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Nov. 19, 2021

E226 - How Can We Make Self-Driving Cars More Human-Friendly?

Recorded live on November 18th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.


| Recorded live on November 18th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.

 

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Transcript

Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody welcome back to another episode human factors cast we're recording this live on 11/18/2021 there was Nick Rome I'm joined today by Mister berry Kirby good morning good good morning to you. Sure on. All right we got a great show for you all tonight we're gonna be talking about how self driving cars can consider pedestrian safety and later we're going to answer some questions from the community about potential interviews for more management style roles questions for senior folks who of meat recently moved to new companies are seeking sort of increases in salaries are gonna answer that salary question and. How about interviewing a competitor so we'll talk about all that but first some quick programming notes Hey we have this team sees human factors minutes out there the most recently we did on climate ergonomics. He has provided some resources that we use to populate that human factors minute so go check that out that's right in the feed if you're listening. Human factors minute is also on Spotify and patrie on so if you're interested in that type of format where we break down topics in one minute little chunks you can help support the show by subscribing to those. And I think the only other thing for programming notes that will mention is that next week here in the states is thanksgiving so we'll be off next week we'll be back the following week first week of December I guess that'll be what the second. December 2 will be back up but anyway we know why you're here you are here for human factors news so let's get into it. That's right this is the part of the show all about human factors news very what is the story this week. This week we talk about making self driving counts of more human friendly so automated vehicles could be made more pedestrian friendly through the applying your scientific theories of how the brain makes decisions to automated vehicle technology to improve safety and make them more human friendly researchers set out to determine whether decision making model to predict when pedestrians will cross the road in front of approaching because when you could be using scenarios where the cog is white the pedestrian either with or without explicit signals its production capability will allow autonomous vehicles to communicate more effectively with pedestrians in terms of its movements in traffic and any external signals such as flashing lights to maximise vehicle flow and decrease uncertainty. The team is the virtual reality pedestrian simulator to analyze properties bins in different road crossing scenarios if you could buy the model the researchers found that participants who took over time the sensory data from distance a vehicle distance vehicle speed acceleration what is communicative cues is one of the model can predict if and when production will be like the to begin crossing the road so predicting bad precedent decisions and uncertainty can then be used to optimize when and how the vehicle should decelerate in signal to communicate it's safe to cross save me some time and effort for both so Nick what do you make of that. So I. I'm a big V. R. nerd I love the fact that they're using virtual reality to test this theory in a situation that could be potentially dangerous this is. Mmhm something that I think we'll see a lot more of as virtual reality technology becomes more mature already kind of there and we can actually use it to test in some of these environments in which it is like potentially more dangerous right you don't want them to be engaging in risky behaviors where they could get hit by a vehicle and so I think this this makes sense from that perspective I think this article just in general is a good springboard to kind of talk about some other things and we've been using articles over the last couple weeks to use as a springboard to jump into a deeper discussion I'm excited to get there but I want to know your thoughts what are your general thoughts on this article. So when I first read the article that will surely and I think we did a couple of articles like this before when he said that well dominoes already isn't this already sort of that so you can see it could be seen as quite simple stuff but it does show just how many almost basic up through our knowledge said noting that we just take for granted the to develop AI in transport I need all the domains that we could have to do a lot more work in filling these holes with good solid research so I think it's really good that I have used the using things like this to Chris on the baseline future development but like you say a are we like the idea that they're using virtual reality to take people out of harm but to be able to predict a surge bill to use that to gather data in risky situations there is some thought there about is there a difference between the data together that what do we got a real life but short of putting people in front of dangerous situations I think you're going to struggle to do that there has been a baby to work doing this all proved that people if they use the VR environments that they will you know they'll act in the way that they would do in real life so we use I'm training twice already so it's yeah I'd just the size the simulations well must be amazing but yeah as you say let's talk about some of the names of the men elements of what we could talk about where would you like to go first yeah I think maybe we start with the current state of self driving autonomous vehicles and then maybe jump into sort of a human factors issues as it relates to pedestrians and then bowling that all back to the article so you know let's let's start with sort of what's going on with self driving cars now as I think the first thing that comes to mind. For a lot of people is Tesla and and do you wanna talk a little bit about what's what's going on at Tesla right now yeah I mean I mean because I think he's pretty much recognized as the leader in the market in terms of they've got that self guided vehicles they the set you know that the self drive vehicles and in many ways that's what they're selling a house and but they've really got the cabbie out old they're expecting the driver to sit their hands almost always around