Recorded on April 8th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome…
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Welcome to human factors cast, your weekly podcast for human factors, psychology everybody.
Welcome back to another episode of human factors cast, it is Episode 201. We're recording this live on April 8 2021. I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined by my good friend and yours, Mr. Blake Arne stuff.
Yes. How are you doing, Nick?
Like, I'm good. I got some programming notes to go over just a quick Community Update. I want to thank everyone for tuning in to Episode 200. That was a ton of fun to hear from everyone. And our numbers kind of definitely show that we had a lot of visibility on that episode. So thank you to everyone who watched that. And if you're new to the show, thank you for hanging out with us. I'm happy to have you. You know, we've, I do want to say that we've kind of just a quick little Community Update. We've updated our events page in our slack and discord to include all major United States, West cities, and we're gonna slowly add to that over time. So it's kind of populating some of these meetups from United States West, and we're going to work on United States East next. So everything west of Colorado, we're, you know, is all in kind of one feed, so you can kind of see what's going on. So check us out on slack and discord, where it's a valuable resource for you. But I don't want to waste too much time. One thing that we didn't mention last week's episode is that we're actually going to move the banter to the end of the show, we know what you're here for you're here for the human factors, news. We're not going to keep that from you. So why don't we go ahead and get into it?
This part of the show is all about human factors news. This is where we talk about everything related to the field of human factors. This could be anything from medical, privacy, security, robotics, Ai, whatever it is, as long as it relates to the field of human factors. It is fair game for us to sit here and talk about what do we have up this week,
or kind of touching on a lot of different aspects. But this comes from Facebook reality labs research this week. So they're actually building an augmented reality that will actually force users to choose between interacting with devices or the real world around you. So rather than dragging your attention away to peripheral devices, like what we have with our mobile phones, ar glasses will change the world around you making people kind of the center of the computing experience. The future of HCI definitely depends on an exceptionally easy to use, and reliable as well as private interface that lets us remain completely present in the real world all times, while also being able to experience what's augmented glasses are really cool. And that will likely be a driving force of augmented realities future, but there's also another opportunity, and that's comes from the wrist. So the wrist isn't a traditional place where we wear watches, fitbits, any of that kind of stuff, meaning it could reasonably fit into your everyday life and be acceptable, even social context. It's a comfortable location to wear wearables all day. And it's located right next to primary instruments you would use to interact with the world in augmented reality, your own hands. So the proximity here would allow us to bring rich control capabilities of AR into your hands enable with the combination with glasses, enabling much more intuitive, powerful and even satisfying interactions. So Facebook believes that their wristband wearables may offer a path to low ultra low friction, always available inputs for AR glasses. But it's not a completely complete solution at the moment, but it's a work in progress. So Nick, this is something I haven't really thought about with AR, or if it gets put into glasses, the fact that you have to kind of have a medium that the glasses can interact with, so that you can manipulate your own physical world that you're dealing with.
Yeah, let's talk a brief brief history of augmented reality, where it is now and what the interaction methods are now. So think about augmented reality. This is a virtual overlay of the environment in which you're in. So if you were looking at a wall, you might be able to project something like a calendar on that wall. If you were to look at an object in the physical world that might give you additional details about what this is like I'm holding up duct tape right now, this might actually tell me that what I'm looking at is a gorilla Brand Duct Tape not sponsored on this episode. But you know, it might tell me additional information about it. Likewise, I might hold up a device that is able to be interacted with. So like let's say I walk up to a lamp in my home or if I look up to a light source, I may be able to modify that. Now the way that we interact with this stuff now, or at least up until this point is there's well it's weird because there's there's several different technologies out there but the ones that I'm most familiar with are Kind of these onboard cameras on the augmented reality devices themselves that monitor where your hand placement is in relation to the environment. And you might be able to control something by reaching out and touching a virtual object with your finger and there's tracking built into the device that you're using. There's also a keyboard and mouse, which is a traditional interface that you use to interact with some of these elements in a virtual space. And it's a little weird to think about that conceptually, like if you were to wear a pair of augmented reality glasses, and you were to move a mouse up off your computer and onto your wall to interact with that calendar. Right? That's one example.
Now, let's talk about Facebook, what they're doing here, we're looking at a wrist device that measures e m, g, Eg is an EMG, EMG. End, right? It's, it's looking at EMG. And it is offering this wrist mounted wearable as a as an additional method of interacting with your environment. So now if you were to walk up to that lamp, that same lamp, there might be an interface, but now it's tracking my intent through the use of this wearable. So if I go up to it, and I press my wrist down, or if I push my finger down it, the device will presumably pick that up, present me with haptic feedback built into the device. And give me that sensation that yes, I have clicked that object and I can slide down the brightness, I can turn it on, turn it off, change the color, all that stuff. And there's a video on this article, where you can go and check out and if you're listening to this, I highly recommend going and looking at this article as we talk about it in tandem. Because there's going to be a lot of these concepts that we're talking about that are easier to show than they are to describe with words. We'll try our best here on the show. But I think that's a pretty good recap of where we're at with AR and how we interact with it and kind of what this thing is that at the base level, I also
wanted to ask you, Nick, because you're, you're so much more plugged in to anything virtual reality or augmented reality. So I want to ask potentially a layman's question. But what I consider something I don't know. So they talk a good bit about in the beginning of this article that they kind of new modes of interaction right now have to do with your phone. So it's things like, you know, being able to use an Ikea app that allows you to manipulate furniture in your house and projected on your space or like stuff like Pokemon Go, is that also considered augmented reality?
