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 badges: how to

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

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

  1. Badges resources

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

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

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

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

    2. Anatomy of a badge

anatomy

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

3. Resources

So now go ahead and download the Fedora Badges design resources

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

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

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

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4. Design

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

Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

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

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

Getting started

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Adding color

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Draw a wallpaper

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Working with paths

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Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

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

My Fedora Badges intern

For the past two weeks I was lucky to have an intern, who worked on Fedora Badges. Badges is a great way to start as a Fedora design contributor, as they have low entry level. Templates are ready, graphics is available to download, all the resources available here. All that’s left is to read through the guidelines, check out the already existing badges, install Inkscape – and create! The best thing is: you get badges for making badges 🙂
I hope Simon had a lot of fun working with us. He even created his own avatar for the badges profile – check it out!  Here are some of the badges he’s worked on:
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Couple of those are a part of a series. Backgrounds might be a little far from the guide, but as he explained – it just said ‘green’, so he naturally went with whatever green he fancied at the moment. I’m sure we can fix these little issues in no time. Simon also worked on other tasks – such as helping me out with logo concept for Fedora Development Portal, as well as some graphics for Brno Newsletter.  All in all it was amazing to have an intern and a great experience for both of us.
I wish Simon good luck in his future endeavors and hope he stays a contributor!
My Fedora Badges intern

#LGM16

Today I want to tell you about a conference that I really wanted to go to for 2 reasons: 1 – it was about open source graphics, 2 – it was in London =) You probably guessed it – it’s Libre Graphics Meeting. The conference span over 4 days and was packed with talks, workshops, meetups and parties. I want to thank the organizers for doing such an amazing job. The website is great (on mobile, too), program was available online or was given out at the venue. It was easy to get to the conference, even though London is pretty huge. The venue itself – University of Westminster – is a beautiful place with a park nearby.

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Day 1

First day started with “State of Libre Graphics” – an overview of the many projects in the Libre Graphics Community. Among others: GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, Darktable, Pixls.us and some others. Inkscape had a cool video; I don’t see it on YouTube though. If you want to see what new features it has in action – contact me, I think I can share it. Edit: download link. Here’s a list:

 

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It was followed by a couple lectures, for which I really tried to take sketchnotes, but sadly have to admit that most tables in the Auditorium were broken. So the notes are not so good.

In the evening I took advantage of being in London after all and most it’s museums being free to public admission. So I flipped a coin and went to Victoria and Albert Museum.

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Day 2

Second day started with a bunch of talks devoted to 3d and architectural design. There were talks about FreeCAD, topoBIM and even 3d steganography. If you don’t know what it is, I highly recommend you check it out. That was one of the funniest talks at the conference. Then we were presented with PhotoFlow, a RAW image editor and some more image processing. The people in the community fascinate me: when they feel that some tool or resource is missing, they waste no time  – and make their own! Not only that, but they constantly improve, share it with everybody and make talks like this at conferences. And, of course, everybody can contribute – all sources are usually available on GitHub.

Here I just have to note that I had fish and chips for lunch, because when in London, you just have to. At least once 😉

After lunch I attended a meeting of font enthusiasts “Libre tools for documenting, publishing and distributing fonts”.  And these guys really know what they’re talking about. The main tool is called FontForge. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a great one!

More talks followed after that. One I really want to point out was by Pat David about PIXLS.US.  It is a resource for the photographers of the open source community, where Pat has assembled a great collection of tutorials, articles, tools and blogs. According to him, it was next to impossible to find any great tuts about open source photo editing, most of them being all the same and monetized, so he once again had to take matters in his own hands and made PIXLS.US (I think he pronounced it like ‘pixels dot us’).

Once again in the evening with some time to spare I just had to visit Sherlock Holmes Museum. It is tiny, costs £15 and had a queue outside, but I was so happy anyway! Of course, everybody knows, who are the best Sherlock and Watson ever:

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Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin, 1979

Here’s me being happy:

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Day 3

On Sunday we had more great talks to follow, starting with a bunch of font themed ones. Like this one by Tom Lechner Hodor Hodor:

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After lunch I attended a workshop about html2print by Stéphanie Vilayphiou, which turned out to be quite popular. I was lucky to get a seat =) Here’s what it looked like from outside:

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We talked (and some people tried) to prepare print layouts based on html. I guess it’s pretty neat to automate everything and make changes simple with just changing a line in code. This is the tool here. It looks pretty neat and easy to set up. Stéphanie also brought a bunch of books made using the html2print technology. It can definitely make life easier for book publishers and newspaper editors. One thing about it that makes me uneasy is inability to correct for small typographic issues, such as hanging articles or accidental holes in text due to unfortunate space placing. Usually those are corrected manually, but in case of html2print, that’s not possible from what I understood. It was pretty impressive tho to watch them code and debug in real time 😉

Day 4

There were some workshops in the morning, of which I didn’t find any especially fascinating, so I used the time to visit Tate Gallery. I must admit I wanted to visit Tate Modern, But Tate Britain proved to be just as good. For those of you, who like me are not aware that there are several Tates, please note that ) All free to visit, but at a distance from one another.

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After that I went to the venue to hear the last talks of LGM16. They were mostly focused on education and teachers using open source tools in universities and schools. I was amazed to hear how popular they are despite many companies pushing proprietary software to be used and taught at unis. A lot of great artwork and projects comes out of teachers working with community.

Two last talks of the day were for me the most interesting ones. First one was by Richard Hughes about ColorHug – an open hardware spectrograph he makes and sells. Richard is in fact from Red Hat and I think I might have seen him at DevConf.Cz. Sadly for me he became very popular after the talk and we didn’t get a chance to chat. And the next one was from Document Liberation Project, the best showmakers there. The guys are funny and laid-back. I enjoyed their talk very much – be sure to check it out once the videos are out there.

All in all…

Libre Graphic Meeting 2016 had 150+ participants and was a lot of fun! I wish the community to grow and for more people to attend the meetings. Although it will be in Rio next year, the year after I’m hoping it’ll come back to Europe. The call for location-2018 is now open. There are some areas to improve: for example, for a graphics conference, there were too few stickers and all almost of them black and white. But really it was an amazing experience and finally a conference in my area of expertise!
#LGM16