the steering wheel ready to take control when he goes wrong and they that you know Tesla cars have had some accidents it's interesting that the that the the the test environment and mom is very is pretty much like a like when there's a at like crash the decision is it this he deserves one crash that old news articles only Twitter and all the faces social media goes mad because like old days that they've had an accident was X. the number of accidents the pod is very actually comparatively very small I know a lot of them have been because when we were expecting drivers to you know be ready to take over I think we're expected them to be sucked at least understand what's going on well the accident accidents have been weather been maybe reading a book if I was bitter cold weather but sub in the backseat and then wondering why Dave why the crafted it is still new technology there was a recent example whether does using like over the air updates and a new resume coercion around that's about how that works but. If he's interested we still go back to sort of look at it and say well actually we've had this. Levels of driver support for now for quite a while you'll be evil troll you know my your manual gives due to automatic. So we have quite slim at the position the U. K. cruise control you know parking supported now you into the lane assist and auto drive so that the reason the evolution. I'm. But yeah I think that's where them solve it so I'm what you think about the. As of some similar research well what would you think that's going yeah I wanna take a step back so what when we talk about autonomous vehicles I think a lot the general public's mind might go to Tesla. As the leader and that's just because of how pervasive their technology is right they're trying to push it they're testing it in a way that may or may not be safe and we'll talk about that but I think everyone thinks Tesla because that's what's out there that's what's available to people now. I do wanna talk just a little bit about the domain to begin with. Because I think there are some other a really interesting things going on right so when you think about self driving vehicles I think most people most companies kind of boil this down to 2 core statistics about success of of autonomous vehicles right one is how many miles has this driven and that's kind of acting as a way to measure how much data this each company has for training but a I need to sort of react to situations in the environment right. And sort of also how much investment that company has put into self driving cars on the road. The other metric or the other statistic that is looking at that everyone's looking at is disengagement so this is when the human operator actually intervenes and takes over because the computer the A. I. the system couldn't understand what was going on with the situation and they look at this by every mile that was driven right so. This is not a statistic that a lot of companies share because it's proprietary it's kind of how they train their data they'll make improvements based on those interactions and so. Everyone's proprietary about that but this does kind of. Give us a sense of what people are looking at and what's going on now I do wanna take a step back even more we mention Tesla there are other companies that are doing this right so Google sister company Waymo. They are widely considered the leader in terms of self driving technology with their testing piece right because I mean test was doing their stuff but in terms of. Waymo they have 20000000 miles in this was as of last year so it's probably even more now. Most of those not even California you know they're they're. Looking at sort of. Point 09 disengagements for every 1000 miles. A good ratio you also have General Motors with cruise and that's they they're about 0.5000000 miles at an point 19 disengagements per every 0 miles so these are 2 companies kind of better well ahead of everybody else in terms of miles driven disengagements that's what within the state of California though that might be that might change you know as it goes from state to state. But this data here is actually only a limited snapshot of what's actually going on most experts actually consider them the leading programs just in general anyway I wanted to give that context for the field itself because I think it's really interesting when we do kind of break it down and think okay yes Tesla they have this system out there in there you there they're doing a lot of it based on like real world. Feedback right I think and that's that's scary and we can talk a little bit about safety I don't know if you want to jump into the safety been here. Yeah I think it is because I. You know does arise he said doing it doing it on the road that doing that and you know there there was a story out there with you know didn't a self driving comics to kill somebody so is it worth diving into into that because you know that that there's a little. Publicity issues around this and you know what the what the intricacies around it Sir. March 18 of 2018 that comes the first time in self driving car actually run down a pedestrian and it was a new account with a seat simply safe drive behind the wheel so it had all the elements that and but it was hit and killed a 14 year old woman who was walking a bicycle across the seat and in Arizona. So that was basically see that as a reminder that's self driving car tech self driving technology still has a way to go but it's that's only. One give us one fate I think they said that they produce one fatal accident every 0 miles driven and when we compare that to actual so ended up normally driven council non autonomous vehicles I'm. But it's still completely way off what you owe M. day today metric is so you know if you're driving your car normally you'll have much greater risk of of having an accident then you are in a in an autonomous vehicles in an autonomous vehicle so yeah I think there's still a. But there's a perception issue with this as is the with anything else but the systems are updating all the time and as you quite rightly pointed out there's a there's a lot that's going on there's a lot that's been learned and D. do you the other half the problem is that the false positives as well so whether I taking corrective action when they when they didn't need to but it's it's all good it's it's all being pushed down that road learning as we go and you could argue should we be learning out on the on the highway and should not should all be done in a lab that's again as as you said that's not really the way to the path of the likes