Yeah, good point of clarification there. So I was talking specifically about it about like a head mounted, augmented reality display. There are other augmented reality tools that you can use mobile is a big part of this right now you can visualize 3d objects in your own personal space, you can, like you said, IKEA, you can put a new couch in your space and see how that might fit based on the dimensions of your own household. Now there are you know, there's Pokemon Go, which overlays a virtual Pokemon on top of the environment in which you're in. And there's actually a really cool article from Niantic, they're actually building some AR glasses. So you can actually see the Pokemon and it's it's pretty wild. So they teased it, there's no actual news yet. So we might actually have that in our news at some point, but we'll see where we go. Yes, that is all included in augmented reality, when you think about the umbrella of mixed reality, just xx reality, whatever it is, right? augmented, mixed virtual. So that's, that's a part of it.
Very cool. Yeah. So I mean, the transition away from like, just the phone experience, right? Because although it's cool, it's interesting. It's something you keep in your pocket, and you always have, like, I totally get Facebook's perspective. And they're kind of like long thinking or long term game here of Well, we're, we know, we Facebook are going to try and integrate it into glasses, assuming there's definitely other companies that have tried this and have not perfected it yet. We've talked about them on the show a couple of times. But how are we going to allow people to still interact with the world around them in meaningful ways without losing context? So I think it's it does show a lot of really intensive and thoughtful research on Facebook's part to think about like Well, okay, what's most natural, probably using your hands and how do we allow people to do that. And so this, this idea of sticking something on your wrist as a wearable that in in the videos or in any of the images, you see might look pretty big, like bracelets and almost could be clunky, but I could imagine over time this stuff gets, you know, whittled down to a band, kind of like how fitbits originally started.
Yeah, it does look clunky right now. However, if you think about the alternative of interacting with things in your environment, That our I don't know if you're if you think about you know, using a keyboard and mouse wherever you're at, if you think about using a sort of that that other methodology that I told where you have, you know, the camera mounted on your head mounted display that reads your, your finger placement in the virtual environment, it's not always a perfect mapping. And it might be weird to use, you don't get that haptic feedback. So this, this makes sense from that perspective, right? You're using your hands to interact with augmented objects in your environment. And so, can we talk about this device, just let's, let's just talk about how this thing works. Right. So like we mentioned, it's a, it's using EMG. And basically, what that means is that you are, there's a signal that comes from your brain that goes to your hand, that communicates the intent that you want your hand to perform. And what this device does is it reads that intent as it goes to your hand and translates that into some command for you to interact with a virtual environment or an augmented reality, augmented environment in this case. And so if you were to, you know, hold out your wrist in front of you, and stick out your pointer finger and click with it, you know, that that small level of detail could be measured by this device. And so, you also have things like positional tracking, so it would know where your hand is in relation to the 3d space. And so if you communicate both the position of your hand and the intent of your interaction, ie a finger click, then it can determine where exactly you are intending to click in that virtual environment. So that's kind of at at a base level, how this goes, we're not going to get into the science of EMG. But you can imagine that there's a lot of, there's a lot of cool technology that goes into reading your intent. And, you know, using a computer to algorithm to understand exactly where you're at, we're talking about the computer, the human computer interaction side of things here, and what this might mean. You know, as it relates to how you interact with these environments now. So I mean, they mentioned a couple things in their are their article here about like controlling virtual objects, you can like grab stuff, and move it with your hand, using this device, you can do like, typing on your own personal keyboard, which I have a little bit of issue with, because there's haptic feedback is weird. And if you look at the demo, it's very janky. There's like, there's some, there's some magic going on there. I think behind the scenes, if you look at the video there, they're clearly typing and there's like some computer algorithm behind the scene. That's like, correcting it for them. Because it's like, oh, this could have been, you know, J or K, but I'm not quite sure. So I'm just gonna put both down. And then as the word typed out, it kind of changes. So it's a little janky. To me. You know, we're also talking about different types of interaction like they use this, these, this bow and arrow example of how, you know, there might be a complex interaction where you're using both of your hands to do something, you can imagine that there's a lot of different possibilities with this. But that's just kind of a preview of what they're intending this thing to be used with.
Yeah, I guess like one thing I was questioning because it's, it's really mind blowing to me, because like, measure EMG is your EMG has been around for a long, long time using a lot of different applications before. But like the fact that this is now able to measure something in such a much finer grain of detail that you can catch those signals fast enough to kind of understand that, even like a finger touch, that's where somebody is meaning something to be. But the part that I always kind of go back to I don't know if it's because I've spent too much time dealing with input devices in my thesis work, or in my research work, I guess. But I immediately wondered like, Okay, great. So the it's more seamless to interact with your environment. But how does that actually feel in addition to the visual perception that you're changing things. And so it looks like part of the reason I'm imagining that these wrist wearables are so big, is they have looks like they have like tubes all the way around the size, like a really big chainlink wristwatch. And that is part of the haptic feedback system that is able to kind of correct you or give you a little bit more about what's going on in the environment. I think they think the prototype is actually called the tactical squeeze bracelet interface. So these little vibrotactile vibro tactical actuators are all around your wrist and kind of give you a little bit of extra feedback in terms of what's going on in the environment. So I mean, it's really cool but it does like in the videos kind of show you It's still an early prototype stage, there's a lot to kind of figure out in terms of probably the glasses themselves, but also the interfaces with the real world.
