Experience Conference 2018

On March 27, 2018 I attended ExConf in Bratislava. Being just 1 day long, the event had talks given by world leading UX experts from such companies as Google, Smashing Magazine and OpenIDEO, to name a few. It was held in The Old Market Hall in the center of the city, which allowed for strolls (and scooter rides) in the beautiful old center during lunch.


The organization was great, as well as food and catering, and I think the organizers did a great job at making people feel comfortable and engaged at the venue.

Our host, Vitaly Friedman of Smashing Magazine, opened with a shorter and transformed version of his talk from AmuseUX, this time called “Personality-Driven design”. He was talking about making the design stand out by giving it personality. As always, he had a lot of examples and presented a very engaging talk. Vitaly was also the conference host, and we got to see a lot more of him during the day.

Next was Jenny Gove from Google, who talked about transforming mobile experiences. She started by taking us back in history to 1997, when web was declared dead by Wired magazine, and went on to talking about the same thing happening to mobile web multiple times since then. Which brings us to today, when 12% of mobile usage is spent on web and the rest is apps.


So in every particular case, businesses have to figure out for themselves, on what to focus – whether to build an app or design a good mobile website, or if their users are primarily desktop users, and what to do about mobile in that case. Jenny gave a good example of a shop selling sofas – people tend to buy sofas once maybe every 10-20 years, so there is no need at all for them to create an app.

She also shared some principles for mobile web: it has to be fast, reliable, integrated and engaging. More in-depth principles can be found here. Some of my favorites: “Let users explore before they commit” and “Let users purchase as guest”. Both of these save users precious time, reduce unwanted and possibly useless registrations and increase conversions.

Next was Nathan Waterhouse from OpenIDEO talking about Asking better questions, and how it will benefit the designs. This skill is, in fact, crucial to designing the right thing. For example,when Amtrak asked them to design a new seat for the train, they didn’t jump to the task right away. Instead, they decided to dig deeper and went on a whole journey from buying a ticket to riding the actual train. They found out that it was not the seat that needed improvement, but the actual experience, starting with the ticket office.

Another example was about a hospital in Boston, where one of their employees went in the name of research and filmed from the patient’s PoV. Result of this experiment changed the hospital management’s perception of what their patients actually go through.

A couple takeaways from this talk:

  • ask for some time to investigate the problem you are given and don’t jump to doing what is asked right away.
  • a good way to start a discussion is with “How might we…”. How opens possibilities, might frees from judgment and we says ‘let’s do this together”.
  • good questions are human-centered, focused on benefit, invite everyone to participate, inspiring, at the right level.

So a perfect question will be based on design thinking principles: focus on user and empathy.


I can’t agree more: we do need to listen to our users, but not necessarily agree with the solutions they propose. Sometimes it’s necessary to dig deeper and get to the bottom and the actual problem, that needs to be solved. In these cases usually laddering technique can be involved (repeatedly asking Why?).

After lunch we started with Hannah Pileggi talking about Airbnb Experiences. She is a research manager, so naturally she was talking a lot about testing and evaluating their product. Although I am not the biggest fan of the whole experiences idea, I see how for some people it may be a great way to explore new cities and meet locals. Some good principles that she mentioned:

  • you aren’t your (only) user
  • feel hunger for insights
  • non of users are alike

I also liked the comparison of guerrilla testing to fast food – it’s as quick and satisfying, but not really “nutritious”. And I was happy to find out that they, too, do remote user testing through video calls and screen sharing.

Andrew Doherty was the last to speak and I really enjoyed his talk about Designing the Future. He is really passionate about AI and its development. Apparently it’s advancing very quickly and will give us design superpowers. Not only that, but also will take most of the jobs and here are some other professions Andrew said we could learn while it’s not too late 🙂


One fun takeaway from his talk: he asked the audience if anybody used personas, and nobody raised their hands. Just as well, as he is convinced that they are a waste of time and effort and shouldn’t be used anymore. (I kind of agree).

All in all, the conference gave a lot of food for thought, as well as insights. It also had some fun little moments, like a plank challenge for prizes (including a Sketch license), using sli.do for fun polls to interact with the audience and questions, and UX pitches that we could vote for. I would be absolutely happy if it was a 2 day event, it was so good.


Experience Conference 2018

Amuse UX trip report

This October, thanks to my good friend Dean, who is an amazing accessibility specialist, I attended Amuse UX Conference in Budapest. It took place on October 18-20, first day being the workshops. I arrived in Budapest on Wednesday, and although I didn’t go to any of the workshops, there was still something else for me to do that day. Turns out the Hungarian UX community is pretty big and active, so they organized a UX meetup that evening.



