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Aug. 27, 2021

E216 - Virtual Reality: The Key for Learning?

Recorded live on August 26th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Blake Arnsdorff.

| Recorded live on August 26th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Blake Arnsdorff.

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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Yes hello hello it's episode 216 of human factors cast we're recording this life on 8/26/2021 realistic Rome I'm joined today as always by my good friend in yours Mr Blake OnStar mandate you said 216 and for some reason I couldn't even believe it how you doing today ma'am I'm I'm good 216 episodes later look we know you're here for the news but we have some programming updates we'd like to share with you all before we get into everything I'm gonna talk about this. Because there's there's a lot going on behind the scenes here human factors gas I want you all to be aware of it so first and foremost we have a digital media lab you're unaware. And they say that again I said it last week on the scene again this week there are some really exciting opportunities if you want to join that lab if you're a student looking for some more real world experience if your early career professional looking to do some extracurricular activities if you're you know a PhD who's been in the business for 30 years I I we're welcoming to all types of people in the human factors. Digital media lab and there's like I said some exciting opportunities coming up. Mmhm. Speaking of which this kind of rolls into that we know you all like conference coverage and we're adding a new one to our list. So we've been invited to the neuro economics conference in 2021 this is from September 11 to the 16. We've been invited you'll have coverage what that looks like we're still ironing out the details but there will be coverage on it it'll be really exciting I will put a link below for you all to check out the conference yourself and I think the last bit of information here is there the. The dive on the Olympics we mentioned that a couple weeks ago it will be coming out this week there's been a couple delays at that but it will be out this weekend on Saturday so look forward to that and we'll be back to the regular the scheduled deep dives next week. More nonsense next week. But you know follow us on our social channels on stuff if you want to be alerted a little bit earlier on that stuff that's all say have you been listening to our pre show on on any of the streaming platform's you kinda know what's in store there but that's that's a well that's what we'll leave it at there but we know why you're here you're here for human factors news so let's do it. That's right 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 week it looks like you got some VR in my education Blake what is the story this week this week we got researchers demonstrating the effectiveness of 3 D. visualization as a learning tool or as VR as Nick mentioned VR so researchers from the near Windsor image imaging center at NYU Abu Dhabi have developed the U. W. virtual brain project producing unique interactive in 3 D. narrated diagrams to help students learn about the structure and function of perceptual systems inside the human brain a new study to come along with this development is how we looked at how students responded to learning lessons both on desktop and virtual reality offering new insights into the possible benefits of VR as an educational tool through the various experiments researchers found that participants showed significant con team based learning for both devices with no significant difference between PC and VR devices for content based learning outcomes however the interesting part comes when you think about VR what did exceed P. C. in terms of achieving experience based learning outcomes in other words V. R. was found to be more enjoyable and easier to use by students so is a direct quote from some of the researchers students are were more enthusiastic about learning in VR however the findings that indicate that lawyers have some more access to learning about functional neuroanatomy through multiple platforms which means that those don't they don't have access to be our technology here are not edited here a disadvantage the PowerVR is the ability to transport learners into new environments they may not otherwise be able to explore but importantly VR is not a substitute for real world interactions with peers. Is an instructor's Sunday this is a interesting one because we've definitely talk about VR on the show talk about various you know impacts of learning in different modalities up but it's it's cool here that we're seeing it's not just a content only kind of change we're seeing between PC and we are but we're actually seeing people just enjoying the learning experience a little bit more at V. are some of your very well versed in so let's get your take here on kind of what you think might be going on yeah. Let's hear it let's let's even just back it up and see what everybody else thinks I'm so I'm gonna get right in the social bots at the top here so the thing that we ask you all on all of our social media channels is have you ever used VR to learn new things. And then if not what applications do you think of the R. word excel at so we ask that question we did a poll on our Instagram we had a response of 505050 percent yes 50 percent no so I'm surprised that the percentage was that high but you know the more I think about it in our field training is huge and so you know you think about. Some of the other stories that we've talked about on the show before training in VR I can very easily see you know like a surgeon training in VR and thinking that that is learning which it is right it's learning how to do an operation in VR and this story itself is just kind of taking a step back and saying okay well even without. You know doing a procedure a step by step. Cedar to perform something on something. Did you know you are still encountering those learning a fax by using virtual reality as a tool to get people to understand the concept I do want to briefly touch on. Before we go any further there's the image that we use for tonight's show kind of shows a view from inside. The headset and what you're looking at there is a brain with. The screen in front and and it's in VR and. This is actually a video that the researchers put out it actually goes through how you know you it's interactive in the sense that you can walk around this brain you can see. The eyeballs linked to the occipital lobe through the nerves and everything and it's all very. And very interactive so you can actually like look at it