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Open design: A new collaboration tool

Open Source itself became first popular in the 1990’s, with the appearance of Github in between a market with competition like Microsoft. As quoted by Wikipedia, the website does:

 

“…Provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project.”

 

It has been used as great tool for project management in coding but, most importantly, the platform is perfect to find new projects to work or to collaborate on for free. This topic has been a key element on the development field ever since the beginning of this new kind of collaboration. But, right now, open collaboration is also making a significant entrance into the Design field.

 

The subject is a very conflicting issue and a hard ideal to pursue along us designers because of different reasons. First of all, the inspiration to create a piece of work might be a mix of several visuals observed: images, videos, own life experiences that can result in the development of a new project or idea. This personal side that inspires the first thoughts of a scheme might create a jealousy in the disclosure of our work, especially when it comes to the design works that are closer to a more artistic development, such as, branding, editorial and, in general, print design.

 

 

In some way, I agree and accept the distrust and the jealousy with which we keep our creative process and its results. Our identity and background, as a whole, provides an unique interpretation to what we create and mold hence our opposition to expose it and share it for free. More than all, we can feel vulnerable to subjectivity and to critics. However, with the emergence of UX/ UI Design these convictions have become looser and blurred.

 

As UX/UI designers, we work hand by hand with developpers. In fact, as the current web designer behind the interface of an application born in a start-up, I can confirm that I’m in constant communication, feedback and learning from my Development colleagues. In my opinion, web design shares the basic values of coding. If a project is open to collaboration and critics, it’s knowledge that grows exponentially for both sides!

 

In more traditional design projects such as, editorial and print, the creative process is processed in different ways depending on the designer. You are attached to certain guidelines of the agency/client, you have to learn several basic rules in order to throw yourself into the full  creation mode. Then, the next step comes from your ideas + inspiration you had along the way. Whereas in web design, you follow a similar path but it’s a bit more different. In this case, the ground rules are based on the easy navigation of the user (usability or User Experience) rather than following the identity of the client, as it’s already established since the beginning, in some cases. Plus, it’s important to point out as well that as the technology grows, Web Design is also in constant change.

So, in this case, there are many advantages coming from Open Source/Design. The more material, information or lessons that you are able to share on the Internet either as a free resource or as an open design conversation will multiply your knowledge and, most importantly, can lead you to an accomplished result between your design aesthetics and its user friendly navigation and experience. You will acquire feedback for different kind of designers on your field with maybe more or less experience than you, but especially with a different perspective that will enrich your idea.

 

Finally, it will bring you closer to this new way of collaboration which is shared amongst your colleagues and it’s within this understanding that you will be able to understand more your product and even give you a new outlook on the way you handle your creative process.

 

Article de Angie Urbina – Étudiante en 4ème année – Mastère Web Design

Voir l’intégralité de la Masterclass de My Lé – La pratique de designer créatif confrontée à l’Open Design