How to combine ethics, freedom, design and simplicity?
After the schnail mail summit and Aral’s keynote, mentioned in the previous post, Richard Stallman (RMS) joined Aral on stage for a talk about freedom in what seemed to me a rite of passage from a world where sacrifice was required in order to use free software to a world where design, simplicity of use, ethics and freedom can and must coexist.
Being ever more exposed to programmable connected objects, it is fundamental to be aware that if you are not in control of the software, is the software that controls you, but the path to take people towards adopting free software is not via sacrifice, even Richard Stallman said that he never installed GNU on his computer but always had someone to do it for him as it was too time consuming and complicated, but via the creation of design driven products that are ethical and respect the principles of free software.
Richard Stallman agreed that it is possible to conceive products that respect the ethics of free software and do NOT require people to sacrifice usability and simplicity of use to remain masters of our future.
At the end of the talk, RMS improvised an auction of a little pelouche GNU in what was an amazing and lively series of bids with RMS cuddling the GNU to drive up the bids escalating quickly to it’s final price of 270$
The design talks session
Cole Peters, First Things First
Cole Peters emphasised that design is communication, therefore not to concentrate only on the technical aspects but on how design can empower people. Thinking about who’s interests a designer should be serving, and that the research shouldn’t be limited to design patterns and data but also to stakeholders and motives. A designers job should be to make the world and people who inhabit it better than before.
Ivanka Majic on Design in Traditional Free and Open Source
In just over three minutes Ivanka made a call to move away from malice in favour of a common vision, a common language and a common drive pointing out that if we want to increase adoption of tools that respect freedom and ethics, asking for sacrifices is not the way to achieve it, but making appealing and usable products is the way to go.
Laura Kalbag on Universal Design
Laura powerfully and simply calls for accessibility to be included as a standard tool of the designer and makes it clear that accessibility is not only for people with inabilities but “accessibility is the degree to which a product is available to as many people as possible” and could be called inclusive design or universal design.
She also points out that everyone is a designer as solving every little problem is design, and all the decisions to represent a product dictates how easy a product is to use therefore integral part of design.
Not giving accessible design enough consideration leads to the exclusion of a huge number of potential people who could buy your product, so applying universal design considerations is also a good business move and is very easy to consider once you start caring about it.
Thanks for reading and that is it for today. If you want the videos are visible here
Coming next “Stopgaps — what can we do today”
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