Journeying into Open-Source Collaboration

Kingsley Mkpandiok
3 min readJan 30, 2023

I joined an open-source community as a UX designer after reading a post made by one of my connections on LinkedIn Ruth Ikegah. Despite several years of misconceptions about what open source is, I was finally able to learn about the many benefits of open source and how I could contribute as a designer.

When I first read the post, I was skeptical about how I, as a designer, could contribute to an open-source project. However, after doing some research, I learned that there are many opportunities for designers to contribute to open-source projects, including creating logos, data visualization designs, community promotional material designs, illustrations, user interfaces, improving the user experience for community projects, building design systems, and more.

I finally found a web design project that I was passionate about and decided to join. I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and supportive the maintainers of the project were. They provided me with all the resources I needed to get started and were always available to answer any questions I had.

In less than 2 months of joining the project, I made my first contribution to the project by improving the user experience of the website. The maintainers were impressed with my work and named me the UX design lead for the African design community of the project.

BENEFITS OF OPEN SOURCE CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributing to open-source projects has many benefits for designers. Not only does it provide a platform to showcase your skills and portfolio, but it also allows you to work with a diverse group of people from all over the world. Additionally, it provides a sense of fulfillment and pride to know that your work is helping others and making a difference in the world. A few other personal benefits I have derived from contributing includes:

Skill Development: Contributing to open-source projects provided me with opportunities to improve my design skills by working on real-world projects with a diverse group of people.

Networking: I have made a handful of professional connections with lots of folks in the open-source ecosystem in Africa and Europe. Contributing to open-source projects allows designers to build connections with other professionals in the open-source community, which can be valuable for future collaboration and job opportunities.

Community Involvement: Have always desired to be a part of tech-driven and supportive community building and making a positive impact on the world.

Leadership: Managing the CHAOSS Africa community design team for some months now has thought me a lot about working with people and trusting fellow designers and their ability to be distinctively creative in their own way hence giving everyone the platform to contribute and feel appreciated and welcomed in the project.

In conclusion: I highly encourage more designers to consider contributing to open-source projects. The benefits are endless, and the opportunities to learn and grow are limitless. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just starting out, there is a place for you in the open-source community. Drop a comment if you want to know more about how you too can start your open-source contributions voyage as a designer.

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Kingsley Mkpandiok

Experienced UX Designer utilizing research-driven methodologies to create intuitive, user-centered digital solutions that improve customer experiences.