It's about people.


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An experience report that orbits designing and developing a mobile app in India and conducting research in Africa, working alongside Amnesty International, an inspiring organization exploring digital tools to support their constituents.

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  • Start with an apology can I get a number of hands…
  • I’m David Peter Simon, Experience Design Consultant at ThoughtWorks Ethnographer by training, systems thinker at heart
  • Today I ’ ll be covering 3 things: 1. Human rights technology story 2. Successful techniques used in the field for empathy 3. Some takeaways for crafting sustainable mobile strategies Hope to go quick for a conversation at the end
  • So if you were to leave, what ’ s the point? Rigorous methods to empathise with users needs to be actively undertaken when designing mobile products
  • Empathy is understanding another person ’ s condition – from their perspective…
  • It’s placing yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling…
  • Empathising with people is a tricky thing place yourself in the context of their mental model *and* physical space Understand constraints
  • I want to tell you a story It ’ s a story all about collaboration and iteration. Last year I ’ ve been very privileged to work with…
  • The Challenge W ays to use technology to support those held in or at risk of unlawful detention Amy ’ s idea, Refined at OpenIDEO…
  • To give you a background on what happens in this scenario, there ’ s about 3 levels of “ bad ” guys: - standard police force (not particularly technical), tech policde dude (gets logs and contacts, knows a bit) and the most aggressive one (which we can ’ t do anything about) - intelligence community…
  • Find a way to build an app to counter th Take ideas and make them real How could we get something out to the field?
  • The problem Too many scenarios Too many hurdles
  • The Approach brought the ideas from OpenIDEO forward, fine-tuned those ideas Our role: support and deliver what's “MVP”?
  • The Result we de-scoped so much a tool that allows you to encrypt a message, the individuals in your network and enables you to send a panic message out to those individuals in your network to alert them something is happening
  • True challenge wasn ’ t getting a prototype to work True challenge: how do you empathise? Difficulty of going along on kidnap spree Recognising power dynamics
  • Amnesty headed off to Nairobi Lucky to go along
  • Started by talking to people. Ethnographic approach Each task is broken down into smaller steps until each motion someone performs is described.
  • Key was to identify where strain occurs, not through the software but in the human system It ’ s important to identify and learn about people We got an opportunity to listen and learn rather than provide them with a solution
  • We think we can solve all peoples ’ problems
  • But people already have their own answers and ways about things And they don ’ t want our solution Difference: The correct answer to a puzzle vs. A thing done to deal with or as a reaction to a situation
  • Story about the well and the charity
  • Don ’ t design for solutions that aren ’ t needed Don ’ t diagnose false problems Design to augment answers.
  • Reaffirms for me needs of actual user unpredictable nature of how people
  • Speaking of unpredictable nature… We did CX mapping Some people don ’ t consider time linearly Some people don ’ t have people: I have no one Most interesting thing we learned wasn ’ t usage, but how people view things
  • No recipe for a homerun app But what there is is a strategy to learn about people and figure out how to build things that augments current answers
  • It ’ s never about _just_ building an an app or product, it ’ s about supporting people in their goals - whether that ’ s evading the secret police or buying cheaper home insurance.
  • And these sort of “empathic” methods can be applied to any project lifecycle Just to recap, the three key (yet basic) ones we found successful in the field were...
  • the process of asking a user to execute a series of tasks or use technology, while continuously verbalizing their thoughts so that a researcher can gain insights as to the users' analytical process WhatsApp example
  • analysis of how a task is accomplished w/ detailed description of both manual and mental activities Task time Guy who owned a smart phone but couldn’ t use it, pulled out his dumb phone Tech literacy rate,
  • imagine what it would be like if the product existed, and act as though it exists, ideally in the place it would be used Learn a richer story simply by putting yourself in their shoes. One group actually recreated a police brutality scenario. Activity of getting on the ground and pretending to be hit reified the necessity of certain features
  • Success isn ’ t just a working app It ’ s working with people, using rigorous techniques, to find how your ideas augment their answers It’s empathising with them to get to the next stage and to inform your desgin.
  • So what are the three takeaways for crafting mobile strategies based on empathy?
  • Focus on what ’ s not said. Like the story of the charity & the well Don ’ t just design for moments or spaces but for people
  • Apply the 80/20 rule. Y ou start with people and work backwards towards the technology. Whatsapp example, how they use tech already Build off that
  • Continually refine it and iterate it Be empathy-informed Two phones guy, allow for human emotion to influence you
  • Empathy is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of your designs and allow you to build next step. Open question I ask myself now is how will I *actively* apply empathy on this project And I end with leaving that open question do you guys: how do you *actively* apply empathy on your projects
  • It's about people.

    1. 1. It’s about people.
    2. 2. #empathicux
    3. 3. #empathicux
    4. 4. #empathicux
    5. 5. #empathicux
    6. 6. #empathicux
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    10. 10. #empathicux
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    17. 17. #empathicux
    18. 18. #empathicux
    19. 19. Tech has “solutions”.#empathicux
    20. 20. #empathicux
    21. 21. #empathicux
    22. 22. #empathicux
    23. 23. Context is King.#empathicux
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    26. 26. #empathicux
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    28. 28. Thinkalouds#empathicux
    29. 29. Task analysis#empathicux
    30. 30. Bodystorming#empathicux
    31. 31. The core of strategy work is alwaysthe same; discovering the criticalfactors in a situation and designing away of coordinating and focusingactions to deal with those factors. - Richard P. Rumelt #empathicux
    32. 32. #empathicux
    33. 33. Focus on what’s not said#empathicux
    34. 34. Focus on what’s not said 80 People/20 Tech#empathicux
    35. 35. Focus on what’s not said 80/20 People/Tech Think about your thinking#empathicux
    36. 36. @davidpetersimon