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  • Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 Alpha 2 Released, This is What’s New -

    Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 Alpha 2 is available to download right now. This is the first testing snapshot of what will become the next stable Ubuntu Budgie release. Naturally, for an Ubuntu flavor build around the Budgie desktop, you won’t be shocked to hear that the latest stable release of Budgie is included, specifically v10.3.2. Budgie […]

    This post, Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 Alpha 2 Released, This is What’s New, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

  • Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Alpha 2 Released, Includes HUD, Global Menu -

    Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Alpha 2 is now available to download and if you’re a big fan of the Unity desktop you’re going to love what’s on offer. The screenshot above shows some of the major improvements Ubuntu MATE 17.10 has made to its ‘Unity’ style layout (called ‘Mutiny’, and accessible through the MATE Tweaks app). Forget the […]

    This post, Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Alpha 2 Released, Includes HUD, Global Menu, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

  • Linux On Desktop

  • Cannonical to stop financial support to Kubuntu Developer after 12.04
  • Linux on Desktop : The Journey so far
  • All about Linux

  • Fedora 19 Released - Fedora project has officially announced the release of Fedora 19 code named Schrödinger's cat. Fedora 19 features the 3.9.0 kernel. For end users, the new features include the Cinnamon desktop environment, GNOME 3.8, KDE 4.10, and MATE 1.6 desktop; Out of the box support for extraction of RAR archives using File Roller archive utility, a new screen management software for KDE named KScreen, OpenVPN 2.3, and more.

    For the developers, most of the development tools like Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, GCC (4.8.x) - have been updated. But more importantly, Fedora 19 now includes the Node.js JavaScript runtime environment for developing fast, scalable network applications using the JavaScript programming language. MariaDB a fork of MySQL has also been included which replaces MySQL.

    How to download Fedora 19


    There are multiple desktops available for use with Fedora. Each has a slightly different look and feel and offers varying levels of customization. Visit fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options and choose the one that strikes your fancy.

    If you are already using a previous version of Fedora, then it is possible to upgrade to Fedora 19. Visit fedoraproject.org/wiki/Upgrading to know more.

    You can find the full release notes here. Fedora also comes with comprehensive documentation on every aspect of the OS that the end user might encounter which is a big plus.

  • Making UEFI Secure Boot Work With Open Platforms - "UEFI Secure boot” is a technology that offers the prospect of a hardware-verified, malware-free operating system bootstrap process that can improve the security of many system deployments. Linux and other open operating systems will be able to take advantage of secure boot if it is implemented properly in the hardware. UEFI is meant to replace the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface present in all IBM PC compatible personal computers.

    Read more »
  • A List Apart

  • Practical User Research: Creating a Culture of Learning in Large Organizations -

    Enterprise companies are realizing that understanding customer needs and motivations is critical in today’s marketplace. Building and sustaining new user research programs to collect these insights can be a major struggle, however. Digital teams often feel thwarted by large organizations that are slow to change and have many competing priorities for financial investments.

    As a design consultant at Cantina, I’ve seen companies at wildly different stages of maturity related to how customer research impacts their digital work. Sometimes executives struggle to understand the value without quantifiable numbers. Other times engineering teams see customer research and usability testing as a threat to delivery dates.

    While you can’t always tackle these issues directly, the great thing about large organizations is that they’re brimming with people, tools, and work practices forming an overall culture. By understanding and utilizing each of these organizational resources, digital teams can create an environment focused on learning from customers.

    I did some work recently for a client I’ll call WorkTech, who had this same struggle aligning their digital projects with the needs of their customers. WorkTech was attempting to redesign their entire ecommerce experience with a lean budget and team. In a roughly six month engagement, two of us from Cantina were tasked with getting the project back on track with a user-centered design approach. We had to work fast and start bringing customer insights to bear while moving the project forward. Employing a pragmatic approach that looked at people, tools, and work practices with a fresh set of eyes helped us create an environment of user research that better aligned the redesign with the needs of WorkTech’s customers.

