We are pleased to announce a new collaboration with the Open Technology Fund as part of their Usability Lab project. This exciting initiative will allow open-source software projects to apply for free assistance with user-experience (UX) design as well as usability research. To our knowledge, this is the first program to offer support of this kind.

Open Technology Fund + Simply Secure

Who should apply?

The Usability Lab is focused on projects within OTF’s remit – i.e., software tools and initiatives that support free expression and information exchange online. If you’re working on a tool that provides encrypted communication, secure file exchange, censorship circumvention, or related features, you should definitely apply. If you’re not sure whether your project fits within this framework, please apply, and we will work with you to see if it can be supported under the program.

What kind of support can projects receive?

Eligible software projects will receive free support from design and/or research professionals to evaluate and improve the quality of their project’s UX. Simply Secure will work with your project to identify the type of support will be most useful and scope a well-defined set of activities that can be accomplished over the period of a few weeks.

Potential activities include:

  • Expert reviews to identify opportunities for improving the UX
  • Usability studies to evaluate a newly-proposed feature
  • Design sprints to harmonize the visual look-and-feel between an app and its website
  • Program evaluations to examine a team’s process for getting feedback from its users
  • Strategy research to help a team identify and understand its user population

In addition to matching software teams with skilled designers and researchers, Simply Secure will collaborate with engineers and UX professionals to ensure good communication over the course of the project. Simply Secure will also work with the software team after the design or research phase is complete, to make sure they are successful in incorporating the findings into their next development cycle. Finally, Simply Secure will work with software teams to transparently share the results of the collaboration, bringing open-source values to UX work.

Can UX professionals get involved?

Absolutely! If you are a UX or visual designer or a usability researcher interested in doing applied work on software in this space, please contact us at [email protected] with a link to your portfolio and/or curriculum vitae. This is a pilot program that we hope will help us connect an extensive network of designers and researchers working on privacy and internet-freedom tools, so we want to hear from you!

How do I learn more?

Please apply for support here (or email us if you are uncomfortable using Google forms) as part of OTF’s Usability Lab, and contact [email protected] or [email protected] with questions!