Supercharged Human-centered Design in Open Source Software

Tony Santos (Mozilla)
User Experience (UX)
Location: D136 Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.13, 15 ratings)
Slides:   1-ZIP    2-PDF 

What is human-centered design? It’s more than just making something look good. It’s even more than making something work well, although that is a big part of it. Truly human-centered design incorporates your user’s ways of thinking (mental models) and doing tasks into your product’s final design. This doesn’t mean “let the user design” it means make the user more important , in your mind, than your software so that your software can become a relied upon tool in their toolbox. This may seem like common sense, but it’s harder to get right than it looks, especially if creating human-centered designs isn’t your main job. But just because you’re a developer/product manager/ project manager/hacker/or whatever you are doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of these human centered ideas into your work. Additionally, open source projects are some of the best environments for human-centered design thinking, because there are no “corporate secrets” to protect,human-centered design thrives in an open environment.

In this presentation we’ll cover some basics on how you can add human centered design methods into your open source project and how to use the power that openness brings to improve your outcomes in:

  • Defining who your users really are
  • How do you figure out how your users think about the problem you’re solving?
  • Participatory design, what is it, How to do it, Why it’s one of the best techniques for open source.
  • Usability testing made easy
Photo of Tony Santos

Tony Santos


I’m an interaction designer, and human centered design is my thing. I’ve worked for a number of different user groups over the last ten years, but have been lucky enough to get to focus on highly trained users for the last three. I studied Advertising and Design at the Columbus College of Art & Design and Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. I’m currently in San Francisco where I design developer solutions for Mozilla when I’m not surfing or adventuring in the California great outdoors.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Sophia DeMartini
Sophia DeMartini
07/29/2013 6:22am PDT

Hi Michael – I’ve just uploaded a PDF of the slides. Thanks!

Picture of Michael Downey
Michael Downey
07/29/2013 6:18am PDT

Hi there. Any chance you could provide the slides for this talk in a non-proprietary format? Thanks!


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