Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2017


Beyond that fancy logo

Reaping the full benefits of design contributions

Slides available at

The decision of creating a jobs board as part of the Open Source Design project was no doubt an excellent one. Our conversations during the first Open Source Design devroom showed that a place to match designers with FOSS projects was sorely needed. At November 19th, the jobs board has received 53 submissions. I consider this a success, given our limited reach and the small size of the Open Source Design initiative.

Going through the content of those 53 submissions shows a clear pattern: the overwhelming majority are looking for graphic designers, and many of them are asking for a project logo.

Although graphic design is absolutely fundamental to software, and branding elements such as logos help projects develop and strengthen their identity, user-centered design is much more than that, as the content of our devrooms illustrate. It is also important to understand that good graphic design does not exist in isolation: it is embedded within the work of other user-centered design disciplines and concerns.

User research, information architecture, interaction design and content strategy can make valuable contributions to FOSS projects. The question is, how? What needs to change for FOSS projects to identify the need of an information architect or a user researcher? Is it just about building knowledge and awareness about these branches of design? Or do these disciplines require some fundamental changes to the way contributions happen?

This talk is more about questions than answers. It will provide a brief introduction to the different "layers" of the user-centered design process as outlined by Jesse James Garrett (, and will pose some questions about how to incorporate them into FOSS projects.

Finding the answers to those questions is one of the reasons why we need the Open Source Design community.


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