of Tyler is taking so. There is also the that those issues at the moment and taking the American side of things where they they're trying to truck and understand just where these accidents happened so the NTSB is really trying to cover all these accidents and that they're trying to work with they might be cut the the the money factor is to get the data into a net that they are having struggles with that with with different companies. I'm. So I think that's you know they're they're out of the the safety elements of this but there is also a whole lot of I guess this policy issues around a lot of the supply business Sir do you want to sort of have a look at some of the those policy elements the. So we need to be looking at yeah the policy level the policy stuff is interesting because right now a lot of this is taking place at sort of the state level and this is kind of the wild west as we are experimenting with autonomous technology right I think. In terms of safety N. laws surrounding autonomous vehicles. Those here in the states it's it varies by state and so you might have some states with no legislation around it and I think as as of 2000 there was 29 states with what just date let legislation had passed. With some sort of mandate on on autonomous vehicles. It looks like the 2 most friendly states to testing autonomous vehicles California in Arizona so you'll hear a lot of the stories about accidents that happen here you just mentioned the woman that was killed in Tempe Arizona and then I think. There's another crash that happened. In. I forget where it was but I think there was an uber crash that happened in California so you'll hear about these states because they are the most sort of. Friendly for. For pre op testing autonomous vehicles although I say friendly but I think what actually might be happen happening here is that they are unfriendly to it or they have passed so much legislation that. Confines and restrict the system that they want to test it under those conditions because then they are dealing with. Potentially the the most strict guidelines that they'll experience and therefore can roll that out everywhere right and so I think what they're doing is kind of taking a conservative approach and testing it from as much restrictions as possible and hopefully that will help so. Again with policy here we're we're kind of the worry is that legislators don't understand. What's going on. And that. Interpretation of what's going on with the systems and with these companies is going to be. It is going to sort of delay implementation and that's why it's so crucial that we have somebody in it legislation to actually advocate for human factors and interacting with autonomous vehicles I think Missy Cummings was just. What's the word I'm looking for a sign or anyway I I think she was just. Nominated as some role in government might I fail to remember because they don't put in the show notes but I think something like that is helpful to have somebody who is intricately involved with human factors and understands autonomous systems and can act as a liaison for communicating that with lawmakers legislators and I'm talking from the state side right. Ultimately policy should shape whether or not dress up driving cars are good or bad for the environment we talk about climate economics mentioned at the top of the show we just that human factors minute on it. A you you brought up the. Chartered institute of human factor ergonomics and human factors. They have that white paper on it. You gave a presentation on it it's really important right and so. As we're thinking about self driving cars you know the social cost of carbon emissions and all that stuff is also very important to consider and then ultimately the bottom line here is that transportation policy doesn't do much of anything. For the social cost of driving. And that's a problem it's gonna get worse unless we actually do something about it. Yeah but a lot of information we we just covered so much there I want to make sure that we have a chance to go back and touch on anything if we missed anything is there anything that I said that you want to comment on. I am not right I think we like so we could leverage in there that really quickly over the over the outside of it. I think fundamentally for me it is there was just still. He's such an exciting space in many ways the dumb you know that things are happening really quickly and updates are happening really quickly we learning so some still pretty quickly and it's going out there on the road literally on the right straight away and it's getting that balance is not between policy safety and and technology developments are. I think it is a case of water space but let's try and try and do it safely as we possibly can but still keep of essential price of change. Yeah I think that's true of like many technologies that are emerging now that could kind of have. Ethical or. Even life threatening employment implications right so you're thinking like a I. facial recognition that type of thing not so much deadly but has ethical considerations technology is is really important and sort of we wanna make sure that we advance at the right pace to make sure that we're matching legislation and that we're matching also the safety concerns with that stuff. Yeah I know that that that's not that's up to you right I mean the. You'll see the the other big hits with this we've talked a lot about the vehicles but actually what this article is talking about a lot is is pedestrians. Some so I mean it the issue with restaurants with this is. Fundamentally where does that relationship between people vehicle so so we have a M. S. go around the issues of of human factors issues with pedestrians. Yeah let's talk about him there you know and this one is not gonna be as in depth as the other section that we just talked about to give kind of the context of self driving vehicles but I think. There are a lot of issues with pedestrian crossings in general right that there's think about sort of the human factors that goes into a person crossing a street there's the markings on the ground that you look at you know is it 2 lines that indicate where you should cross is it a series of horizontal lines that indicate a space where it's it you know has more visual weight to the driver or. There are all these things that go into that right so then there's also the markings above the road so how do you indicate to the system that you would like to cross you press a button that says I wanna cross and then it gives you a signal at the other end that says. The erratically at a safe