Candidate Name: Maria Frangos
Please provide a short biography, and describe some of your participation and contributions in the GOSH community (3-5 sentences): I’m a UX designer/researcher who is presently leading a team at a startup in the private sector but my heart is in contributing to communities doing meaningful work. I actively participated in open source, collaborative environments and projects between 2014 and 2019, including Breathing Games, a co-creation initiative focused on respiratory health. In this project, I contributed by organising and participating in game jams, writing research protocols, designing interfaces and speaking at various events about the project, including OSHWA’s OSH Summit in 2017 (1:47:49 is when I start speaking) and as part of Open Geneva in 2019. I also attended 2 GOSH global events (in March 2017 and October 2018), where I led design workshops for open source contexts (see Design Skills workshop I, 2017, Design Skills workshop II, 2017) and helped organise the Great Lakes regional event in August 2019. I am part of the documentation committee and modified an Empathy Map template (created for a design workshop at GOSH in 2018) that is applicable to both end users and producers. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been less active as I took on additional work as part-time faculty at a local college.
Please provide a position statement (5-7 sentences), indicating why you are running for Community Council, your priorities for the community, and what you hope to achieve: As a designer, I am passionate about building products and services, as well as refining the processes where design takes place. One of the things I’ve noticed about the open source community is that there are very few designers who work in this space. Design is often considered a “nice-to-have” and limited to making something look and feel good. However, that is not the case. Everything from objects to processes need to be “designed.” While current mainstream design processes are focused on the needs of end-users, they do not consider the realities of end producers, a group pivotal to open source scientific hardware development. From sourcing local materials to knowledge transfer, designers can help establish processes and best-practices that are contextually relevant to open source hardware and scientific environments.
Designers can contribute to open source hardware projects in meaningful ways, not just in terms of executing designs, but in strategies used to a) conduct qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights and understand the needs of the community we are designing for; b) gather requirements and determine core use cases for the physical product or service being built; c) facilitate co-design or other workshops to foster collaboration and alignment amongst participants; d) write test plans and conduct user tests.
My goal is to promote these processes to foster collaboration between engineers, scientists and designers in making usable, sustainable and scalable open source technologies / hardware.