Monthly Open Source Design call

@MarsBarLee That sounds like a great proposal! A lot of All software use and development happens in a social context and I think comics are great to give people an insight in something “is like” (e.g. discussing how to go about a new feature, reviewing a design, dealing with a difficult community member). There are just some ideas, obviously comics could also do other things. Do you have some examples of what you suggest? (or did in the past already?)


Hi there!
I’m new here and am interested in learning more about human centred design and contributing to FOSS’s UX. I found and subscribed to the monthly call calendar. There is something that makes me wonder: while there is an appointment for the first Wednesday each month, the calendar holds a second recurring event every 2nd Wednesday. Yet I could not find more information about that 2nd event. Is this by purpose and if yes, what is it for?
Thank you in advance,


Hi there Sven, lovely to meet you and have you here.

The second calendar hold was an IST timezone friendly event. For our friends in UTC+ 4-10 timezones our regular time was past midnight for them and we wanted to reflect a time that could be friendlier.

My own personal intention was to always make both of the monthly meetings to hold space but the IST friendly call tends to be in the middle of my work day so I haven’t been able to make more than 1.

I’ll be at today’s OSD call to show the comics!

Specifically, I would like to talk about the comics distributed at last month at SciPy! (a conference about “Scientific Python”: the programming language Python, specifically open source projects in science, math and research)

Here’s a link to a digital, flip-able version of the comic!

We distributed 300 print copies to 500 in-person conference attendees and a digital version as well!

I can also share a 3 minute slide deck of my experience!

  • Tabled and handed out the comics for 3 days
  • Gave a 5 minute Lightning Talk focused on the power of design, story and comics. That these technical problems always have a human core
  • Joined the conference Sprint events by hosting our own sprint: Add alt text to Scientific Python projects!

The comics and sprints were hosted on Github, the preferred medium for these developers and researchers.

I can also talk about my process

  • proposing design work in a tech company
  • translating technical ideas into visual metaphors
  • representing disability and accessibility
  • inviting and explaining the design process to developers, Marketing and Management

If anyone would like to see the early sketches and script, here’s a Google Doc about it.

If there’s time, there’s some broader ideas I’ve been chewing on and would like to hear from others

  • Sustaining this design work outside one company, to broader open source
    • Grants from foundations interested in funding open source science, such as NUMFocus, CZI or Sloan?)
  • Other contexts, beyond accessibility. A Comic Guide to NumPy? Manga Guide to Open Source Contribution?
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Notes from August 3rd 2022

Intro rounds and background of OSD & call format

Eriol then shared a proposal they are putting forward to SustainOSS for a summit like day for open source designers Sustain Design & UX : Sustain OSS summit 2022 - Google Docs

Some notes from the chat thread:

Re. comics in FLOSS
so the trick now is to measure the effectiveness between RTFM + comics… and an easier one is which do humans (normal ones, less engineer ones) gravitate toward …

I am curious to know if you did user testing with disabled users using screen readers

Just found this for a comic builder, seems to be open source, not sure how good it is though:

there is plenty of academic evidence for using symbols/graphics vs words… that people understand graphics much better + faster. Duh, that’s built into our bio. Will post paper.

The only interesting/tricky thing about graphical information is again putting alt text for those graphical information itself.

ultimate goal: comics with nostarch press

Re. Open health design
Question sort of off-topic – did you use any specific tool (except inkscape :smile:) to make that graph under “Open Source Health Design Projects”? Seems to work nicely and responsive :smiley:

Re. sustainOSS onf
Can I add some more specific communities?
I will add some from a11y space

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September 7th community call (rough) agenda



Anybody have topics they want to discuss?

For the September call, I’d like to talk the thread I made:
Open Source Comics: Resources, Collaboration, and Funding for making Comics for Open Source Projects! It’s a follow-up from the August OSD call. It captures the discussion, resources shared and how we can get more people to make comics about open source.