from various views and it's it's communicating things that are hard to see you can't look inside the brain you can't see the synapses firing you can't see the process he's going on and so that's what the effectiveness here of this tool is and I think that makes sense I think V. idea with using virtual reality is a technology to encourage learning these topics that are traditionally harder to learn makes sense to me I'm glad there's research out there that is that is looking at it I don't know what what's your read on this Blake so I think it it makes intuitive sense in some ways but I would wonder if as time goes on if you do more you know application or interaction based virtual experiences for learning if we would see them overcome kind of like PC being you know neck and neck with VR content based learning outcomes I think depending on the level of schooling yeah totally V. R. could be a very interesting medium to get students engaged because it's like it's a newer technology is a different way of experiencing things. And definitely like being able to see processes in the brain in a in a way that you can't really get out of a textbook in you may not be able to you know feel very immersed in even in a like PC learning experience where you could essentially see a similar video but not have it be something you could walk around and kind of get your own perspective all in order not to the same extent as you can with the VR goggles side up but I I do think the researchers make some interesting points in that it's not really meant to be a real world interaction substitute with your peers in your instructors but I think after you know in the world we've lived in for you know over a year I guess with kind of coded separating things out like VR headsets and a virtual reality experience could actually be a way to really bring people together in the classroom more so than you know the limitations that zoom brings or something like that so there's definitely a lot of power of the tool that I I would likely be bad if I was a betting man that over time B. R. will become much more kind of immersive and you might see even more content based learning outcomes for students in the classroom and then but some more site would think in the field and like you mentioned with different surgery techniques yeah so that that's an important distinction let's talk about the differences here between PC learning and we are learning and from my understanding is that they kind of show them the same thing you can navigate in a virtual environment on PC. However the the V. R. aspect of it because it's more interactive you know it kind of became more enjoyable and students are enthusiastic about it easier to use because you no longer have to worry about moving a mouse and keyboard and all the input messiness that comes with that you know it's intuitive because you're wearing a headset and your head is then controlling your view as it would in the real environment that's kind of the advantage there right so you can actually like duck down and look under the the brain to see how everything's going and and as opposed to like trying to maneuver with mouse and keyboard I think that is kind of a difference there I'm curious though there's you know Katie in our our slack asked question you know is V. are more enjoyable because it's still new or is there a way to make PC learning more enjoyable so how do we equate these 2 right what's what's your thoughts on that plate. So I thought it was interesting yeah but definitely in a good sense of they found between PC and VR that we're still getting those content based learning outcomes that are equivalent so when we talk about content based learning outcomes the assumption is is that they're actually talking about what if somebody learn if I like if I ask them what your questions after going through this VR PC less and did it were the students able to retain enough information and do comprehension well enough that they could answer you know test questions with questions type of thing it's so actually from the VR side I may have expected it to be a little bit less less so than the PC just because of the kind of exactly what Katie is said here it's a novel experience and something new something new to get used to as well so I I would imagine you get probably just like any kind of PC training like almost some tutorial or some walk through how to use the technology but in terms of can it can PC games be more enjoyable and is V. are kind of a way to kind of help push that I think that's a great point is that what did we really it still or what can we make a comparable experience from what's making B. are enjoyable and that hopefully is a line of research that still being actively sought after by researchers is really digging into a little bit more of why is it why is it enjoyable experience to learn in VR is it just because it's new is because of the interactive mediums or can we bring some of that war kind of 360 degree view of the brain in this case to PC learning platforms because I do think that one big barrier here is how do we get the our headsets accessible to a lot of different people especially in the school setting but from your perspective Nick I mean do you think that there's a way to make the 2 equivalent or will we able ever really be able to bridge that gap of Amer said this on the PC side once we've experienced you know the art in the headset format. I think. That's an interesting question I think the the interesting bit to me here is that. I'm gonna re read this quote you read in the blur but I re read it because I think it's important I want to hammer home right rockers says our findings indicate that learners can have similar access to learning about functional neuroanatomy the brain thing that I talk about through multiple platforms which means that those who don't have access to VR technology are not had an inherent disadvantage the power of VR is its ability to transport learners to new environments they thought they might not otherwise be able to explore but importantly the art is not a substitute for real world interactions with peers and instructors so I do want to revisit this because this this quote is saying a lot here. Basically what they're saying is that. V. R. just because it was more enjoyable to use just because it was a little bit more intuitive doesn't mean that they learned any better or worse right there there I think there is something to be said about the enjoyable ness of learning. There's something to be said about making learning fun and engaging and that might be what the R. does well you know and so it in terms of navigating on a computer and trying to see a virtual environment on the computer. Especially