Yeah, so let's talk briefly about that haptic interface that you mentioned. Right. So now, instead of like I said, you know, traditionally, the experience has been minimal feedback, I would say, you know, if you're looking at it through your phone, you might get a vibration on your phone, but it doesn't give you direction, you might get, you know, a vibration on your head, if you're looking at a, you know, if there's some vibration mechanism in your HMD. But then it kind of vibrates your vision and maybe makes things a little squiggly. There's, there's issues with the way it is now. So by providing that haptic feedback on these wrist mounted devices, now, you're actually kind of localizing it to the hands which are interacting with this environment. So one example that they use here is kind of this bow and arrow, where you imagine if you were to caulk a bow and arrow, right, as you pull it back, basically, what happens on these devices Is it is it gives you the sensation that it's tightening around your wrist, that as you pull back this virtual bow and arrow, you are, you know, it's giving you more and more haptic feedback to give you that you are that sense of tension in the string. And you know, as you let go, all that tension goes away. And so they are using some clever haptic feedback to kind of communicate what's going on, I'd imagine a click is very easy to simulate, you know, you just give a click vibration, maybe on the bottom of the race bracelet to make you feel like you just clicked an object. or there might be even, I don't know, if they mentioned this in the article, it's been a while since I've read it. Admittedly, we found this last week. So you know, if there's some way of providing a sensation of if you're going to, if you're getting near a virtual object to write, like, let's say, let's say there is some object in the virtual space. And as you're nearing it, it might give you some proximity. haptic feedback to let you know that you're close to that, you know, object. So as you get closer, it might vibrate a little harder. As you move away, it might vibrate a little less. And there are some really interesting things going on with haptic technology right now, you know, you see this in the PlayStation five controller, where there's more advanced ways to give you specific haptic feedback than just the rotational motors of the past. Right? There's, there's some really advanced ways in which you can get that haptic feedback now, and it's actually very specific. And can you can do some really interesting things that highly recommend anyone go check out what's going on with the PlayStation five triggers. For more on that, but you know, just just leave it, leave it to say suffice to say that there are some really cool interaction methods that you can do with some of that haptic feedback. And I think what they're doing here is, it's actually really cool, right? I mean, you can imagine, there's a whole set of research questions that you can ask an answer about what haptic feedback is appropriate for interacting with augmented objects? as cool.
There's even like, it's it's kind of an interesting UX design space as well, because it gives you a way to understand what's the impact of somebody interacting in the space? How immersive does it actually feel? I mean, some of the the stuff that they show on the website, if anybody's watched the videos, you'll you'll notice that some it's kind of like, cartoonish. But what if this is a much more realistic world environment? How do you keep that immersion going? And a lot of it's probably going to be between, you know, some in some degrees, I would imagine some sound design, what's the visual doing, but also on top of that, how haptics are interacting with you in a way that, you know, makes you feel like it's a normal experience, because like Nick was describing, there may be instances where you're kind of having to augment the world. That's so silly to say in this context. But you're you're almost augmenting a typical experience to feel like it. It's like you're getting closer to an object like in the real world, like I've got an app to the right of me, I don't vibrate or get, you know, any haptic feedback as I move closer to it. I only get tactile feedback when I actually touch it. So it's kind of bridging that gap to create those more immersive experiences through a combination of what we experienced in the normal world, but also using different mediums like haptics to make something feel more realistic or make it feel real at all.
Yeah, let's talk about kind of the, the, the what I would consider the weird part of this. You talk about haptics and making it feel a little bit more normal. They, they talk briefly about the social haptics bit of this, right so they also suggest that how haptics on these devices might actually be able to convey emotion. And they actually are calling these haptic emojis.
Yeah, that's right.
Yeah. So I mean, they they go on to say, you know, if you're in the right context, a different type of haptic feedback could correspond to popular emojis. And it could be a different way to interact socially. And so that this, this getting into the weird territory, like what does a haptic emoji feel like? You know, like, it's so conceptually, far from what we're what we have right now, at least in my mind, right? I think of a emoji like, what is it? 100% emoji sound feel like, right, like,
full vibration? Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, like, how do you communicate emotion through haptics? Now, I don't doubt that it's possible, because that's, in some ways, it's not the same as well as describing and what I've described was poor, but like, the, the environment that you're gonna have to create is going to be fundamentally different, because you're using different things to create objects and to make them seem real. So something like giving off haptic emojis or haptic emotions, it sounds really far out there. But I could imagine it being you know, something that will happen and looks like they're already looking into how that's going to be in the real world and allow you to interact socially with each other. But it's, it's almost, it's funny, because when I think of emotions, maybe it's the psychology me I think of color, more so than anything else, and visual perception. So what that means, in a, you know, vibrate vibratory action, I have no idea. But like when you said 100, that just made me feel like, that's a lot of vibration, I don't know. But it'd be cool to see how that evolves, it will
be cool to see how that kind of comes into play here. And I do want to mention, so they were talking about these research threads right now, there's, they have several different prototypes to kind of get at these different research threads, like they have one prototype for the I think it's for the emojis, right? They have this bello band, which uses air within the bellows and can be controlled to render pressure and vibration, these complex patterns of space and time. And then they have another prototype called tasbeeh, which is short for tactical and squeeze bracelet interface. And this is using vibrotactile actuators. And a novel risk raise mechanism. So they're using different they're testing different ways of of this haptic feedback. So this is this haptic feedback is something that they're really, really focusing on. You know, I will, I will end this I think with with kind of this last point here with privacy and security, as it and safety as it relates to these research questions, right now, they do address this, because you can imagine, sort of there's, there's some, there can be ethical issues, as you start to look at some society level engagement with this stuff, right? They, you know, there may be some adverse consequences for using this type of technology. Let's leave it that way. And so they are considering this in their their research, I guess, and and this is kind of as a basis is what they say, here. privacy, security and safety must be considered fundamental research questions that underlie all of our explorations and risk based interaction. This is coming from Facebook, I have a complicated opinion on Facebook and privacy, security and safety are not three words that I think of when it comes to Facebook, but it's something that they specifically call out in relation to this research. I don't doubt that these researchers have bad intent. I just think that, you know, when you're talking about big mega corporations, it gets a little it's the word I'm looking for.