It’s that time again! monthly community call is today! at 6pm CET, 5pm BST and 1pm EDT!

Bring topics, have a chat and enjoy yourselves!

I hope the call went well! @ei8fdb any notes or interesting topics raised?

Hey folks, I’ll be along today for the call but i’m still sick with cold/flu but didn’t want to miss it.

I’ve not made much progress with my general tasks but theres a couple of ongoing convos

  • Figma + Adobe + Penpot news
  • Internships + fellowships progress
  • Some recent comments on issues in the github (probs hacktoberfest?)
  • Upcoming conferences?
    • All Things Open
    • Prep for FOSDEM and submitting a devroom

Other topics???

In the September call, I shared updates on Open Source Comics and bringing conversations about design into the Scientific Python space!

  • Highlight OSD community in NumPy community calls, employer’s techshares
  • Getting other people/projects to make comics as well, possibility of funding to make comics with NumFOCUS Small Development Grant
  • Simon: Do comics more for marketing or documentation?
    • Comics can make documentation easier to understand
    • Comics can be used to market a product, to “sell” it
    • Where Comics Fit into Documentation, using the Diátaxis framework:
  • Belen: Could you teach other open source contributors to make comics?
    • Mars: Yes! One of my aims is to “equip non-designers with design skills to make their own comics”. At my employer’s techshare, I talked to devs about drawing warmups or creativity excercises, such as doodling in a collaborative google jamboard
    • It would be amazing to run a comic-making workshop with FOSS developers
  • Jan: Shared Unflattening, “a graphic novel by artist and researcher Nick Sousanis that was originally the first dissertation from Columbia University to be written in a comic book format.”
  • Juhan: one purpose of comics: showing the problem, showing solutions (vs talking/TLDR)

Link to slides I shared, if anyone interested in more details

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For today’s October call, I can share how I’ve been bringing design principles and practices into the Scientific Python space

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Notes from the community call on the 5th of October 2022

  • Intros & Core team explainer

  • Mars covered some of their recent work, design jams etc.

  • Nimisha asked the question of: ‘How can we involve developers in the design process more’ or ‘how to make design more accessible to devs’

    • @jdittrich Jan D mentioned about bringing developers into a design process
    • @ei8fdb Bernard also mentioned about developers coming along to observe user testing but not to be involved and have a debrief
    • @MarsBarLee Mars spoke about some of the accessible ways that devs
    • Ngoc talked about opening up their design process and being involved in the dev team circle by doing that they learn about the process and the gaps where design can help out.
    • Nimisha talked about the design docs not being used much, they look around in the same software to see how e.g. buttons look and then execute visuals from that

Some more comments from the chat include:

  • I like that it pushed one to think about process and what-you-can-show. It is very easy in a text to hide behind a big (design) word.
  • Designers can also be proactive about how we’d like to work with developers. Understanding their routines and ask to be part of their sprint/review circle/ etc as observers can be very helpful
  • In case you want an overview of non empirical methods (and how well they work compared to empirical methods as far as it is measurable): Rule based evaluation methods on Jan D.’s blog
  • These books might be of interest for you when trying to get developers interested/willing to sketch:(you’re probably familiar with these): Sketching the user experience
    understanding comics I used these books to help me when sketching. (I came from an engineering background and the idea of sketching was alien to me - I’m not an artist, sketcher) An important thing is to get across to them that sketching isn’t (necessairly) about art, etc.
  • getting developers involved also in design takes time. It’s hard.
  • Thread on Devs in UX in this Discourse (however, this is more high level focussed on user needs rather than on e.g. usability testing /jd)
  • I was wondering how if it can be made less intimidating/vague for devs, so all the advice that was shared makes sense

Please support fellow community member who spoke at a twitter spaces

JanD mentioned some news/backlash about Penpot’s VC funding for their OSS Design tool. Lots of traditional OSS arguments about funding + control in OSS. Penpot’s unique feature is that it’s OSS regardless of funding. Designers also needs to be paid which was important to recognise.


