Notes from community summit design session

Props to @empireoflight for notes. This post is just the notes, in the second post later today we will include the actual tasks broken down.

Props to @folletto for the sketch during our discussions and @saracannon for the photograph.

  • We did an icebreaker: What’s your favorite breakfast, what animal are you?
  • Discussed the current state of the design meetings on Slack. Expressed concern over not enough structure.
  • Maybe an identity crisis: are we a team, or are we support for other teams?
  • We tend to discuss topics that could be or have been discussed on other team channels, leading to a sense of disconnection.
  • Seems to be a lack of leadership in the team.
  • We should establish what’s happening/weekly updates, like summaries.
  • Proposal: a monthly meeting focused on a specific topic.
  • Onboarding is challenging when there isn’t a regular meeting with active participation.
  • Maybe once in awhile (weekly?), do a live hangout/discussion with the team reps instead of always relying on Slack for communication.
  • Office hours could consist of or be replaced by a triage of tickets.
  • This would give new members an idea of what to do.
  • Also need to help participants remember what they did. Many people lose track of how they participated.
  • We discussed mentorship/buddy system to help onboarding, where an established team member would help a limited number of new people (but not too many), as this has proven to fail, so maybe 4 or so).
  • Mentorship should be structured, possibly with outside help (not sure why I wrote this).
  • Can we find easy tickets for new designers to work on? Often they are more difficult than they appear on the surface.
  • This might not be a bad thing. The goal isn’t to find easy tasks that they can complete, it’s to get them excited about something that feels relevant to them, even if it’s complicated. Don’t worry about failure.
  • We discussed difficulty in communicating with other teams about their design needs. Although we could be more proactive about determining their needs, likewise, other teams should be coming to us. BuddyPress was brought up as an example of how design has worked with other teams (successfully, or as an example of the problems we experience? I wasn’t quite sure during the discussion).
  • There are a lot of “abandoned” design tasks on trac. E.g., Dashicons. (Could we review these as potential tasks for new designers?).
  • Gutenberg was brought up as the most active current project for designers.
  • What about a meetup/happy hour/some kind of outreach pointed specifically at WP designers?
  • It’s possible that WP isn’t a designer-friendly space. JQuery Foundation was mentioned as something designers successfully participate(d) in.
  • “Design First” should be the goal, but often it isn’t; e.g. the customizer.
  • Guidelines for feedback need to be established.
  • Setting up a meta sandbox environment is challenging (if not impossible) for designers.
  • We talked about areas for designers to get involved: front-end design/development, marketing, and testing
  • WordCamps often showcase the work of talented designers. They represent a pool of resources for the project; how do we get them to participate?
  • The concept of team reps was discussed. There should be a scheduled meeting between team reps from all channels.
  • We need to define who our reps are, and leads. Leads is the tough part; designers don’t often want to lead.
  • Can we get designers from the industry, who would be granted time to work on the project?
  • This is the case for developers. It benefits their companies when they get “props”. But designers don’t get enough props. How do we fix that?
  • Possibly add a section for “contributing designers” to about page.
  • Possible remove the categories of contribution, e.g. “Core Contributors” or “Contributing Developers” on the about page.
  • This became a new topic for discussion to the summit and was discussed later in the day.