Well, I mean, we've seen it in the past too. And it's, it's one of those things where you've seen like, x Facebook's executives come out and be questioning the thing that they created. So it's, it's good to see that hopefully, there is actual like ethics committees that are really kind of taking a hold of how Facebook is from the research funding is approaching these problems. It seems like it in this article, they do, you know, have a fair chunk about a couple of different you know, sectors that within Facebook that function and think about that ethics and AR the ethics in you know, taking control of people's like neuroplasticity to be able to understand all that kind of stuff. So it's it's good. And it's coming from an institution that we know in the past we probably have all question at some point or another what they're doing in terms of privacy insecurity. And I have to say to their credit, I let or whoever that is really like spearheading this article, that they they are really thinking about some of the bigger problems Then you mentioned privacy and security. And I think safety becomes a big one when you create this augmented world because like, like, Pokemon Go is the example I go to. But I remember a lot, a lot of people kind of getting themselves in precarious situations not paying attention to the world around them while they were walking off
the train tracks. And
yeah, I mean, exactly, or like, I've watched somebody walk into a stop sign one time, but it's, it's like this kind of stuff, you have to figure out where the the line in the real world like bridges that gap, so that we are not creating like safety issues for people that are interacting in augmented world while they're out and about with other people in a social setting, or whatever it may be.
Yeah, I'll leave it with one last point here. They say they collaborate with academic ethicists to help the industry as a whole address issues and our embedded ethicists within our team help guide us as we address considerations like data management. So that's another kind of important issue. All right, I think I think we're good on that story. I just want to thank Facebook for our story this week, it was a pretty good one, I think. And thank you to our patrons for selecting the topic this week. You know, if you want to follow along, we have an interesting way you can do that now. But we do post all of them in our slack and discord as we find them. So join us over there for our discussion. We're gonna take a quick break. We'll be back in a minute, we'll see what's going on in the human factors community. Back after this.
Human Factors cast brings you the best in human factors, news interviews, conference coverage, and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce. But we can't do it without you. The Human Factors cast network is 100% listener supported all the funds that go into running the show come from our listeners. Our patrons are our priority, and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us. pledges started just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly q&a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and Human Factors minute, a Patreon only weekly podcast where the hosts break down unique, obscure and interesting Human Factors topics in just one minute Patreon rewards are always evolving. So stop by patreon.com slash Human Factors cast to see what support level may be right for you. Thank you. And remember, it depends. All right,
and we're back. I just want to do a huge thank you as always, to our patrons, and especially our honorary human factors. Cast staff Michele Tripp patrons like you keep the show running. Thank you all so much for your continued support. I do want to mention a new thing that we're doing over on our website, we are now doing a human factors, news roundup. This is a new thing that we're kind of spearheading this is. So what we've done in the past, Blake is we've just kind of found the news articles, and we posted them in our slack. And this kind of came because I was trying to manage. We have now our slack and our Discord. And we are kind of trying to link the two together. So that way anything that's posted in one gets posted in the other and kind of our shorthand solution is, is this human factors news roundup. So if you've, if you follow us on any of our social channels, we've actually posted this across those. And basically what it is, is it's a blog post on our website where we consolidate all the information that I find during my office hours on Twitch, you can find me Tuesday, finding those news stories and we've linked them all for you. They're conveniently all in one place for you. So if you are interested in following human factors, news for all the things that don't make the show, or things that our patrons get to vote on, to select the new story. Check that out. It's something I think that you know, we've just been doing anyway. And now it's a way to kind of package it up and give it back to the human factors community. We're trying to be more than just mouthpieces on a podcast every week we're trying to give back to the community. Speaking of the community, let's go ahead and get into this next part of the show that came
from it came from That's right. It came from
Reddit. This is the part of the show where research all over the internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. any topic is fair game as long as it relates to the field of you guessed it, human factors. Now, we have a couple of these this week. And some of these are pretty interesting. I really like these stories that we've or these these Reddit posts that these stories are not stories. I mean, I guess some of them are stories.
Some of them have some stories that are told here for sure.
