The Open Sourced User Centred Designer – Introduction

Hello, I’m Bernard

I’m a user centred designer. I work mainly as a user researcher and interaction designer. In my day job, I work in a UK government department.

I spend my days mostly doing:

  • user research to build services that are sometimes completely digital, and sometimes a mixture of digital and non-digital
  • interaction design when needs be
  • my best to change fellow government employee’s ways of thinking about the “user”
  • what I can to promote the use of Open Source Software in government

I used to be an engineer. I expect to be able to repair, upgrade and fix my hardware myself. I expect everyone, who wants to, to do the same.

The problem

I’ve been an Apple computer user for about 20 odd years. I used it as my main work producing platform for about 7.

I’m tired of it. I am tired of how the hardware has become a closed, tightly controlled platform.

I was looking to replace my 2011 Macbook Pro in the next year or so. New Macbooks are 0% user serviceable. ZERO. If you need a new keyboard, it’ll cost ~ £600 because you’ll have to replace a large portion of the computer, not just the keyboard.

I’m tired of how the software is doing less of what I want (and need!). I have less issues with Mac OS than I do with Apple hardware. However in order to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware I have to jump through more hoops than a performing dolphin.

And I’m not interested in that.

Time to change

I’ve been using Linux of various flavours – Debian ((, Ubuntu ((, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Nokia Enterprise Linux (an internal Nokia Linux distro) ((, Elementary OS (( – for 20+ years.

Bye bye Apple

I am starting an experiment to move from the (slowly deteriorating) Mac OS to open source Linux.

I’ve already started. This blog category open sourced ucd (( will be used to track the success (or failure) of the experiment.

The objective

The objective is to find replacement open source software applications for my main tools.

I will try to document Linux applications for user researchers and interaction designers to replace the Mac OS applications I am leaving behind.

I’m looking forward to the experiment. Beaker! Light the bunsen burner!


2 responses to “The Open Sourced User Centred Designer – Introduction”

  1. Very interested to learn how you manage. Toying with the idea myself but don’t think I’m there yet. good luck!

  2. bernard Avatar

    Hi Roy!

    Long time no see!

    I’m hoping it won’t be as hard as we all think. There are a lot of great applications there already.

    It’s an experiment, but I hope it’s successful. I think I’m lucky as I’m not required to do heavy graphic design or follow a certain workflow that requires application specific file formats.

    I’ll be starting with user research and all that requires, then moving onto design.

    Any questions, or disagreements shout! I’m hoping for good discussion and some arguments. 🙂

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