Episode 28

Jessica Müller of Grafana on Designing in an Open-Source Way, for Real


May 17th, 2022

43 mins 29 secs

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About this Episode


Jessica Müller


Django Skorupa | Memo Esparza | Eriol Fox

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, we are joined by Jessica Müller, who’s the Senior UX Designer at Grafana Labs, where she leads the design efforts to make Grafana’s Alerting feature as user-friendly as possible. Our discussions today involve learning more about Grafana, what it means to design in an open source way for real, how Jessica got her start in open source, and what led her into working at Grafana. We also find out how Jessica encourages collaboration between the community team and UX designers, and if you’re just getting started in open source and want to find out how you can start to contribute, Jessica shares some helpful tips. Go ahead and download this episode now to learn more!

[00:01:27] Jessica explains what it means to design in an open source way for real.

[00:02:55] We hear how Jessica started thinking about open source, how it worked out for her in her creative career and led her into working at Grafana.

[00:06:28] When Jessica is seeking a specific contribution, we learn how she goes about that with reaching out and if there’s a specific user base or an existing client base.

[00:10:11] Eriol wonders if Jessica thinks that the users that pay for Grafana value design more because of how they pay, if she thinks they engage more with it because they pay, and if she’s noticed anything different between the open source folks and how they value design.

[00:14:41] Memo asks if Jessica has a structured a way to plan new engagements with Grafana Labs, and she explains their culture of experimentation.

[00:17:13] As a designer, how does Jessica go about encouraging the collaboration between the community team and the UX designers?

[00:22:16] Jessica talks about the ratio of UX to engineer at Grafana and their approach to balance things out.

[00:27:16] Jessica shares some things that have helped the engineers feel well supported when they tackle the UX problems.

[00:29:12] Memo wonders how the open source way is for Grafana and if Jessica thinks every organization should have an open source way or if there should be more standardized contribution guidelines for designers.

[00:32:00] If you’re a designer and want to get started in open source but you’re not sure how you can start to contribute, Jessica shares some suggestions on what might help, and she tells us what collaboration looked like when she started at Grafana.

[00:42:18] Find out where you can follow Jessica online.


[00:14:04] “How can we be part of the same spirit?”

[00:23:04] “All of the engineers are doing UX work whether I like that or not!”

[00:28:21] “Having a place to send people to show their stuff and talk to someone about it is already so helpful.”


  • [00:38:22] Jessica’s spotlight is Scribus.
  • [00:39:40] Memo’s spotlight is humaaans.
  • [00:40:27] Eriol’s spotlight is the COSCUP event.
  • [00:41:34] Django’s spotlight is UI Colors.