across no car should hit you and so what do those signals look like and then how do you make that accessible how do you make sure that people who are vision impaired are able to cross these intersections well then you add. Auditory cues you know he said cross cross you know an account down 109876. You also have you know wait if if it's not safe to cross wait wait wait so then you have all this stuff that's going on and this is just a very high level here right and then you throw in autonomous vehicles to the mix or even let's let's not get to autonomous vehicles that you have other humans in 2 ton vehicles that could potentially collide with you and so then you have the human factors bits of well how does a human read all these cues as well well you have the red light that indicates to them to stop do not go or else you will hit somebody who's here you also have how do you make pedestrian court crossings in a way that is not blind to drivers travelling at speed so that way they can see you and then also you have the interaction between cyclists and pedestrians and vehicles M. it just gets very complicated very quickly. These are all discussions about formal crossings this is. In every sense of the word. The environment telling you it is okay to cross here that doesn't even get into other things like what happens if you cross in a place where you're not supposed to which is why that woman in Arizona died because that system was expecting to anticipate those types of interactions at a crossing where it is clearly marked but she was crossing in a place where there were no markings inside the car wasn't anticipating that and how do you it's just this would massively unfortunate event that the system didn't understand the driver wasn't paying attention and couldn't intervene in time. There's a lot going on I I'm gonna stop I'm gonna let you talk for a little bit berry. Yeah I mean I don't think that it dig into that a bit about the different barman said a bit more as well because you're right all of these autonomous vehicles it's a system business so they rely on systems a systems understanding to break down what they expect to win and you could argue that actually the center of towns and sit well in central cities it takes to Klay that's easier because you know you do have laws and regulations around and you expect people to to cross at the appropriate place it's rare except on movies of notice of the old talk about it for the cause of the cross traffic and things so that you don't maybe you find. So you have the full crossings but the you got different environments so in towns and where we've been to the states in the past you know the results of smaller suburban areas that don't have paths on them because of the actual expect people to walk anywhere but if you'll actually walking on the road or something like that and the because you know because I'm not expecting you to be the. How do they know that you know that how do they recognize the all that when do you know the the ages of the that the diluent delineations of Rhode Island as formal as they are in a in a bill took area so there's all them saw bits and as you quite rightly say round round cyclists. We I rarely hear anything being talked about in the autonomous caspase around Texas it's always the restrooms and and people had some questions and because cyclists are almost a a lord to themselves and so how do we interact with them when they don't they acted probably a more predictable manner than the quite a lot of a lot of other people because they're on the road to ever participate user but they're also pretty much quicker much ni pia the number of pedestrian would pay so I mean interesting piece of legislation that seems to be coming around at the moment and I'm going to give a bit of a hot tip to profess pull some full pointing this one out is the D. the quote that legislation is coming out to have cyclists and pedestrians having some sort of beacon on them so some so either a Bluetooth speaker no why Spiegel or whatever. On the on that person so the auto auto autonomous car systems could recognize that Avenue will be eliminated I do not type thing which is great really like the idea except for you knows is a short term fix I get that was the the system not good enough to necessarily do all the recognition for all use cases let's have a simple system in place to make it happen but my feet without is is it just the short the the tip of the iceberg when it comes to we forget about why we have why we put this put the system in place is it is a short term fix and then it becomes mandated about you have to wear it all the time we can that we forget about why we did it that's what he's only gets run over has an accident or something and they weren't wearing the the beacon and so deep it then becomes a victim falls for no you know for the wearing it when actually you know we we take the foot off literally the foot of the cost of the development of like house. I'm. There are some other issues well we we mentioned. About people with the old trick you so that all these of our already don't make you know sounds a divide audio cues for deaf people to cross the road this article talks about you know be the Cup M. automatically so slowing maybe flashing its lights cause flushing and lights in the U. K. is seen as a successful way of highlighting the fact I've seen you please cross the road or whatever it is but if the V. slows down and flashes its lights will if your blood you come you you can see that it's it's flashed its lights so you know we we not looking necessarily thinking about all of the you know if the deaf if you're blind what's the. The the impacts of of them and then we can go back to the space issue there is this idea in the U. K. that's been pushed out quite low around shed spices so the idea being that of the get rid of a lot of the road markings and proper crossing at crossing areas and restaurants around vehicles just have to mill around and and do the things so the cars could drive slowly through pedestrians can just step out and sit ins into the space you don't have to wait to have a little bit of walk and concert expected to slow down on the 8 that's all based on psychology and I'm your man to you if the protest will make eye contact with the driver because the driver drivers driving slower in the theory that the driver then bakes a human contact with that person I would but Estrie and so things are actually it's not just a pressure if that's somebody I better not knock them over so they slow down in them any sort of negotiate this price like Brighton and