Schemas for the
Real World
@cczonaCarina C. Zona
@cczona
—xkcd #940
@cczona
Imagine walking through the world knowing that everyone’s first assumptions
about how you see yourself, who you lov...
"Normalization"
Social Research
Exhaustive
Every value in the universe
@cczona
Nope.
Yellow
Multicolor
Mutually Exclusive
No overlap exists between them
@cczona
@cczona
`
@cczona
@cczona
@cczona
Construction of
social norms
@cczona
Database Normalization
Mirror real-world concepts and
their interrelationships.
@cczona
"'Hey, this is just a system I can figure out
easily!' is also a problem among engineers
first diving into the stock...
@cczona
Social Networks
Social
@cczona
In real life
"I know your personhood better than you"
sounds presumptuous
@cczona
In real life
sounds presumptuous
@cczona
In real life
"Your existence isn't possible"
sounds clueless
@cczona
In real life
sounds clueless
@cczona
In real life
"Who you are is invalid"
sounds arrogant
@cczona
In real life
sounds arrogant
@cczona
@cczona
@cczona
"Be conservative in what you do,
be liberal in what you accept from others."
-Postel's Law
@cczona
"What benefit will
the user notice?"
@cczona
"What user experience does this schema
drive us toward?"
@cczona
name_full_as_provided_by_user
name_part_givenname_as_guessed_by_us
name_part_middlename_as_guessed_by_us
name_part...
Ask the Real Question
@cczona
Evaluating from
user perspective
gives us focus.
@cczona
Checkbox
Radio button
Select menu
Ranges
Coerced DiscretionaryGuided
Corrective Text Input
Textarea
@cczona
Checkbox
Radio
Select
Coerced DiscretionaryGuided
Corrective Text Input
Textarea
@cczona
11 years
@cczona
…the early crowd at MeFi were often
programmers and they hated the idea of
"dirty" data collection…
—Matt Haughey,...
@cczona
All girl
XY
Fella
Queer
Fembot
Alto
It depends
MYOB
Dangly bits
Chicklet
Innie not outie
Convex
Sideburns
Ambisext...
@cczona
I speak using the
male gender, when
required by
language 50% quintessential
tomboy, 50% total
girly-girl
@cczona
Transgender

Genderqueer
@cczona
It was one of the earliest indications I'd
landed in the right place.
—MeFi user
@cczona
@cczona
Not amused
@cczona
Internationalization
is hellish, period.
@cczona
"What's your
legal gender?"
• Indeterminate
• ––
• X
• Sex Not Specified
• Mx
@cczona
...the most complicated thing I’ve ever
spent a lot of time learning about.
And I’ve spent a lot of time learning ...
@cczona
Ask.
@cczona
"Which pronouns do
you prefer?"
he/him/himself/his/his
she/her/herself/hers/her
they/them/themself/theirs/their
it...
@cczona
"Which pronouns do
you prefer?"
he/him/himself/his/his
she/her/herself/hers/her
they/them/themself/theirs/their
pe...
@cczona
"Which pronouns do
you prefer?"
he/him/himself/his/his
she/her/herself/hers/her
they/them/themself/theirs/their
pe...
@cczona
@cczona
Names
@cczona
@cczona
danah boyd
"There are a lot of reasons that i
got rid of the capital letters in
the final name change, some
persona...
@cczona
Teller
@cczona
Mitch
"I was orphaned.
The name — my birth
name or given name —
didn't go anywhere. 

I didn't feel a connection
t...
KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
U Thant
Burma
S Chelvan
Sri Lanka
Björk
Björk
@cczona
@cczona
Name Parsing Has
Unequal Impact
@cczona
@cczona
@cczona
Get schemas
into alignment.
@cczona
Schemas, plural
@cczona
Mental Schema
• Pre-conceived ideas
• Framework for representing some
aspect of the world
• System of organizing &...
@cczona
Database Schema
• Structure described in the database's
language
• Blueprint for database construction
• Describes...
@cczona
@cczona
deeply intimate
@cczona
important relationships
@cczona
self-image
@cczona
Schemas define the
user experience.
@cczona
Our schemas are
leaving people behind.
& UX
Ask why we
need to know.
Religion
@cczona
"What is your religion,
if any?"
@cczona
@cczona
What is your religion, if any?
Christian 76%
Other 4%
None 15%
Don't Know or Refused 5%
@cczona
What is your religion?
Christian 76%
Other 4%
n/a 20%
@cczona
What is your religion?
Christian 76%
Other 24%
@cczona
Religion:
@cczona
People aren't
edge cases.
@cczona
Data doesn’t have
to be for analysis.
@cczona
Data can be sheer
expressiveness.
@cczona
What we want What we get
• Structured
• Predictable
• Hollow
• Ethnocentric
• Rebellion
• Relational
• Indexed
• P...
@cczona
- The Oatmeal
The real world 

