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Feb. 25, 2022

E236 - How Can We Better Define “Mental Health”?

This week on the show, we talk about what the term “mental health” really means and its impact on Human Factors. We also check in with the community about what keeps us excited and motivated  about Human Factors and User Experience, how to store research, and our opinions on sign up vs. sign in.

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This week on the show, we talk about what the term “mental health” really means and its impact on Human Factors. We also check in with the community about what keeps us excited and motivated  about Human Factors and User Experience, how to store research, and our opinions on sign up vs. sign in.

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Recorded live on February 24th, 2022, hosted by Nick Roome & Barry Kirby.


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  • Researchers call for greater clarity over what constitutes ‘a mental health problem’
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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody welcome back to another episode human factors cast this is episode 200 36 we're recording this live on 2/24/2022 I mean host Nick Rome joined today by Mister berry Kirby. Hey Nick it's great to hear all thanks very much really appreciate that one we got we got a great show for you tonight barring no technical issues we'll be talking about what the term mental health really means and its impact on human factors in later we're gonna answer some questions from the community about what gets us excited and motivated about human factors you axe your job in general how to store research at your work and our opinions on sign up versus sign in but first here's a programming note for you all we are going to have some upcoming coverage of the human factors healthcare symposium something that we've done over the last couple years currently we're finalizing some plants with leadership to bring you a preview of what to expect we're gonna do that sometime soon but I do wanna mention that we have asked in our discord chat if there's anything specific that you all want to hear about let us know there and that kind of goes for conference coverage in general. There's any sort of things that you find most valuable about when we go out to conferences and come back whether it's the interviews whether it's talking about specific presentations that we went to whether it's a hearing about the program and what the experience was like we want to hear about that because we want to produce content that's relevant to you and that you'll get something out of. Anyway I think that's all I have for notes so why don't we go ahead and get into the news that's why you're here. Yes it's human factors news out there I don't need to do this you've been here you've been here you know what this is very what is the news story this week so the standards are just looking now the sister this week he's researchers call for greater clarity over what constitutes a mental health problem so when you review the theoretical models used around the world to assess diagnose research and treat mental health problems as highlighted the vast array of approaches which exist so by examine over 0 publications which referred to mental health or mental illness in some way the researchers have identified 34 different theoretical models used by practitioners researchers and uses a mental health services to understand the nature of mental health problems. Only the found that there's no criteria which could be used to prioritize why one model might be used over another this really matters they say because how mental health problems are understood as lasting ramifications for how people with mental health problems are assessed and supported. Do the wide range of models they used by practitioners the researchers are now calling for greater clarity over how different and potentially contracted. Contrasting mental health health models can be used in practice. They argue that this debate needs greater input from no medical professionals and service users. So I think we talk about mental health issues a number times of the past few episodes what are your thoughts on this great call for engagement from the white community. Yeah this one 's tricky obvious obviously mental health has been on my mind lately. And I'm really glad that we found a topic to kind of channel some of this discussion I think a couple weeks ago Frank who's a previous guest on the show mentioned in discord that this would be an awesome topic to talk about and you said that after hearing about my experience with ADHD and I'm just glad we got a story that goes well in terms of my thoughts on how we define mental health and what they're mentioning here I absolutely think this is true I think. When you think about mental health or wind the common person things about mental health they think about issues and or or sort of non Nero typical. Thoughts behaviors actions all these things and so what when we define mental health we need to make sure that that is kind of treated equivalent to our our physical health right when you think about being in. A good physical shape meaning you know you don't get winded doing basic activities like myself. Or basically that you are exercising the your body and and that is physical health and mental health we need to think about exercising our mind and making sure that we are in a good place psychologically I'm. I've done quite a bit about my initial general impressions of the article Barry what are you thinking about this I think it's it's really insightful because I think it's it's a really long overdue review. The whole mental health is still we we we we treat it like we we know everything about it right that that do you need to do is you know go do some exercise we saw some drugs at its and stuff like that and we kind of have this perception that it's it's one so but actually this highlight so we still very much feeling a way around it we still don't truly know we kind of dealing with the symptoms rather the calls is because it's still IBM a lot of work to be done and that combined with the stigma around mental health there is still a huge amount of stigma around mental health and I like to think that it is that it's borne out of ignorance rather than malice that the the law the the second stick or is that just because we don't truly understand what's going on but the idea that this. This review gives as the all as high like the fact that we don't have a decent structure to be able to assess which of the right models to be applying to different calls different ideas I think it is really good so it feels like a starting point it feels like there is still a lot of work to be done I think it will be worth diving into some of those issues issues around. Mental health 7 the standings out of the need to give us