ProfsoUX 2017 Trip Report

Why did I want to attend it?

First of all, I was invited to come and give a talk by a friend, who lives in St Petersburg and works as a UX specialist (more about him later). He said people will be very interested in how open source design happens, what tools we use and what problems we face. It was an excellent opportunity to promote Red Hat and Fedora and meet professionals in my field of work. Furthermore, the UX scene in Russia is a bit different, and I was interested to find out how they work and what projects are going on. As always, conferences are great networking events, and I was happy to find out some people even came specifically to see me talk. So, altogether I really enjoyed ProfsoUX, now let’s talk about it in more detail.

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City and venue

The conference was held in St Petersburg, Russia. It is a very beautiful, huge and cold city, that does not need much introduction. The venue itself I really liked: a couple conference halls just big enough, as well as a standing area, coat room, and resting zone.

My talk

I talked about open source and design, including both graphic and UX stuff, tools and processes and how and why to get started, mostly focusing on work of the Fedora Design Team. Slides (partially in Russian) can be seen here. I just had 15 minutes, so it turned out to be more of an overview. We did have quite a bit of time for questions after, and I’m happy to tell you that the topic is hot-hot-hot, especially questions ‘Why do anything if you are not getting paid?’, ‘Is open source software good enough?’ and ‘Where do you get money from?’. Some people came specifically to listen to me talk and I’ve spotted a couple open source enthusiasts in the crowd. Others had trouble using open source software some time ago and came to just bring that up. All in all, I think it went pretty well, and although they put me last on a program, the hall was not empty at all! I received some comments and suggestions on what to focus more and will try to give an improved version of my talk in English this Saturday at UXCampAMS.

Keynote: Eric L Reiss, http://fatdux.com/, https://twitter.com/elreiss, slides

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You can find a description of his keynote here (look for English text). Eric talked about the importance of having a UX strategy, talking to all key stakeholders, especially upper management, as well as the definition of user experience. He defines UX as a sum of a series of interactions, in which case we can easily talk about UX of a city. He also mentioned that UX is situational, so, for example, UX of a city visitor differs greatly from UX of someone living in said city.

He talked a bit about customers and users and said that while all users are your customers, not all customers are users. Going on to strategy (what?) and tactics (how?).screenshot-from-2017-04-18-12-35-50.png

His main point being: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there”.  Then he talked for a bit about the importance of measuring and optimizing user experience, and how everyone needs to be on board with UX. When there’s a video of the talk ready, I’ll update my post. Mr Reiss is a great person, wonderful performer and I recommend everybody to take a look at his talk.

Other talks I attended

Often I wished I could be in 2 tracks at once, as the majority of talks promised to be spectacular. Some talks I did go to:

Actionable and useful stuff

Some interesting things I learned there: Kirill told us it might not be necessary to ask a person questions while conducting user testing, if you can monitor brain activity directly with the help of OPENBCI.  Good thing about it is that it’s open, fast-growing community with technology available for everybody, and volunteers practically find themselves – everybody is willing to test the new cool technology!

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While we were waiting for the next presenter, we were introduced to a term of Fundamental attribution error, which is an interesting psychological effect: people tend to explain their own behavior with external factors, and the behavior of others with their personal traits. So for example, when someone is late we tend to think it is their own fault, while the person in question will feel that it’s the external factors’ fault: the weather is bad, their sock ripped or there is a traffic jam, for example. We need to remember this in daily life in combination with assuming positive intent.

Following the keynote, I’d like to underscore the importance of having a UX strategy, as well as involving all the key stakeholders in the process of defining one and working on the user experience as a whole.

One more interesting thing I learned was when and how to use diary studies, a research method I haven’t used before. Its main application is to monitor user behavior over a prolonged period of time, when you need to find out how the feature will be used over time, if the person will continue to use it and why. It is a fairly huge and expensive type of research, which poses many problems for the researchers and users both, but sometimes it’s the only way to go. For example, one of the tasks ladies from mail.ru group talked about was how they got qualitative data on how people find, choose and read media online.

