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Open Design, Not by Committee

Ted Leung, Senior Engineer, OSAF
Mimi Yin, OSAF

Track: Programming
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 11:35am - 12:20pm
Location: D135

Open source software has historically been developer focused. Software has been built by developers, for developers. But in recent years, more and more open source projects are focusing on "end user" software. However, very few open source projects have user interface designers who are participating actively in the project, and those that do have generally chosen a closed-design process. Both the Chandler and Cosmo (PIM/Collaboration Suite) projects have had a dedicated design team that lead the projects in practicing user-centered design in an open way.

In this talk, we will share our experiences with incorporating designers and design-minded members of the community as full citizens of open source projects. We'll cover these topics and questions:

  • What is the designer's role in the Chandler and Cosmo projects?
  • How do we prevent open design from turning into design by committee?
  • What does the design/implementation cycle look like?
  • How does user-centered design happen in the decentralized mailing list culture of open source projects?
  • Not all collaboration is created equal. What forms does collaboration take? How does group size and group dynamics play in?
  • Are there tools that facilitate this collaboration?

We will also cover examples of successes and failures from the Chandler and Cosmo projects.