    Get comfortable talking to People in different roles

    Effective user research programs start and end with people. Recognizing relationships and the motivations held by everyone interacting with a product or service encourages goodwill and can unearth key connections and other, less tangible benefits. To create and sustain a culture of learning in your company, find a group of users to interview—get creative, if you have to—and enlist the support of teammates and stakeholders.

    Begin by taking stock of anyone connected to your product. You won’t always find a true set of end users internally, but everyone can help raise awareness of the value of user research—and they can help your team sustain forward progress. Ask yourself the following questions to find allies and research resources:

    • What departments use your product indirectly, but have connections to people in the user roles you’re targeting?
    • Is there a project sponsor who can help sell the value of research and connect you to additional staff that can assist in some capacity?
    • Are there employees in other departments whose individual goals align with getting better feedback from users?
    • Are there departments within the organization (sales, customer service) who can offer connections to customers wanting to provide candid feedback?

    Our WorkTech project didn’t have a formal research budget for recruiting users (or any other research task). What we did have going for us was a group of internal users who gave our team immediate access to an initial pool of research participants. The primary platform we were hired to help redesign was used by two groups: WorkTech employees and the customers they interacted with. Over time, our internal users were able to connect us with their external counterparts, amplifying the number of people offering feedback significantly.

    Maximize the value of every interview

    While interviewing external customers, we kept an eye on the long term success of our research program and concluded each session by asking participants:

    • If they’d be willing to join another session in the future (most were willing)
    • If they could share names of anyone else in their network (internal or external) they thought would have feedback to offer

    During each conversation, we also identified distinct areas of expertise for each user. This allowed us to better target future usability testing sessions on specific pieces of functionality.

    Using this approach, our pool of potential participants grew exponentially and we gained insight into the shared motivations of different user personas. Taking stock of such different groups of people using the platform also revealed opportunities that helped us prioritize different aspects of the overall redesign effort.

    Find helpful Tools that are already available or free

    Tools can’t create an effective user research program on their own, but they are hugely helpful during the actual execution of research. While some organizations have an appetite for purchasing dedicated “user research” platforms able to handle recruitment, scheduling, and session recordings, many others already have tools in place that bring value to the organization in different areas. If your budget is tiny (or nonexistent), you may be able to repurpose or extend the software and applications your company already uses in a way that can support talking to customers.

    Consider the following:

    • Are there current tools available in the organization (perhaps in other groups) that could be adapted for research purposes?
    • Are users already familiar with any tools or workflows you can utilize during research activities?
    • If new tools for automating specific tasks are out of budget, can your team build up repeatable templates and processes manually?

    We discovered early on at WorkTech that our internal user base had very similar toolsets because of company-wide technology purchases. Virtually all employees already had Cisco Webex installed and were familiar with remote conferencing and sharing their screen.

    WorkTech offices and customers were spread across the continental United States, so it made sense for our sessions to be remote, moderated conversations via phone and teleconference. Using Webex allowed the internal users to focus on the actual interview, avoiding the friction they might have felt attempting to use new technology.

    Leveraging pre-existing tools also meant we could expand our capabilities without incurring significant new costs. (The only other tool we introduced was a free InVision account, which allowed us to create simple prototypes of new UI concepts, conduct weekly usability tests, and document and share our findings quickly and easily.)

    Document and define templates as you go

    Many digital research tools are simply well-defined starting points—templates for the various types of communication and idea capture needed. If purchasing access to these automated tools is out of the question, using a little elbow grease can be equally effective over time.

    At WorkTech, maintaining good documentation trails minimized the time spent creating new materials for each round of research and testing. For repeatable tasks like creating scripts and writing recruitment emails, we simply saved and organized each document as we created it. This allowed us to build a library of reusable templates over time. Even though it was a bit of a manual effort, this payoff increased with every additional round of usability testing.

    Utilizing available tools eliminates another significant hurdle to getting started—time delays. In large organizations with tight purchase protocols, using repurposed and free tools can enable teams to get moving quickly. Filling in the remaining gaps with good documentation and repeatable templates covers a wide range of scenarios and doesn’t let finances act as a blocker when collecting insights from users. 

