Designers in Open Source: julia
design open-source designer interview
What is it that you do?
I'm a designer and developer currently focused on app and product design. I am trying to learn new tools and work with people all over the world, so I dedicate a lot of time to open source software. I'm currently looking for a job designing and developing applications -- even better if in open source :)
What projects do you contribute to?
I've been contributing to ScreenCat, a Mac OS application for screensharing built using the electron framework so it's all HTML, CSS, and JS! I've been making some crop icons for openfarm, helping with UI and UX for QtPass, a cross platform GUI for pass, the standard unix password manager, and finally, I'm a new member of Hoodie a friendly, complete backend for front-end developers to build their apps on.
Why do you work on open source projects?
I believe if people work together they can come up with valuable ideas that will help people solve problems or accomplish many different things. I think diversity is very important and I appreciate learning from other backgrounds. Open source often brings people from all over the world that care for different causes, and that's very exciting to me.
How often do you contribute to open source?
Several hours a week, probably 20-30 a week.
How did you get started working on open source?
I started contributing to ScreenCat first, per a friend's recommendation to start using my design skills to help projects and to get some experience under my belt.
What's one of the hardest things about working on open source?
Onboarding new users. So many environments out there are very hard for me to understand at first with just following a guide, so I can imagine other fellows feel the same. I come from a more design heavy background although I am familiar with programming but, as a designer, sometimes I need some hand holding to get things set up and going.
What's one of your favorite things about working on open source?
Meeting people from all over the world.
What's your favorite typeface? (obvs)
Can't really choose one but Fira Sans is a pretty sweet open source face by Mozilla.
What's the most recent design book you've read?
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
What websites do you go to for inspiration?
I mostly find things on Twitter nowadays by following people in the design/tech field.
What are the biggest differences between open and non-open projects?
Open source serves a bigger purpose because it is made by everybody for everybody, and closed source have many restrictions on the use, modifications, and distribution of the software.
Do you see open source as larger cultural movement than just software?
Definitely. My idea of open source doesn't just apply to software, it should be applied to working together to build anything that helps people, and that is open for everyone to contribute to.
How would new people go about joining your project?
Ask questions. It may look intimidating at first to be getting into GitHub and learning how to fork a repository or make a pull request. I recommend talking to people through issues or if the project has an IRC or Slack channel to introduce yourself and show your interest in the project. There aren't many tools/workshops/guides out there, unfortunately, for designers who want to join open source, but hopefully we'll be fixing that with Open Source Design.
What's your design process? How do you contribute to your open source projects?
Usually I hop in conversation by joining issues on GitHub. Or create my own issues suggesting new ideas.
What are some of your favorite tools - open or not-open?
I really have been loving using Atom! The community makes some of the awesomest themes I've ever seen for an editor before. Of course the git integration is a great bonus.
Gimp is really great. I believe it still needs a lot more design love in the terms of usability and experience but it's very advanced and you can accomplish a lot with it.