Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) is a two-days annual open source event held in Tirana, Albania since 2014. The conference gathers open source enthusiasts from all around the world with a considerable number of attendees being young students from the region of the Balkans. With a variety of different talks, workshops, info booths and community meetups, OSCAL brings together free libre open source technology users, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs. This year the venue was the iconic Pyramid located in the center of the city, giving also an industrial architectural vibe to the conference for the first time.

Opening Speach
Conference’s group picture – By Andis Rado (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)

Most members of the Ura team participated on the event, while some of us were part of the organizing team of the event. As the event’s motto was “Open by Default” and as we share the exact same principal, we couldn’t miss the chance to be there with a dedicated infobooth. We were happy to chat with open source contributors from different projects and to introduce them to Open Source Design principles and the importance of better Usability and Design in open source.

Ura Mariana at our infobooth during OSCAL’18 – By Andis Rado (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)

We also showed the latest developments of Identihub and started promoting the upcoming Open Source Design Summit that will take place in Tirana upcoming November. Designers (and design enthusiasts) involved in open source will gather for the second time and collaborate on a common vision for the Open Source Design movement.

Thunderbird User Interviews

As part of our ongoing work with the OTF Usability Lab, we have been helping Thunderbird with a refreshed identity and are currently building up their new style guide followed by a Usability Study. For that, we have worked with Renata Gegaj, a User Researcher and a fellow Open Source Designer who has worked in the past for GNOME as part of the Outreachy program.

Renata Gegaj
During Renata Gegaj’s interview – By Elio Qoshi (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)

Renata interviewed 6 people of different ages and occupations. They had 9 tasks given by Renata to complete and while they were doing so, she would observe if they encountered any blockers or pushbacks. This will set a solid base for the upcoming Usability Study which will shine light on potential issues where Thunderbird can be improved. We hope to pave the way to revitalize Thunderbird and improve Usability in a future version.

Renata and Redon from our team during OSCAL’18 – By Andis Rado (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)

It was great to be part of OSCAL again. As the 5th anniversary of the conference, it marked a milestone for our local communities in Albania. We hope to see more Open Source Design enthusiasts at the next event!

Pictures acquired from Wikimedia Commons.