    Take a fresh look at your company’s Work Practices

    A culture of learning won’t be sustainable over the long term if the lessons learned from user research aren’t informing what is being built. Bringing research insights to bear on your product or site is where everything pays off, ensuring digital teams can focus on what delivers the highest value to customers.

    Being successful here requires a keen understanding of the common processes your organization uses to get things accomplished. By being aware of an organization’s current work practices (not some utopian version), digital teams can align what they’ve learned with practices that help ensure solutions get shipped.

    Dig into the work practices in your organization and identify ways to meet people where they are:

    • Are there centrally-located workspaces that can be used for posting insights and keeping research outcomes in front of the team?
    • Are there any regularly-scheduled meetings with diverse teams that would be an opportunity to present research findings?
    • Are there established sprint cycles or product management reviews you can align with research efforts?

    The WorkTech team collaborating with us on the project already had weekly meetings on the calendar, with an open agenda for high priority items. Knowing it would be important to get buy-in from this group, we set up our research and usability sessions each week on Tuesdays. This allowed us to establish a cadence where every Tuesday we tested prototypes, and every Wednesday we presented findings at the WorkTech team meeting. As new questions or design concepts to validate came up, the team was able to document them, pause any further debates, and move on to other topics of discussion. Everyone knew testing was a weekly occurrence, and within a few weeks even the most skeptical developer started asking us to get customer feedback on specific features they were struggling with.

    Schedule regular customer sessions even before you are “ready”

    Committing to a cadence of regular weekly sessions also allowed us to separate scheduling from test prep tasks. We didn’t wait to schedule sessions only when we desperately needed feedback. Because the time was already set aside each Tuesday, we simply had to develop questions and tests for the highest priority topic at that point in time. If something wasn’t quite ready, the next set of sessions was only a week away.

    Using these principles, we conducted 40+ sessions over the course of 12 weeks, gathering valuable insights from the two primary user groups. We were able to gather quantifiable data pointing to one design pattern over another, which minimized design debates and instilled confidence in the research program and the design. In addition to building relationships with users across the spectrum, the sessions helped us uncover several key interface issues that we were then able to design around.

    Even more valuable than the interface issues were general uses cases that came to light, where the website experience was only one component in a large ecosystem of internal processes at customers’ organizations. These insights proved valuable for our redesign project, but also provided a deeper understanding of WorkTech’s customer base, helping to prove the value of research efforts to key stakeholders.

    Knowing the schedules and team norms in your organization is critical for creating a user research program whose insights get integrated into the design and development process. The insights of a single set of sessions are important, but creating a culture surrounding user research is more valuable to the long term success of your product or site, as is a mindset of ongoing empathy toward users.

    To help grow and sustain a culture of research, though, teams have to be able to prove the value in financial terms. Paul Boag said it elegantly in the third Smashing Magazine book: “Because cost is (often a) primary reason for not testing, money has to be part of your justification for testing.”

    The long term success of your program will likely be tied to how well you can prove its ROI in business terms, even though the methods described here minimize the need to ask for money. In other words, translate the value of user research to terms any business person can understand. Find ways to quantify the work hours currently lost to feature debates and building un-validated features, and you’ll uncover business costs that can be eliminated.

    User research doesn’t have to be a big dollar, corporate initiative. By paying attention to the people, tools, and work practices within an organization, your team can demonstrate the value of user research on the ground, which will open doors to additional resources in the future.

  • Team Conflict: Four Ways to Deflate the Discord that’s Killing Your Team -

    It was supposed to be a simple web project. Our client needed a site that would allow users to create, deploy and review survey results. Aside from some APIs that weren’t done, I wasn’t very worried about the project. I was surprised that my product manager was spending so much time at the client’s office.

    Then, she explained the problem. It seemed that the leaders of product, UX and engineering didn’t speak to each other and, as a result, she had to walk from office to office getting information and decisions.

    When two people have a bad interaction, they can work it out or let the conflict grow, spreading it to other team members and their leaders. When two people have a bad interaction, they can work it out or let the conflict grow, spreading it to other team members and their leaders.
    When two people have a bad interaction, they can work it out or let the conflict grow, spreading it to other team members and their leaders.

