Design contribution process

As WordPress added more open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. projects to its ecosystem and redesigned the News section, it seems a good opportunity to treat the design dimension more broadly and improve the contribution process based on the current practices.

Documentation concerns

When I started working on Openverse redesign, I struggled with finding up-to-date documentation regarding the contribution process. The procedure was slightly unclear as the design handbook suggests making a post in the Design blog and Figma had many projects, making it challenging to navigate through and where to start from.

The redesign task did not have specific tickets, and that is why my first move was to follow the most recent projects in Figma and duplicate their structures. I created a design library file mirroring the structure of the WordPress one and bringing into Openverse some GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. design features that I considered experience’s backbones.

On the other hand, I recently discovered Gutenberg’s Design Contributions document and it is excellent explaining how to start contributing, describing the design principles, and linking the issues that need design. One place gathering Gutenberg’s design dimension. Unfortunately, it is not part of the existing handbook.

New design needs

Along with Openverse, the Photo Directory and News redesign projects made me think of the opportunity we have to expand the design contribution process and update the documentation to ease the onboarding of new contributors.

We currently have solid practices like the bi-weekly meetings, iteration posts, and the recent design share posts made by Channing. So this is not about starting from scratch but tapping into visible accomplishments.

What I have in mind ranges in the following, without any specific order or priority.

  1. Update the Design handbook documentation: Review the existing content and fix the broken links. Add step-by-step sections to start using Figma, like the duplicate files guide. Expand the meaning of designing WordPress as it tends to refer to be CMS-only. 
  2. One structure for all Design Libraries: Update the Openverse Design Library’s file structure to mirror the WordPress one. Same for new upcoming libraries.
  3. One contribution process on GithubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. Duplicate the Gutenberg design contribution document into repos where design proposals are shared to match the label logic.

The list above is very task-specific and can evolve quickly into a list of changes, but I still miss some bridge between project priorities and design tasks. Some contributors might hesitate to participate due to priorities unclarity and get lost among the many places where design happens.

I hope you like this idea, and please, feel free to suggest changes and add things that I am missing.