Presented by

  • Eriol Fox

    Eriol Fox

    Eriol has been working as a designer for 10+ years working in for-profits and then NGO's and open-source software organisations, working on complex problems like sustainable food systems, peace-building and crisis response technology. Eriol now works at Superbloom design, research, open-source and technology projects. Eriol is a part-time funded PhD researcher at Newcastle University's Open Lab looking at how designers participate in humanitarian and human rights focussed open-source software projects. They are also part of the core teams at Open Source Design ( and Human Rights Centred Design working group ( and Sustain UX & Design working group ( and help hosts podcast about open source and design ( Eriol is a non-binary, queer person who uses they/them pronouns.


The Usable Software Ecosystem Research (USER) project was initiated by Superbloom Design and funded by the Sloan Foundation. It explores how Scientific & Research open- source software teams understand, consider, and undertake usability and design opportunities in their projects. Through a variety of design research methods such as literature reviews, semi- structured interviews, surveys, and ecosystem mapping, the research aims to obtain a better understanding of: 1. How norms in academic, science, and/or open- source working environments affect the choices teams make around their users and different kinds of design interventions. 2. How team dynamics and trust affects those choices. 3. What teams would need to be interested in or able to prioritize usability and design in their work. In this short talk, we'll give an overview of our findings but specifically zoom in on the ways in which Scientific and Research OSS (S&R OSS) contributors/teams leverage community spaces, interactions and documents to make user-informed choices about how to make their documentation and tools better. There will then be a critical review of how design research trained individuals might iterate and improve on these practices to make usability and design even better in S&R OSS.