design

A 3D printed hand brings the crowd to their feet

open hardware devices

Earlier this year, I shared my story about open source designs and my 3D printed prosthetic hand to a room of 4,600+ at Intel’s Annual International Sales Conference in Las Vegas. I joined Jon Schull on stage, the founder of e-NABLE, an online group dedicated to open source 3D printable assistive devices.

The reaction we got from our talk was unexpected—and it was one of the most awkward and exhilarating experiences of my life. » Read more

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Heard of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women? Learn more today.

community badges

Starting this past December, the GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW) welcomed a new crop of promising young female contributors to several open source projects. These women are currently halfway through their internships, working to improve open source projects across a number of disciplines including code development, visual and UX design, internationalization, documentation, and community-building. » Read more

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Get more eyeballs: 5 steps to using design in your open source project

design for open source projects

At the Open Technology Institute (OTI), we've been working on opening our user feedback process as a way to improve our internal processes and collaboration, engage our user community more, promote non-developer contributions, and think more broadly about how open source process plays a role in the Commotion Wireless project, a free and open-source communication tool that uses mobile phones, computers, and other wireless devices to create decentralized mesh networks.

More on that in my previous article.

In this article, I've expanded on the five tips I've identified for leveraging user-centered design in your open source project. » Read more

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5 tips: Leverage user-centered design in your open source project

open source projects

When I first started working at the Open Technology Institute (OTI), I was consistently challenged with the question: "Why would a UX designer want to work at an open source organization?" The truth, in my opinion, is almost all design and usability work is by its nature open source. » Read more

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The open source solution to the bee colony collapse problem

open source beehive designs

Last year, a third of honeybee colonies in the United States quite literally vanished. Commercial honey operations, previously abuzz with many thousands of bees, fell suddenly silent, leaving scientists and beekeepers alike scratching their heads. The reasons remain mostly a mystery for what is called Colony Collapse Disorder—a disturbing development of the drying up of beehives throughout the industrialised world.

Unfortunately, there's a lot more to the problem than simply running out of honey. Bees are one of the most abundant pollinators in the natural world. They are the unsung, unpaid facilitators of human agricultural practices and have been for as long as we have sewn seeds. Their disappearance would spell disaster for our food supply, with some estimating our species lasting only four years on this planet without them. So, what can be done? » Read more

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Beautiful design can drive user adoption of open source software

Design matters in software

Nowadays we see beautiful design everywhere in our daily life. The digital world is no exception. Many of the websites we visit and the desktop and mobile apps that we use started to be so beautifully designed, that user perceptions on design started to change. As a result, everybody is becoming more design savvy. Users who didn’t care about contrast, button color or responsiveness in the past now critique companies whenever they make a user interface or experience update.

Do you remember the user reaction after several Digg re-designs? Why don’t you use GIMP over Photoshop even though as an average user you won’t need most the extras Photoshop has? There are hundreds of other examples where you will see design and user experience having a great impact on product adoption rates and continuity.

Open source software always has the advantage of offering a free alternative to mainstream solutions, but it doesn’t guarantee user adoption. » Read more

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Then, now, and the future of open source fonts

tell me more

In August, the Fedora Project held its first Flock conference, a replacement for the North American and European FUDCon (Fedora Users and Developers Conference) events. Flock was a four-day, planned conference with talks, workshops, and hackfests, in contrast to FUDCon's barcamp model. In the interest of reaching beyond the community and reminding everyone that Fedora is so much broader than just a Linux project, the invited keynote speakers were from open source areas outside of the Fedora Project. One of those keynotes was by Dave Crossland, creator of the open font Cantarell and an active part of the free font movement.

» Read more

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Afraid someone will steal your idea?

release early, release often

I'm a board game designer. It's a fun, creative, scary job and worlds away from my former career in corporate advertising. In both fields, there is a high value placed on ideas, especially "new" ideas. No one wants to get scooped. Be it an ad campaign or a board game, you want to be the first out the door with it.

So it may seem odd that I've spent ten years blogging my game design process. Every one of my harebrained concepts and fully-formed prototypes go up live, viewable by everyone.

The question I get most often is: "Aren't you afraid someone will steal your idea?"

» Read more

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Teaching the open source creative tool, Blender, to high school students

teaching open source

Blender is a powerful open source 3D drawing and animation program. This software was previously a commercial product, but is now available as a free download. Blender has been used to create stunningly beautiful 3D animated videos, including Big Buck Bunny. Check out some of the gorgeous animated movies made with Blender at the web site's Features Gallery. 

» Read more

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10 ways to get started with open source

open here

My experience tells me there are a lot of people interested in trying open source, but they don't know where to start. And the perception that you have to write code to contribute to is a barrier to that curiosity. So, I've outlined 10 ways that anyone can get started with open source—no code writing involved.

I welcome your ideas and additions, there are without a doubt more than 10 ways—let's get started.

» Read more

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