It was called Amuse Special Edition and happened in Ankert. The meetup featured 3 talks, which you can see here on their event page. Couple of takeaways: user stories can be told with legos, and if you own a big enough collection of Lego pieces, you can hold very fun workshops. Also apparently people are scared of designers and whatever we do can be seen as dark matter to non-designers. Funny enough, that’s the same as how I sometimes think about developers 😉

The 3rd to speak was Tom Illmensee, and he taught us 3 ways to collaborate better and more creatively, taking  The Funky Drummer as an example. So the 3 ways to supercharge creativity according to Tom are:

  • listen to build on others’ ideas
    • listen to each other, and not just the loudest voices in the group
  • make space in the mix
    • sometimes we need to edit as much as we are creating, press a ‘pause’ button
  • explore and invent with courage
    • step outside the comfort zone and improvise
    • see eg a hackathon as jamming; invite engineers to a sketching session

So one of the reasons I focused on Tom’s talk in detail is because it was a great and memorable talk and he is a good speaker; another one is that his new startup, where he gives adults who are just starting to learn an instrument a chance to jam with others, struck me like a brilliant idea. An the third reason was because he was also the host of the Amuse UX itself and one of the organizers. So let’s move on to…

Amuse UX Conference

Day 1

The conference itself was held in The Magyar Vasúttörténeti Park (Hungarian Railway History Park), which is an interactive museum where we could walk around the trains and enjoy the beautiful weather between talks. Crunch conference was happening at the same time, so if you’re interested in “in building the finest data driven businesses”, check it out. After breakfast and coffee we were greeted by Tom and the conference started.

There is no call for papers for this conference, because organizers select speakers themselves and contact them individually, so I just have to start by saying all talks were amazing and if I had all the time in the world I would share notes about all of them, but there were so many, that you’d better go and see for yourself, once there are videos available. And some of them already are.

Instead I’m going to focus on the ones that grabbed my attention the most and give you a few key takeaways combined with my impressions. So here we go:

Stephen P. Anderson: What Boardgames Can Teach Us About Designing Experiences

Stephen told us that creating board games (or tabletop games) has a big overlap with designing experiences, and here is what we can learn from them:

  • we can start designing with experience, make sure what the core is and how we want the user to feel. “Until my players feel ___________, I will not ship”.
  • focus on the whole and make sure that if you release just parts, they are till a viable product (cupcake – cake – wedding cake model). This must be the most tweeted image of the conference:
  • test whatever you can as soon as you can
    Screenshot-2017-10-31 What Board Games can Teach Us about Designing Experiences
  • Use space to communicate by arranging and rearranging things in it, as spatial arrangement is very important for conveying meaning.
  • Game design is about creating friction, UX design is about removing it. But is friction in products always bad? We should probably be thinking about critical stuff, and put in a learning challenge in the product.
  • Games are powerful tools for learning.

Here is the link to slides, check them out – there are a lot of great quotes, images and advice!

Senongo Akpem: Culturally Responsive Design

Senongo gave a moving and inspiring talk about steps we could take to make our designs culturally responsive. Go ahead and watch the video, and you’ll learn more about his main points:

  • flexible research
  • forgiving interfaces
  • layered language
  • a sense of place

Eva-Lotta Lamm: 5 Steps to Change Your Note-Taking

Eva-Lotta is a master of sketches, and she got everyone drawing! I have done sketch notes before, and it was great fun to remember the key advice on how to do that. It would have been even better if there were tables or more light, but here’s the talk summary:)

I too always like to point out, that you don’t have to know how to draw anything more than a cloud and a rectangle to do sketch notes, so take a pen and paper and follow the video!

David de Léon: Design by Magic: Applying the Techniques of Magic to User Experience Design

David closed day 1 with some magic, and yes, I do mean actual tricks!


He was comparing UX with magic and taught us some connections and tricks. Comparing UX to all sorts of other disciplines seems to be *the* thing now, and I love how you can borrow tips from everywhere. Some magical techniques are:

  • Reconstructing memories
    • people usually don’t remember things that didn’t require much effort, so one could design an experience as a series of low effort actions
  • framing
  • reinterpretation
  • conviction

Day 2

Day 2 started off foggy but changed to a beautiful sunny Friday by the time of the first coffee break. It started with the talk from organizers, who shared a few fun facts and info about the speakers. They did a great job bringing diversity to the conference: half of the speakers were female, and as for the audience, these are the numbers:


Talks I want to mention from Day 2:

Denise Jacobs: Banish Your Inner Critic v2.0

Denise is an inspirational speaker, who gave us all advice on silencing the critic in our head and swiping left on whatever he’s telling us. She told us we all have mental power tools to do just that:

  • neuroplasticity
  • mindfulness
  • self-compassion

But hey, don’t take my word for it – her’s is the talk I really encourage everybody to watch to learn how to “Be and share your brilliance” and even reduce procrastination.