    The conflicts probably started small. One bad interaction, then another, then people don’t like each other, then teams don’t work together well. The small scrape becomes a festering wound that slows things down, limits creativity and lowers morale.

    Somehow as a kid working my way through school I discovered I had a knack for getting around individuals or groups that were fighting with each other. I simply figured out who I needed to help me accomplish a task, and I learned how to convince, cajole or charm them into doing it. I went on to teach these skills to my teams.

    That sufficed for a while. But as I became a department head and an adviser to my clients, I realized it’s not enough to make it work. I needed to learn how to make it better. I needed to find a way to stop the infighting I’ve seen plague organizations my entire career. I needed to put aside my tendency to make the quick fix and have hard conversations.

    It’s messy, awkward and hard for team leaders to resolve conflict but the results are absolutely worth it. You don’t need a big training program, a touchy-feely retreat or an expensive consultant. Team members or team leads don’t have to like each other. What they have to do is find common ground, a measure of respect for one another, and a willingness to work together to benefit the project.

    Here are four ways to approach the problem.

    Start talking

    No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem.
    Gerald M. Weinberg, The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

    Resist the urge to wait for the perfect time to address team conflict. There’s no such thing. There will always be another deadline, another rollout, another challenge to be met.

    In our office, a UX designer and product manager were having trouble getting along. Rather than take responsibility, they each blamed our “process” and said we needed to clarify roles and procedures. In other words, they each wanted to be deemed “in charge” of the project. Certainly I could have taken that bullet and begun a full-on assessment of our processes and structure. By taking the blame for a bad company framework, I could have dodged some difficult conversations.  But I knew our process wasn’t the problem.

    First, I coached the product manager to be vulnerable, not an easy thing for him to do. I asked him to share his concerns and his desire to have a more productive relationship with the UX designer. The PM’s willingness to be uncomfortable and open about his concerns lifted the tension. Once he acknowledged the elephant in the room—namely that the UX designer was not happy working with him—the designer became more willing to risk being honest. Eventually, they were able to find a solution to their disagreements on the project, largely because they were willing to give each other a measure of respect.

    The worst thing I’ve seen is when leaders move people from team to team hoping that they will magically find a group of people that work well together, and work well with them. Sometimes the relocated team members have no idea that their behavior or performance isn’t acceptable. Instead of solving the problem, this just spreads the dissatisfaction.

    Instead, be clear right from the beginning that you want teams that will be open about challenges, feel safe discussing conflicts, and be accountable for solving them.

    Have a clear purpose

    Although many aspects of our collective endeavor are open for discussion, choice of mountain is not among them.
    J. Richard Hackman, Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances

    I was working on an enterprise CMS re-design and re-platform. Our weekly review and estimation sessions were some of the most painful meetings of my career. There was no trust or shared purpose—even estimating a simple task was a big fight.

    When purpose and priorities are murky you are likely to find conflict. When the team doesn’t know what mountain they are trying to climb, they tend to focus on the parts of the project that are most relevant to them. With each team member jealously guarding his or her little ledge, it’s almost impossible to have cooperation.

    This assault on productivity is likely because the project objective is non-existent, or muddled nonsense, or so broad the team doesn’t see how it can have an impact. Or, maybe the objective is a moving target, constantly shifting.

    Size can be a factor.  I’ve seen enterprise teams with clear missions and startups with such world-changing objectives they can’t figure out how to ship something that costs less than a million dollars.

    When I’m meeting with prospects or new clients I look at three areas to see if they are having this problem:

    • What language do they use to describe each other? Disconnected teams say “UX thinks,” “The dev team” or “product wants.” Unified teams say “we.”
    • How easy or hard is task estimation? Disconnected teams fight about the level of difficulty. United teams talk about tradeoffs and argue about what’s best for the product or customers.
    • Can they easily and consistently describe their purpose? Disconnected teams don’t have a crisp and consistent answer. Unified teams nod their heads when one of their members shares a concise answer.