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To sum up, I really enjoyed the conference and want to thank all presenters, guests, volunteers and organizers for a great event. Hope to see you all next year!

ProfsoUX 2017 Trip Report

High-school interns 2017

I am happy to announce, that this year additionally to short-term high-school internships, which will happen at the end of May, Red Hat has organized long-term ones. The difference is first of all the type of school students come from: long-term interns come from grammar schools. They don’t have a dedicated internship time, that’s why Matej Hrusovsky et al. have come up with an idea to give them an opportunity to discover Red Hat and intern by coming once every week for a couple of hours.

So starting end of February I have 2 amazing students for Fedora Design Team: Martin Modrý and Tereza Hlaváčková. They both study in Grammar school at Trida Kpt. Jarose and are very interested in computer graphics. Prior to starting they internships, they sent me some of their work and it’s really impressive. Both Martin and Tereza have experience working with vector graphics, although not yet much experience with Inkscape. WHich is not at all a problem, since they are really talented, and Inkscape is easy to get into once you’re familiar with the concept of vector vs raster.

We started by creating some badges as always, and have tackled quite a few tickets! Here are some of the badges they’ve designed:

Martin has also done some sketches for l10n icons and has started working on Fedora dice ticket. And Tereza has come up with an icon concept for FAF. Some more badges are in progress.

Guys are doing an amazing job and covering a lot of tickets that needed attention. We are happy to have them! They have also created their own blogs to write about the internship, and I’m looking forward to seeing their posts 😉

High-school interns 2017

Fedora badges: how to

Fedora badges is a perfect place to start if you want to help out the Fedora Design Team. ‘I’m not a designer!’ ‘I can’t draw!’ ‘I’ve never opened Inkscape’ – you might say. And that is totally fine! Everybody can help out, and none of those reasons will stop you from designing your first badge (and getting badges for designing badges ;)).

So let’s look at how to get started! (all of these can be found in our presentation here)

  1. Badges resources

    Inkscape Download: https://inkscape.org/en/download/

    Fedora Badges: https://badges.fedoraproject.org/

    Fedora Badges Trac: https://fedorahosted.org/fedora-badges/

    Fedora Badges Design Resources Zip: https://fedorahosted.org/fedora-badges/attachment/wiki/DesignResources/FedoraBadgesResources.zip

    2. Anatomy of a badge

anatomy

As you can see, badge consists of several elements, all of which will be different for different badges based on how you categorize them.  More on those as we look at Resources.

3. Resources

So now go ahead and download the Fedora Badges design resources

ATTENTION! VERY IMPORTANT! Prior to designing check out the Style Guidelines!  Couple of things to keep in mind here:

  • background and rings colors: it is important to keep badges consistent – please categorize your badge and based on that choose colors from the palette. If you need help categorizing, ask on IRC #fedora-design or during our bi-weekly badges meetings every other Wednesday  7-8 US Eastern on fedora-meeting-1@irc.freenode.net.
  • pallette (pp 12-13): if you need some other color, pick one from the palette. You can even download and install it on your computer to use straight from Inkscape. To import them, save the .gpl files to the ~/.config/inkscape/palettes/ directory.
  • fonts (pp 17-18): use Comfortaa and pay attention to do’s and don’ts listed there.
  • do’s and don’ts: it is very important to keep those in mind while designing, so all our badges are consistent and beautiful.

Another tip for consistency: once you’ve have picked a badge, go look at ALL the badges here: https://badges.fedoraproject.org/explore/badges. If you are just starting, it’s a great place for inspiration; you can see how similar badges have been categorized, and what imagery and patterns have been used. Download one of these badge artwork files and use it as a template or starting point for your badge design. To do that, simply click on a badge and go to its ticket. Usually .svg can be downloaded from there.