a bit of a any sort of insights yeah I do want to kind of preface our discussion today I know a lot of people are probably listening and saying well what does mental health really have to do with human factors were gonna jump into that but really I mean I can understand the foundation of mental health and. I'm not going to read this verbatim but I'm gonna jump around a little bit this is from mental which is I would imagine you know a government funded. Effort to understand mental health and so I think when we. Can you think of our traditional understanding of mental health this is kind of what they're saying right includes our emotional psychological social well being it affects how we think feel act. It also helps determine how we just how we handle stress relate to others and make choices. Mmhm and this is a really important thing at every stage of life from childhood and adolescence all the way through adulthood and you know they're going to say over the course of your life if you experience mental health problems. Basically you're thinking your mood or behavior could be affected because of what's going on in your head and there's a lot of different things that go into mental health right so like biological factors jeans paint brain chemistry those types of things life experiences trauma is a big one abuse is another big one or family history with with mental health issues or I shouldn't say issues I shouldn't say issues mental health. Problems is what they say here. So obviously you know a big cabbie out all this help is available there are resources available and willing some of those in our on the description of the show notes here. But you know I I beyond sort of the textbook definition of mental health I do want to kind of mention that. Some some interesting stats here all of us everyone on this planet has mental health. And that's something to remember we we all have this mental health and when you think about everybody on the planet approximately 25 percent of us will experience some difficulty with mental health and you know for getting in my personal story I didn't realize that something was wrong until I started reading other people's experiences around. I'm. For me it's 80 HD and I didn't understand that thinking in certain patterns or hyper focusing on something or. Sort of rationing out my brain these certain things warrant Nero typical. I'm and it was very surprising to me and I mean statistics like this kinda go to show I didn't know I was one of those for and so I don't know are you there there's help available willing that but anything to add to the understanding of what mental health is before we kind of get into the human factor side of this whole topic nothing actually it's only just reinforce the last bus please what you said is that mental health and mental health problems. You clearly that they relate to but just having an appreciation of your mental health everybody needs to do it in the same way that we you know what we think about fitness all of the actual thing about the fitness thing a bit more and you know eating healthily again I need to do more that we need to think about. We need to talk more about mental health and and and that type thing just because with it we know what I quite like is about the number and the the term mental health is so common in our vocabulary and actually younger generations as well a move much more aware of mental health and and the fact that you need to be aware of it is a really really good thing I would just strongly encourage everybody to be. Just wanting to talk about it because it's it makes that it's something that we one time. Because as you quite rightly say everybody has mental health we need to keep we need to keep a healthy in and and be self aware as you as as you said there's those issues I've not realized been going on until you until he reflected somebody else's position and it can be quite a scary thing to try and talk about a visit by bits of things but I think these things are getting easier. Anyway to dive into some of the how mental health affects human factors yes let's do it do you wanna do you want to just kind of give us a brief state of of mental health and human factors and we kind of did a dive into some specific examples yeah the sim so look at the direction every bit as as many applications for applying human factors to mental health care but it's actually not alone how mental health impacts our ability to do things. What do you think before jobs monitor systems there is a decent results are you affected 1 with talk about. Met mental wellbeing in the workplace particular through code 19 but it's worth highlighting some of the the obligations to keep employee what you've got to be aware of. So I am please do you have a responsibility to ensure the mental well being of that stuff and then actually that's quite a sensible thing is Nichols gives Saudi given a lot of what we doing you think that it would be a number one priority in many countries employers have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety workers so here in the U. K. we are the health and safety at work act that requires employers to secure the health including mental health safety welfare employees that lost work and amongst other things basic provide a safe place of work and she'll say systems work and provide information and training and just do we just go down on your training on on on this type of thing which is which is quite good. I'm in Australia transitions of obligations do what is reasonably practicable to limit or minimize work related risks to health and safety this would include any psychological risks created by code 19. So but it is worth noting that all the locals only set a minimum standard you did this and then there's nothing to stop you going above and beyond these by setting great improvements cost a whole range of measures if you want to take it additional actions but in recent study by the World Health Organization estimated the depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy over $1000000000000 each year in lost productivity so is the business of business benefits to be able to manage mental well being. Along side and that's aside from the of the month moral and legal issues. So the I mean fundamentally that the drive that there was a driving employees to make them not only look at the physical safety of what you doing but that the mental health. Application as well. Yeah it will be used to do when the. Yeah I want to jump in here so from you thank you for covering the UK side of the house I want to mention the U. S. side of the house for a second there so we have something similar we have occupational safety and health administration that's OSHA. And they have a bunch of standards for workplace and when you think about mental health. That's maybe. I don't I want to call it a gap it's not a gap in OSHA they haven't covered in several standards I'm looking at 1 