lost wet weather got that if you got these subsystems imply how's that gonna work you know it with the oceans vehicle also too subservient to the to the people so the jets bases would work with a wouldn't really work that way we would have to talk about what our priority leaving so yeah you're right the result to dig into with the human factors issues with pedestrians I think in some ways they're they're generally a little bit easier because fundamentally we all about protecting people we want to make sure people are safe and that's always pretty much going to be at some point but there was a lot of I mean there if your humor practice practitioner in this field I think that's where there's going to be a a lot of rich pickings isn't that yeah yes certainly have some. Sort of looking for some some job security in that sector. Let's get over. Yeah let's let's tie this back to the article right so I think they were talking about here this basically a new model of decision making that they have come up with as a way to sort of understand or predict pedestrian behavior as they're crossing the road and they're using it to test it for autonomous vehicle development. And. Once again they're kind of using virtual reality as the method. For the environment to test whether or not this is in fact safe right the end to see if the model is working in the way that it's predicted and it does. We'll talk about some examples here just on the articles that way we can get through it yes I mean that they had you thought they had a number of different scenarios they were using but the old the that looks at the you different behaviors where they flush the lines what they slow down and things like that the fundamental need every single example I used to use it to gather that data and then model which they called what they called a drift diffusion decision making model I wouldn't totally different drift diffusion I assume we're going to be talking. Around some you know some sort of first if you're still because because they they like the whole drifting things done but apparently not but the yeah all the examples that they use show that actually this model works really well so you clearly can note it's only going to go one way nowadays that can. The Philip so that some that fundamental knowledge full hello a V. M. motor vehicles act then that is critical to move forward. Yes speaking a move moving forward you know we can speculate on the future I think it's pretty clear to see where where things are going we still have a lot to learn and like we mentioned there's a lot in this space where you're not going to have where you where you are going to have that job security right I think some some key takeaways here is that as these pedestrians are making the decision to cross they seem to be adding up a bunch of different information lots of evidence on whether or not the car is going to stop or hit them or anything like this and and not only relating to the vehicle's distance or speed but. Also using. These visual cues from the vehicle and whether or not it's going to decelerate or flash its headlights or anything like that so that there's a lot of information that the the pedestrians are using. To make informed decisions about crossing the road and just quick non sequitur aside it took me like 30 years of my life to figure out who the the punchline to the joke why did the chicken cross the road to get to the other side I didn't realize what that wasn't us like 30 years check it just wanted to die I didn't understand. This. Anything else that we want to bring up with this article eponymous vehicles or human factors issues anything like that. I think we've we've done a lot awful lot this evening on this I think it is I think it's it's a subject we gonna come back to you in different forms around the Alton was legal thing as he throws up more multi issues but fundamentally if anybody from Leeds is listening then I would love to come and see this it's via simulator departed because we are simulated that does what it's does what it does it it locked to me later I don't know how much clues for pedestrians ledges but it's it's clear and. Make a big big ticket so yeah if it was listing just hit me up I'll I'll come have a look at take some photos we could you know do do some sort of live interview from there they'll be printed. It always ends up being the shows that we. This struggle within the show notes that end up being upset all right well I don't think our patrons this week for selecting a topic and huge thank you to our friends over at Leeds university for a news story this week you want to follow along you can join me in office hours I do that every Monday where I find these new stories we do post these links to the original articles in our weekly round ups on our blog can also join us on our discord for more discussion on the stories if you'd like we're gonna take a quick break and we'll be back to see what's going on in human factors community 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 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he says great show gents and if you want to hear more from Blake you can always become a patron and we do have you in factors minute he is still working on those human factors minutes so if you want to hear more from Blake you can join us over there he will be back he will be back. But yes I have been told you if if I let him back the seats are comfy now. Berry will let him back in and they there's there's room for for 3 people or more people at the show yeah. Yeah I do want to mention human factors minute it's something that we put together on a weekly basis we are always coming up with new interesting exciting topics for you well if you are a subscriber to our audio version you've likely heard human factors minutes in your feed now with the team sees effort that we have going on. There's more like that on on page 3 on and we're on Spotify now too I guess our treasurer says to plug Spotify at some point so where there is a paid thing you can do to help support the show and really just help to pay for things like this fancy restrained thing that we're on or the web hosting fees or anything like that anyway I'm not plugging. Thank you treasurer for the kind words it's time that we get into this next part of the show we like to call came. Yes it came from. Reddit and we got some really fun ones this week this is where we search all over the internet to bring you topics that the community is talking about you find any of these answers use will give us a like wherever you're at to help other people find this