now that a lot of the younger generation are trained in how to navigate virtual environments because video games are so prevalent because. Other types of experiences are now virtual and so there's less of a learning curve for them and so if you put a virtual environment front of them they're going to have an easier time navigating those than an aging population for example right so I think these these virtual environments and learning and fees are are going to be really important in the future especially for some of these more abstract concepts or concepts that you can't normally see right that's why they're using neuroanatomy in this in this example is because you have a brain you can't really get inside of you can't see it they're using these virtual environments to simulate that. Now do I think that. He then your question was regards with regards to. Can we make P. C. as. Good I I'm paraphrasing here as good as we are I think it is right I think the interaction method. Some changes. How. Effective learning can be right because again once you get that enthusiasm then learning is fun and that's shown to make things stick longer right that's kind of my thoughts on it. Yes so it with their quote I kind of don't agree with them I do think that if you're unable to you like if if we are really provides more enjoyable experience across a big enough sample size then for me that could be putting some people at a disadvantage because I definitely remember being in school not really liking a lot of the topics I was learning about and so it made school a lot harder it was like not taught an interesting medium at that time I didn't really have you know a whole lot of PC based anything besides the various like gaming classes I took early on and you know high school and stuff like that so I do think that there is some different disadvantage there in that if we can get learning to be more exciting and more in some ways accessible potentially for people that's awesome and that does have a powerful leverage to like keep people either growing in there in the curriculum their end or just continuing to learn even outside of school one thing that comes to mind with like how do you really strike this different balance between PC learning and be our learning even though we're seeing from the content side that it's very similar or comparable I think one thing that might be worth considering is what can we do to make I guess P. C. learning maybe more interactive so what what can be done to you either keep people engaged or have it feel maybe more like a game as if you're like you know doing various things for the neuro anatomy class to keep you you know either going through a bunch of different steps in keeping you physically engage 3 like mouse or controller actions. But also like answering questions and things like that but I do think the the best part here is that we're seeing there's no big difference between the 2 in terms of what you're learning but the power to be able to make you know learning more fun is is really important to me anyway but none the less I think it it brings up the bigger question of like okay if this ever starts to demonstrate that it's a viable tool for learning in the classroom how do we really start getting this into school systems and all sorts of stuff like that so there's it's definitely becomes a very complicated problem I would imagine the more that researchers study this kind of stuff. Yeah I do want to talk about briefly you mentioned what can we do to bring PC's up to the level of the art I think there's a couple things and and of course a minute separate this by saying I guess disclaimer this by saying it may not necessarily be. Cheaper and expensive to do but things like adding jester role based. The interactions to these virtual environments on a PC might do something right I think when you're when you're thinking about VR you're moving your head you're navigating a virtual environment you're looking around. If you if you have at least some way to manipulate the virtual environment in a way that's analogous to how you might do it in the real world right like let's say I have an object in front of me and I'm using my hands to move it around if you have a jester based interface using a webcam and advanced AI to detect what your hands are doing and how it maps to the virtual object then you might be able to you know move that thing around and see it in different ways without necessarily compromising the interactivity or intuitive nous of the design right if you can reach out in front of you and kinda pretend like you're moving the thing around and see it actually move on the screen hold in your hand view it over here and then there's also you know holographic displays as well which might be again. Futuristic looking but you know I can see something like that where again you have like an Iron Man display or Star Wars the hologram where you can actually manipulate it by touching it. And and looking around or if you have it in 3 D. space right where you have a holiday holographic display you know you can do that with glass and mirrors. And really that's all you need for something like this where you projected on to those angled glasses and mirrors you can walk around and see the same thing in a real environment but the 3 D. object is projected into the real environment that might be another way to kind of close that gap between VR and PC learning and I know I'm getting kind of out of the out of the box there with the. With the holographic display but I think you know bringing that intuitive nous of interaction to the PC version could be one way to bridge that gap now I'm gonna ask you Blake what do you think. About the V. R. application itself like using VR made it easier to use are more intuitive for the users. Sure so I'd imagine depending on the VR headset to using but I I would imagine since it's more potentially up to date like it's more recently made the it there's been thought gone into you you know okay what about the interactions they need to happen or you know changes in view of that need to happen for this specific anatomy class they really been thought through so there there would be a lot of ways to make it feel for a user that's going through this course or going to this program let's say they would just make you kind of feel a little bit more streamlined or intuitive then maybe like looking through a bunch of different slides are trying to navigate various diagrams and things like that also I think another thing that might make it easier to use is the fact that it's it's because these were basically like narrated. You know class classroom curriculum stories about specific parts of the brain how that near I and they had that