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4. Design

  • Look at similar badges on badges index.
  • Choose a concept for your badge. Look at similar elements, consider suggested concepts from the ticket, or come up with something yourself if you feel like it!
  • The easiest badges are Conference and event badges. They are all the same colors: purple ring, grey background for conferences and dark blue for presenters. Use the template or even re-use last year’s badge and put your conference logo / year on it – Congratulations! You’re done!selection_048
  • Gather inspiration & resources. This means going on the internet and researching images and concepts. For example, if you want to draw a badger on a bike, you might want to search for a photo or an illustration of a person on a bike to use as a reference. No need to reinvent. This may not be necessary for the simpler badges.
  • Categorize your badge using the Style Guide or ask one of us for help.
  • Open the corresponding template, Save as… your filename and get designing! Here’s a link to some nice Inkscape tuts: Fedora and Inkscape. Keep it simple and pay extra attention to resizing stuff. You don’t want to change background size and positioning, so don’t move it around. That way all the badges look the same. When resizing other elements always hold CTRL to maintain proportions. Also don’t worry too much, we’ll review your badge and help if necessary.
  • Feel free to reuse and remix other badges elements. Also remember to SAVE! Save all the time 🙂
  • Once you’re done with the first draft, go to Export PNG image, select a place where to export, name your file and choose Export area – Page. Check that your badge is 256×256 and there! All done! Congratulations!
  • Upload png to the ticket and ask one of us to review your design.
  • Now work with a mentor to finish it and with a developer to push it.
Fedora badges: how to

Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

I must admit, my most used and favorite program must be Inkscape. I just love working with vector graphics, and it’s perfect for that.

If you want to try using Inkscape on Fedora, be sure to check out these tutorials. Ryan and a2batic have created them, and I personally think they are just great at explaining the basics. So here, I’ve put them together, enjoy:

Getting started

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Adding color

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Draw a wallpaper

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Working with paths

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Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

UXcampNL16 trip report

UXcampNL is an unconference born from the desire to bring together the industry and academic communities to share knowledge in an open environment.

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This past Saturday, September 24, I was lucky to attend on of the many UXcamps (Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Copenhagen) held in Europe – UXcamp.NL in Eindhoven.

Why did I want to attend it?

  • It was the first and closest UX event I was able to find.
  • Share my experience and learn from field specialists.
  • I’m a bit isolated here in Brno, where most of the people are engineers and programmers – it was a great chance to meet the community.
  • To tell people about open source and Red Hat.

City and venue.

Eindhoven is a medium-sized city pretty close to Brno – there is even a cheap and short (hour and a half) Wizzair flight straight from Brno to Eindhoven! The city itself seemed to me very modern and comfortable to live in, with a lot of bike lanes and bikers, of course.

The conference itself was held in the Designhuis, which was pretty much perfect for this kind of event – very bright and spacey, in the city centre and next to Van Abbe Museum.

Plan for the day.

The event being an unconference, there was no schedule prior to the start. So registration opened at 9 am, and people who wanted to give a talk were given a card at the entrance, where we filled in our names, talk title, twitter handle and whether it’s supposed to be a talk or a discussion. Plus there were pre-scheduled workshops, which people signed up for in advance.

At 10 am we had Introduction & pitching. After a brief hello from the organizers every participant (speaker) was given 30 seconds to pitch their talk. As we pitched, organizers arranged our cards on the wall into 4 separate tracks.

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I was put first in my track – at 11, and was lucky to have the rest of the day ‘free’ for enjoying the talks and workshops.

At 4 pm a panel discussion was scheduled, with awards and drinks afterwards.

Talks and workshops.

11 am: My talk was first in the day, so at 11 I went to Tower room to tell people about introverts and user research. Here are my slides. The turnout was pretty good, I got a good crowd of introverts and extroverts; and after I was finished with the talk we went on to have a longish Q&A session. It was very interesting to talk e.g. to introverts pretending to be extroverts, or extroverts struggling to lead a team of introverts and not over-manage them to the point of team pushing back.

