Designing with Empathy

This weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at the inaugural edition of Open Source & Feelings. It was an amazing conference tackling some really hard topics. I received really great feedback from the audience on my “Designing with Empathy” talk and several asked for the transcript as they couldn’t take notes fast enough. So here is the talk broken out with what was on the slides as well as the script I tried to follow. The video is coming, and I will add that when available.

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Granting the User Control

More than once I have spoken about giving the user control over their experience. Too often we make assumptions about how things should work, but in the end those assumptions always forget someone. Providing a set of tools for the user to control the situation or experience allows us to have the most rich and dynamic experience we can build, but one that any user can get behind even if they can’t do all the fancy bells and whistles.

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Bored While Driving

For the last several weeks I have been commuting from my home near Madison four and half hours north to the city of Minneapolis. The only saving grace of all this driving is the fact I have satellite radio and don’t need to constantly switch playlists or hunt down radio stations en-route to the Twin Cities. Last week was my last full week up there for this contract and on the ride home I think I finally cracked.

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Managing Chronic Illness While Working

Shortly after I developed my vestibular disorder, I began working remote, from home. Even before that, my employer accommodated me by letting me work from home if I ever had a really bad vertigo day. For the last two years, all my work has been remote, until this month. I’ve now figured out that I have a way of working that best meets my productivity and health needs and when I don’t get to work like that I get cranky, frustrated, and highly inefficient.

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Presenting Designing With Empathy at OSFeels

feelsbotI’ve been working on a new talk called “Designing with Empathy” that covers a little more than accessibility, but addresses the needs of those using assistive technology as well as those who have difficulty with technology. We all carry biases with us and when we build new sites, tools, apps, or games those biases leak through no matter how hard we try and prevent it. I hope to introduce some thoughts and ideas on how to reduce the influence of that bias as much as possible in your next project and I’m super excited that the fine folks over at OSFeels have asked me to present this talk to their audience.

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Infinite Canvas 6 With Rachel Nabors

Last week I got to be on a podcast. This week I appear on a screencast with Rachel Nabors talking about vestibular disorders in general and how animation may affect a user on your site.

If you don’t know who Rachel is, she is an amazing illustrator, cartoonist, speaker and animator using all those skills to shine a light on the web can be a better place with the right kinds and amounts of animation.

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Animated Gifs in Social Media Streams

Last week I encountered a pseudo 3D animated gif from Doritos that autoplayed while viewing my Twitter feed. This gif was brightly colored, and its “3D” effect triggered a vestibular attack and migraine. As I looked more into the issue, it isn’t just Twitter who does this. It also happens in our Instagram, Vine, Facebook, and Snapchat feeds, just to name a few. Now some of you will tell me, “those channels are meant to work that way.” True, but what if due to advertising, or worse hacking, someone uploaded a gif worse than this Doritos one that autoplayed and triggered a photosensitive epileptic seizure? Who is responsible?

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