    If a team is disconnected, it’s likely because you haven’t given them a common goal. A single email or a fancy deck isn’t enough. Make your objectives simple and repeat them so much that the team groans every time you start.

    Plan conversations

    Words do not sit in our brains in isolation. Each word is surrounded by its own connotations, memories and associations
    Simon Lancaster, Winning Minds: Secrets From the Language of Leadership

    Years ago I was frustrated to tears by a manager who, I felt, took from me the product I spent two years building. I knew I needed to talk with him but I struggled to find a productive way to tell him why I was upset.  (Telling someone he is being a jackass is not productive.)

    A good friend in HR helped me script the conversation. It had three parts:

    • I really work well when…
    • This situation is bothering me because…
    • What I’d like to see happen is…

    Leaders have an important role to play in resolving issues. When a leader decides that their person is right and another person is wrong it turns a team problem into an organization problem. Instead we should should provide perspective, context and show how actions could be misunderstood.

    Leaders also need to quickly, clearly and strongly call about bad behavior. When I found out one of my people raised their voice at a colleague, I made it clear that wasn’t acceptable and shouldn’t happen again. He admitted that he lost his cool, apologized and then we started working on the resolving the situation.

    Require accountability

    Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.
    General Colin Powell,former U.S. Secretary of State

    If you have a problem and you go to Holly Paul, an inspiring HR leader, you can expect that she will listen. You can also expect that she’ll work with you on a plan to resolve it. Most importantly you can expect she will make sure you are doing what you said you’d do when you said you would do it.

    Before I met Holly I would listen to problems then try to go solve them. Now I work with the person and tell them that I will be checking back with them, often putting the reminder in my calendar during the conversation so I don’t forget.

    Since I started focusing on fixing conflict, I’ve seen great changes on my team. Many of them have started for the first time dealing with the people, fixing their issues and forging much stronger relationships. Our team is stronger and having a greater influence on the organization.

    It’s messy, awkward and hard. I’ve been working on this for a long time and I still make mistakes. I still don’t always want to push when I meet resistance. This will never be easy, but it will be worth it and it’s your responsibility as a leader. For however long these people are with you, you need to make them better as individuals and a unit.

    You don’t need a big training, a touchy-feely retreat or an expensive consultant. You just need to start doing the work every day. The rest will come.

  • Ants Magazine

    Dev Web Pro

  • The Internet of Things Relies on Government Understanding the Technology -

    Government around the world play a key role in whether IoT becomes a mainstream technology sooner rather than later according to Cisco IoT expert Maciej Kranz. Kranz recently posted an excerpt of his book Building the Internet of Things on the Cisco Innovation blog. IoT Adoption is Key to Regional [...]

    The post The Internet of Things Relies on Government Understanding the Technology appeared first on DevWebPro.

  • Google Releases New Ads PHP Client Library -

    Google has released their ads PHP client library for developers creating third party Google ad tools. Per Vincent Tsao, of the Google Ads API Team: Hello ads PHP developers! Today we’re pleased to announce the stable release of the new ads PHP client library. This has been in beta for [...]

    The post Google Releases New Ads PHP Client Library appeared first on DevWebPro.

  • Six Revisions

    Useful Tools

    Papermashup

  • Awesome Material inspired audio player - I came across this nicely designed audio player on CodePen, put together by Michael Zhigulin It uses the waves.js click effect library inspired by Google’s Material Design. For this tutorial demo I’m using a royalty free track from bensound.com. What is Google Material? Google’s Material Design language has begun making its first appearances in the wild. Designers and technologists everywhere are aflutter with praise for the new design language, which aspires to unite Google’s expansive product line under a rich set of design styles and principles. Material is a culmination of design principles put together over many years of evolution. […]
  • Periscope style heart effect with CSS and JS - If you’ve seen the Periscope app heart animation, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s the one where you tap on the screen and a flurry of hearts appear and fade out animated up the screen. If you’re building a iOS native app you can check out this code, which uses the react native playground. The HTML This is our container that we’ll use to inject the hearts into. The CSS We use font awesome to produce the heart icons, set random colours on them and animate them using CSS. FlowOne and FlowThree control the animation of the hearts up […]