Flock to Fedora 2017

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This year Flock to Fedora took place in Hyannis, Massachusetts at Cape Cod. It was mostly focused on so called do-sessions or workshops and was therefore action-oriented.

Marie riecatnor and I did our usual Badges Workshop on day 1. A quick recap: I think (hope) we’re getting better and better each year. We started off with the presentation and went through badge structure and process. Badges have migrated to pagure since last year, so we made quite a few additions to the presentation. Another very welcome change was having a co-presenter: Kanika a2batic, who is working on a symbol library to make it easier to make badges resources. She gave a small presentation during badges intro. You can take a look here. After that we moved on to actual designing and several people finished their badges by the end of 3 hours. Everyone got a Padawan badge for attending – we came up with the idea for it at last year’s Flock.

Days 2 and 3 had a lot of design-focused activities, too. For example, on Wednesday afternoon I attended a talk about Micro Usability Testing by Jenn Kotler. She is an interaction designer, and often does usability testing in her daily work. Jenn talked about the importance of early user testing, using the example of an amusement park app. I was very interested to find out how a micro-test is different from regular usability test or hallway testing, for example. Turns out, usually it has fewer participants (5-10 people), looking for early problem identification. It really helps to test the product or feature early, since people would be more open to changes before they have put in a lot of effort. Then she told us how to choose people for testing. One should focus on targeted users; also Jenn shared a tip from personal experience, which is “techies make bad testers”. They tend to get caught up in technology and get sidetracked on implementation details.

Then we discussed interacting with testers during the test; the most difficult part is pretending not to be there. One should also be very mindful of language and body language, trying to stay as neutral as possible. That includes neutral wording of tasks, as the questions and tasks should not include neither positive nor negative language. You might have guessed that neutral is the core word here 🙂

After that Jenn talked for a bit about designing a user test. In that phase you have to be very specific and define what you are trying to learn, thus establishing a goal. Decide what the pivotal feature of the app is. Then you can break this bigger goal into objectives that are going to be the basis for you tasks. It’s usually a good idea to ask users to rate tasks difficulty on a 1-5 scale after performing each one, and also ask them to fill in a System Usability Scale or SUS questionnaire in the end.

Jenn gave us some advice on conducting the test itself and offering assists to testers, which brought us to the topic of evaluating the results. This has always been the most interesting topic for me. Jenn’s advice is to create a spreadsheet, input  data, count successes and fails, get average ease of use score for each task. Then you can look for trends and repeated user comments, which will help you define successful features and main points.

On Thursday the whole afternoon was devoted to design topics, which was great! Let me give you a short summary. First Suzanne Hillman talked about her experience with Outreachy and regional hubs design. If you’re not familiar with Fedora Hubs, take a look at Mo’s blog here. And this is the link to Suzanne’s presentation. Suzanne talked a lot about research, analysis and design, her main point being: it’s a never ending process, which one has to repeat over and over again throughout the development of a feature or product. She walked us through her work on Hubs, which included defining goals, competitive analysis, doing interviews, creating mockups, working with developers and much more. This is the ticket she worked on on pagure. Her internship has ended now, and I hope she will be able to do more work on Hubs!

After that Máirín spoke about Pattern libraries and in particular the one her intern has been developing this past summer. The idea is to use atomic design and create elements that look ‘Fedora’-like, that the developers can use for creating widgets, apps and websites. In the open source world it’s hard to make projects have the same look and feel, and pattern libraries can be a solution to that problem. Basically patterns are organized in terms of how substantial they are and developers can take and copy parts of it without having to think about styling and CSS too much. You can see the structure on Pattern Lab. There are several levels of depth: atoms are basic html elements, e.g. buttons; brand colors, fonts; parts of forms and other basic components. Then you move on to molecules; e.g. a form. Next come organisms, e.g. cards. Then come templates, e.g. a blog index or a dashboard. In the end come actual pages. I am excited by the idea of atomic design and having style guides in general, and I find this project extremely interesting.

The next steps will be to upstream CSS and HTML into Fedora Bootstrap. Right now they are collecting patterns; later plan is to create more documentation around it and make it more usable for devs; possibly create a how-to guide for Fedora Bootstrap. Some testing will benefit the project, too.

That conference day ended with a Design Team Hackfest which is my most favourite thing ever, because it brings us all together IRL and allows to solve whatever issues need solving X times more quickly than on IRC or commenting on tickets.

Let me sup up by saying that I greatly enjoyed this Flock, Cape Cod and meeting everybody, can’t wait to see you all next time!

