Scope

Over the past two decades, Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) has introduced new successful models for creating, distributing, acquiring and using software and software-based services. In addition to the huge increase in the number of open source software projects started and the remarkable rise of FLOSS adoption by companies, new models of participation in the movement are emerging rapidly, bringing in a broader set of stakeholders including companies, academic institutions, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual volunteers.

Recently there have been calls to enhance user experience (UX) in open source projects, stressing the role of designers in project communities. It has been argued that FLOSS communities need to think about user needs more and more in order to attract users and to be able to compete in the growing market. The underlying hypothesis is that good usability and user experience are essential in good human-technology interaction, also in the case of FLOSS projects. Ubuntu is often quoted as a successful example of a FLOSS project adopting such approach. In this regard, one of the key challenges identified is how to integrate UX experts in the wider project community and how to manage communication between UX experts and other project stakeholders. The problem is organizational, cultural, and technical.

In the context of FLOSS, however, we argue that studying experience issues should be taken up to a broader community level. Using the terminology of UX, community experience (CX) can be defined as how a community member feels about contributing to, developing, and using an open source project. Based on the ISO definition of UX, we claim that community experience includes all community members' emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after contributing to or using a FLOSS project.

We think that it is the right time for the research community and the industry to discuss key aspects of community experience, benefiting from research findings in the area of user experience. We argue that there is a need for a forum for discussing community experience questions from various perspectives by exchanging related experiences, sharing relevant concerns, and proposing ideas to turn challenges related to issues mentioned earlier into opportunities. This is vital as community-driven development models are gaining ground in several fields.