12:00: for the 2nd talk I stayed in the same room to listen to Den Tserkovnyi, UX Design Lead at StudyPortals, talk about Agile and how to remain sane. He shared his slides with everybody, too. You can check them out here. From what I gathered from this talk, Den used to be Scrum master, and is pretty comfortable with agile methodology. He and his team run design sprints, and include all of the stakeholders in the process. Conveniently they all work in the same building, so there’s a lot of team work with huge pieces of paper and post-it notes 😉 I talked to Den afterwards and we agreed to exchange tips on how to involve everybody in the design process + organize it intercontinentally. He mentioned Google Ventures as an example, who run the sprints as a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. They get everybody to work in 1 room for a week, and “shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week.

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13:45: After lunch I went on to a talk about accessible design given by Dean Birkett, Sr. UX Designer at AssistiveWare. His slides are here.

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It really made me very happy that people are designing for accessibility in real life and in web. Dean talked about what accessible design is, how to do it and how to sell it in organization you are working for. There are 4 primary considerations: visual, hearing, motor and cognitive. Ideally you should think about all of them, when designing a product.  This quote really makes you think:

“There are no disabled people. We are all just temporarily abled.” Henry Viscardi

I think Dean is doing amazing work, and more people should be thinking about accessibility and testing for it when designing things.

14:45: I signed up for a sketching workshop lead by Frank van de Ven, Senior consultant at Deloitte Digital. Frank gave an introduction about what sketching is and why it’s helpful in our work; here are his slides. And then we went on to practice; with his helpful guidance and tips on how to make better sketches and implement complex ideas.

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One of the major takeaways was the 3 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 minutes rule. It is nicely explained here. Frank talked about sketching for service design and user storyboards, but his tips can be applied as well to any kind of sketching, for example, sketchnotes. He also talked a little bit about service design, which is supposedly the next big thing in UX design.

The next big thing in design: UX design trends of 2017

All in all it was a great workshop, but it could have been longer; we didn’t get to do all the activities Frank had planned.

Summary and what I got out of it.

I got to meet and connect with a lot of wonderful people and specialists in various fields of UX from all over the world. Didn’t quite expect so many psychologists among them. There was also a Panel discussion at the end, with UX specialists answering questions from the audience and talking about bridging the gap between academia and business, and all of us working together + questions about their work processes and experience.

During the event people could vote for best talks, so that the best speakers could win prizes from the sponsors (Sketch, Jet Brains and Tesla Amazing). Results were announced after the Panel; my talk was voted second best and 1st place was awarded to UX & robotics: bridging the gap by Nina @METiger.

After that we had a quick celebration with drinks provided by organizers, and it was over! I would be glad if it was couple days longer; also I’ve heard stories all day about UXcamp Berlin, which as far as I understand is 2 days long with something like 10 tracks. The quality of talks in Eindhoven was really good, wish I could have attended them all.

I have now a much better understanding of the UX trends and situation in Europe, as well as many valuable connections. TODO for next time I attend this kind of event is to make business cards; for now I had to improvise and use Tesla paper from the goodie bag for exchanging contacts.

UXcampNL16 trip report

FAD and Flock to Fedora 2016

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one! In the past 2 weeks I’ve been traveling a lot: first to Westford, US for Design Team Fedora Activity Days 2016 and then to Krakow, Poland for Flock to Fedora 2016.

FAD July 29-31, 2016

This year part of the Fedora Design team met in Westford, MA. Mo Duffy gathered together Sirko Kemter (gnokii),  Marie Nordin (riecatnor), me, Chris Roberts (croberts) and  Radhika Kolathumani (radhikak). FAD is a mini-conference focused on recruiting (and enabling the recruitment of) new designers to Fedora via the Fedora Badges and Fedora Hubs projects.

