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EMPATHY and
ACCEPTANCE
in Design and Community
!@MOR10
One of our many challenges
as human beings
is accepting
you can’t know what it is like
to be someone else
You can’t know
what it’s like to be blind
because you can see…
just like you can’t know
what it’s like to be me
because yo...
Traditional Proverb (2004 - 2016)
WordPress is easy!
First-time WordPress user
I don’t understand how to do this.
Long-time WordPress user
I’m reading the instructions,
but I can’t get it to work.
Novice WordPress user
OMG! I feel so stupid!
WordPress is easy!
I don’t understand.
But I think WordPress is easy!
I’m reading the instructions, but I can’t get it to ...
Traditional Proverb (Cherokee)
Don’t judge a man
until you have walked a mile
in his shoes.
Sometimes
the miles we walk
take different paths.
WordPress used to be easy.
I can’t tell if it still is.
empathy
The feeling that you understand and share
another person's experiences and emotions :
the ability to share someone...
A List Apart
http://goo.gl/uurTPk
Nick Kellingley
https://goo.gl/gjPgVC
Fast Company
http://goo.gl/HxIMS1
Zocalo Public Square
http://goo.gl/D9PEVQ
Dear Tech, You Suck at Delight
https://goo.gl/MJjJFM
Slate
http://goo.gl/DIL3uR
Atlas: The Next Generation
https://goo.gl/OA7Ywd
Sympathy Empathy Compassion
Feelings of pity and
sorrow for someone
else’s misfortune.
The ability to
understand and share...
Like everything else that matters,
empathy is complicated.
PillPack
https://goo.gl/Glh0v6
Liftware
https://goo.gl/rLUk28
The Atlantic
http://goo.gl/5s2WVr
Many of the challenges
facing the web community
can be traced back to
uncritical use of empathy.
The web connects and divides us
creating ever wider bridges
crossing ever deeper chasms
between groups.
Empathy assumes shared context
🌍👫👭👬
In our modern world
empathy needs an upgrade.
Empathy
projects our own experiences
onto other people
assuming they are the same.
blind
Unable to see; sightless.
The term “blindness” is used for
complete or nearly complete vision loss.
Cathy Browne
CathyBrowne.com
Cathy Browne
https://goo.gl/YistWJ
Washington Post
https://goo.gl/d7udrE
deaf
Lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing.
Profound deafness means the person cannot hear
anything at a...
Nyle DiMarco, winner of
ABC’s Dancing with the Stars
https://goo.gl/uuJN8M
Frank and Earnest, 1982
Ginger Rogers did everything he did,
backwards, and in high heels.
empathy
The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and
emotions : the ability to share someone...
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
Dave Walker
http://goo.gl/1mal7e
National Post
http://goo.gl/3hPQIM
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
Tom Magliery
https://goo.gl/rosUwU
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
“A concerned developer”
https://goo.gl/yoIHSx
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
Everyone has JavaScript, right?
Empathy is our interpretation of the world
through the distorting lens of
privilege and hidden bias.
Empathy projects
our own experiences
onto other people
assuming they are the same.
informed empathy
+
acceptance
Instead of walking a mile
in someone else’s shoes,
join them, and
walk that mile together.
Accept this fact:
We are all different.
Empathy, on its own,
is not a solution.
Empathy is the starting point
for further exploration.
EMPATHY and
ACCEPTANCE
in Design and Community
a “How-To” guide to
reframe | relive | remind
+
accept
Explore the current contexts of your partner
and yourself, and make sure they overlap. If
not, reframe the situation in a ...
Science Magazine
http://goo.gl/TglXuh
Missing arm ≈ Sprained wrist
Dyslexia ≈ Movie with subtitles
New WordPress user ≈ Filing taxes
Hamburger icon ≈ Learning r...
• Explore existing contexts
• Establish shared or analog context
• Imagine or recall similar experiences
• Reframe the sit...
Microsoft Inclusive Design
https://goo.gl/6Jluxs
Create situations or environments where you
can recreate a similar experience to physically
walk a mile in their shoes.
re...
MIT Age Lab: AGNES
http://goo.gl/ib587b
3pregnantdads.com
Nicola Gavins
https://goo.gl/Dussis
Emil Andersson
https://goo.gl/H3hpnK
• Spend a week without a mouse or touchpad
• Unplug your monitor, use text-to-speech for a day
• Use an old smartphone, Wi...
Remind yourself of your privilege and bias by
documenting your experiences learning a new
skill or taking part in unfamili...
Sheryl Sandberg on
Mother’s Day 2016
https://goo.gl/iQULYx
“I will never experience
and understand all of
the challenges m...
• Learn an unfamiliar language like Python or
ASP.NET
• Begin quilting, knitting, painting, or calligraphy
• Take ballroom...
A Book Apart
https://goo.gl/L9XTOS
accept
To accommodate or reconcile oneself to; to regard as true; believe.
: seek out and listen to the disclosure of
othe...
Michael Hoffman
https://goo.gl/ZGyIQd
Michael Hoffman
https://goo.gl/ZGyIQd
Using “she” and “her” to refer to software
engineers doesn’t come naturally to me,
wh...
• Listen to other people without interruption
• Accept their disclosure as the truth
• Question your immediate response
• ...
Emily McDowell Studio
http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
Emily McDowell Studio
http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
Emily McDowell Studio
http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
On the web,
and in WordPress,
We are the 1%.
reframe | relive | remind
+
accept
I am here.
I am listening.
Let’s walk this mile
together.
EMPATHY and
ACCEPTANCE
in Design and Community
Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community
Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community
Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community
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Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community

