Designing in the open


On Tuesday 9th of April I gave a little talk at Mozilla’s “Designing in the Open” event. Along with the rest of the speakers I was asked to prepare a 10 – 15 minutes talk and to be prepared for a discussion to follow. In preparation for the talk I spoke to a few people – designers and engineers – and one of them (@sil) said: “I hope you are going to publish this...

Surveying contributions


If you have ever contributed to an open source project or wish you had got round to it then please can you fill in this survey?

It isn’t a quick one, but if you have about 20 minutes to spare then your response would be very much appreciated. I will publish the results on my blog and the design blog so, if you are interested you won’t miss them!

Looking at Ubuntu Brainstorm: Idea #25801


The Ubuntu Technical Board is currently conducting a review of the top ten Brainstorm issues users have raised about Ubuntu, and Matt asked me to investigate Idea #25801: Help the user understand when closing a window does not terminate the app. In other words, figure out to signal to the user that an application will continue to run after all of its windows have been closed. This is more than a...

So, you want to provide an API for the world to use?


I conducted 5 qualitative interviews with developers and here are some findings. You have two problems. The first problem is to design the API. The second is to help people learn to use it. Great API design Is consistent, predictable, learnable. You are creating an API that developers will interact with. In the same way that a graphical user interface (GUI) might use visual design to provide...

Unintended consequences


Two stories. 1) A former colleague of mine did a research project for a power company on one of those machines you have in your house that goes red if you are consuming lots of electricity. One participant started boiling water on the gas hob when she was making tea because that way she could keep the thing from going past amber. 2) A different colleague of mine uses an iPhone app which is...

Design by enthusiasm


As many of you are most probably aware I work for Canonical and some of my blog posts from here are syndicated to I was asked a rather interesting question on that blog and partly due to the impatience of the asker decided to respond by way of a post. My other motivation for responding in this way because I didn’t want an interesting question to be lost in the comments...

Guadec Day 2: In pursuit of critical mass


Today I was reminded of this quote by Jane Goodall: If everyone could think a little bit about small choices they make every day: What do you eat, does it result in animal cruelty? What do you wear, how was it made, does it damage the environment? When people start thinking like that they do change. They do make changes. And when more and more people think like that we get critical mass. –...

Guadec Day 1


This week I am at Guadec in Den Haag. For those less familiar with working on open-source projects Guadec is the annual gathering of developers, users and businesses primarily focused on GNOME. GNOME, for those of you who don’t know is the core desktop element of Ubuntu. Explanations for the uninitiated now delivered, I will proceed with my news! It all starts at breakfast, of course...

Design and the art of walking up hills


I quite enjoy the challenge of taking on long distances; mostly walking, sometimes bicycle. There is something enormously satisfying about getting to the end. In order to be fit enough to undertake these efforts I exercise quite regularly. I cycle wherever and whenever I can and I go for short runs when I don’t have time for long walks. It is inevitable (especially living, as I do, in...

Art in the open


Are you a musician? Do you make beautiful illustrative wallpapers? Do you take amazing photographs? Do you make clever and inspiring videos or animations? You may be interested in the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase. Do you make open-source tools for creating any of the above? I hope you will be interested in the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase. Do you create works of art on free and open-source...

About Author


Ivanka Majic works in technology. She was Head of Design for Ubuntu, service managed Digital Marketplace through to beta, was acting director of digital for the Labour Party. She lives and works in Brighton where she works with the council’s digital first team, does a bit of teaching at Sussex University, and works with her husband on projects like and the BRAVOs. She has also started a podcast with her friend Michael which you can listen to at