I mean chemistry works within the brain itself sort imagined like being kind of stuck in not being able to be distracted by your own classmates or anything else going on in the room around you besides this one thing that you're trying to learn about could really have a lot of benefits in terms of like immersing you but also like as a young mind maybe reducing a distraction that you might experience outside so I think that those few things put together could really just make for an interesting learning environment because it is an international school like you there's a lot of things going on we're gonna get your owner yeah I mean you could be doing a plethora of other things mess around things on your desk or you know like passing this with your friends or you know making jokes or whatever maybe so something like this can really focus your attention and I know in a in a world where I think we all are kind of in a constant battle for our own attention this could really kind of focus you and good increments to help you learn things quickly or at least stay kind of engaged. Yeah I agree I I want to shift gears just a little bit and I want to start talking about like the future applications of this because I think we have a pretty good understanding of why VR is as effective as it is here and kind of the the general gist of the story will move into kind of speculation time more application time I think is more applicable right so I I want to get back to the social thought so we did ask you know what applications do you think the R. word excel at specifically for learning. And we got a couple responses here there was one that has to be remained anonymous on on Instagram here says Google maps would be useful to learn about spatial relationships for example military operations with complex terrain so this would be yeah I feel like that's a little bit borderline training but I think that's a great point is that if you are going to a new environment where you need some awareness of what's going on and and speak it spatially relative to you that could be incredibly useful right I think learning about the geography of a plan it could be kind of cool to experience and we are right you can you can cut away. The layers of the earth and see it rather it you know from where you're standing and not necessarily have to look at it in a text book you could see that and what it's actually doing live or you know some simulation of what it's doing live I think that be a very cool application since Tommy on Instagram also says job training I think we talk about training quite a bit on the show in terms of the are and what it can do I think I think training is learning right it's learning how to do perform an action to perform a job so I think these are great answers but can you think of anything else here that you want to add to these to. No I think is a really great observations of how VR could be used for good and they're all very related to learning itself me based on this article low and and then really your description and out like how we could enhance PC stuff to make it you know more interactive I really think there's an opportunity for companies like oculus to get involved in research like this to start trying to you know provide schools with VR headsets because what you described the there's a lot of technology that we have to be developed or created that sounds more like it would be cheaper for companies to donate headsets to you know high schools or colleges or whatever then creating kind of brand new types of interaction methods although that has a has benefits in and of itself I mean I know one really big kind of application space now is like game learning and so that's where I live there is a lot of opportunity for game developers that are you know maybe not working for Tripoli studio but they end up doing you know building different types of learning game so doing this 3 BR could be a really interesting way to you can I help enhance you know students ability to learn and different types of curriculums they can experience early on before they even get to college so I think overall it has the capability to really transform the things that or what how we think about school now and what it could be in the future yeah I agree I want to ever bring up one more comment that Katie made nurses and our discord here can also be great for magic school bus like experiences so things like visiting space shrinking down the size of a B. becoming a drop of water that goes to the water cycle exploring the digestive systems thing things like that and I think that's a great comment I think it is those kind of abstract experiences or abstract things that. That happened but are not easily observable that are incredibly useful for some some application like this I do wanna say if you are interested in sharing your social thoughts with us please follow us on all of our social channels we usually post them on Twitter and Instagram to get your thoughts will return here on the show so we do that every Thursday when we know what the story is Blake I I want to wrap up here any other closing thoughts on using VR as a learning tool. I really hope that they try and teach complex physics subjects through VR could lead to I double something I really struggled with through a lot of my engineering courses was visualizing how various formulas actually worked and so I did my best to was like always provided me with a lot of lot of examples where we would draw stuff on the board so we can imagine the visual medium that B. R. lends itself to you and the immersion that provides learning kind of how physics works could be a really interesting for rare way to like get that kind of ingrained in somebody's mind what about you any closing thoughts for this B. R. sorry not for me I do want to read one more thing from Katie because it's it's that cool and I do I do wanna say is that I get the learning and the are being great for language learning you can interact with non player characters in a world that mimics the real life experiences of talking with people who are native speakers I think that be a really cool application I think there's a ton of really neat applications that this could be used for obviously the R. nerd over here so you know if you think about virtual environments and applications for V. ease you can really like the sky's the limit you can do anything as long as you can create that B. E. you can put somebody in it and and when it comes to teaching those experiences I think there's a lot of unique opportunities that maybe we're just on the cusp of discovering how to effectively use VR as a learning tool so that's that's it for me. I just wanna thank our patrons for choosing this story