Stages of UX Design Maturity in OSS

Hey open source designers!

Something that came up in a recent Sustain Design & UX working group meeting was 'how to help an OSS org scale design understanding - both internally (within contributors and users) and externally (non users).'

I have been interested in how we can be aware of maturity of design in organisations and know of the ‘UX maturity’ guide from nngroup and there are some others via Alix Dunn in How to Fund tech and also a non-profit specific maturity scale.

But not an OSS design one so I tried to start one off here in penpot and here in figma

comments very welcome!

Please message Eriol (the poster of this thread) here on discourse if you would like to be added to the Open Source Design PenPot team or Figma team to be able to make edits to this file :smiley:


We discussed this resource on the community call today here’s the feedback and comments from the call notes:

Open Topic: UX maturity in OSS

  • We took some time to read this Maturity scale that Eriol created
  • “Design has an ‘output’” I think this point applies to development as well sometimes, depending on the team and manager.
  • User Lead = is that The PInnacle → the philosophical bend, yes but as a selling point of Design. it’s the value of the process at the exec level. Where of course, the human that’s using a service, is the atomic unit.
  • What maturity is it when Design is Written into the Ethos/Company Rules of Engagement?
  • Feedback: After point 5 the progress is too steep and needs work so point 6-8.
  • I’m also seeing your curve of engagement.
  • Absent vs misunderstood is pretty interesting → described as when an OSS org has a misconception of design as a certain ‘thing’ e.g. you are a designer and you make UI only. Stage 0 describes an OSS that has no or minimal pre-concieved notions of what a designer or design does.
  • Feedback: Nimisha mentioned a part of the OSS design process where some maturity stages are impossible or next to impossible so how do we surface this as a consideration within the maturity resource.

Super nice work! Couple of more thoughts I had:

  • Non-OSS design teams are lead by business goals (at least to some extent) while the goals could be a lot more abstract or intangible in OSS orgs, wouldn’t this make things a bit more complicated? Designers are closer to product management in this space so would designers be setting the goals?
  • Designers wear a lot of hats in smaller orgs, so would a bigger team with specialised designer roles (eg, researcher, designer, copy, etc) have anything to do with the maturity? Thinking about it in comparison to dev roles in orgs can also be helpful
  • Love the idea behind user led where users are fully integrated :slight_smile:
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