content we have 3 questions tonight let's get to this first one here this one is I have an interview for a PM role focused design systems at a certain company any tips. Are they going to write I know this is a designs but any designers who moved to a PM role I have about 3 years experience working as a hybrid PM slash designer this year I find it difficult to find a PM role which was more focused on design since most PM's were generic or technical. I want to get into this and and really. Use this question as a springboard to talk about the transition from a worker bee role to a more management position. And and really from like the human factors perspective or the researcher perspective or anything like that very I wanna get your thoughts on this how do you transition to a more managerial position and what was that transition like you recommend it. Well I would absolutely so yes I come all the way from home to work with the flown I will run my own company and some would say to even attempt to run my own projects and I think it's one of the things that it's some people get really scared of it and nothing you're quite ready so because I think it's not it's not a skill the you know you just pick up it is you know everybody sees that you go you transition to the project management role all the management role to disrupt the project management and think it's a natural transition for some people it's just not. Mmhm you know it's it's it's a skill in its own right so you do have to put time and effort into it but what I would say Fromm study from a human factors and all any sort of. Discipline that that that's within the household realm is I think we make really good project managers and all the money's in general because we take that human centered approach with those and and it really that that's when we become weedy leading evangelical because right now you know we as you affected practitioners we expected to talk about human factors it's what we do is what we love but when you then go into mole M. generic even a generic management leadership roles that maybe don't directly associated with with human factors you can still tell the story you can still fly the flag and that's where I think actually we become we do with the fact I've seen some really great people move out of the human factors the main they're going to do different things always do things but they take that you will practice approach with them and he just I think it it just works really well I'm what you know what what if you've got experience of moving into the project management abandoned and taken off the elbow putting on the mantle of the city management so I certainly kind of stepped into management role and its interests it's an interesting transition because now instead of focusing on the worker bee tasks right yet the stuff that you've been trained for in school or previous industry work right now you're sort of managing people and I think we can link it back to that conversation we had last week about what makes enough or was it last week or 2 weeks ago about innovation yeah what what does ultimately make innovation possible is that facilitation piece right and I think it's absolutely true when it comes to managerial positions as well you as a manager are a facilitator of a group of people that need to work well together you're sort of making sure that those relationships are sound between people you're also making sure that the end user is being considered in every step of the process if you are stepping into a more project management role or a role that. Is sort of not so much human factors but human factors adjacent it is an interesting step because you're absolutely right you can tell that story you can make sure that. Everybody involved is keeping the end user in mind you can start to the I guess. Permeate you know the human factors thought process into everything else that's going on at least in in that area that you are managing and so I think alternately it it it's a good decision for companies to hire people that have been in human factors roles in the past into those management positions. It's it's not for everybody I I will say that right I think some people really do find joy in I call a busy work it is busy work but it's also highly rewarding work when you can see things that you have designed when you have developed the relationships that you have made with other people on your team with developers with designers to see something go from start to finish that you had your hand in that maybe you feel a bit more invested in I think that is meaningful to a lot of people and so if you don't want to go into the management position that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just different things work for different people and it's a consideration anyway that's that's my $0.2 on it. Some white yeah when we get into this next one here this is a question for senior designers I'm gonna extend that to researchers human factors practitioners who have recently moved to a new company are you seeing upticks in salary due to a hot job market. This is by should I didn't mention the who the other one is by that one was by. Zachary at 20199 on the user experience already this 1 that we're talking about now is from Chris Hansen AMA. On the user experience of reddit. I love that name so they're going to write all I hear about nowadays is the hot job market and how people are able to demand higher and higher salaries because demand is so high for a ton of jobs across a lot of industries are folks seeing this and product design industry human factors industry research industry can we demand higher salaries than we could have a couple years ago Barrett let's have the salary conversation. Yeah I it's interesting is because we've just been in the in that space and then we would just take it on some new people and in fact we take on what 3 new people this year and absolutely right I think in the study in the UK it is a hot job market there is a ton of jobs out that there. People are desperate for human factors practitioners be the contract or salary to or whatever. Do not turn it directly good says that we can start demanding higher salaries I'm not convinced it is actually I think there is definitely it is definitely an employees market I think the the ability to challenge and and ask for mall he is definitely there uncertainty with my experience that the people are willing to do so which I think is a pretty good thing I think you should absolutely do that one of the things I got told I was quite but I was first on the job in this village about he's always