 

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Flock to Fedora 2017

Designing Fedora Badges @ Flock 2017

Marie and I will be conducting a Fedora Badges workshop at Flock. Come and learn about the process and tools, design a badge and also get some 🙂

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Exciting news: I will be attending Flock 2017 in Hyannis, MA, this year! I will be holding a Fedora Badges Do Session with Masha Leonova. The session will be held on the first day of the conference, Tuesday, August 29th, at 1:30PM in 4-Centerville A + B.

We will be starting from the top: a short overview, then making sure everyone has Inkscape installed and ready to go, downloading Badges design resources, setting them up, and testing everything to get ready to design. The process for designing Fedora Badges has changed slightly as we welcomed a transition to Pagure earlier this year. Now we have easy uploading for files, and tags – all in a shiny new format!

Next we will go step by step through the process of designing a Fedora Badge. We will highlight and detail important points such as research, creating your designs to follow…

View original post 231 more words

Designing Fedora Badges @ Flock 2017

Fedora Design Interns 2017

Here’s an update on internships. Older post linked to here. Quick recap: there’s been 2 long-term interns for Fedora design team since February, and one short-term guy, who came for 2 weeks at the beginning of June. Guys have been doing an amazing job, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have them around.

So let me give you a short overview of their work:

Martin Modry

PUNK

Martin has created some lovely designs before he moved on to pursue other endeavors in life 😉 Here are some examples of his work:

Badges

Artwork

He’s created several designs for L10N roles, his work is now continued by Mary in this ticket. He’s shown true understanding of the design issues, and worked directly with ticket creators.

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Martin Petr

Martin Petr worked with us for 2 weeks 6 hours a day, which allowed him to tackle many projects for Fedora Design and different teams at Red Hat. As always we started of with badges work, soon moving on to other design issues.

Badges

Artwork

He’s created really cool icons for Lightning talks group; they chose the red one in top row for their page. It does work best when resized to be smaller and incorporates references eg to lightning, as well as a neat design solution.lightning_all.png

He also helped create Fedora Release Party poster, which has been widely used. For example, see here. Martin worked on a Fedora telegram theme, and even started to mock up an updated graphics for this year’s devconf.cz site. Martin has an eye for latest trends in design and is super-creative.

Me and many other people are looking forward for him to come back and stay with us for 2 more weeks at the end of September!

Tereza Hlavackova

Terka has been around the longest  – since the end of February and going strong! She’s done an impressive amount of work and I really love her designs. She’s a great help with badges, as well as with some other artwork issues.

Badges

Artwork

Some of her designs include FAF, podcast and Fedora diversity icons. She’s done a great job working with requestors and going through design iterations. Terka’s been away for some time, and I’m looking forward for her to come back, too!

Conclusions and future projects

Altogether I find the Internship program extremely helpful for myself, for Fedora Design team and for some Red Hat teams as well. Both Martins and Terka are great designers, and I hope, they in their turn, only benefit from working in a professional environment, using open source products and communicating with real customers. Not every design issue can be solved easily, some require discussions and iterations, and these guys have been handling them beautifully.

Fedora Design Interns 2017

UXCampAMS17 Trip Report

UXcampAMS took place this past weekend in Amsterdam – here’s what I saw and learned there.

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Why did I want to attend it?

As always, great people, great networking, interesting talks and workshops, tons of inspiration! Really helps to get perspective on my work + keep up with trends and industry standards. Plus this year I had an extra agenda to promote Red Hat and Fedora by giving a talk and distributing some swag.

City and venue

UXcampAMS took place in Amsterdam (of course) on April 22, 2017. Venue was Congrescentrum, somewhere on the upper floor. I did have a bit of a trouble getting into the building, as one has to press a very discreet button with something written in Dutch next to it 😉 But otherwise it was pretty great, 5 rooms of various sizes for talks and workshops, an area to hang out and talk with sponsor booths set up + cafeteria with coffee (very important for a Saturday morning!).

Plan of the day

As all UX Camps, this one was a BarCamp – meaning no pre-scheduled talks, just an outline of the agenda. So after registration and an introduction we had a “Madness Session” – people who wanted to present or have a workshop / discussion got up, filled in cards and pitched their proposals in 30 second time slots. Audience voted on the talks they’d like to attend by raising hands. Here’s a video to give you an idea:

In a short break afterwards organizers put together a schedule, in which I was !surprise surprise! first:

uxcampams17 schedule

My talk

I did the same talk as at ProfsoUX in Russian the week before, so this time I translated it to English.  These are the slides at SlidesShare. So, again, 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. The attendance was pretty good, many people knew Red Hat and Fedora, we had a lovely discussion after the talk. I really hope I inspired some people to contribute or try open source tools.

