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.
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
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
Why are your organization’s personas so hard to use? It might be because they are marketing personas, based on the way customers buy what you produce. And the marketing department is afraid you’ll want to change them. You don’t have to. The Squabble Over Personas was published in UXmas 2013. Reprinted below. Read More