right now 1904.5 which is specifically looking at determination of work relatedness and so if you wanna go look it up and read it for yourself you can but I'm just going to kind of briefly mention here that when they mentioned mental health in this capacity. Basically asking if there's a situation where an injury or illness occurs in the workplace. That is sort of. Work related right so is is it related is it covered under one of these things. If the illness is a mental illness it's not considered work related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed therapist or professional who can. Basically vouch that the mental illness is work related and so when you think about it from the US side we don't really have that same kind of protection in place which is. 9. Not great how do you define the difference and I know it will still get into discussed to some extent but how do you read the define the difference we whether something is a mental health issues work related not because it's so. You know from a mental perspective that you know you can combat cook compartmentalized between home life in that way Kenya look I mean if you get if you get a therapist to sign off on it then you're good but the issue is that there's no obligation there's no standard that is is meant for mental health that says an employer has an obligation to protect the mental health of their employees. So that's just a picture from the west side of things I just want to mention that in relation to your previous points there I do want to jump in to kind of well being at work in general and so you know a lot of these you mentioned it right there there's little separation between work life balance in some cases and how do you really pick apart which ones which. There's a lot of aspects of work that can contribute to some of these mental health issues. And you know as we saw with the pandemic over the last couple years this is really kind of flared up a lot of it. You know that there's additional impacts on people in the workplace now there you know people are working from home there's different family dynamics that are happening now between people who maybe you know weren't at home before and are at home now and there's children in the picture and it's it's a whole mass but I again I want to kind of get away from the covert situation because there's a lot of application here outside in like a typical. Working environment as well and just I there's a whole laundry list here of ways in which. The working environment can support well being. M. or lead to mental health issues and I want to mention a couple of these just right off the top just to kind of go through this list almost in and maybe we can pick apart some of our favorites but I'm gonna read off just a couple here so there's a lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities can contribute to mental health issues changes to those roles routines groups procedures or expectations set on employees longer working hours extra shifts over time changes to work location so like working from home. Being not able to take annual leave that's also a contributing factor here increased workload work pressures obviously those types of things. I'm taking on additional duties responsibilities with insufficient training. Increased threat of workplace discrimination aggression or violence from customers clients or patients. I'm. The fear in the workplaces they they talk about this and in relation to cover 19 but I imagine this applies to other things about sexual identity gender. All those types of things as well concerns about exposure to covet 19 on public transport I argue that that's you know outside of the workplace but still relevant because you need public transport to get there. More covert 19 specific stuff uncertainty about your employment. Mmhm so that's a that's another big one financial worries. Due to unstable or reduced employment extended absence due to furlough rapid decision making that is required of the employees logistical issues obtaining materials making difficult choices in health care settings wow that's a heavy hitting one we got the healthcare symposium coming up you all if you wanna hear about some of those. Serious illness or death of work colleagues and witnessing the serious illnesses or death of patients and the healthcare sector so. Wow that is a huge list. There's there's other factors too will get into those in a minute I did I want to talk to you really quick are there couple in this list that you want to focus on a little bit and talk through yeah I mean the for me the to the hit is the working longer hours and not really work links him with this working from home I'm covered and so what we gonna have the the new normal one of the the new hybrid working looks like nothing that's going to be gone for a while and then there's a bunch of things around the whole working from home piece the the hello people say no you should get back to the office the Sonya but in some respects are kind of the does the level of me agreeing with that because people tend to overwork when they're home so if they're if they're at home particularly if the home setup is maybe on the dining room table or it's in the at the end of the living room with a desk and in the same room as well that way you socialize people end up generally working longer hours than what you would do in the office because the office you can but the computer down you leave and you go where's if with the whole working home we've found that your going to be working longer hours so I think the whole change into work location mix with the longer I was actually is is something that you can see how that would burn people out and make that go along this I think that is something we should particularly be aware of I've got a bit of a a bandwagon thing at the moment about whatever this new normal looks like we need to work out about how to insure people safety home not just physical safety books that I would. Michael health safety. Around the just around the the busy works I think it's easy to kill people into into working longer is anything in there that the tape sticky ethical Johnson yeah there's a couple it's it's it's hard reading through this list and not trying to identify with some of them because some I've identified with a lot of these you know barring some of the the more serious ones in like a health care setting but you know I I I think certainly a lot of us have experienced. Some sort of lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities especially as human factors practitioners I think a lot of times it's our job to kind of come up with who's doing what and how that whole process happens. And so you know it that comes with the job but it's also kind of. I guess unsettling to not know who something set in stone. You know another one that's interesting to me and and relevant to me is is. Uncertainty about employment like I have in my head you