is so darned varied.
Good schemas get us
home from work early.
@cczona
Balancing between
approaches
@cczona
@cczona
Checkbox
Radio
Select
Textarea
Text
Required OptionalAutosuggest
Minimal Suggest
Unguided Text
Of those who use MetaFilter's gender field, 

40% of responses are: f, m, female, male.
Optional Select
60% of Facebook users select a relationship status
@cczona
We want users
to be excited
@cczona
We want users
to feel involved
@cczona
Analytics, investments,
& monetization are
based on a premise that
data is accurate
@cczona
@cczona
Checkbox
Radio
Select
Textarea
Text
Required
Corrective
DiscretionaryGuided
@cczona
ADD column gender
NOT NULL
VARCHAR(6)
DEFAULT "female"
@cczona
ADD column gender
NOT NULL
VARCHAR(6)
DEFAULT "female"
@cczona
ADD column gender_identity
NOT NULL
VARCHAR
@cczona
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
@cczona
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated
Divorced
Civil union...
@cczona
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated
Divorced
Civil union...
@cczona
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Civil union
Domestic partnersh...
@cczona
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated
Divorced
Civil union...
@cczona
@cczona
"I don't want
to say"

"Unspecified"
@cczona
It's a scope.
@cczona
relationship_status
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated
...
@cczona
singleness_status
@cczona
singleness_rating
No chance whatsoever Suuuuuper duper single
100%0
@cczona
marital_status?
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated
Divo...
@cczona
legal_marital_status
Single
In a relationship
Engaged
Married
It's complicated
Open relationship
Widowed
Separated...
@cczona
It's Complicated
In a Relationship
Married Divorced
Widowed
Single
@cczona
I like to be truthful, and "It's Complicated"
is really deceiving. It is not complicated. I
am separated from my h...
@cczona
I just can't stand the thought of changing it to
widow, but I don't want it to say single either. It
will be 3 yea...
@cczona
Facebook relationship status by user age
srsly?
@cczona
@cczona
@cczona
buffer overflow
@cczona
Choose (one):
evasive
inauthentic
@cczona
@cczona
Modeling the
real world is complex.
@cczona
Assuming we know
who users are
surrenders
opportunity to
learn who they are.
@cczona
Quality.
@cczona
Specificity
@cczona
Adaptability
@cczona
Loyalty
@cczona
Imagination is more important than knowledge
For knowledge is limited
Whereas imagination embraces the entire worl...
@cczona
@cczona
Questions?
Conversation!
Oooh yeah…
Carina C. Zona
@cczona
Resources
(everything is links.)
@cczona
Data Science &
Information Architecture
•Sociological normalization
•Database normalization
•Using Machine Learnin...
@cczona
Relationships
•"Does Facebook Hurt Relationships?"
•"Facebook Adds LGBT-Friendly Relationship Status Options"
•"Fa...
@cczona
Sex & Genders
•“Disalienation:Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora”
•“Gender & Drop Down Menus”
•“Sex & Gender”
...
@cczona
Names
•"Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names"
•"Your Last Name Contains Invalid Characters"
•W3C Internation...
@cczona
Social Networking
•"Facebook's Rapidly Declining Popularity With Teens In 1 Chart”
•“Instagram Now Tops Twitter, F...
@cczona
Streaming Music
•"Exclusionary Gender Requirements"
•"Rdio's flawed history regarding gender data collection"
•"Rdi...
@cczona
Streaming Music
Asks Gender?

Yes
•Rdio
•Beats Music
•Pandora
•Echo Nest
No
•GrooveShark
•Sparkfun
@cczona
More
•"Redesigning the Country Selector"
•"American Religious Identification Survey, Summary Report 2008"
•"Linguis...
@cczona
Image Credits
Postsecret
Facebook
OKCupid
KōTango
Google+
Metafilter
Diaspora
FetLife
LinkedIn
Flickr
ARIS
Wikipedi...
@cczona
Many Thanks
André Arko
Chiu-Ki Chan
Corey Haines
Estelle Weyl
Heather Rivers
Jack Danger Canty
Jeremy Dunck
Josh S...
Get in Touch
Carina C. Zona
@cczona
http://cczona.com
cczona@gmail.com
http://slideshare.net/cczona
Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]
Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]
Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]
Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]
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Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]

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Social app development challenges us to code for users’ personal world. Users are giving push-back to ill-fitted assumptions about their own identity — name, gender, sexual orientation, important relationships, and many other attributes that are individually meaningful.

