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

Fedora 24 Alpha Wallpaper

First of all I want to thank everybody who voted for, read and liked my previous post about DevConf.cz 2016.  With your support I won the blog competition and got a bag of cool swag, including an xxxl sized t-shirt :p

That said, today I want to tell you and ask for feedback for Fedora 24 Alpha Release Wallpaper. Let me guide you for the process of wallpaper creation first. As you might know, before the final release, we have Alpha and Beta releases, for which we already have to package wallpapers. Between Alpha and Beta we collect feedback and make changes accordingly. You can take a look at previous versions wallpapers on their wiki pages:  f23_artwork, f22_artwork, etc, etc. There you can also take a look at banners (based on wallpapers) and supplemental wallpapers chosen by vote. By the way, everybody is welcome to submit supplemental wallpapers! If you have pics to share, read this article and contribute. The deadline is in April, so there’s still time.

Back to F24. We started the discussion maybe a bit late. I would’ve personally preferred more time to think and contemplate 😉 Also I felt that not as many people helped as I would’ve liked to. Basically, it was just 3 of us: me, gnokii and samo8.  And also I poked some people and asked them for feedback, which was generally positive, so yay! Ok, so we had our initial discussion on IRC in #fedora-design channel, where it was decided to go with the idea of space. If you’ve used Fedora for a while, you might have gotten the general impression like I did;) You can see on wiki, that “Release has no name”, so we had to improvise.

First I took a look at previous wallpapers and whatever CD sleeves I have lying around:

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And naturally thought of space and stars =) My initial design was to take a pic of starry sky and put an overlay pattern over it, like so:

The triangles and hexagons are mine, and the pattern Sam created in Blender, I think. So we looked at that and thought a couple things: triangles were a bit weird, pattern a bit outdated and just having 24 up there too straightforward. Hmm..

Then we started thinking about how to hint at 24, but not write it directly. One of the ideas was: there are 24 hours in a day -> who came up with that -> hmm, I guess ancient Babylonians did -> ok, so let’s write it using Babylonian numerals. We also decided that creating a starry sky ourselves in Gimp would give us much more freedom and independence from the restraints of the photo and make the artwork completely original and new. As you might know Gimp has quite some plugins, like Starry sky, for example, or Stars in the sky.  I actually used both with a combination of renders, such as Clouds and Plasma to give the picture depth and color. I played with layer transparency, blurs and overlays to create various effects. So we did a couple of those and I even tried gnokii’s clock:

The clock was too much for the wallpaper, you can see it on the banner, though =) All in all, this still wasn’t it!

So we thought some more and I came up with an idea of a constellation. Here you can see a first draft with the vector stars I made in Inkscape and a much improved stars made by custom-made brushes in Gimp.

We thought a bit more and got rid of the stripe there, as it was reminiscent of precious releases and added instead a cloud in the background. Gnokii also insisted on idea of light traces, so I searched for images of star trails and was absolutely inspired to make them go in circle. After some play with colors and overlays and pasting Inkscape paths into Gimp we finally agreed on this image:

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It has now been packaged and uploaded to Wiki, and we can collect feedback before the Beta release.

So please, if you have something constructive and helpful to say, please, comment.  I want to underline the word constructive here, too! and considerate! Thank you 🙂

Fedora 24 Alpha Wallpaper