Episode 41

Ashlyn Knox on designing Fedora's new site


May 9th, 2023

28 mins 18 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode


Ashlyn Knox


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers. Richard is the sole panelist today and he welcomes guest, Ashlyn Knox, who’s a web developer, UI/UX designer, and community contributor, joining us from the Fedora community. Today, Ashlyn talks about their work doing front-end development and design for their websites and apps team. They discuss the Fedora website revamp project, people involved, and the funding. They describe their experience with code switching and a design problem they faced while working on the navbar and how they solved it. Then, Ashlyn fills us in on the usability studies for the Fedora Project Website Revamp, using Penpot prototypes tested with real users, and how they believe a closer connection between design and dev teams is so important to improve design in open source projects. Download this episode now to hear more!

[00:01:15] Ashlyn tells us what they do at Fedora, primarily doing front-end development and design work.

[00:03:02] The revamp of the Fedora website has been a large project, and Ashlyn fills us in on the people involved, the process, and how the funding for Fedora comes from Red Hat and sponsors.

[00:05:14] We hear about the stakeholders that they negotiate with as far as the decision making with the website.

[00:07:18] Ashlyn discusses their experience with code switching between design and development and how they need space to switch between the two.

[00:09:28] Ashlyn describes a particular design problem they faced while working on the navbar and how she needed a structured approach to solve it.

[00:11:08] We hear Ashlyn’s history and how they were interested in coding as a kid but pursued a career in music teaching until the pandemic, which led them to taking a Bootcamp course.

[00:12:47] They tell us about some of their previous projects and how it’s gone to design and build websites, as well as finding clients.

[00:14:49] Ashlyn explains more about the usability studies for the Fedora Revamp Project and how that went. They mention an amazing book on usability studies they read called, Don’t Make Me Think.

[00:17:33] Richard wonders how many people they had in their earliest usability study, where did they find them, and why is usability in the design process for open source projects seem so rare.

[00:19:09] The prototypes were built using Penpot, a Figma tool, and tested with real users. Ashlyn talks about having a close relationship between the development and design teams and how they acted as a bridge between the two during the project.

[00:21:01] Ashlyn shares that acknowledging the differences in languages and being okay with learning from each other can help make teams stronger and reduce miscommunication and friction. They also tell us how mentorship plays a crucial role and how they taught designers how to work with developers.

[00:24:42] Find out where you can follow Ashlyn on the web.


[00:07:35] On Design: “Basically, I put that part of my brain into a box, and I just run with the other part of it.”

[00:21:09] “I think the acknowledgement of speaking different languages needs to be made and people just need to be okay with that and with learning other’s languages.”


  • [00:25:16] Richard’s spotlight is his high school art teacher, Mrs. Rosoff.
  • [00:25:46] Ashlyn’s spotlight is Tony Grimes at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Máirín Duffy with the Fedora Project.