How can we balance users’ realities with an app’s business requirements?

Facebook, Google+, and others are struggling with these questions. Resilient approaches arise from an app’s own foundation. Discover how our earliest choices influence codebase, UX, and development itself. Learn how we can use that knowledge to both inspire the people who use our apps, and to generate the data that we need as developers.

== META ==
Author: Carina C. Zona
Conference: PyCon 2015
City: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date: April 11, 2015
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYYfVqtcWQY
URL: https://us.pycon.org/2015/schedule/presentation/426/

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Schemas for the Real World [PyCon 2015]

  1. 1. Schemas for the Real World @cczonaCarina C. Zona
  2. 2. @cczona —xkcd #940
  3. 3. @cczona Imagine walking through the world knowing that everyone’s first assumptions about how you see yourself, who you love, and what feels right for you are completely wrong. Now imagine signing up for a cool website, and then being required to select an option from a drop-down menu that doesn’t include anything that represents you.... You’ll feel defeated.You’ll want to argue that whatever they think they’re learning from that drop-down menu, it’s not really true.You’ll want to tell them that they’re adding to your humiliation by making you do this.You’ll want to tell them that they’re missing a huge part of you… —Sarah Dopp
  4. 4. "Normalization"
  5. 5. Social Research
  6. 6. Exhaustive Every value in the universe
  7. 7. @cczona Nope. Yellow Multicolor
  8. 8. Mutually Exclusive No overlap exists between them
  9. 9. @cczona
  10. 10. @cczona `
  11. 11. @cczona
  12. 12. @cczona
  13. 13. @cczona Construction of social norms
  14. 14. @cczona Database Normalization Mirror real-world concepts and their interrelationships.
  15. 15. @cczona "'Hey, this is just a system I can figure out easily!' is also a problem among engineers first diving into the stock market..." #592
  16. 16. @cczona
  17. 17. Social Networks
  18. 18. Social
  19. 19. @cczona In real life "I know your personhood better than you" sounds presumptuous
  20. 20. @cczona In real life sounds presumptuous
  21. 21. @cczona In real life "Your existence isn't possible" sounds clueless
  22. 22. @cczona In real life sounds clueless
  23. 23. @cczona In real life "Who you are is invalid" sounds arrogant
  24. 24. @cczona In real life sounds arrogant
  25. 25. @cczona
  26. 26. @cczona
  27. 27. @cczona "Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." -Postel's Law
  28. 28. @cczona "What benefit will the user notice?"
  29. 29. @cczona "What user experience does this schema drive us toward?"
  30. 30. @cczona name_full_as_provided_by_user name_part_givenname_as_guessed_by_us name_part_middlename_as_guessed_by_us name_part_surname_as_guessed_by_us
  31. 31. Ask the Real Question
  32. 32. @cczona Evaluating from user perspective gives us focus.
  33. 33. @cczona Checkbox Radio button Select menu Ranges Coerced DiscretionaryGuided Corrective Text Input Textarea
  34. 34. @cczona Checkbox Radio Select Coerced DiscretionaryGuided Corrective Text Input Textarea
  35. 35. @cczona 11 years
  36. 36. @cczona …the early crowd at MeFi were often programmers and they hated the idea of "dirty" data collection… —Matt Haughey, founder
  37. 37. @cczona All girl XY Fella Queer Fembot Alto It depends MYOB Dangly bits Chicklet Innie not outie Convex Sideburns Ambisextrous Member of the patriarchy
  38. 38. @cczona I speak using the male gender, when required by language 50% quintessential tomboy, 50% total girly-girl
  39. 39. @cczona Transgender
 Genderqueer
  40. 40. @cczona It was one of the earliest indications I'd landed in the right place. —MeFi user
  41. 41. @cczona
  42. 42. @cczona Not amused
  43. 43. @cczona Internationalization is hellish, period.
  44. 44. @cczona "What's your legal gender?" • Indeterminate • –– • X • Sex Not Specified • Mx
  45. 45. @cczona ...the most complicated thing I’ve ever spent a lot of time learning about. And I’ve spent a lot of time learning about quantum mechanics... —Randall Munroe, xkcd
  46. 46. @cczona Ask.