Slides from Morten Rand-Hendriksen's WordCamp Europe 2016 talk by the same title. Companion article at https://mor10.com/empathy

The prevailing narrative in the web community hails empathy as a cure for much of what ails our modern digital spaces. Empathy seems a worthy tool for making our designs and interactive experiences more human, but used indiscriminately it may do more harm than good. To design experiences that fit the real lives of the people who use them, we need to take a critical look at our methods and make empathy the first step in a larger process.

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Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community

  1. 1. EMPATHY and ACCEPTANCE in Design and Community
  2. 2. !@MOR10
  3. 3. One of our many challenges as human beings is accepting you can’t know what it is like to be someone else
  4. 4. You can’t know what it’s like to be blind because you can see… just like you can’t know what it’s like to be me because you’re you.
  5. 5. Traditional Proverb (2004 - 2016) WordPress is easy!
  6. 6. First-time WordPress user I don’t understand how to do this.
  7. 7. Long-time WordPress user I’m reading the instructions, but I can’t get it to work.
  8. 8. Novice WordPress user OMG! I feel so stupid!
  9. 9. WordPress is easy! I don’t understand. But I think WordPress is easy! I’m reading the instructions, but I can’t get it to work. When I learned WordPress, is was easy! OMG! I feel so stupid! Me: User: Me: User: Me: User:
  10. 10. Traditional Proverb (Cherokee) Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.
  11. 11. Sometimes the miles we walk take different paths.
  12. 12. WordPress used to be easy. I can’t tell if it still is.
  13. 13. empathy The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings.
  14. 14. A List Apart http://goo.gl/uurTPk
  15. 15. Nick Kellingley https://goo.gl/gjPgVC
  16. 16. Fast Company http://goo.gl/HxIMS1
  17. 17. Zocalo Public Square http://goo.gl/D9PEVQ
  18. 18. Dear Tech, You Suck at Delight https://goo.gl/MJjJFM
  19. 19. Slate http://goo.gl/DIL3uR
  20. 20. Atlas: The Next Generation https://goo.gl/OA7Ywd
  21. 21. Sympathy Empathy Compassion Feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. A feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc. “Oh man! That robot is being bullied! That sucks!” “If I tried to pick up a box, and someone kept knocking it out of my hands, I would feel terrible.” “If I was there, I’d help the robot get his box. And probably take away that hockey stick.”
  22. 22. Like everything else that matters, empathy is complicated.
  23. 23. PillPack https://goo.gl/Glh0v6
  24. 24. Liftware https://goo.gl/rLUk28
  25. 25. The Atlantic http://goo.gl/5s2WVr
  26. 26. Many of the challenges facing the web community can be traced back to uncritical use of empathy.
  27. 27. The web connects and divides us creating ever wider bridges crossing ever deeper chasms between groups.
  28. 28. Empathy assumes shared context
  29. 29. 🌍👫👭👬
  30. 30. In our modern world empathy needs an upgrade.
  31. 31. Empathy projects our own experiences onto other people assuming they are the same.
  32. 32. blind Unable to see; sightless. The term “blindness” is used for complete or nearly complete vision loss.
  33. 33. Cathy Browne CathyBrowne.com
  34. 34. Cathy Browne https://goo.gl/YistWJ
  35. 35. Washington Post https://goo.gl/d7udrE
  36. 36. deaf Lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing. Profound deafness means the person cannot hear anything at all; they are unable to detect sound, even at the highest volume possible.
  37. 37. Nyle DiMarco, winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars https://goo.gl/uuJN8M
  38. 38. Frank and Earnest, 1982 Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards, and in high heels.
  39. 39. empathy The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings. The imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it.
  40. 40. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  41. 41. Dave Walker http://goo.gl/1mal7e
  42. 42. National Post http://goo.gl/3hPQIM
  43. 43. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  44. 44. Tom Magliery https://goo.gl/rosUwU