this weekend thank you to our friends over at NYU Abu Dhabi and the university of Wisconsin for a new story this week if you want to follow along you can join me on office hours every Tuesday sorry every Monday now at 4:00 PM where I find these new stories I do post the links to the original article's on our weekly roundup on our blog can also join us in a slack or discord for more discussion on the stories were to take a quick break we'll be back to see what's going on around the human factors community or right 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 percent listener supported all the funds are going to 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 start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patrie on only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends. Remember it depends I. A huge thank you as always to our patrons and especially our honorary human factors cast staff Michelle Tripp patrons like you keep the show running you keep our lights on thank you so much for your continued support if you were to compatriot. Check it out there's there's a lot of cool things up there including I what a little bag reusable bag you can get a patron you can become a show sponsor if you want to do that. There's some pretty cool things are always giving back to you all and the human factors minute of course always never fails to disappoint even for us like we were he listen to it as listeners because we produce a bunch at one time and then you know comes out we're like oh yeah that's right that's that's something that we can learn about we're always reminded so go check those out all right so I think it's time for us to switch gears and get into this next part of the show came. It came from this week of reddit it's already this week is the part of the show research all over the internet to bring you topics that the community is asking about if you find these answers useful give us a like wherever you're watching help other people find this content all right let's get into it the first one up we have here is U. I. U. acts over developer this is from at Y. 8 U.. **** 8 you on the user experience sub reddit they ask what is the difference between a U. S. U. I. U. acts designer and an app developer slash web designer if all they do is the same work respectively why would you need a developer if A. U. I. U. acts designer can do the same how different is their work at the core and end of the product Blake I'm really interested in your perspective on this what what is the difference between a U. I. U. acts designer versus an app developer web designer. Yes so let's go through that I feel like be I'm gonna struggle with but Hey I have some concrete ideas so free you I. N. U. X. I know it's been a traditional mainstay it's it feels like to kind of see those like is slash titles for a lot of people but I think nowadays it's much more they're much more I'm considered kind of very specialized parts of the process if you will you Y. user interface that really kind of tells you where the focus as it's very much tends to be on some of the visual design aspects you know some of that maybe the deep detailed interaction design even come with that but a lot of the times you're talking about like we've we've left the U. X. research and upfront phases to get to a more polished design and that's where a lot of times that you X. designer might hand off concepts or work to a U. I desire to help start building things another place that I see a lot of kind of you why designers working in depending on the company and depending on their specialty is focusing a lot on some of the branding aspects of developing branding or helping people redesigned their entire brand so a lot of like a big focus on visual design UX designer again this can be kind of a hybrid thing but a lot of times this for me is much more focused on some of the up front user experience research all the way up until maybe some of the first medium fidelity wireframes so understanding really user needs and translating those into you and this old designs that's really where I see you X. designer living. Now in terms of the difference between app developer and web designer I think it depends on what those 2 titles really mean to you after L. Burton be very very different from web designer because there are specific languages that are very much focused on app development so hence that that is a specialized title there are exceptions of course with things like react native where you can build in a much more web based framework in order create stuff that's going to be moblie accessible both your like android and iOS but I don't think that's the crux of this question I think web designer the different main difference there is maybe somebody who focuses on only creating designs are building things for the web so a lot of times you might see this nowadays is our front end engineer or front end developer focuses on maybe creating websites or web apps it and kind of let's say web related technology and like HTML Java script CSS and they really stick to you know also dealing with some the responsive design components which may be why there's confusion between apps and and web design because there is a little bit of overlap in responsiveness but the the thing that I am a little I wish but again this is my favorite part of the show but I always leaves me wanting to ask more questions because ultimately the question kind of stems in the next part saying they do respectively the same work right well in a lot of ways I don't think that's true so I would think you there so the second question that's embedded here is why would you need a developer if they you why you why are you X. designer can do the same thing ultimately I think that there is kind of a movement of people that are focused in designer focused in front end engineering being more savvy on both sides so but learning a little bit design learning how to code I mean so you see a lot of a lot more hybrid kind of job postings and used to like like you Accenture near but I do think that the 2 room 2 or 3 roles depending on your perspective are very much needed because developers at the end of the day. They're the people who are going to take it designed and created to make your real within the technical strained constraints and budget and timeline that are available so although you could you could have like a U. acts designer who knows how to code understands code or you I designed it with the same skills ultimately having a developer can be the one way that you're actually gonna make this design real in most cases but at the end of the day I think the core differences they just have different specialties I think that there is value and benefit