AP: Need to apply for a devroom before Oct 18th!
AP: Need to decide on 1 day and in person or hybrid - Bernard is asking questions on the matrix chat
AP: Write a post/thread about the different ways to get involved (organising in person/online, speaking, UX clinic-ing) to help people who have not done this before

See y’all next month! :wave:

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oh i took a screen grab of the OSD call I hope it’s ok to post here?

Look at that busy room :heart: :smiley:

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Hey folks! I won’t be there today as I’m at a conf (All things Open) but would love to talk about the design workshop myself and a fellow open source design did at the conf in December!

Sorry to be missing the meeting and I hope y’all have great conversations!

Lol turns out I can make it - see you there folks :smiley:

Thanks to all who joined.

Wednesday 2nd 2023 Notes

  • Eriol,Susan, Katie W, Bernard, Matthew, Juhan, Rawlins, Simon, Nimisha, Saptak, Belén, Amit, Ed

What we discussed:


FOSDEM 2023 devroom - what happens and how do I volunteer

Brief intro to the FOSDEM conf and background FOSDEM 2023 - Home

Let’s talk about what the conf is like. All across a university in Brussels - chaotically open - maintain one main track - sort of a keynote and lots of community managed rooms. Managing a dev room is like managing any conf. The timing is very strict and you cannot go over or your talk will get cut from the video recording.

We’ll put together a poll/form for people interested in volunteering. Best place for updates is on the discourse forum or on these monthly calls.

Massive exhibition hall and companies will put info tables in this ‘hall’ (also kind of corridors) you can promo projects and how to get involved. We’ve had the stand for about 2-3 years. Tell people about who we are and what we do. UX clinic → 15 mins to discuss whatever design issues they want.

Request a stand is filling an online form - if accepted we do a doodle poll for 2 hr slots for minimum 2 ppl on the stand at all times. Physical stand.

Whats involved in volunteering

Ngoc asks if anyone can apply to be a volunteer → which threads to reply to?

Make Discourse post/form for people to express interest

Superbloom scientific OSS research

They’ve gotten a grant from Sloan.

How is scientific OSS think about their users? When and how do they prioritise usability & design and how do they incorporate user focussed practices?

Desk research with Science OSS projects & OSS folks. Gonna send around surveys and have conversations about this topic.

Juhans raised questions about what open principles this Superbloom project is following within this project?
Juhan’s comment: whats your stance on the output of the work. Will it be open source?
Belen asks: it would be really interesting to crowdsource the analysis process for instance :smiley:
Juhan comment: so we need a 1st principles of Open Source Design research.
Eriol responds: It might end up being one of the continual outputs


  • picking it back up again
  • spoke with penpot about “what a software company would want from a design person”
  • belen says:I actually think penpot might be the ideal partner for running this for the first time
  • Juhan: its bi-directional obligation
  • Juhan says:your money + PenPot’s money = makes it more real.
    • Bernard - OSD says: Yes.
  • Belen says:that sounds like a fair and neat arrangement
  • Who’s interested in working on this?

Eriol and Django did a workshop for non-designers to do design in OSS

Open source designer diary studies


Hello everyone!

FOSDEM is almost upon us and we are super excited! So for this month’s Open Source Design call, FOSDEM is on the agenda. FOSDEM is run entirely by volunteers (that’s us!) and there are lots of things to do in the Open Source Design devroom for anyone who is interested. So if you want to get involved in the OSD devroom, are a speaker with some questions, or simply want to see what’s going on, feel free to drop in in the OSD monthly call on Jitsi at 19:00 CET today :slight_smile:


Excited to hear about all the ways to help :slight_smile: I’ll do notes for the call today :notebook:

Notes from the monthly call are located in the Open Source Design Nextcloud: Open Source Design

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