reject the first offer I don't know whether the holds true across everybody but certainly I was that but it seemed to work you know in an offensive way or anything like that but but there was always a discussion to be had so there is that D.. Is he gonna I think there is a level of yet you can S. role will be a bit more but not load small I don't I think there is no matter what job you do there is a could you still have to make a turnover at a profit and I'm not a still largely comfortable also with the with the pandemic having gone on then you know there isn't as much in some areas that those those money floating around in others it just definitely isn't of hospitality you know is where people were doing jobs in them so feels that is not there in the mall that decide to come back slowly but that people are willing to solve that you don't do much until until it becomes a lot more stable so I think there is that's a very real way around me going I think the reason adoption to to ask for some sorry but I it's it's there's not you going it does not the both of you to go there with us for ridiculous amounts of money because fundamentally the the the the mouths all the economic still remain the same but there is a maximum amount of money in the pockets of the to be disturbed when the end of the entire company. Hello from your perspective do you see any any changes all of them and are you are you able to us full locomotion the US. Yeah I think this is an interesting question because I don't necessarily think the question here is about. What the salary is it's about how do I know what my worth is in and that's how I'm reading it and I think that's a really important question right somebody who's just out of college you know just got their human factors degree may not know how much they're worth. And. That is an important thing to know because you can get low balled you somebody could hire you for something you know that is completely. Lowballing compared to your cohort right and so my advice for this. Is normalized talking about salary understand what people who have similar skill sets to you arm are making because then you have that negotiation piece at the table and if you are approached by a company with an offer that is not within that range then you can come back and say I was actually hoping for something more like this based on my own research this is kind of what I was expecting and it gives you as a potential prospective employee the tools to negotiate that salary now obviously there's a lot that goes into whether or not to accept a job offer the benefits the bonuses the base salary is certainly kind of the biggest factor but you know the the happiness that you experience on the job is also part of it how you would work with the team these are all factors that play into it but in terms of the salary perspective you know you can certainly try to normalize talking about it with other people and you know that that's that's something that I started doing and as you get into positions you can start offering up your salary and saying look this is how much I make I think you should make the same amount. Our normalized taught normalizing talking about it because I was in a situation where I was grossly underpaid and I didn't realize it until I started talking about it with others and so now I always offer that information out there first to make others feel comfortable about sharing there is with me. So I can say look here's how much I make how much do you make let's compare notes is this right and then again it's just more bargaining power that you have to bring to the table later. Okay anything else all salary. Only one more thing just above the buckle we just had some companies do try and push a culture of. Do you should disclose what salary is and I wouldn't be bullied into going down that approach whatsoever what you talk about in the book outside of work is entirely up to you companies cannot you know and you plan to do that to do that sort of thing so and the father if anybody house in the house that in that season see you should read it that should be a bit of a mystery a red flag but a bit of a a warning beacon as to why would they need to do on the first place it's actually against the law in the United States to require employees to not talk about it so fun fact all right let's see we got one more here let's get into it this last one here is would you request to use our interview with a competitor this is by anonymous geographer on the user experience sub reddit. I'm working on a project and a marketing person on my team wants me to reach out to a person who works at the company who is our direct competitor he said we can be transparent about why we want to talk to a direct competitor but also protector product information. Honestly I don't think the interview will be that useful so I'd rather spend my time trying to get interviews with other people. He's pushing hard to get me to try to get this interview so it's making me think that it might be a good idea am I missing something I've never conducted an interview with a direct competitor to a product I am designing so I'm at a bit of a loss here what do you all think have you ever interviewed a competitor. I am I'm not interview to competitive directly like this but I have done it in a way that I've let the competition already completed through a through a conversation that the that the product is being developed when I read this I thought this is the marketing person trying to get into the head of the competition let them think that the your developing something that may be the that they don't know that you've gone to a basically just getting the competition worried which may or may not be a good idea because it depends on the product bans on on your maturity and also part of what you're seeing and things like that so it could be going down that route it could also be looking about you know what doctor recommended to give up some some real gems about their product the the you know. When you so turn on say well you know I've I've used this part of what we call our product and I was just X. Y. said which if they see that AS because then you know you could take that as a as I guess material to than than including your own product so I think it's been with the way I read it is it it is being used as a as a. As a method writer trying to not steal ideas but trying ideas from them soon all just to try to get into the skin in terms of we producing a cool product of weeds so they let you know about it I think if that is the case then the Bucks a person has a bit responsibility