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

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