Yeah. Let me see. So our first one here. my computer's chugging, give me one second. So this one here. This one is from glitchy 90, or sorry, glitchy 911 on the user experience subreddit. They go on to write quitting my job six weeks in How bad is this? Do I even care? Hey, guys, I'm exhausted. I'm a senior designer and a single mom. I've worked for everything. I've worked for everything from agencies, to Fang to high growth startups. I'm at a startup right now, I've never worked this hard in my life. And I'm a workaholic, who loves design. I'm pulling 12 hour day minimums and more common is working from around 9am to 10pm, taking a little break, and then working until 2am or so. I've tried everything talking to them. They literally laughed when I told them how many hours I was working. They love this culture and work very hard to make it this way. This is all on purpose. Waiting for new leadership, we brought in a new head of product who has a laughable for experience as a PM, IC level, not even senior pm. He's just community. He's committed to us a year's worth of work for the next quarter when we're already underwater and a half a quarter behind. Just not working more than eight hours, we missed our deadlines and got yelled at for being the world's slowest design team. And the CEO has been quote pissed at us every every day since the only thing I can think of to do here is leave at this point, we've been set up to fail for q2, I directly told them that even if every designer at the company worked for 24 hours straight on the project for all of q2, it would still only be halfway done. The answer is always guys, come on. We got to be aggressive here. I'm at the point where I'm angry. I hate the company. I hate to work now. I hate the leadership. I have no wife and barely interact with my son anymore. They pay a lot. But that's just numbers in the bank after I reached my after I reached mid one hundreds, okay, good flex.
So now I'm interviewing and actively looking. I'm terrified of getting stuck in a similar similar role after this. I'm trying to tell myself there's no way these more established companies work like this. But there was no sign of this culture in the interview process. Also, it's going to be really awkward to quit after six weeks when the CEO is my direct boss, but I literally don't know what else to do. This is the nightmare job I've always been afraid of in tech, but luckily never encountered before. Blake, what should this what should glitchy 911 do? Welcome tense?
I don't know. Yeah, yes. And no. I mean, welcome to startups, though. I mean, they can, it just depends on what you walk into. And I don't know, this person's a senior designer. So they're, they're 10 tiers above me, I mean, especially if on the flex on the salary. But let's, let's try and contextualize this into some meaningful stuff that you could think here. One thing I am a little bit confused by is they mentioned loving, you know, loving, be loving, being a designer and already being a workaholic. But this particular like either because of culture can't like get a good design team together, no leadership, like that's even working against them. So that's just a bad sign. And then when it's getting in an inner when it's interfering with your life, and you're a workaholic, and you have like children, like this whole thing of not being able to, you know, interact with their son the same way and being a single mom, that just can't be okay for you. I can't imagine that that feels right at the end of the day. So I, if if you've gotten to the point of anger, like, trust me, I've been at a startup before I've gotten to the angry place, it's time to go. And it seems like you must have a lot of talent, it because you've you've mentioned you've worked in Fang, you've worked in other high growth startups. So maybe this is just one in the bad batch. And it sounded good. The biggest thing to do is like continue interviewing I, I, let's let's see here. So don't just quit the job and walk away from it. I think that's a bad move at this point, unless you just have so much saved and you don't really need to worry about you know, living for the next year, I would just keep interviewing and find your next position, with the biggest caveat being like, even if you get into another startup, do a lot more research and interviewing of the company. Because if you're if you walk into another startup, it's at the same level, at same starting place, same series funding, you could just end up in the same situation, if you're not kind of being cognizant of who you're going to end up working for what the experience is, like getting a good sense of the CEO, and stuff like that, because that's, I mean, it seems like you've got the talent, you have the experience. It's just not really great leadership can't kind of get a good design team up under you guys. So just keep interviewing, keep pushing forward. I don't know Nick, what what kind of approach would you take to something like this?
This is awful. I hate this. Yeah, I feel so bad for this person. I mean, especially as a single mom, like, I, I can't get that I I'm a parent, you know, with with a partner who's able to look after the boy when I'm busy and you know, vice versa. And so I think Blake's absolutely right here, do what's right for you. And I think you're already at the conclusion that you understand that this is not right for you. Yeah, this is this is crazy. I can't imagine working 12 hour days, minimums and even more common than 9am to 10pm. That's insane. That's insane. Crazy. You know, I think there's, there's a couple things going on here right now, right, there's, this is six weeks in, I would almost look for a company that allows you to work remotely. If that's possible, if that's something that you enjoy. for a couple of reasons, one, you can get away with a lot less salary than you're working with now. And you can live wherever you like, if it is just numbers in the bank to you, like Blake said, if you have the money saved up, quit now get out, don't give yourself that stress. That's a lot. That's a lot to deal with. And I just, I can't imagine working in this environment for long without burning out entirely. Like, you know, if you're, if you're in this environment, where you're actually just not loving it anymore, then why are you even there? Why are you? Why are you doing that thing. Just find something else that you might enjoy better, or gives you a better work life balance between the work that you're doing and the work that you're expected to do. And, you know, the commitment to your family that you need. You know, that's, I think Blake kind of hit the nail on the head here. If you're, if you're talking to a company, you're interviewing them just as much as they're interviewing you. And so, you know, it's kind of hard to get a sense of culture of a company from the outside looking in. But those are types of questions that you could ask during the interview process. And certainly, you know, I would I would describe this experience in every interview that you have, and say, This is not what I want. What's your, you know, kind of work life balance, like here. And if you get any weird vibes, maybe don't pursue it. That's that's kind of where I'm at.
