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We're hiring a designer!

· 5 min read
OpenRefine team

OpenRefine, a powerful data-wrangling tool used by diverse communities, seeks a lead designer to enhance OpenRefine's user experience and functionality. This job posting has been archived and was filled in December 2023 with the hiring of Zop Copper.

About the job

  • Role: Lead Designer
  • Job Type: Part-Time Contract
  • Duration: 6 months with possible extension.
  • Job Location: Remote
  • Funding available: USD 38,400
  • Contracting Entity: Code for Science & Society Inc. OpenRefine is a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science & Society Inc, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the USA.

About OpenRefine

OpenRefine is a free, open source power tool for working with messy data and improving it: cleaning it, transforming it from one format into another, and extending it with web services and external data. OpenRefine has been embraced by a wide range of communities across various fields. OpenRefine's flexibility and user-friendly interface make it applicable to a wide range of use cases and industries, for example:

  1. Journalists and Media Professionals use OpenRefine to clean and prepare data for investigative reporting, analysis, and visualization in news stories.
  2. GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) utilizes OpenRefine to clean and enhance catalog records related to artworks and cultural heritage artifacts.
  3. Wikipedians and Wikimedia Contributors: OpenRefine is a popular tool within the Wikipedia community, enabling users to manage and improve structured data on Wikimedia projects like Wikidata and Wiki Commons.
  4. Scientists and Researchers across various scientific disciplines, including social, natural, and health sciences, use OpenRefine to clean, transform, and organize research data.
  5. Data Analysts and Scientists leverage OpenRefine to preprocess and clean data, ensuring high data quality before analysis.
  6. Educators and Trainers: OpenRefine is integrated into educational curricula and workshops, allowing educators to teach students data wrangling and cleaning skills effectively.

About the design role

We're searching for a dedicated part-time designer who will play a leading role in enhancing the usability of OpenRefine. The role requires previous experience with FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and engagement with the diverse communities that intersect with OpenRefine's user base and volunteer contributors.

The new design lead will be involved in the following:

  • Research design limitations and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Designing changes to the user interface to support enhancements and new features.
  • Conducting user testing sessions to validate design choices.
  • Prioritizing improvements based on user feedback.

We anticipate an initial phase of intense design activity at the project's outset, which will transition to periodic and responsive support as the project advances into the implementation stage.

Project specifications

The design lead is expected to contribute to:

Improvements to OpenRefine's Operation History As part of a project funded by the Essential Open Source Software for Science program, we are working on improving OpenRefine's operation history and reproducibility guarantees. This work addresses long-standing issues currently tracked in Improving OpenRefine's reproducibility GitHub project. Specifically:

  • Designing graphical representations of sequences of operations to address limitations associated with the Undo/Redo functionality.
  • Addressing long-standing issues when reusing and sharing OpenRefine workflows due to the lack of error handling when applying a series of operations and the difficulty of adapting a workflow to a new project
  • Enhancing sharing and reusability of OpenRefine workflows as part of an automated pipeline without using the web interface.

Ad-Hoc Design Needs This includes teaming up with the @OpenRefine/designers group and addressing ad-hoc design needs flagged by the community. The lead design role will be pivotal in refining user interfaces while maintaining design consistency by adhering to and improving OpenRefine's design system and guidelines.

Additional funding or community requests may broaden the scope of the work.

Skills and Requirements

  • Experience with user research via surveys and interviews
  • Proficiency in design prototyping software like Figma or similar tools
  • Knowledge of design and usability testing for user applications
  • Ability to work effectively in a remote, asynchronous environment
  • Strong communication skills in English
  • Familiarity with version control software (e.g., Github)
  • Familiarity with data processing and ETL software
  • Familiarity with workflow management software (e.g., Galaxy, Nextflow, Airflow, CWL)

Nice to have:

  • Familiarity with open-source development practices and tools
  • Knowledge of OpenRefine or similar data-cleaning systems
  • Willingness to participate in events related to OpenRefine
  • Experience working with decentralized open-source communities and understanding their dynamics

Hiring Process

We invite applicants to send their CV and a short motivation statement at Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting on September 1st, 2023 until the position is filled.

OpenRefine is fiscally sponsored by Code for Science and Society (CS&S). CS&S is an equal-opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization, thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our clientele, our employees, and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our colleagues and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one's employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.