of each one of those roles understanding various aspects of knowing how code works or knowing frameworks that are being used but also understanding design and user needs so although they have different jobs I think they have to work pretty hard but when you sleep together for us to get some of the awesome products that we have today and that was a mouth full Nick trend brings home what do you see as the difference between these various jobs and are they doing the same thing yeah I love it when we approach a question very differently Blake because I think what you approach this question was like basically to the describing an ideal team an idealized roles when I think it's I think a practice that a lot Messier than that and what I'm thinking that this person is asking here is that they have a lot of similar skills as this other person with a different job title and. They're asking what those idealized job responsibility should be I think if they do share a lot of the same responsibilities I think that was probably a hiring managers. Your decision because they hire they they you know crossed over too much I think you did a great job Blake of laying out kind of what the idealized roles are. You know I kind of like an ideal team of having a U. I designer UX researcher and you know a prototype for a web developer some sort of manager for that whole team that that you know is it acts as the glue to kind of make all them cohesive together. You know I think that is an ideal T. I. th I think an ideal team is 5 people I think it's a U. X. researcher that interacts with a U. acts designer that so you you have the person who does the research you give that to somebody who interprets the results and turns that into like a wire frame or mock ups and then you give that to the U. Y. designer and then they make it pretty and then you have and I I'm I'm that sounds very pejorative when I say they make it pretty but they do a great job of you know making the look and feel maybe not them so much of the I think that's more you acts anyway to get they give the look of the product and then that whole package you know yeah I have like some interaction design from the U. acts designer and the stuff from the U. acts designer you why designer then goes to the app developer the developer and general. And if you want to add a perfect scenario you have some prototype or in the middle of that that takes all these concepts as they're being worked on and it rates on them. You know and and then you have the manager that kinda acts as the glue that to me is the perfect set up. But a lot of teams don't necessarily have those resources so often times you'll be sharing responsibility so you might be you use a researcher and a U. acts designer where you then interpret your own research and provide recommendations for you know content layout user experience that type of thing based on what you know that's what human factors a lot of the times it is right so. I. Long story short. If 2 people are doing the same job you need to have a conversation because. You need somebody else to code that thing up. And if your role is like user experience person than others to you doing the same work that's that's my thoughts on it. All right I'm gonna get into this next one here this one 's called new hierarchy you X. team under head of PM. This is from Renny Smith on the user experience I've read it my boss as head of design just resigned after struggling too long with internal politics his job won't be replaced anytime soon and the product designers left behind will be reporting to the head of PM for the foreseeable future this person knows and cares very little about user centered design and I expect problems here how am I supposed to fight for the user if the person who drives ideas bordering dark patterns is my direct superior should a U. X. team not be a little more independent and be on the same level as product management Blake how do we tackle this problem. Yeah this is a really hard one it it's it's very it's kind of funny how this show sometimes beer is real life because of a friend of mine just experienced a very similar problem. And so it it's funny this is kind of happening in very much the same way. But there are the reality here is and I I don't know this is really gonna be a popular answer this neck this may not be the place for you we had because of the end of the day if your boss that was the head of design laughed you understand that let's say that person was actually doing the job in a in a good way they were fighting for U. acts are fighting for you know getting user centered design to have its its own 2 feet within the company but not getting very far this is may not be a place for you to really learn and grow and but at the same time what could you do outside of it one thing that I would suggest is actually having a meeting with your boss the head of design that laughed and asking if you don't know all the ins and outs of the internal politics what they did in their time there to try and move to move the ball forward in the U. U. X. R. U. C. E. court because that will tell you what things may not work or what things to maybe try differently with your upper management I mean one thing that I know we talked around the show before it sometimes becomes a you have to prove it to other people type of situation so you're getting this space where you basically have to be continuing to evangelize you acts are you CD or human factors within the company you may also just have to be doing a pretty good job at showing the impact that you're having through whatever design activities you may have going on whether it's U. X. research activities if you're actually in impacting development and design you've got to show would be able to communicate the R. O. Y. up the chain it does seem a little odd that there's nobody that's going to necessarily in the meantime replace your your former head of design which again does yell out to me that if that's the the feeling inside the culture maybe designed just not really that valued and again it's going to be a pretty hard uphill battle to you kind of changed the way things are now. But that's kind of all I've got really kind of a Debbie Downer on that one but definitely talk to your your previous boss get suggestions on how they would continue to tackle the problem from kind of your your perspective and sometimes it just becomes a conflict of personality like whether we want to get that stuff or not so maybe that because you are not the head of the head of the design department but you're somebody who's doing the the hard work maybe you know removing that that tension between bosses will change things but I would definitely focus on like showing the impact