The members of our Ad Hoc research team come from a variety of backgrounds–we are a diverse group of social scientists, designers, and information scientists. In addition to caring deeply about the people who will be using the digital tools our teams build, we are all data mavens, and focus on ensuring our research can be turned into action by ensuring key decisions are based in data. Most of our work is focused on qualitative studies, and we find that there is often a lack of clarity among our stakeholders on the benefits of qualitative versus quantitative data, what methods are appropriate for what kinds of questions, and how different types of data sets can work together to inform design, development, and product roadmaps.
When we think about computer accessibility, we often focus on compliance with Section 508, the law mandating that websites, IT resources, and electronic documents procured and maintained by federal agencies are accessible to people with disabilities. Current best practices in the broader UX world also look to ensure minimal accessibility standards. At Ad Hoc, our work must meet these standards, but we strive to go beyond them.
A couple of months ago I heard a podcast on the how to make change with the fewest number of coins. I learned that in the UK, self service checkout machines are generally not very efficient about the process. While the mathematical challenge intrigued me, it is the design problem that has stuck with me, because it highlights the challenges we face we don’t consider that the tools we build may need to adapt to broader contexts of use.
Storytelling is an important skill for anyone who works with data and turning insights into action. A story is more than an account of incidents or events. It is a path to understanding, and serves a purpose greater than simply relaying information, because good narrative can enable decision makers to both see the import of the data, and see the path to action.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before — a Lyft driver with a programmed GPS (almost) ends up in the wrong country. No, not the one where the Uber driver got stuck on stairs, or for that matter any of myriad examplesof people blindly following a magical machine voice, with morals about the dehumanization power of machines. My story is about how machines, or perhaps, more appropriately, the algorithms that run them, need to be considered as active agents in social interactions, albeit ones that do not behave in the same way as human actors.
One of my many activities I enjoy is mentoring entrepreneurs and startups. A key part of the startup playbook is talking to customers. On the philosophy that everyone could (and should) be talking to other people, that means there are a lot of these conversations happening. Here are 7 key things to keep in mind, before, during, and after customer interactions.
As an anthropologist, I am familiar with the interplay between magic and science and the seemingly divergent realms of rational scientific process and causality through magical association. Often the lines between them are not so distinct as we might like to believe that they are. The same holds true In business, where the belief that following certain (rational) processes, steps or frameworks will, by (magical) association, lead to desired results.
The issues of understanding infrastructure and rendering tacit knowledge about its master narratives explicit—to ourselves and to users—do not have easy answers.
Company success and employee satisfaction depend on social ties that are hard to forge in a globalized era
A reflection on the malaise and angst of middle aged professionals encountering work, love, death, and daily life in a world that requires constant evaluation and reevaluation for each individual’s own personal sensemaking.