Other talks I attended

Transforming Marktplaats by Jeroen Mulder

Jeroen talked about Marktplaats and their journey through the years, beliefs to transform Marktplaats into a design-led, customer-centric organization; how they started as a desktop environment and now with the rest of the world are quickly moving towards mobile (>45% of their users).  He also talked about their ‘big hairy audacious dreams’ aka BHAG: Bought and sold in 5 minutes. What they found out: the world has changed a lot since 1999, companies now design experiences and care about their users from start to finish. Some of the principles they came up with:

  • outside – in
  • strategic design
  • cross-functional
  • outcome over output
  • discover and fail fast (go through build-measure-learn cycle as quickly as possible)

Jeroen also talked about building a UX team and how we need to ‘get out of the deliverables business’ and own the entire process: Analysis and research → Vision, strategy and concept (not optional!) → prototype and validate (and back to analysis) → build and repeat!

Involving everybody is key, as well as reminding PMs, QA, devs, designers, etc that we all have the same goal. Jeroen specifically underlined the importance of a good relationship between designers and PMs. It all starts with culture and is a journey.

UPD slides linklink

5 remote communication tips for designers by Magdalena Rydiger

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Magdalena works in a Polish agency called Polidea, and as an agency they bring in new clients every couple of months.  Being a designer, she is in constant contact with them and often has to communicate remotely, which as we know, poses some challenges on communication effectiveness. So she wanted to give some tips how to overcome communication problems and have a discussion after.

5 tips:

  1. hold kick-off workshops
  2. make the design process clear for the client
  3. express yourself with talkative examples
  4. support message with video chat and visuals
  5. teamwork makes dreams come true

Again, she pointed out the importance of involving everybody in the design process and constantly reminding them, that we are working towards the common goal. It can start at the kick-off meeting, where among other activities team can look at things that will make the project successful or will make it fail.

She also suggested having all files easily accessible for everybody – for example, a single doc on google docs + photos of sketches.

Designing a UX portfolio by Ian Fenn

Ian talked about the importance of having a portfolio and gave us an introduction to the book he’s writing for O’Reilly. One can buy early release right now, but be aware that that means the book is not yet finished, and you’ll get chapters as they are written. A couple of good pointers from Ian:

  • the purpose of a portfolio is to get a face-to-face interview
  • the recruiters have limited knowledge of UX and very little time, and will spend ~30 sec per resume
  • UX portfolios are often misunderstood: as Jared Spool states, “ A great portfolio is a collection of the stories that describe your best work” and not a collection of deliverables.
  • so one might want to include case studies (no more than 3 pages each):
    • brief
    • what you did
    • key tools and deliverables
    • the results
  • images should support and enhance the written narrative
  • aesthetic affects hiring managers, too
  • language is key, so be short and on the point, no jargon or scientific words. One of the most interesting tips, which goes for any sort of writing: read what you write out loud
  • and seek feedback from the right people

Brand in UX workshop by Flin Nortier and Ramon Schreuder

After that I attended a workshop about brand and user experience. Flin and Ramon told us about the importance of expressing brand values through interaction design, and that it will make the brand come alive. They defined brand as an intangible sum of product attributes (logo, perception, tagline, gut feeling, etc) and we tried to express brand values through interface and communication with ‘clients’.

Keynote: How to make UX count? by Barbara Koop

At the end of the day we attended a keynote about making UX count and subsequently becoming a superhero. Barbara’s main message was: data is an outcome, and we can’t drive outcomes. When we measure UX in any way, we get a lot of data, which doesn’t tell us much, so we need to get behind the data. Barbara introduced the W model of data-driven learning:

w_model.png

She also advised to define which behaviors drive soft KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and track those, as well as bundle predictors to an impact factor for each KPI, so we can see growth and success for each goal. Some of the soft KPI’a are: loyalty, brand perception, customer experience, conversion rate, etc.

Actionable and useful stuff

The main messages of the conference for me turned out to be:

  • teamwork is key, so have everyone involved from the very start
  • go through development and iteration process quickly, evaluate and repeat
  • remind people we are working towards the same goals (if necessary)
  • track things that need tracking and be smart about it

I had an amazing time at the UXcamp in Amsterdam, met some very interesting people and attended great talks. As soon as slides are online, I’ll update my post. Thank you, everybody,, who organized it and took part in it, see you all next year? 🙂

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UXCampAMS17 Trip Report

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. Mr Reiss is a great person, wonderful performer and I recommend everybody to take a look at his talk.

UPD video is here

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 Open Issues: https://pagure.io/Fedora-Badges/issues?status=Open

    Fedora Badges Design Resources: https://pagure.io/Fedora-Badges/issue/raw/66de8abf46b1a554666d4ddb3ff20253d40350afbfe8801acca300e121364a35-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 that you can find inside the zip file.  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.

Selection_0472.png

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