that your team is having and then maybe having a conversation later down the line about dark patterns been everywhere but that's that's a cop topic for a different discussion. Yeah I would I would say 2 things right insure that you are communicating R. O. Y.. What you're doing matters why what you're doing will impact the product. The second thing I want to bring up is kind of a link to last week it's. It when we talk about the person who really just couldn't do anything because higher ups kept saying just do it like this and they were kind of like okay well I'm just gonna do it because no matter how much I push back they're not going to listen to me and so I think that that answer that we gave for that one applies a lot to this one to where you can keep pushing. But if you truly have a person who is set in their ways I don't know how much change they're going to go if you know. If they're in if they're trying to recommend dark patterns here. You might just need to do your best to work within those constraints and pick your battles I think picking your battles is an incredibly good skill to have if you know that users will benefit from one thing a lot less than another thing well maybe just let that one thing slide and I know that's hard to do is as a human factors practitioner you axe person I think that is a very hard thing to do to let go of something that you know is right that you know will improve user performance but if you need to do it to make sure that you know it's the sacrifice of the one for the good of the many. Type of analogy here you might need to do that pick your battles I think everything the Blake said is is good to you know if you can meet with the person if you have a good relationship with that previous boss head of design talk to them if you can they're not getting paid for it so good luck but. You know if there if if they're passionate about it and they just left because of internal politics you might be able to pick their air about it I I other than that I know it's a tough one it's a very tough one I'd say pick your battles and and try to push back where you can and. If you're not seeing results just like your busted then. I don't know stuff there are a couple options should look for another job or you know. Push until they can't push back or some some breaks that back I have one last bit their in flight yeah I've I've experienced this before where it's like you can't necessarily you can't necessarily find a way to you. Like find an advocate in upper management but what about the various cross functional teams you work with do they see issues with the current decide or issues with practices of what's going on inside of it so sometimes if you can you know find other people in your same level that see the issues sometimes working together to again demonstrate our wire demonstrate changes that could have you know positive impacts for your product and ultimately your end user that's another way to go about it if really going you know up the hill to like the PM level is just not working. Yeah good point all right last one here I have minimal excel skills Microsoft excel would you improve excel skills or just go straight to R. or python this is from Bob innate tap on user experience Blake what's up it Sir I'm gonna read the actual thinker spent my entire life learning design software my excel skills are okay but I still have to ask some people sometimes when I need to go do some intermediary stuff you access trending towards needing data science skills would you ditch the excel and go straight to R. or python Blake your reaction says it all what what what should this person do. You're gonna hate me it at you so we are we talked a little bit about this in the pre show so deftly depends now because I've had more time to digest it and think about it. It's all give you Mike got it Sir let's go to R. or python I just had a lot of I thought it was interesting that that was the jump to make. But also that's kind of where my interests lie like you've heard the show before if you've heard me talk about various you know things that I'm interested in coding is one of them I'm pretty proficient in are at this point bad python or something I'm picking up in the background everything else that I'm doing so yeah I think there's a lot of utility potentially for R. python and I do agree with this person that in the U. acts world there is a lot of a trend suddenly that you're seeing of you see a lot of job posting for quantitative you X. researchers and there's not as many of those that are specialized in using tools like R. and python or sequel or whatever may be so that skill set is it's not required but I think over time it's going to kind of be a benefit to a lot of people to pick up those board heavy data analysis skills no the end of the day the reason that it depends it's because of what what are you doing in excel is it what what's really the the thing that you're having to go and ask people like for help with. Or what are you googling to figure out because if it's if it's simple things that you don't really need something as powerful as a programming language to do you very deep statistical analyses or do you know of complex data visualisations or even bill applications then maybe excels the way to go if you're just comparing things in your writing kind of simplistic formulas which do not let me confuse you L. in excel you can write very complex formulas that I am horrible at doing. But I think the tool really it just depends on what you need it for mid so looking into R. and python may tell you quickly that excels is the easier thing to to use because you ought to necessarily learn entire programming language there is an argument to be made the you have to learn the language of excel and how it works and some of its nuances to get the most out of it but I would say with stuff like Google sheets or Microsoft excel which is readily available there may be less of a learning curve for something like R. python but it all depends on where you want to take the skill set and what do you what do you actually need it for data science skills probably our price on down the road might be helpful if it's just kind of you know the basics of comparing cataloging and coming up with quick statistics from you X. research than maybe excels the way to go but Nick what's your perspective on excel versus R. or python or Django or whatever I love when you and I have differing opinions on things because I am going to go say go go ham on excel. And and the reason being is because Microsoft excel is is the Microsoft Office suite I should say and this is the same reason why I recommend power point over many other prototyping tools is because it's ubiquitous