  45. 45. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  46. 46. “A concerned developer” https://goo.gl/yoIHSx
  47. 47. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  48. 48. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  49. 49. Everyone has JavaScript, right?
  50. 50. Empathy is our interpretation of the world through the distorting lens of privilege and hidden bias.
  51. 51. Empathy projects our own experiences onto other people assuming they are the same.
  52. 52. informed empathy + acceptance
  53. 53. Instead of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, join them, and walk that mile together.
  54. 54. Accept this fact: We are all different.
  55. 55. Empathy, on its own, is not a solution. Empathy is the starting point for further exploration.
  56. 56. EMPATHY and ACCEPTANCE in Design and Community a “How-To” guide to
  57. 57. reframe | relive | remind + accept
  58. 58. Explore the current contexts of your partner and yourself, and make sure they overlap. If not, reframe the situation in a context you are familiar with. reframe
  59. 59. Science Magazine http://goo.gl/TglXuh
  60. 60. Missing arm ≈ Sprained wrist Dyslexia ≈ Movie with subtitles New WordPress user ≈ Filing taxes Hamburger icon ≈ Learning road signs
  61. 61. • Explore existing contexts • Establish shared or analog context • Imagine or recall similar experiences • Reframe the situation in a familiar context • Picture yourself not just standing in their shoes, but having walked a lifetime in them Reframe through Association
  62. 62. Microsoft Inclusive Design https://goo.gl/6Jluxs
  63. 63. Create situations or environments where you can recreate a similar experience to physically walk a mile in their shoes. relive
  64. 64. MIT Age Lab: AGNES http://goo.gl/ib587b
  65. 65. 3pregnantdads.com
  66. 66. Nicola Gavins https://goo.gl/Dussis
  67. 67. Emil Andersson https://goo.gl/H3hpnK
  68. 68. • Spend a week without a mouse or touchpad • Unplug your monitor, use text-to-speech for a day • Use an old smartphone, Windows, Mac, and Linux • Read #YesAllWomen, #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou, #BlackLivesMatter • Get some friends together and read hateful internet comments to each other Relive through Immersion
  69. 69. Remind yourself of your privilege and bias by documenting your experiences learning a new skill or taking part in unfamiliar tasks, situations, or communities. remind
  70. 70. Sheryl Sandberg on Mother’s Day 2016 https://goo.gl/iQULYx “I will never experience and understand all of the challenges most single moms face, but I understand a lot more than I did a year ago.”
  71. 71. • Learn an unfamiliar language like Python or ASP.NET • Begin quilting, knitting, painting, or calligraphy • Take ballroom dancing classes • Try your hand at teaching • Document your successes and failures Remind yourself of your Privilege
  72. 72. A Book Apart https://goo.gl/L9XTOS
  73. 73. accept To accommodate or reconcile oneself to; to regard as true; believe. : seek out and listen to the disclosure of other people, and treat them as true descriptions of the world.
  74. 74. Michael Hoffman https://goo.gl/ZGyIQd
  75. 75. Michael Hoffman https://goo.gl/ZGyIQd Using “she” and “her” to refer to software engineers doesn’t come naturally to me, which is exactly why I try to do it whenever I can. It’s my hope that doing so will, however slightly, increase the chances that someday, when my three- year-old daughter pictures a programmer, she sees someone who looks like her.
  76. 76. • Listen to other people without interruption • Accept their disclosure as the truth • Question your immediate response • Seek common ground • Expand your horizon of understanding Accept the reality of Others
  77. 77. Emily McDowell Studio http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
  78. 78. Emily McDowell Studio http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
  79. 79. Emily McDowell Studio http://goo.gl/t3U2uU
  80. 80. On the web, and in WordPress, We are the 1%.
  81. 81. reframe | relive | remind + accept
  82. 82. I am here. I am listening. Let’s walk this mile together.
  83. 83. EMPATHY and ACCEPTANCE in Design and Community

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