Yeah, I mean, though, so one thing that I'm just noticing, and I caught like, just in case somebody is listening to this, or when we cut this up and put on YouTube, or wherever else, we put it. Like, if you find yourself being angry, and you hate the company, ask yourself, okay, I hate the company. Do I love the product? And do I believe in the product because you can change company culture. If you hate leadership, in the startup world that turns over and often changes a lot. That's just the nature of, you know, early stage startups or high growth startups. But if you ever find yourself hating the work, that's where I think there's a really big problem, because you can't, you can't fix that for anybody, by yourself. And if you're just at the point where you don't, you don't want to do human factors, you don't want to do user experience design, you don't want to be a software developer, you've really got to take a step back. And either take a pause in your career life or definitely be diving really deep into finding something else to do or something else that will bring that meaning back into the stuff that you used to like doing, and you enjoy before. So that's like, that's a really big takeaway here. Nick is totally right. This seems like a pretty terrible situation. I think it's more common than not in some early stage startups. But regardless, you seem down to go find something else better to do with your time.
Get out while you can. Alright, let's get into this next one here. This one is from neon lights on the user experience subreddit. I can't handle praise from my mentor.
I love this name.
So this is uh, let's see here. My company CEO told me our six months ago, my company CEO told me I needed to find a design mentor. So I'm the highest level designer at my company, and he wants me to lead design innovate innovation. I ended up finding a mentor who I really respected, spent 10 plus years on the field and has worked at the biggest design driven companies. He thankfully are very thankful to have him. First of all, I feel so awkward with him because I get very anxious and nervous. And I find it hard to have a natural conversation because of that. Secondly, I asked him for a lot of advice, and I show him what we're working on at the company from a design viewpoint. And after a few months now of him mentoring me, he's been giving me very high praises. This might sound silly, but I'm finding it hard to cope with these praises as I've never really been praised this highly before. I feel a lot of energetic anxiety because of it. And I can't say I like the feeling. I'm just curious if anyone else has felt this way or going through their creative development. Blake, have you How do you handle praise and is it something that we should be? dubious of is how do you handle praise? Praise this,
this is a hard one. I should would have paid more attention and thought about this a little bit harder. I don't handle praise Well, like I, I can totally sympathize with this person saying, I mean, just, I talked about this a little bit earlier on the ER before we even started recording. So I had a couple of colleagues, reach out to me about the episode 200 of the podcast. And like, I couldn't even really be more, I don't know, my first go to is like, this is Nick show, right? That he did all the work, I've just kind of hanging out. And so I can't, I'm not very good at taking praise. And I think it's something that people really, if they have a problem like myself, you need to kind of be okay, and take the praise, take a second to be okay with the fact that you've done something good, before you just jet on to the next thing, because I think that can that can wind you up in these kind of tough spots where you've never taken a second to say like, oh, that worked out really well. I'm glad that I was doing this, any of that kind of stuff, because you'll get caught up in just the bad moments all the time. Also, I would. So I've worked with a lot of people over the past two years through design lab, both with the company as a design mentor, outside of the company after like the company or after students like finish the program for a career development and stuff like that. And so I know what it's like. And I'm not I'm not saying I am some great senior designer, but I can see it in other people when they feel nervous to talk to me about things. And I think the best way to get around that if you're feeling that with a mentor, is to be honest with them that you feel that way. And it'll probably give you a different level of relationship with that person. And it will also if it's, if it's so like, in this case, causing you some kind of serious and energetic anxiety, it's good for somebody else to know that so that they will tailor what they're kind of spending their time focusing on. Sounds like you just do really good work. And you need to be okay with the fact that you you're good at your job. And you have a awesome design mentor who has really good experiences and is saying that to you. But I think just be very open with the person you're working with. So they can understand and not cause you overly bunch of this energetic anxiety. But Nick, I mean, how do you deal with, like praise or anybody kind of giving you you know, a lot of attaboys or any
attaboys or any of that stuff i deflect i deflect i mean look here's the thing um i'm doing it now you say this is my show blake this show wouldn't be what it is without you either um and and you know i think one thing that we all have to consider is this little thing called imposter syndrome and it's very easy to feel that where you're not quite sure the thing that you're doing um you're not quite sure you're worthy of the thing that you're doing and um i get the sense that that's going on a little bit here blake brought up some really good points um let's let's talk about them one an effective mentor-mentee relationship revolves around communication and if you are not okay with praise or find it awkward to receive that praise let your mentor know that honesty will pay off and if they're a good mentor they will adjust the way that they address your work they might say uh they might approach things slightly more critically and provide a little bit more actionable feedback on some of the nitpicky aspects of it if that would make you feel better about it um there are ways to give backhanded compliments if you will uh in a mentor-mentee relationship that still provides feedback but also mostly tells somebody that they're on the right path um this is a weird question because uh i i know a lot of people who don't take praise well um and and uh you know i think both of us here on the show are included in that right like you said it yourself you you got praise for that last last week's episode and um i did too and it's just it's one of those things where it's like look like it we're just doing the thing that we do um it's almost like it's expected and so don't praise us because we're just doing the thing uh i don't know i struggle with this one too personally um and the best thing we can do is kind of communicate with our mentor and say hey i don't can you phrase it a different way um yeah it's super important and and when you do get that awkward you know kind of compliment then then that's when you bring it up to them like say hey look like that's really nice of you to say um i don't necessarily feel that um i feel like this is just part of the job and uh i i'm looking for actionable feedback here i'm not looking for praise uh and so you know anything even nitpicks that that would be appreciated and so kind of outlining exactly what you're looking for instead