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Day 1

On the first day we did a lot of design team planning and preparations for the next day, for which an Inkscape bootcamp / workshop was scheduled. Everybody mentioned above + Ryan Lerch and Justin Flory were present (Ryan and Justin for a bit via Bluejeans). There was a lot on our agenda: newcomers, Pagure migration, status of ticket queue, meeting times, badges, distribution related design, CommOps thread. We managed to actually discuss most of it.

We talked a lot about newcomers and criteria of becoming a Design Team member. First of all it seems that there are not enough tickets for them or they might be unable to choose the appropriate ones. We decided that it makes sense to assign each newbie a mentor, as well as tag newbie tickets appropriately. Defining a number of tickets needed to be accepted into the Design team needs to be combined with their difficulty: for instance, changing a number on a badge != designing a logo from scratch.

Meeting times need to be different in Western and Eastern hemispheres, the idea being that we could read through each others meeting minutes at start of our own meets.

We need to ‘unseparate’ distro design queue from the trac tickets and have them all together in one place, so the former are more visible. The same goes for badges: we decided that it would be a good idea to have a separate badges meeting and clean up the ticket queue at least once a month.

We also talked about swag and need for design team overview over printed matters, since it is crucial to choose the right files for printing in order to maintain quality. Looks like more communication is needed here between different teams in Fedora. Sometime during this discussion Marie and I took a little break to go through badges trac and choose the ones appropriate for the workshop next day. 30 people were registered, so we went through all of them to have a good number.

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Later that day we got supplies for our event and had a lovely dinner.

Day 2

We set out to the Red Hat Westford office bright and early, as 30 people had registered for our Inkscape-learning workshop. I could write about it quite a bit, but no need – Mo has already written a great post describing it in detail here.

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TL;DR people liked it, all the reviews are positive, but we might have underestimated the amount of time needed and there was almost no time for badges. But no worries, since we do our badges thing all the time and Flock was just a couple days away ↓↓

Day 3

On Sunday most of us were flying out from Boston Logan, so we took a day to see Boston: visited Isabella Gardner museum and Mo gave us a walking tour, which was all pretty great!

Then I did a BOS-FRA-VIE flight, bus to Brno, bus to Krakow travel and arrived at Flock!

Flock to Fedora 2016, Krakow August 2-5

 

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Day 1

The venue: very conveniently the same hotel where everybody was staying. It has all conference rooms close together on the ground floor. Light and bright, breakfast in the morning, lunch every day, snacks and drinks – all in all very pleasant experience.

Twitter feed: you can check out tweets and pics at #flocktofedora.

The schedule is still here on sched.org.

The talks

I was a little bit late to the party and missed all talks in the 1st part of the day, because I was traveling. I finally made it to the 15:30 talk by Paul Frields: Fedora Magazine and what it teaches us about users. You can see some of my notes on Paul’s talk on page 1 here.

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16:30 Sylvia Sanchez: Thoughts on Fedora and Arts. Frankly, I was not the biggest fan of this talk, seemed a bit unprepared. I’m sure there are notes somewhere, if you are interested.

17:30 Ina Panova: Software Repository Management with Pulp. I didn’t take notes, but you can see the whole preso here. Pulp is a platform for managing repositories of software packages and making it available to a large numbers of consumers. I’m also going to rework their logo a bit 😉 Oranges and packages, what could be more fun!

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Evening: we had a guided tour of Krakow, which is a beautiful city! The weather was nice, our guide interesting and funny, so I enjoyed an official city tour, which doesn’t happen very often.

 

Day 2. My notes for August 3 are here starting on page 2.

9:00 Keynote #2,  Radosław Krowiak Co-owner, Akademia Programowania. He gave a talk about teaching kids programming and maintaining creativity levels, that are often diminished at school.

