Episode 18

Collaboration Between Designers and Developers


January 4th, 2022

41 mins 55 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guests

About this Episode


Lucie Wu | Saptak | Sadie


Eriol Fox | Kelsey Smith


We have a transcript for this episode: here.

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers.

Today, with Eriol, we have Kelsey Smith hosting as well, who is a UX Designer at Simply Secure. We are very excited to have three guests joining us from different projects. Joining us are Lucie, who is working on I2P (Invisible Internet Project) as a UX Designer and researcher, Saptak is a Human Rights Concerned Web Developer, working as a contractor with Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Sadie, works on I2P, putting together the Usability Lab, and her work focus is on UX, design, and open source tools. Our discussions today are focused on the collaboration between designers and developers in open source software, and we learn more how these two functions interact with each other, and challenges they faced doing this collaboration work. Go ahead and download this episode now to find out more!

[00:03:00] Eriol starts off by asking our guests how design, developer handoff, or collaboration work in their teams and projects, and how it got to be that way in their projects.

[00:06:14] Sadie tells us what it’s like to be this bridge between design and development and how it’s a little bit more developer led at the moment.

[00:09:50] Saptak fills us in on projects he works in and how design, developer handoff, and collaboration work in the projects he is a part of.

[00:15:41] Eriol wonders if there are other challenges that our guests have faced in doing this collaboration work, and to share examples of good processes and not so good processes.

[00:20:02] Lucie explains her process of doing design around something that might have interesting, complicated, or unknown parts of the process that she might need to discover through conversation with the developers or technical teams.

[00:23:17] Sadie explains more how she facilitates conversations between the design and developer.

[00:25:52] Kelsey asks Saptak what he would like designers to know about the dev processes specifically in this space versus other spaces, and he tells us about a tool that he’s found to be really helpful with developers and designers called Accessibility Bluelines.

[00:31:39] Sadie geos more in depth about design practices, security, and human rights.

[00:35:41] Lucie talks about the differences she has noticed with the collaboration process for developers and designers within open source compared to private software projects.

[00:38:41] Find out where you can follow Saptak, Sadie, and Lucie online. Also, Kelsey talks about a project they are working on called Useful Projects.


[00:04:11] “It really helps to have a little bit of knowledge of the technical aspect in order to design effectively.”

[00:05:25] “On our team specifically, Sadie has served as a bridge between design and development.”

[00:22:13] “That has been a part of the process of constantly reframing the question, drilling down to what you really want to know in order to do the design, because I don’t need to know all of the extraneous information that goes on the technical and developer side. I just need to know enough to do the design.”

[00:32:50] “Adding more definition and having better processes within the new user onboarding to encompass some of those philosophies behind open source, and why we have those things in place is very important.”

[00:36:11] “One of the companies I was at was IBM, and two things really stand out to me on the differences between open source and private, and they are capacity and hierarchy.”