of praise i think might be a way to go um yeah anything else to add to that one blake i know i think that's actually a perfect script too because that's enough to be very pointed about the fact that like you're here for a specific purpose you're not really looking for anything beyond that um and then it'll it'll probably have your mentor shift their focus and be like they will tell you still good work here are some things you could think about looking at or you should consider versus like long-winded praise i don't know if this person hears this just be stoked that you have some mentor that is this renowned it sounds like um and they will definitely take the feedback and roll it into how they're talking to you for sure because i'm sure this is not the first time they've had to do that yeah all right let's go through one more of these this is uh from caters on the user experience subreddit what would you say to a company that doesn't like the fact that you have a side business i was interviewing with a company this morning and i mentioned the fact that i have a side business as well the head of design stated ask or started asking me lots of questions about it at first i thought she was just interested in my business but then she went like quote i can see you you're very enthusiastic about this project i don't understand why you would want to work with us then duh of course i'm enthusiastic about it it's my side business i explained her that i only work on my side business during my free time and that it's actually not my full-time gig and she said quote well i personally work a lot in this company i wouldn't have the time to handle a side business and so i told her sure uh but i'm assuming you work monday to friday right and she said yes and i was like good okay this is this is a story good so you're free on the weekends that's when i would work on my side business for a few hours she didn't know what to say and laughed it off to be honest she mentioned the fact that she works in the evenings as most of the times which is probably a big red flag so i think i might ditch this company anyway but my question is why does she react that way maybe because she thinks i'm not going to put 100 into their business even though i told her countless times that i only work on my side businesses during my free time i've talked about my side businesses to lots of other companies um and they were all very happy about it they always ask me interesting questions and they were also very happy about the fact that i was so enthusiastic about building products i actually think it has been one of my strongest selling points when interviewing with companies creating and handling a business requires a lot of skills that most designers or human factors practitioners don't have it also shows that you're always working on something interesting and that you like putting yourself in challenging situations i was about to say to her but i didn't look it seems like this is a cause of concern for you if me having a business is a problem maybe i'm not the right fit for this job and you should hire someone who doesn't do anything else besides working for you blake do you have a side gig and how does your employer react to it and what would you do in this case yeah so this is really a cool one and i'm glad the narrative's in here too um because although this was not the question right this goes back to being really cognizant of who you are and what you like to do and not being able not being afraid to kind of show that off in interviews because i think this tactic of talking about the side business actually told you that you don't want to work for this company because of the reaction and you on a side note for your side business learned a little bit about the company culture and the fact that somebody told you one thing but wasn't honest in the first round of how often do they work do they work monday through friday do they work a normal schedule you found out a lot from just this one thing that's all about you um so the side business thing can be hard right so you have to be willing to have a conversation about it if it ends up in something like this where it puts you in an awkward situation i don't think i would have tackled it the way that you it i don't actually i'm glad that you tackled it the way you did i don't think i would have gone as far to say like i don't know that i'm the right fit for somebody that only works for this company i would have just said you know if this is concerning we should have a conversation further about it if i'm a likely candidate or something like that but ultimately if the company's not willing to have a conversation or understand what you're doing in the hours that you're doing it then you you probably just don't want to be there um ultimately for me uh teaching was much more of my passion and i kind of i knew that before i ever got into human factors and it's just something i never pursued so i fell into actually getting two jobs at once by accident i didn't mean to be working two jobs at the same time i applied for one and then got an offer for another and they just coincided the basically the way that i handled it is i just made the company aware before i came in that hey i have this job i know there are other people at the company that have similar positions these are the hours that are associated with it and if it's a problem we need to have the discussion now before everything gets started and i'm wrangled into projects and i'm doing the work for you um it also has come up with the podcast a couple times about like what is this what is this thing are you earning revenue from it all these kind of other conversations that you have to have around side things that you do so it's just one of those kind of opportunities for you to talk to somebody else about why you're doing what you're doing and kind of letting others know that it's a fulfilling part of your life and so being able to have that conversation with your employer is a good thing and something you want to be able to do if you start feeling like you're running into hey we just can't have you working a side job then maybe it's time to consider which one you prefer to do more um and find another job that allows you to have the side job or you know turn what you're doing into a full-time gig but yeah so nick what's your kind of experience in this realm for having a side business yeah so i wouldn't call the podcast a side business i would call it a side project that i put a lot of time and effort into and um while we are collecting donations through patreon thank you um you know we're not taking home any of that money it's getting all put right back into the show for now right we might actually use some of that to go to conferences someday um and that's when it's going to be a little bit more tricky to navigate in in terms of an employer however i will say from my perspective i've had employers that both appreciate what i do in this side project um and i've gotten a slap on the wrist for it and in the same uh in the same company even so it's like you just have to communicate that you are engaging in this uh other opportunity here um i think blake is right i think by explaining the situation by explaining that you have a side business and that your line in the sand is kind of an eight to five job where you know you're not um you're not planning to work nights and weekends every you know like what's the work life balance like we talked about with the other uh question here you know with the first one that we had with the single mother um what's the work-life balance and if they don't appreciate that you are working on