Better late than never… here is my 2p worth on the part UX has to play in Hacktoberfest.

This is my first Hacktoberfest, but the enthusiasm Anna has for it is contagious, so I’m going to give it a go.

GitHub is aimed primarily at devs and its a great resource, so anything that encourages people to engage with it is brilliant, but the less-techie among us has an array of challenges to overcome first. Firstly there is the strange language, for those unfamiliar with GIT, what is a pull-request, branches, forks and merges? GIT really got into my head once I saw a visual representation of it all, such as:

GitHub provides a visual view of the repository, but its not the easiest to find, as proven by my inability to find it now.

Thankfully Anna has created a Contributions page to help get folk started.

GitHub does some things really well - it always gives you context, so its easy to see where you are - so am I looking at Anna’s repository or my own forked version - clearly shown on the page, so no confusion. But then it also has a lot of tabs, which are best used when providing different views of the same information, but in this case it is different information for the same project, and the label alone isn’t always enough to give meaning to what you might find. The good news is that you don’t need most of it to get started. GitHub has a lot of expert users who understand and want a lot of power at their fingertips, but it would benefit from either an onboarding journey or a simplified user interface for new users, who don’t need as much functionality, or information overload.

The good thing about Hacktoberfest is the community spirit and there are people willing to help you, so take advantage of that to challenge yourself and learn something new.

Many projects would benefit from more UX input. When projects are successful it is often because devs are building things for themselves, they are the audience and so they make good products for themselves. But there is so much more opportunity in creating OpenSource projects that can help others, but to do so well you need to understand an audience that isn’t you. Getting more UX designers involved in open source would be hugely beneficial for expanding the scope of projects, so the more that can be done to reduce the hurdles of GitHub the better for everyone.

Frances here in 2019. I’ve never been on Github before but I’ve learned a little from Elsa’s post and now I think I know what a fork is - apparently this is my fork! I’m a coder! Go Hacktoberfest :)