Vitaly Friedman: Dirty Little Tricks From the Dark Corners of Responsive Web Design

Vitaly is Editor-in-Chief at Smashing Magazine, which by the way, is to be updated with new design any day now. He told (and showed) us about all sorts of patterns, websites and adventures in responsive web design, and provided so many examples, that it will be best if you just go and see his talk for yourself. But beware, as he warned, some things can not be unseen!

Stephan Tanguay: Virtual Intent: User Experience Design in VR / AR

Stephan was talking about Augmented and Virtual reality platforms and experiences and gave us some principles on how to design for them. Currently there are 6 major platforms for consumer VR hardware, and the field is growing. Just beware that light mobile VR, such as google cardboard can be nauseating, and is considered bad practice.

If you get into AR/VR experiences design, remember: they should be believable, and users should need and want to look around. In physical interaction precision matters, and users will explore what is possible. Avoid anything that would break the sync and don’t mess with the inner ear!

So the takeaways: focus on user intent – design for human scale – maintain unity between virtual and real – add value.

Peter Eszenyi: What the F(UI): The Role of Design, UI, and UX in Films

Peter Eszenyi from Territory Studio talked about Film User Interfaces and how they created screens for Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, the Martian, Avengers and other movies. His was once again one of the talks, that you really want to watch, and not only because it was inspiring, but also so cool! So cool! I was amazed by the speed at which they work, how much gets edited and some of the industry secrets. His was the last talk of the 2-day conference, and what a great way to finish!


It was an amazing event, hats off to the organizers for putting it all together. I took notes at almost all the talks, and if this post could go on forever, it would. Even as I’m writing these finishing lines, I kind of want to go on about other talks… but hey!

The weather was great, Budapest as always beautiful and everyone safe on the train tracks 🙂 I loved that the conference didn’t have any specific theme or focus, so they got a variety of topics covered, including some fields that are totally new to me. I am planning to watch some of the previous years’ talks, too, and definitely (almost certainly) come back next year for more!

Amuse UX trip report

Fedora Women Day Brno

Yesterday, October 3, I attended a Fedora Women Day organized by the Fedora Diversity Team and Radka Janekova in particular in Brno. It was held in Red Hat Czech, and quite a few people attended!


There were many interesting talks on the agenda, and after a keynote from Radka we started with Jirka Eischmann’s talk about getting involved in Fedora. He gave an overview of many different ways how one can contribute, starting as simple as reporting bugs. He then talked about all the different teams that exist and where to find info about all of them.


The talks continued with a presentation from Iryna Shcherbina, who talked about Python in Fedora.


Iryna made several points:

  • python 3 is already there
  • there are multiple python interpreters, which are easy to install
  • there are many things to do with python, including scientific projects
  • it can also be a great way for kids to learn e.g. with micropython

She also did a couple very interesting demos and finished her talk with inviting everybody to learn and contribute by helping to port packages to python 3. So if you’d like to get involved, check this site: https://fedoralovespython.org/.

After Iryna, Radka talked about C# and specifically C# in Fedora. This talk was a bit more technical, so I didn’t take many notes.

Then we had a short break for snacks and discussion, immediately followed by Sabina Tumpachova’s talk about Diversity and Inclusion at Red Hat. She talked about embracing differences, Red Hat being a diverse and inclusive meritocracy and gave a few wonderful examples on how more diverse teams are more innovative. She also mentioned the importance of including all the voices in the conversation and need to address certain people directly to hear their opinion. Sabina talked about latest D&I outreach initiatives at Red Hat and communities that already exist.

Sabina’s talk was followed by Bara Buhnova from Czechitas. She talked a bit about herself and also about involving more and more girls in IT. Bara is sure that IT is the future and is genuinely excited by it. She is very enthusiastic and willing to share her passion. There are a few problems that girls willing to study IT encounter, such as lack of role models, lack of info, education and upbringing, as well as missing self-confidence. All these problems can be overcome, as Bara shows with her own example, and in Czechitas organizes communities where girls can be relaxed and learn more effectively. They also do some courses for kids, and many other things. Czechitas community is 12000+ people right now. I wish there courses in Brno were not only in Czech though, but it might change soon!

The last talk of the evening was from Tereza Ticha from talent acquisition, who talked a bit about internship opportunities in Red Hat. She described our internship program and what are the typical roles one can engage in at Red Hat. She also talked about her own experience and the benefits of working here. I myself am deeply involved in the internship program, and think Terka is doing amazing job!

I did go away inspired by all the talks, and would like to explore some of the topics in more detail. So thank you, organizers and speakers, and all who attended!

Fedora Women Day Brno

Flock to Fedora 2017


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!


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 🙂


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


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



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.


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.



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.



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.


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


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:


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? 🙂


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.


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


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!


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.


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


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.


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