Design x Open-Source- editor review request

Hi everyone. I’m not a writer, but I’ve tried to write a blog about my thoughts on design in open source communities for my Outreachy internship.

The public link- Design x Open-Source – Fedora Community Blog

I request everyone here to review the same and provide feedback so that it can be published as soon as possible:)


Hei, Anushka, firstly to the point, it would sound more impactful to wider audience if your story could emphasize how you overcome initial learning curve and landed on (create) an assignment scoped out clearly.

On another note, you are a challenger. I took the challenge as similar as yours less than a year ago.

Literally, i started from scratch, but was keen to pick up new ideas and get hands on with tools and eventually (almost) be prepared to contribute to the Docs team.

My gut instinct tells me that if you can grab any data around Docs site traffic (I can only assume this data is available) and user behavior/insights, it should give you enough baseline to start with. If I’m not mistaken, you settled in a topic related to Docs, right?

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Thankyou for the review! I had an eye surgery recently. I have taken your suggestions into account and I will edit the blog post accordingly in a few days. It’s good to know that there are people like me who have started open source contribution from scratch.
As per your comment, I have already Requested a survey to the mindshare team, attaching the link here.
If you want to you can go through the survey and suggest additional questions/changes.


I hope your recovery is going well.
Re. web site traffic, I’m intrigued to know if most of the web traffic to which pages/menus in the Fedora project lands on and navigation paths. This should match anecdotes/narratives from surveys (which your survey covers by asking user behavior in navigation).

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Please post an update here when it’s ready for review!

where I felt I would be a good fit with my experience in UX design.

where I felt I would be a good fit with my experience in UX design

while contributing to Tor Project last year

What contributions are those? Wanna see it too.

I couldn’t find the correct role for me in this open-source world.

I believe roles are a corporate thing. They need to distribute money, and they need to explain people what all these other people are doing. Corporates also like to build hierarchical structures, have an order of authority, and a lot of roles stem solely for that. That doesn’t mean people want to obey or like the design imposed by assigned authorities, but they will keep silence, because it is not their responsibility. In Open Source if people don’t like something, they will at least be open to explain why they won’t do it.

In Open Source you just contribute what you can. And it is much harder, because the main skills in Open Source is not coding, but communication. No matter if you’re developer or not. Expecting people to do things for you quite often has a opposite effect (I did so many things that prove that that I can write a PhD). Doing some things that people want for them works better. Or finding those who are open to experiments.

Another issue with the method was that Fedora Pagure doesn’t support linking images in the PR.

Yea, and also can lose entered text if the cookie expired. Have you made a list of all things that make design work hard in traditional trackers? It takes and experience to discover things like and master them, and in the end it is not Open Source.

One of the regions where I also struggled was using Open Source Design tools. There isn’t a variety of open-source tools for designers to choose from.

I feel the pain. I think the problem is that designers do not want to invest the time if fixing tools after they have already trained the painless process with proprietary kits. I can understand that for things like Photoshop, where people are teaching it, because people (and jobs) demand it. For UX design I don’t have a lot of experience beyond paper, pen and stickers. I think UX design in Open Source are uncharted waters, but those how map them, unfortunately, should not only be well versed in persuading people that there is something valuable there, but also able to come up with prototypes. Doesn’t look realistic.

On the contrary I believe nobody denies the need in Open Source design tools. Just for the possibility to adopt them for your delivery pipelines on the source level, starting with versioning, commenting, chatops, etc. The reason why nobody pushes it, I think, is because designers are not really close to Open Source culture. Which I also attribute to the culture / education that they are being trained for corporate world first. In opposite to having fun helping people in community. Just a speculation. Not sure I have a point here. Maybe I want to say that people pursue credits, and getting credits for non-code contributions is hard. You said this.

While working on the issue assigned to us during the contribution period, I feared other contributors could pick up and build on the ideas I shared.

