Diversity and inclusion in UX

Thursday October 8, 1PM ET

Join Shanae Ullman, Sharelle Jones and Meena Kothandaraman as we explore the importance of diversity and inclusion in UX. We’ll share ways to demystify Anti-Racism in tech by exploring research and stories specific to the tech industry and startup ecosystem. How uses of color to invoke feelings are often swept aside; sharing how industry terms ‘dark web’- internet ills, ‘black market’ – financial sector crime, ‘dark pattern’ – deceitful user paths, all contribute to assumptions of guilt upon sight for deeply toned citizens. We’ll then explore some actionable steps we can take to ensure our research isn’t excluding the Black voice. Following the talks we will have a moderated question and answer session with all speakers.


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Inspiring talks on diversity and inclusion in UX

Shanae Ullman

Founder and CEO, Nerdy Diva

Designing Anti-Racism

Apply Design Thinking principles to create change and support equity. Demystify Anti-Racism in tech by exploring research and stories specific to the tech industry and startup ecosystem. Brainstorm and prioritize actionable outcomes for Anti-Racism in your organization that you can start crafting immediately. Take action with an Anti-Racism MVP will make the greatest impact on your employees, colleagues, and customers. Continue the journey. Plan for long term success with backlog management and agile ceremonies to track progress.

About Shanae Ullman

Shanae Ullman, Founder and CEO of Nerdy Diva, is passionate about women empowering women in business and life. Nerdy Diva is a UX consultancy offering Enterprise level UX research and design for startups. Shanae brings over a decade of experience in UX research and design from corporate Fortune 500 companies to clients. A passion for entrepreneurship and the direct need for an agency focused on empowering women and Black designers drove Shanae to build Nerdy Diva. She envisioned Nerdy Diva to be a place where the clients and staff alike would feel connected, supported, and encouraged to create innovative products and services. Nerdy Diva also is committed to service and often partners with organizations to teach design and coding to youth.

Sharelle Jones

City of Hope National Medical Center

Color - An Eye-Opening Discussion

Uses of color to invoke feelings are often swept aside; sharing how industry terms ‘dark web’- internet ills, ‘black market’ – financial sector crime, ‘dark pattern’ – deceitful user paths, all contribute to assumptions of guilt upon sight for deeply toned citizens. We will explore the energetic impact on consciousness and civilization.

About Sharelle Jones

Sharelle Jones is a cheerleader for technology at heart; an advocate for successful computing, a champion for user experience optimization via health and enterprise business applications. Sharelle is known for inspiring research strategies that bridge solutions from the bench of discovery to the bedside caregiver. She is an administrator of Microsoft & Salesforce platforms with the City of Hope National Medical Center. She believes that you should do the best that you can, with the skills that you have. And learn to be conscious about what you are building with laser focus on persons for whom you are creating. She is a graduate of Grambling State University and is internationally certified as a business analysis professional.

Meena Kothandaraman

Experience Strategist, twig+fish

When Research Excludes: Reflections on Black Lives Matter and Research Practice

The Black Lives Matter (#BLM) movement is raising awareness, conversation and reflection for many disciplines, including ours.

Given the #BLM discourse, our organization began to look more deeply at this conversation. Too many times, businesses are stringent with research resources, and ultimately it leads to a disservice to the business and to the people we ultimately serve. There is a cost of “not doing” when we review resource-poor research processes. We are vulnerable to not only neglecting the Black voice, but entirely excluding it. Our discipline’s familiar practices are so reactive to money and time constraints that we have made compensating behaviors the norm.

It is our responsibility to re-examine and rectify our processes to ultimately improve our practice. So often, we are coupled with design practices, who are mostly focused on efforts toward solution-making. When it comes to conversations on racial inequities and systemic bias, we must acknowledge that we are beholden to the people we are tasked with understanding, not solely the organization. In this way, and by taking this responsibility on, we hope we can begin to address the problem and raise awareness toward improvements.

In this short talk, Meena Kothandaraman, co-founder of twig+fish research practice, will share reflections on the research process and where compensations fall short. Meena will review the twig+fish five-phase research learning process – and highlight compensations and possibilities for improvement. twig+fish is already actively implementing some improvements to help raise the awareness of behaviors that exclude when conducting research activities.

About Meena Kothandaraman

With more than 25 years of experience, Meena has consulted to emphasize the strategic value and positioning of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and applies a credible, structured and transparent approach to integrating human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. Qualitative research serves as a vehicle to generating human stories, and additionally serves as a foundation for inspiring design within organizations. Meena’s experience spans multiple verticals, with companies who believe in the value of qualitative research.

Meena is a founding member of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA, that espouses these research beliefs, while maintaining a utopic work-life balance.

Apart from her core consulting practice, she has been a key contributor and Lecturer in the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program in her 19-year tenure. Meena teaches the capstone qualitative research course.

She holds an M.S. in Information Resources Management from Syracuse University and a B.Com. in MIS from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Meena is a proud Canadian and is absolutely fluent in poutine and beavertails, and some other languages!

More events from UXPA 2020: At Home

Every Thursday throughout October we’re exploring a new and important  UX topic. From diversity and inclusion, to career development and UX in Government. You can expect lots of live short talks, panel discussions, question and answer sessions and even lightning UX posters!

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