10am and 11:30-12:30am. The "Blue Sky" part of the title notes that these sessions are designed to push the boundaries of usability in Drupal, to get the community together, to brainstorm about new possibilities and to dream up solutions.
Furthermore, the Drupal usability team has just completed a second round of formal usability testing at the University of Baltimore and I'm really looking forward to learn more about the results of their work.
To keep up the involvement after DCDC, or if you're following along from home, consider joining this Mark Boulton D7 UX group as well as the regular usability group on groups.drupal.org for updates. Make sure to tune in!
Usability is one of those areas where we can really break new ground with our next release. We've already done much work, but have more to do. Through activities like this, and with the feedback from some "fresh eyes" through research and user testing, I'm very hopeful and excited about where we're headed.