a side business uh then it might be a good sign that you should not uh entertain that idea as a potential employer um you know for me it's like a lot of it's just not understanding what it is that you're doing on the side business and so the better you can communicate that right that's when i had the slap on the wrist it was like hey you're doing this thing without letting us know okay now that we know that's actually kind of cool uh just you know don't no company secrets obviously um so you know and then now like i have employers that are uh very much like oh this is really cool let's promote it within the company and so there it's it's a gamut right and i think the most important thing is to communicate uh which it sounds like you're doing just fine um and then also you know using that uh reaction or like you've described there are some companies that think it's awesome that you can deliver these products as a separate business um and you know those those are the ones that you want to look at personally i think is the ones that are going to let you do the things that you want to do on the side anything else to add to that blake no i think we've kind of covered it the other option there to that'll help you have that conversation which i have i've had in interviews is putting your side business and side project stuff in your resume in a highlighted way uh because that actually ends up sparking more interesting conversations sometimes than just like maybe the the traditional stuff that you do but it can be actually really good for you know just a talking point uh for an interview i agree all right let's get into this next part of the show it's new uh but it's called one more thing yes this is well where blake and i have an opportunity to talk about one more thing i used to be the banter but that's what it is now so blake what's your one more thing all right my one more thing so i pulled this it's it's i think it's about a week old so i want to give a shout out to design lab the company that i do design mentorship for they put out a mentor newsletter and a newsletter to the company like company-wide anybody that's on their distro about women in tech and the biggest thing was providing inclusive resources so this is something that's become you know bigger and bigger and i'm loving seeing a lot of events from you know different meetups like uxpla and in los angeles and all that kind of stuff but this is something that i thought would be super helpful for a lot of reasons in that we talked about this stuff on the show and we we actually did a reddit question about what what can you do to make an environment more inclusive and seeing this kind of like talk that's from i believe it's it's esther duran uh she's a group design director and global ind lead for fjord a big design agency um and this is like a talk that design lab put on about what are some actual things you can do to invoke inclusion and diversity in the in your organization especially if you feel like it's lacking another resource that i want to point out and i'll make sure that we put this in our description as well because i'm getting a lot of kind of questions about it is how to effectively network because we've talked a lot over the past five years probably about networking is important but what does that mean and you know i i am guilty of that all the time like just saying you just got a network you got to build a network but this actually lays out some pretty you know actionable steps that you can take um that might be things that you're not doing and so it's a good kind of like next set of steps so that's kind of my my two things just really wanted to get some more resources for the inclusion and diversity in organizations out there because i feel like it's one of those key topics right now across design organizations um and likely human factors organizations as well that the more stuff that's out there that we can all you know digest and think about and try to put into place uh the better off our companies and products are gonna end up being like you're already breaking the rule by saying two things that's okay though i know all right so i want to get into my two things here so just to remind everyone uh the human factors and ergonomic society healthcare symposium is next week um there i'll put a link to the description below it's a virtual event this year uh so no matter where you are you should be able to attend if you have the means to do so we highly recommend it we've had coverage of this event in the past um and has always been a ton of fun this is kind of late and breaking so it might not have may or may not happen but we might actually be able to provide some coverage of it this year we'll see stay tuned uh check us out on social we'll we'll let you know um but basically to remind everyone this is kind of uh you know the latest science and best practices for as it relates to human factors in engineering and health care um it's a great opportunity to network with other folks uh and and you know not just human factors practitioners i remember you and elise actually went to this one year and it was um it was one of those things where it's not just human factors folks going to these things it's you know medical device companies biomedical engineers healthcare providers fda representatives patients safety researchers tons of different roles from across the spectrum that allow you to network outside of human factors right human factors in engineering or sorry human factors in ergonomic society the conference is very much focused on us as human factors practitioners but this type of event is interesting because you can network with a bunch of different uh domains and so um again that's next week uh and kind of my second thing is um you know in honor of this event being next week we've made our first ever human factors minute that we produced well over a year ago for the healthcare symposium we actually made this free to everyone so we'll put a link in the description below so you can see what human factors minute is and as it relates to the healthcare symposium so if you want to hear a little bit more about that um yeah i think that's it awesome love it uh yeah that's it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of the news story this week you can hang out with us on our slack or discord or get to us on any of our social channels you can visit our official website or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest human factors news if you like what you hear you want to support the show there's a couple things you can do one leave us a five star review we love those two tell your friends about us um the word of mouth is really helpful or three if you're able consider supporting us on patreon and as always all our links to our social channels and our website are in the description of this episode i think mr blake arnstor for being on the show today where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about augmented reality bracelets so yeah i yet again have one more thing so you can always hang out with me in the discord or the slack for human factors cast you can find me across social media at don't panic ux but you can also come hang out with me on twitch on sundays as i go through things like building a portfolio i'm gonna shift the office hours to 9 30 pst so come hang out on twitch that's twitch.tv human factors cast at 9 30 pst this sunday as for me i've been your host nick rome you can find me streaming on twitch tuesdays at 11 pacific am for office hours and across social media at nick underscore rome thanks again for tuning in to human factors cast until next time it depends