  47. 47. @cczona "Which pronouns do you prefer?" he/him/himself/his/his she/her/herself/hers/her they/them/themself/theirs/their it/it/itself/its/its by name
  48. 48. @cczona "Which pronouns do you prefer?" he/him/himself/his/his she/her/herself/hers/her they/them/themself/theirs/their personal name other: ____________
  49. 49. @cczona "Which pronouns do you prefer?" he/him/himself/his/his she/her/herself/hers/her they/them/themself/theirs/their personal name other: ____________
  50. 50. @cczona
  51. 51. @cczona
  52. 52. Names
  53. 53. @cczona
  54. 54. @cczona danah boyd "There are a lot of reasons that i got rid of the capital letters in the final name change, some personal and some political."
  55. 55. @cczona
  56. 56. Teller
  57. 57. @cczona Mitch "I was orphaned. The name — my birth name or given name — didn't go anywhere. 
 I didn't feel a connection to it based on any sort of lineage that I could trace back anywhere."
  58. 58. KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
  59. 59. U Thant Burma S Chelvan Sri Lanka
  60. 60. Björk Björk
  61. 61. @cczona
  62. 62. @cczona
  63. 63. Name Parsing Has Unequal Impact
  64. 64. @cczona
  65. 65. @cczona
  66. 66. @cczona Get schemas into alignment.
  67. 67. @cczona Schemas, plural
  68. 68. @cczona Mental Schema • Pre-conceived ideas • Framework for representing some aspect of the world • System of organizing & perceiving new information
  69. 69. @cczona Database Schema • Structure described in the database's language • Blueprint for database construction • Describes how the real world is being modeled
  70. 70. @cczona
  71. 71. @cczona deeply intimate
  72. 72. @cczona important relationships
  73. 73. @cczona self-image
  74. 74. @cczona Schemas define the user experience.
  75. 75. @cczona Our schemas are leaving people behind. & UX
  76. 76. Ask why we need to know.
  77. 77. Religion
  78. 78. @cczona "What is your religion, if any?"
  79. 79. @cczona
  80. 80. @cczona What is your religion, if any? Christian 76% Other 4% None 15% Don't Know or Refused 5%
  81. 81. @cczona What is your religion? Christian 76% Other 4% n/a 20%
  82. 82. @cczona What is your religion? Christian 76% Other 24%
  83. 83. @cczona Religion:
  84. 84. @cczona People aren't edge cases.
  85. 85. @cczona Data doesn’t have to be for analysis.
  86. 86. @cczona Data can be sheer expressiveness.
  87. 87. @cczona What we want What we get • Structured • Predictable • Hollow • Ethnocentric • Rebellion • Relational • Indexed • Premature optimization • Exhaustive • Cultural variability • Individual POV
  88. 88. @cczona - The Oatmeal
  89. 89. The real world 
 is so darned varied.
  90. 90. Good schemas get us home from work early.
  91. 91. @cczona Balancing between approaches
  92. 92. @cczona
  93. 93. @cczona Checkbox Radio Select Textarea Text Required OptionalAutosuggest Minimal Suggest
  94. 94. Unguided Text Of those who use MetaFilter's gender field, 
 40% of responses are: f, m, female, male.
  95. 95. Optional Select 60% of Facebook users select a relationship status
  96. 96. @cczona We want users to be excited
  97. 97. @cczona We want users to feel involved
  98. 98. @cczona Analytics, investments, & monetization are based on a premise that data is accurate
  99. 99. @cczona
  100. 100. @cczona Checkbox Radio Select Textarea Text Required Corrective DiscretionaryGuided
  101. 101. @cczona ADD column gender NOT NULL VARCHAR(6) DEFAULT "female"
  102. 102. @cczona ADD column gender NOT NULL VARCHAR(6) DEFAULT "female"
  103. 103. @cczona ADD column gender_identity NOT NULL VARCHAR
  104. 104. @cczona Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship
  105. 105. @cczona Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership
  106. 106. @cczona Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership
  107. 107. @cczona Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Civil union Domestic partnership I don't want to say
  108. 108. @cczona Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership Unspecified
  109. 109. @cczona
  110. 110. @cczona "I don't want to say"
 "Unspecified"
  111. 111. @cczona It's a scope.
  112. 112. @cczona relationship_status Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership I don't want to say
