Design in Open Source

The challenges with Open Source Design globally.

Human/Subject centred design approach, application of a specific workshop methodology, practice, participation and contribution to the methodology, active participation and contribution to any OSS project. Boosting/promoting designs ability to improve OSS globally.And finally, funding streams and sponsorship.

We've started this project and are growing it from 5 years+ of work the OSS engaged design community has been building. We're proposing to start taking the idea of design in open source software to the next level publicly and give it a platform and opportunity globally that it has yet to benefit from.

We think that be pushing for design in open source software we can solve some of the design communities trickiest challenges around things like:

Pro-bono work for free attitudes to early career designers and low pay/gig economy portfolio pieces

Connecting the development community with the design community in more cohesive ways

Building the digital literacy of designers to engage more fully in open source software and as a result, software in general.


Give design communities opportunities to mentor, learn from and experience what design is like remotely across vastly different ecosystems. e.g. How can a designer based in Tokyo benefit from the practices and methods a design in Nairobi uses?

Open Source design has a plethora of hurdles to leap before it could become fully adopted by the global design community. Exploitative ‘work for free attitudes’, workflows and how design functions/roles connect up through a product life cycle, how our software doesn’t yet allow for robust and collaborative versioning across different designers and how the open source community as a whole, is over represented by those with privilege, access and ability.

Ushahidi builds humanitarian tools, remotely for some of the most marginalised people across the globe. To tackle these systemic problems with how to ‘open source’ a design effort and bring the community along with the, ‘on-staff’ Ushahidi designers, we’ve been piloting a series of design jams on our crisis communication tool TenFour with our partners Designit and Adobe. Together, we’re looking to solve the problems with how open source design can work by engaging through meaningful technology that makes a difference in the world.

Open Design is our journey into the world of including design as a key part of Open Source Software and the great work that can happen when designers are able to be part of how free and open software is made.

Charlotte Chen

Alice Hsiao


Eriol Fox

Eriol is a product & UX designer who has worked in-house roles for 9+ years. Now working at Ushahidi, a humanitarian, non-profit technology leader, developing open-source, digital tools to help people with better democratic process, human rights issues, natural and human-made disasters.

Eriol is a non-binary, queer person who uses they/them pronouns and an LGBTQIA+ advocate.
They are deeply passionate about intersectional inclusion and promoting healthy attitudes towards mental health in the tech sector.


Love this project


Please keep up the great work. We'd love to see the outcome soon!

A Better Life With Open Source.






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