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Founder - Open Source Design Collective

Openly good: why designers should contribute to open source software

5 years ago, together with a very small group of designers involved in Free and
open source software (FOSS), we started Open Source Design (https://opensourcedesign.net/).

We think FOSS is one of the biggest forces for good in the world of technology.

If you use the Internet, smartphones, or computers, you use Free and open
source software.

To FOSS we owe web browsers like Firefox, publishing platforms like WordPress,
security standards like SSL, lots of critical communications and security
infrastructure, and many other useful applications and services of great
importance to us all. This is particularly true to people and organisations
in global south countries who cannot afford the hefty license fees attached to
commercial software, or the cost involved in undertaking custom software

Sadly, FOSS has had to get by without user-centred designers. With a few
honourable exceptions, design and user experience have been conspicuously absent
from FOSS development. As a result of this, many of those FOSS applications and
services are still very difficult to set up and use.

Open Source Design aims to tackle that problem head on, by advocating the
importance of user-centred design to FOSS projects, and the importance of FOSS
to mainstream designers. Our goal is to increase the number of designers
involved in FOSS, and the number of FOSS projects incorporating design practices to their development processes.

The HCID Open Day would be a great opportunity to reach out to the user-centred design community in London; to explain to them why FOSS is important, and why they should contribute their design expertise to it.

With more and more in the design industry talking about ethics, and emerging
technologies this is your opportunity to get involved and do some good work.

About the speaker:

I have been an interaction designer and user researcher for over 10 years, and spent 5 of them contributing to open source software for pay. These days I contribute to open source software for pleasure – which is way more fun – while undertaking a PhD in Human Computer Interaction at Northumbria University. I have been involved in the Open Source Design group since its inception. With them I advocate for the importance of introducing human-centred design approaches into open source software.

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