  113. 113. @cczona singleness_status
  114. 114. @cczona singleness_rating No chance whatsoever Suuuuuper duper single 100%0
  115. 115. @cczona marital_status? Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership I don't want to say
  116. 116. @cczona legal_marital_status Single In a relationship Engaged Married It's complicated Open relationship Widowed Separated Divorced Civil union Domestic partnership I don't want to say
  117. 117. @cczona It's Complicated In a Relationship Married Divorced Widowed Single
  118. 118. @cczona I like to be truthful, and "It's Complicated" is really deceiving. It is not complicated. I am separated from my husband, who I am still legally married to. —Facebook user
  119. 119. @cczona I just can't stand the thought of changing it to widow, but I don't want it to say single either. It will be 3 years on September. I don't want to hurt his family by making the change, either. - Facebook user
  120. 120. @cczona Facebook relationship status by user age srsly?
  121. 121. @cczona
  122. 122. @cczona
  123. 123. @cczona buffer overflow
  124. 124. @cczona Choose (one): evasive inauthentic
  125. 125. @cczona
  126. 126. @cczona Modeling the real world is complex.
  127. 127. @cczona Assuming we know who users are surrenders opportunity to learn who they are.
  128. 128. @cczona Quality.
  129. 129. @cczona Specificity
  130. 130. @cczona Adaptability
  131. 131. @cczona Loyalty
  132. 132. @cczona Imagination is more important than knowledge For knowledge is limited Whereas imagination embraces the entire world - Albert Einstein
  133. 133. @cczona
  134. 134. @cczona Questions? Conversation! Oooh yeah… Carina C. Zona
  135. 135. @cczona Resources (everything is links.)
  136. 136. @cczona Data Science & Information Architecture •Sociological normalization •Database normalization •Using Machine Learning On Social Networks To Figure Out WhatYou Should Read On The Web  •NoSQL Data Modeling Techniques •"Data & Reality," by William Kent • "Bad Data Handbook," Q Ethan McCallum •Data Science of the Facebook World
  137. 137. @cczona Relationships •"Does Facebook Hurt Relationships?" •"Facebook Adds LGBT-Friendly Relationship Status Options" •"Facebook Targeting by Relationship Status & Workplace" •"Your Facebook Relationship Status: It's Complicated" •"Gay Marriage:The Database Engineering Perspective"
  138. 138. @cczona Sex & Genders •“Disalienation:Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora” •“Gender & Drop Down Menus” •“Sex & Gender” •“Bucket Gender” •"Recommendations for Inclusive Data Collection of Trans People" •"Facebook goes beyond gender"
  139. 139. @cczona Names •"Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names" •"Your Last Name Contains Invalid Characters" •W3C Internationalization: "Personal Names Around the World" •Spanish Names •Chinese Names
  140. 140. @cczona Social Networking •"Facebook's Rapidly Declining Popularity With Teens In 1 Chart” •“Instagram Now Tops Twitter, Facebook as Teens’ Most Important Social Network”
  141. 141. @cczona Streaming Music •"Exclusionary Gender Requirements" •"Rdio's flawed history regarding gender data collection" •"Rdio API Documentation"
  142. 142. @cczona Streaming Music Asks Gender?
 Yes •Rdio •Beats Music •Pandora •Echo Nest No •GrooveShark •Sparkfun
  143. 143. @cczona More •"Redesigning the Country Selector" •"American Religious Identification Survey, Summary Report 2008" •"Linguistic Potluck: Crowdsourcing Internationalization in Rails"
  144. 144. @cczona Image Credits Postsecret Facebook OKCupid KōTango Google+ Metafilter Diaspora FetLife LinkedIn Flickr ARIS Wikipedia HR Tech Europe Huffington Post annabrixthomsen.com cutestpaw.com hdwallpapers.in jinterwas xkcd The Oatmeal hughkretschmer.net danah.org s.ai Wikipedia hdwallpapersbase.com artnet.com
  145. 145. @cczona Many Thanks André Arko Chiu-Ki Chan Corey Haines Estelle Weyl Heather Rivers Jack Danger Canty Jeremy Dunck Josh Susser Michele Titolo NIRD Renée DeVoursney Sarah Mei San Francisco Sex Information Sylvain Abélard Yoz Grahame
  146. 146. Get in Touch Carina C. Zona @cczona http://cczona.com cczona@gmail.com http://slideshare.net/cczona

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