I enjoy browsing and trying small creative software tools on itch.io. Something I noted is that almost all of the tools offer an enjoyable UI. Sometimes it is clunky, but it usually feels like build with and for the tool. However, I doubt that most of the tools have a separate UX designer.
This made me wonder if these tools succeed in being enjoyable to use for two reasons:
- Their user communities include non-programmers and designers and need to appeal to them
- The tools are small and thus are often created by one person or a small team, keeping the overhead needed to create a cohrent product low.
On the contrary, both UX design and open source can be seen as ways to scale software production beyond small tools, which…
- …FOSS does by focusing on collaboration on code (and thus easily losing sight of all non-code aspects)
- …UX design does by standardization and representation to enable moving personas, scenarios, HIGs etc. through organizations
A lot of the positive examples in UX name large tools, which combine open source with roles focussing on design and I agree: For large projects, dedicated design roles seem to be essential, which makes sense if one sees UX design not merely concerned with usability/usefulness but, in practice, to a large part with usability/usefulness in large-ish organizations.
→ More of this on https://www.fordes.de/posts/small_projects_ux.html