That’s one of the most appreciated thing in the post. Building on ideas of other people is just one of the most important thing in Open Source for me. And I understand that if I come to Open Source with the purpose to show a solid resume, I may be more competitive and protective rather than collaborative, so that in the end all the things that are done could be attributed to me. Like with Open Source bounty hunting - once somebody works on some issue for money, why I would want to help them for free? Well, sometimes I don’t mind helping, but when I work on the bounty myself, I also feel uncomfortable that I need to share the bounty. Quite often because it is already work for peanuts. Maybe I misread what you wrote. Like designers feel protective over ideas, and feel insecure if people take these ideas and start implementing them. But I think it is the opposite - if people are inspired - that means they liked the design. The problem is when you (or me, whatever) wants to claim their ownership of the ideas. I’ve seen such conflicts more often than I’d like to in winning hackaton teams, even when I came there with prebaked solution, and allowed people to have fun reassembling it from scratch giving the necessary puzzle pieces. It is very hard for UX designers to get attribution for their work. Because UX design as a mutually collaborative process where everybody feels related. So my generic advice to designers would be - be a great communicator to facilitate design, not enforce it. Then people could recommend you, because they had great experience themselves.

I had never used or come across a discussion about open-source design tools.

Nobody feels experienced enough. So you are the best person to start it. ) Sometimes it takes many years and a critical mass of people capable of making constructive proposals (there is a Blender in my head).

In conclusion, Open Source design tools suxx, because designers are not interested to improve them, but also because it is very hard to improve it Open Source way (do it yourself). I am not blaming anyone. I am using GitHub daily after trying to improve Roundup, Trac, Mantis, GitLab, and probably other things I’ve forgot. But I believe that designers can actually revert the trend by inspiring the changes with great design for Proposals For Improvements (PFI - just minted it). It is like RFC, but you know, next century version, that looks great on GPU. :smiley:

This PFI is one good example.

In conclusion, the points in your post are all valid. Good start for a journey in a Open Source world where everybody has an opinion. So, Welcome. :wink:

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Sorry for such a late reply; I skipped the notifications somehow. I started my open source journey with the Tor Project and made small contributions to implement changes in the website’s documentation and structure( you can find them on my GitHub profile).
I also helped them track users’ issues.

That is a really good point; I’ve been beating around the bush lately, want to pickup something serious and do my best to give back to the community. I don’t know why but this is enlightening, thank you!

I think the fundamental issue I faced was the one I mentioned, but also, basically, what I feel is, that we can measure design in iterations and mood boards, which isn’t possible in trackers that provide textboxes instead. Figma or Penpot provide such capabilities, but to share these files with everyone would be a job in itself!

I feel this to be more around the lines of UX getting a seat at the table in open source?

This is the gist of everything I wanted to say for sure! I feel you said exactly what I wanted to, but couldn’t find the right words to do so! I want to add this to my blog!!

Yes, but this also makes me wonder, how do internships/jobs in open source actually work! I’m a new person here, and don’t know much about it, but if collaboration is the spirit of the team, how does one define growth here?

Oh, yes I see!

I see the point you’re raising, it feels synonymous to PRDs that Product Managers make in corporate haha! All in all, I loved all these points so much!

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Jobs, eh? )

It is hard to evaluate Open Source using this business metrics, because it is not an industry, but a choice of doing things in public together with others. Open Source won the fight for hearts of people who code, and spurred “a conflict of interest” between the community that maintains open solutions for software problems, and enterprises that earn money by creating siloes with walls from patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. People join enterprises, because they need money to sustain living, and money come with jobs. I don’t think many people just want jobs.

So I would say that the ultimate goal in Open Source is solving this sustainability problem, without sacrificing openness or the community. So that people who craft and maintain the code, also had a form of financial stability.

Not sure if I answered your question. The beauty of Open Source is that you can choose your own adventure, and in context of enterprises and jobs this one was important for me for, like, last 10 years. But it could be too meta. If somebody pays you money to do something in Open Source, that means they want you to make things in open way, so that anybody can validate, learn and share. And the hard thing is not doing things, but explaining them, so that everybody else could get interested and follow - this is the real point of growth.