10:00 Matthew Miller: Kirk, McCoy, and Spock build the future of Fedora. Matthew talked about our goals and strategy and Star Trek and unicorns. To sum up – we all need to work together and see my notes above =) Here come the unicorns:

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Here is a list of talks I visited later that day (see notes for Brian and Dusty’s talk and diversity panel): 11:00 Brian Exelbierd and Dusty Mabe: Bringing developers into the Flock, 1:30 Ralph Bean: Factory 2.0, 2:30 Maria Leandro and all: Diversity panel, 3:30 Pierre-Yves Chibon: Pagure: Past, Present and Future, 4:30 Sayan Chowdhury and Ratnadeep Debnath: Realtime IRC on Fedora Hubs, fewh that was a lot of talks! 😉

I want to really point out here Sayan’s and Ratnadeep’s work on IRC for Fedora Hubs, which IMO is essential for newcomers. There was a live demo and it appears to be working, synchronizing between the widget and the IRC client as you type. We talked about it later on Friday and guys have created a ticket for mockup on pagure.io. Some people argue that IRC is outdated, but really we still need it, since everybody in the community uses it still, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

After all the talks that day we had dinner on a boat and a cruise of the Wisła river, which was very enjoyable and outside. Everybody got to do a lot of social networking, which might be the most important thing at conferences. After talks, of course 😉

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Day 3

Thursday was dedicated to lightning talks at 9 am, and following workshops. Marie and I had our Fedora Badges Workshop scheduled for the after lunch session at 1:30. We lost some audience to the Infrastructure workshop, but frankly it might have been one of our most successful ones yet. There were ≈10 people in the audience, almost all of them followed through with the tutorial, we had 3 badges submitted and 2 approved all in just 2 hours!
How it works: Marie and I give our presentation, which you can download here (and we need to add to the new badges guide). First we talk about badges in general, then do a quick walk-through of a new badge creation. After that we allow people to choose badges they’d like to work on from a list pre-selected tickets for first time badge creators. And then people work on badges using Inkscape with our guidance and help if needed. This time, since it’s Flock, there was no need for creating a FAS account. Sirko was there for our workshop, so he helped, too.  Thanks to Sinny Kumari for taking a pic, I had no idea 😉

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Later that day there was a Design Clinic organized by Sirko and in the evening we had a party at a brewery. People say the beer and food was great, I was not feeling 100%, but they are probably right. Check out the bus, too:

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Day 4

On Friday before we left for Brno, there were 2 workshops / hackfests scheduled at 1:30 that I visited: Sirko Kemter: 101: Poster & Infographic Design, where he taught people to make a poster for a party using Flock design elements and Pierre Yves-Chibon: Fedora Hubs Meetup / Hackfest, transcript by jflory7 here and a video (more of an audio) here. I really miss working on hubs and want to start helping out again. There is a number of tickets, that need mockups, and many of those mockups need implementation, too.

All in all

Flock was a lot of fun: great talks, amazing people, new acquaintances, fun activities, beautiful city! Big thanks to organizers and hope to see you all next year!

FAD and Flock to Fedora 2016

FLOCK 2016! Learn How to Get Involved in Creating Fedora Badge Designs

We’re having a workshop on Thursday, everybody is very welcome! Learn about Fedora badges and Inkscape 🙂

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Another year, another wonderful FLOCK! Thanks to everyone who put in the hard work to make this event a success. The first day and a half have been informative and fun, learning about what everyone in Fedora is up to, catching up with new and old friends and seeing some of beautiful Kraków. Just before I made my way here to Poland, I met up with the Fedora Design Team in Boston, MA, for a FAD. We tried out a new event for our team that was free to the public, an Inkscape and Fedora Badges Bootcamp, with success! So riding on the tail end of that I am excited to be here with the rest of the Fedora family and to continue working on Fedora Badges and getting people involved.

I will be holding a Fedora Badges Workshop this year at FLOCK with Mariia Leonova on Thursday…

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FLOCK 2016! Learn How to Get Involved in Creating Fedora Badge Designs