to you to tell you that's why that's happening because accounts I can honestly see why you would go with us that are encompassed a full really full truly useful as as a U. S. A. U. X. research project and then treat that also trust the information that they're giving you for the medley I I just don't think you do that or might be naive Nick do you think you do you think you would do that no I wouldn't do that in fact I would push back to the marketing person and say no let's not let them know what we're doing. Or it let here's here's a better approach great for the better approach why don't you interview users that are using that product and ask them questions because that is ultimately the user base that as a marketer you are trying to reach is it not because as a competitor you want to steal those people that are using the other product and so if they can identify gaps in that other software that is a opportunity for you and your company to sort of patch those gaps into your product. I think that is probably the best way to go and I don't really have much else to say to that other than don't don't engage with a competitor because it gets tricky especially with copyright and patenting laws here in the states it gets tricky just avoid it entirely talk to users instead that's that's what your role is and so if you can recruit them somehow that's another tricky bit but that's a conversation for another time if you can recruit them then I think you can certainly get some insights into that product. All right let's switch gears here and get to this last part of show me like 01 more thing needs no introduction berry what is your 1 more thing this week. So last week I posed a question should I be upgrading to windows 11 the answer to that question still no it's still waiting and I haven't got to that point yet where I said yes let's just do it let's move on though I have read a few more things now and apparently it isn't as bad as I think it's going to be but while nothing this week is still still with Microsoft I opened up my my outlook this morning I thought is broken. You know when you might do something you might have inadvertently pressed some keys no put into it it will put the maybe change the style of it without you realising maybe the window for months and stuff like that I thought this would happen because it just didn't look right they had the the title bar is wrong and the menu is a bit floating inside it turns out that the updated overnight without me knowing about it 8 student but one of the woods that's when he popped up with the we've updated look at new things but he didn't do it on outlook which is the first thing I look at in the morning and so I did spend a good compliment just going what a broken I wouldn't miss. What do I need to do about it I think was it wasn't a what does the actually that we've gone through a fairly common update all the way through. So firstly it was the onboarding experience of this of this new piece that really annoyed me and secondly I just don't think it looks very good so if anybody from Microsoft is listening can you just have a look at the when you got the title bar in the search bar element at the top of the it looks a bit naff I think you could do better it looks like it just feels like you got a little wasted space at the top of the. So that is free you X. design information full for Microsoft bad as a value out because I think it changes very quickly right now we're. Yeah we get we get help with it you're giving constructive feedback towards agency will. You know I totally redone. I totally I totally feel the everything's changed on me because of I think a key press you know like my son will come up to the keyboard to start planning buttons occasionally and I'll be like what did you do I did so there's something what happened. Yeah anyway my one more thing this week is a hate H. up yes it's going to be hosting the president fireside chats or town hall soon and yours truly is going to be hosting those so the first one will be on Friday December 17 at 1:00 PM eastern. We get more details to you out there soon shortly this is kinda late breaking today is when we finalize the days I just want to get that out there for everyone to listen but on your calendar if you're interested in what's going on in each of the S.. Write down your questions and come to that event it'll be a great time to sit down with Chris read and just talk about the state of everything this is kind of a cool opportunity to have one of those town hall so again will be pushing out more details about that soon that's really yeah that's all I have this week so that's going to be a pretty day everyone if you liked this episode we invite you to check out episode 183 we actually took a look at the state of tests what Waymo and other autonomous vehicles great companion piece of this week come out wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week for more in depth discussion you can always join us on our discord community. You can visit our official website sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest human factors news if you like what you hear your support the show there's a couple things you can do one leave us a review 5 star review do that wherever you're at that always helps the show helps other people see that yes this is a trusted podcast and that it is good stuff we hope it's good stuff if you're here listening then I hope so too if you're here listening tell your friends about us because you must like the show surely if you're listening to the outro because people just get the outro so I'm gonna just tell your friends about a 3 if you're still here and really want to support the show consider supporting us on Patreon R. 2 patrons away from being completely self sustainable so that's always nice always links to all of our socials and our website or the description of this episode I would think Mr Perry Kirby for being on the show today where can our listeners going find you if they want to talk about getting hit by autonomous vehicles. I'm on Twitter at bass K. goes by me own thing on Facebook and Instagram and all that sort of stuff but you can also find me on travel to the human factors podcast which is at W. W. W..1202 podcast don't calm. Huge thank you to Blake are in store for hanging out in the chat tonight and as for me I've been your host Nick Rome you can find the streaming on twitch every Monday office hours in across social media at Nick _ Rome turning into human factors cast until next time. Hey Ryan.

Barry Kirby Profile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.