EuroIA 2015

Madrid, 24 – 26 September


The state of design in Open Source

A talk by Belén Barros Pena

When someone mentions open source software to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? God knows, but I bet you it is not “user centered design”.

But, as strange as it sounds, there is design life in open source. In fact, a whole bunch of open source designers got together for the very first time in Brussels last February, during the Free and Open Source Software European Developers Meeting (FOSDEM), to discuss the particularities (and downright oddities) of doing design in the context of open source software projects.

Designers involved in open source are a very rare and shy species that seldom turns up at our IA and UX conferences. But their work, which they carry out in extraordinarily challenging circumstances, is becoming more important, more influential, and hides useful lessons for mainstream designers.

This presentation introduces the state of design in open source, debunks the myths that surround it, and explains why we should bother with it.

Belén Barros Pena

I have been an interaction designer and researcher since 2007. I have done pretty much everything: from the usual websites and web applications, to things much more obscure, like Linux native applications and mobile phone operating systems.

In December 2012 I accepted the design lead position with the Yocto Project, a Linux Foundation initiative, as a way to explore the role of design in open source software. It has been a wild and wonderful ride: three years of constant learning and adapting of my design ways to this new context, which I hope to share with the EuroIA community.

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