newsletter #24  |  16-May-2017

Building rapport with participants takes some skill and concentration. Here’s an explanation to help you become aware of what it takes.

First, the foundation: There are two types of empathy that I focus on in exploring the problem space. (Do you remember them? Quick mental quiz … take a second. Remember?) Read More

A book called Against Empathy came out in late 2016. Author Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology and cognitive science, has consequently gotten a lot of exposure for such an eye-catching title. I’ve found contradictions in what he says. (e.g. empathy means many things vs. empathy is feeling what the other person is feeling)  I got a chance to speak with Steve Paulson of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge about using cognitive empathy in product design. Podcast: Does empathy have a design flaw? (21 minutes) Transcript below.

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newsletter #20  |  17-Jan-2017

It’s one thing to say it, quite another to do it. You might agree that broader, deeper understanding of people will strengthen your product strategy and solutions. You might be open to the idea that diverse teams create more sustainable organizations. But getting your own organization to make this shift seems impossible. Because of budget priorities. Because the organization has to get out ahead of the competition faster-than-fast because the market is changing. Because time is money. Because the shareholders need to see profit.
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newsletter #17  |  18-Oct-2016

I’ve taught a few workshops on problem-space research, listening sessions, and developing & applying empathy lately. These workshops always have room for Q&A and discussion, and the brilliance and depth of the topics always impresses me. I thought I’d pass some of them along. Read More

newsletter #16  |  20-Sep-2016

I got involved in a Twitter discussion about how a writer defined “active listening” in a UX Booth article:

Tweet by Steve Portigal August 2016 calling Indi's attention to an article in UX Booth saying I define active listening as eavesdropping.

Tweet by Indi Young in August 2016 agreeing with Steve Portigal that active listening is not eavesdropping.
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newsletter #13  |  21-Jun-2016

When I help clients learn to conduct listening sessions, commonly people want an example of what it means to go deep. I will do a demo and several exercises. Sometimes this doesn’t quite illustrate what I mean, so I also do one-on-one coaching. Read More

In the spring of 2015, 210 women in Silicon Valley in senior technology positions participated in a survey. The results of the survey was published as Elephant in the Valley, with hope to raise awareness about issues facing women in the workplace. One of the survey results stated 60% of women in tech have experienced sexual harassment. Read More

True story: I was walking down to the bakery last Spring when I turned a corner and encountered a woman in a rust-colored down vest walking her little brown wiry-haired dog. The dog started barking when it saw me from about 30 feet away. I just kept walking. And about two seconds later, the dog ran straight at me still barking ferociously. From three feet away it launched itself at me and bit my hand. Read More

Because the business world shuns uncertainty, qualitative research gets twisted so that the conclusions sound like they were deduced, and their validity unimpeachable. Business research adheres to its cousin in the laboratory, where validity is determined by empirical evidence—which is a positivistic view. But, positivism is not embraced universally in the social sciences, and it is certainly not compatible with inductive reasoning. So why do businesses automatically turn to positivism when trying to understand human behavior and reasoning? Read More

In 2014, the organization UX for Good is focused on how to increase the impact of visiting a genocide memorial. The description of the year’s challenge is as follows: “The profound feelings genocide memorials elicit are a powerful fuel. What can we do to convert them into meaningful and sustainable action?” Perhaps better experience design can decrease the killing and abuses of human rights that still occur in the present day: Darfur, North Korea, Myanmar, Nigeria, etc. The perpetrators still get created. Humanity’s fear of these powerful villains is omnipresent. It permeates our stories: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. Even saying the villain’s name is tantamount to invoking him. Here’s how I explore the issue of genocide and remembrance, as it relates to my work in researching software product problem spaces. Read More