July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Open source design: A love story

Una Kravets (IBM Design)
10:40am–11:20am Thursday, 07/23/2015
Craft E146
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

How to Use Github


When designers and developers work together from the start, it produces better outcomes. But how can we get designers involved and wanting to participate in the open source community from the start? In order to figure out how to fix it, we need to take a look at the barriers for designers (why they don’t participate in open source), and how we can work together to influence change.

Since writing this blog post, I have both managed some pretty successful open source projects and contributed to the projects of other people — and have learned how to better meld the tasks of designers and developers. This is the talk outline:

Understanding “why” design improved outcomes
1. Product performance and adoption
2. Design thinking
3. Goal alignment

Defining “open source design”
1. Designing in the open
2. Designing free resources
3. Designing for open source projects

Barriers for designers
1. Knee-jerk reactions to “free work”
2. The intimidation barrier
3. The ownership problem
4. The threat of “design by committee”

How to make things better and get designers to work on your open source projects
1. Recognizing design as an integral part of the process
2. Clear contribution documentation for designers
3. Introducing a system of labeling GitHub issues “design: needed”
4. Styleguides as a medium for open source design
5. Feedback guidelines

Personal stories
1. Sass director
2. Design open
3. Io.js and logo creation
4. Other examples of fluid workflow between designers and developers

Photo of Una Kravets

Una Kravets

IBM Design

Una Kravets is a front-end developer with a degree in graphic design and computer science from American University in Washington, DC. She works at IBM Design on the Watson Visioneering and Core teams in Austin, Texas. While living in DC, Una co-founded the DC Sass Meetup (Sass as in the CSS pre-processor), and after moving to Austin, helped start the ATXSass Meetup. She also became involved in an open source design initiative called Design Open. Una is a performance nerd, blogger, huge advocate of open source, and an all-around crafty lady.