Scratching Someone Else's Itch

Producing Excellent Open Source Products



  • NZer (now in SF)
  • starter of things including - FLOSS Manuals, Booktype, BookJS, Coko (coFounder), Book Sprints, Cabbage Tree Method and more
  • Shuttleworth Fellow
  • Ex Artist and stuff



  • Solving scholarly publishing problems with open source
  • Building good faith networks
  • Building infrastructure eg: PubSweet, INK, Editoria, XSweet

Itch to Scratch

The fact that it is your itch is important

The developer is:

  • the use case specialist

  • the code specialist

Knowing your itch gives you insights and motivations. It is an important qualitative and experiential factor. important experiential difference from proprietary approaches

What is it good for?


Developer Tools

x  User-facing solutions

Why is it failing open source in the 'user space'

...because we are scratching someone else's itch

the developer is:

  • the code specialist

  • the user is the use case specialist

Scratching someone else's itch

If we want to 'solve the users problem (itch)' they must be central to designing the solution.

Design First
Design with the User

An Example

The Cabbage Tree Method

Good for

  • Building platforms
  • Working with orgs
  • Fixing workflows

Facilitated Design

Users Use Case Specialists

Use case Speciaists Designing Their Own Software

Iterative DesignBuild Sessions

The Flow

An Example

The Users Scratch

The Summary

The Mock

The Working Code

The Working Code

Scratching Someone Else's Itch

By Adam Hyde

Scratching Someone Else's Itch

  • 2,659