Embracing the Chaos: Designing For And With Community


Track: Design and User Experience
Embracing the Chaos: Designing For and With Community
Mike Beltzner, Phenomenologist, Mozilla Corporation

A big part of The Web Arts is community. But community is a sticky proposition that inherently reduces the control you have over your content, your brand, and other elements that were once the dominion of top-down hierarchies. How can you open up your design process to be more inclusive of community feedback without feeling overwhelmed or indignant about the criticism you get? How can you learn to work with outsiders and folks who might not share the same gestalt as you? And, on the flip side, what can open source projects learn from designers — what’s missing from their process that designers could offer? Whatever your role or process, how do you embrace the chaos without losing your mind?

My Takeaways

• Listen to your community
• Lead your community
• Let your community PLAY and EXPERIMENT
• YMMV (your mileage may vary)
• While everyone can propose a change, not everyone can approve the change
• Identify and Elevate smart contributors
• Keep teams small
• Elevate discussions with data and research whenever possible
• Treat disagreements as negotiations and don’t forget your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement)

My Notes

Social Capital

• The idea written about in “Down And Out in the Magic Kingdom” by Cory Doctorow is critical in communities. People earn credibility or “woofie” as Doctorow noted.

A strong leadership structure is essential as is a benevolent dictator.
This person is the final filter and voice for what the decision will be.

The benevolent dictator negotiates based on the following:

3 Critical Aspects when you are a design lead in a community esp. an open-source community:

1. Identify and Elevate smart contributors
2. Evaluate based on amount of woofie earned (ie cred you have)
3. Call out arguments by stating or re-stating principles clearly using data whenever possible

Keep this in mind:
• Design with Small Teams
• Build in the idea of allowing easy feedback with community ratings.

the coop (mozilla labs open source project)

Download the full presentation here (fyi: this rocks!):
Embracing the Chaos: Designing For And With Community


One Response to “Embracing the Chaos: Designing For And With Community”

  1. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

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