Fedora Regional Hubs

During the winter of 2016-2017, I did a design project with the Fedora Project through the Outreachy Project. Over the course of this project, I worked with the principal interaction designer for Fedora, Máirín Duffy (Mo). With her guidance, I did research and design for the Regional Hubs aspect of the in-progress Fedora Hubs project.

Go to intro to Hubs for some background about the Hubs project.

The overall Regional Hubs project is being tracked in ticket #47, and research on it in ticket #279.

Project Summary

Competitive Analysis

Sample of the competitive analysis spreadsheet

First, I did some preliminary research on Fedora Hubs itself to build a solid understanding from which to approach the design of Regional Hubs. At the same time, I began a competitive analysis to better understand current practices within the local meet up sphere.

The analysis helped me identify best practices for social sites, understand the overarching goals of the sites I reviewed, and identify relevant questions to ask during contextual interviews.

Contextual Interviews

Fedora is worldwide, split into four regions

The next step in the initial research process was to conduct contextual interviews. I consulted with Mo to identify who within the Fedora community made the most sense to interview. With her help, I came up with our demographics criteria, a list of people to request interviews from, the kinds of questions that would be most useful to ask, and the general structure of the interview. During the interviews, I kept an eye on the pains that people reported to better orient myself when it was time for analysis. To organize the raw data, I transcribed and summarized the relevant information from the recordings stored privately on youtube and the notes I was able to take during the interviews.

Data Processing

Sample of interviewee pains

After consulting with Mo, I did preliminary analysis and organization of the interviews by identifying and describing the major patterns, workflows, and top 5 pains.

Design Thinking Session

One of the two whiteboards from our design thinking session

Mo, Matt Miller, and I met up for a design thinking session in the Red Hat Westford office. Matt is the Fedora Project lead, and one of the main clients for Fedora Hubs. During this session, I explained what I had found in my interviews with the problems, workflows, and top 5 pains available to everyone as reference. Using the whiteboard, we brainstormed on what the information meant in the overall context of Fedora, and ways we might be able to solve some of them. We also did some sketches of what some solutions might look like.

Identify Problems and Sketch

View of a regional hubs for general public

As a result of the design thinking session, I created a list of problems that people are currently having. I also started work on sketches, flowcharts, and mockups for pieces that seemed relevant regardless of the outcome of the affinity mapping session.

Affinity Mapping, Prioritization, and Brainstorming

Affinity Map of the problems people were having

Mo and I sorted the problems I’d identified into groups using affinity mapping, prioritized those groups, and brainstormed about what the problems in the highest priority groups would involve. We decided that we needed sortable, filterable master lists of regional hubs, people, and events within Fedora.

Mockups and Survey Planning

Initial mockup of the location interface

Using the various ideas that we came up with during this discussion, I created sketches and early mockups for the interfaces for those lists. I also asked my interviewees and created a survey about the social media and photo sharing platforms they and their compatriots use, for future integration with Hubs.

Never Forget the Tickets, and Locations Are Hard

Map for locations information collection

While reviewing feedback from Mo on the location information mockup, and with further discussion with Mo, I realized that I had been incorrectly assuming that locations were a solved problem.

I realized that there were important tasks that I was unlikely to get to during the release cycle. To be sure that those remained visible to those working on the project, I created tickets with all the information I’d collected thus far.

Developer Feasibility Evaluation

Dynamic update of online status needs to be fast and lightweight

I discussed my mockups with the lead developer to determine their feasibility. For the most part, they were fine, with a couple of things that needed research, and another that needed a longer discussion at a later date.

Usability Preparation

Which prototypes and tasks are highest priority to test?

Having gotten feedback from Mo and Sayan about my mockups, it was time to get feedback from potential users. The planning stage included creating tasks with feedback and suggestions from Mo, prioritizing those tasks, creating a script to follow, and moving my prototypes to MyBalsamiq so that remote prototyping was possible.

Usability Session, Analysis, Results

Do I know Jen Smith better than John Holsberg? I can't tell!

I ran usability sessions with 5 participants, transcribed and summarized those, and Mo and I discussed and analyzed some of what I found.

The Fedora Hubs project now has a lot of information with which to continue designing and improving the Regional Hubs interaction experience. While I am unable to continue to work directly with the project, Mo knows where to find me for followup questions. While looking for a full-time job, I have continued to attend the weekly IRC meetings and I offer my input where relevant.