Issue #18

After talking to a couple of rather excellent people last week, I felt like making this issue about g
Issue #18
By Ross Chapman • Issue #18
After talking to a couple of rather excellent people last week, I felt like making this issue about gender. 
Originally, I didn’t think I was well-placed to talk about it. I’m a man after-all, but where everything is designed, is everything designed for everyone? Look at the design of your company - are there more men than women? Why is that? Who is leading the business?
“Companies Do Better With Women Leaders” - Forbes 
When pushed to ask why this was, women interviewed said that “we must perform twice as well to be thought half as good.”
But it’s not just in the structure of businesses. In the user experience of many online products - interactions that deal with gender just don’t line up with modern thinking. Users are asked their gender when on-boarding with new services and app. Why? Usually so that they can be targeted with marketing or used in data analytics. Just because we can ask, doesn’t mean that we should, but when we do, let’s challenge the status-quo. Maybe it is best not to ask at all?
The best teams I’ve worked in are diverse. They come from different countries, different backgrounds, are a range of different ages and, of course, have both male and female members. But we have a diversity problem in tech - let’s try and fix that!
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UX Design
Rebekah Cancino and Shaina Rozen wrote an open letter to encourage, support, and provide women with practical advice on working in the design industry. “Pretending like the diversity problem in tech doesn’t exist won’t make it go away.” Where women currently only make up 30% of the tech workforce, let’s start talking about growing that figure.
Designing a Better Drop-Down Menu for Gender
Male/female is a deeply flawed data breakdown for the purpose of your website. What are possible solutions to that? An oldie, but a goldie.
Women in Design: a recap
Another from inVision. Dropbox staged a Women in Design talk, where panelists discussed boosting creative confidence, challenging the status quo, and why you should take on projects that scare you. “Creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you.”
User Research
Even the leaders of great user centred design get it wrong
Even the leaders of great user centred design get it wrong
IDEO, the worlds greatest proponent of User Centered Design released a ‘toolkit’ to promote a human centred approach to social development projects. Nick Bowmast, an experienced design researcher from New Zealand, was surprised to find that some elements of it had a gender bias. These are the kind of norms that shouldn’t exist. How the mighty have fallen!
Gender and sex
“Avoid asking about gender and sex.” That’s what the UK Government advise in their Service Manual. Also - be wary of mixing gender and sex. A lot of people do.
“Doing user research is like eating healthy food, exercising, and getting an annual checkup. Almost everyone recognizes that it’s good to do these things, but many people fail to do them.” I recently talked to a UX director and he said that clients “don’t want to pay for research.” I get his point, but we need to sway the argument to clients buying Design, and that’s made up of research, design and measurement.
UX in eCommerce
Men and women have shopped differently for generations, well before the first eCommerce store launched. While it’s easy to translate the differences in retail settings, (low height shelves in women’s stores, hands-on product displays in men’s stores) for some retailers making the transition online has been more difficult when it comes to optimizing their online shopping experience for their targeted gender.
In the Middle East, gender roles are messing with e-commerce shipping
“In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive,” noted Idriss al-Rifai, CEO of Fetchr - a delivery app. “Our deliverywomen will not be driving, they’ll just be knocking on doors.“ 
Coolness
Breaking: Nick Finck launched UX for Change this week. Take a look!
Breaking: Nick Finck launched UX for Change this week. Take a look!
Slack's CEO starts job interviews with this question
Without employees who recognize this, the product and the team can’t grow.
The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire
I really enjoyed reading this. Dropbox was using 100% Amazon servers. Then decided to host most of it themselves. On computers they had designed. With an Operating System they had built (and rebuilt). Talk about meeting business objectives! It looks to be an increasing trend, with Apple reported to be doing a similar thing.
Schmidt says robots will take our jobs: Rise of AI is a natural progression
I included this article for a key reason. The way I see it is like this: Computers can do our work, so that we could play. If robots ultimately take our jobs, then it is up to society to accept that and form new ways to motivate us. Take this advice from Microsoft and be “good at what machines can’t do well.” It helps that I focus on users in my work.
Craft Conference
CRAFT is a conference about software craftsmanship, which tools, methods, practices should be part of the toolbox of a modern developer and company, and it is a compass on new technologies, trends. What is different is that CRAFT are providing free tickets for 100 people from underrepresented groups who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend CRAFT for financial, social or any other reasons. Check it out!
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Ross Chapman
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