it's basically in every business that exists and those skills transfer to the Google suite and 2 other things you know depending on which one it is there's varying levels of. Robustness but for the same reason that is ubiquitous ubiquitous I think it is you should you should go ham on it now I think the the thing is you say it's simple it's easy easy to learn hard to master I think that's that's a a good way to put it where I think maybe R. or python are harder to learn. I'm. The relatively speaking all depends it it does depend on your learning style I will say that you know like there's if if you feel comfortable with coding languages you might want to go investigate R. or python but I will say there are going to be times in which you are operating in an environment where you need to share a document with other people and unless those people have the skills in R. or python they will not be able to replicate what you have done you have then cornered yourself into a box where you are then responsible for all the work and that could be what you want and that's okay. But if you want to do if you need to do a collaborative thing it might it might be good to have those excel skills because like they said you can write insanely complex. Analysis in excel I don't think the date of it is that bad I mean like you don't have as much control but it's not bad right you can get away with all with a lot with excel yeah so I I don't know I am I am team excel Blake is team R. or python. But just because we disagree on that I think it's it largely it depends on your learning style it depends on your learning style it depends on what you're comfortable with it depends on. You know what tools are available to you in your job or or your research right. I don't know I I'm team excel I could talk your ear off about excel please reach out to me if you need more excel advice. All right I think any other thoughts on that one black. Well I think we're good all right let's go ahead and get into this next part of the show which is one more thing it needs no introduction this is just where we talk about one more thing like what's going on in your world man I always think that the show is over and we get to this point and I can't even remember what my one more thing was but it's not a whole lot going in by going on in my little world at the moment man it's so I'm just at the moment kind of spending my evenings trying to finish up an application I've been building for some like basic cataloguing and tracking various guitar exercises that I picked up over the years and building a react like a electron wrapped in react based application so that's really what I've been focusing on let way more way less design then I would like it much more of like why is this thing about work but that's and so it's kind of ironic that python came up because that all the sudden was an idea that I have like all maybe I should try to learn python for this whole thing and it was not what I needed to do. But anyway oops so nothing much man I'm just enjoying a little bit still trying to learn how to cope with making it interesting through some personal projects. Go you go you with the personal enrichment I also did some personal enrichment this last weekend. Did you would you do I feel like I should be a qualified electrician now I. Electricians work I'm not going to show you B. for a couple reasons let me describe what I did so for listeners of the pod you know I'm building a pod pod around me I have a structure of of would do that I will panel up soon. And I will put in a door right here and one thing that I wanted to do since all the electronics are kind of hidden behind this desk in between the wall and the desk I wanted an easy way to turn off all non essential functions this is the monitors this is the keyboard and mouse this is my microphone my head set my camera. Basically everything that is not my computer and so I've done some shoddy electricians work to where I've hooked up a switch over here on my right it's going to be right by the door I can flip the switch as I leave my little office pod in the night and it turns everything off save electricity it's great. I should be a fully qualified electricians now because I can do it I I actually did it using extension cable which is a this is why I call it shoddy so I took one of those you know power strips. Not no exception don't recommend doing this I took one of those power strips I plugged every nonessential thing into it and then I took an extension cable with the same gauge of cord which is very important for carrying load. And and then I ran it through a wall switch over here and I basically interrupted that circuit so that way I can turn off that whole thing with one flip of a switch and turn it on with one flip the switch and everything's out and it works great I love it it's fantastic you know and and then work on the pod will continue I've been slowly chipping away at this thing I now have cardboard up over all sides not the ceiling yet but this is basically the world's most advanced box Fortin I'm happy about that so you know until I can get some dry well in here and start actually patching it up. That's what made the cardboard will be awesome. Yeah all right well I think that's gonna be it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of the story this week have you used to be R. for learning let us know you can hang out with us in our slack or discord get to us on any of our social channels I do recommend following those for reasons that will become obvious next week visit our official website sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest human factors news you like what you hear you wanna support the show there's a couple things you can do leave us a 5 star review that's free to you smash that like button wherever you're at that helps other people find the show tell your friends about us consider supporting us on Patreon that's a way that you can support us financially that really does help keep the lights on literally we use this thing and you know. Restrain him and all the video recording software all that stuff anyway all that stuff out of the way I would think Mister playgrounds are being on the show today working on the Sooners go and find you they talk about VR learning R. or python. You guys can definitely find resources for learning pie pie pie fight and a little bit of our in our human factors cast discordant resources section you can always find me in there at the lake and you can find me across social media at don't panic you axe as for me I've been your host Nick Rome you can buy me streaming on twitch Mondays at 4:00 PM Pacific office hours and across social media at Nick _ rope until next time. It depends.