know I I have a network of connections I I'm not afraid of. Finding another job but you know when you work on contract work it's it's sort of this some. This really intense pressure on you to not only finish up the project that you're working on but to find another job in that same time frame so that way you have continued work afterwards and I know that has burned out a lot of colleagues of mine that uncertainty about employment with continuing on through contract work and that's that's kind of another one that I wanted to bring up and I'm bringing these up through the lens of human factors professionals. You can kind of look at this list and think of a lot of different things that can really impact your ability to work and your mental health and that's kind of what we're talking about here right all these are human factors issues all these can be solved with with human factors applications right well. Most of them anyway. Let's let's talk about other impacts that kind of it contribute to mental health but maybe outside the workplace but could still impact your your. Your performance at work so in the case of the pandemic right we all have social isolation from family from friends sort of an increase in domestic violence that is something that we saw numbers spike early early days of the pandemic because everyone was not weren't used to being in the same space. It's really sad. They also have sort of. Rushers were caring for independence sick relatives those types of things child care home schooling. And employment all these things are kind of competing interests. Our time and energy you have illness or bereavement for family and friends and and this is especially true during the pandemic as well and you know kind of a just a just a general note to kind of top off this whole section here. Basically when when you have poor mental wellbeing or poor mental health or whatever you're attributing. Whatever you're calling it. There your ability to perform some of these. Some of these everyday duties is compromised. You know a lot of these. Are influencing. Your your human performance right if you think about human factors terms it's weakening your human performance in the workplace and in your personal life as well. And so if you address some of these factors any of these factors really it's gonna improve that reliability of the human to do their job. And really just function properly right if you think about a human function. The ability to function properly is probably what we're talking about most here and and this if you think about the sort of jobs with high risk. Or heist safety critical incidents like I don't know a pilot or a doctor or you know TSA or something where you know it really is mission critical that you are on on. In 100 percent good health. Or firefighter yet anyone of these first responders there could be a variety of different professions in which. Yeah these contributing factors are really going to make a break even saving a life and so. We got to think about all these things holistically. All these different issues that impact mental health and then also how mental health impacts our performance on the job okay I've talked about berry I would give you an opportunity to kind of clean up if there's anything in this section before we like kind of move on to actually discussing the article itself yeah I think this really does highlight reading there is a a strong responsibility as an employer and colleagues actually to look out for each other but the we should be driving in the same way as we do from a physical aspect we encourage the the the right side with the task we do a. DSE assessments Oleh Oleh type of stuff from an outside perspective and we physically ensure that our employees and and I'll stop by colleagues. Basically a set up to do this properly we should also be doing this for all my mental health perspective we seem effective practitioners are in an ideal position to to push that through and really the the the argument to the employer should be quite easy because as you quite rightly just said if if we if we suffering from home. You know not necessary mental you know mental health problems a surgeon in the the falafel but even just that mental health well being and performance is isn't on top so therefore we're not being as productive as we could be in the workplace. So that there is a a buddy from anything that for employers to ensure that everyone's in tip top mental health form because you be more productive so you know the Heisman said so I think there is we see is your fax partition is probably have a bit of a job to do an in flight this binary bit more than pop possibly we opted to date that is a huge understatement so I'm we're cutting content for time but if you're sticking around on our live version or if you're listening to this later our patrons get the full audio version if you're listening this later listen to the post show or go go find us our PO show on on any of our video platforms we'll be talking about things like risk assessment communication consultation work design mental well being resources. All that stuff as it relates to human factors issues on the story we just got to cut a little bit for time but I do want to make sure we do have some time to talk about the article itself so getting back to this main issue of like how how do we categorize mental illness or how do we define it and sort of also how do we sort of standardized these models right. You know for for a lot of us in terms of our our knowledge from a psych background right we know the DSM and that's kind of like. I don't see the Bible but it is a a reliable source for some of these. Maybe more. Abnormal I don't wanna say abnormal it's just it's a less typical. I'm neuro divergent mental health patterns and so. There there is that but I think what this article is saying is that we need to go beyond that we need to look at some of these models themselves. And and talk about what our mental health problems what counts as a mental illness. You know what what kind of impact of these have within healthcare those types of things. Barry are there any sort of. Cherry picked talking points that you want to bring out from this article itself so I think there is does the one element you just a trunk touched on that is being very E. O.'s Kathleen a language all allowing us to define the language a bit better around what is just what is what are things around just mental health about allowing us to be. More effective on on mental health and what we do will help the detracts gives better worse mental health in of itself in the same way that you know going to going for run will make you a bit bit fitter and all that sort of stuff so just general how do how do we affect that and then get getting to the difference between right what what's the problem with an illness and we've been able to find that in the same way as we would physically but what I thought was interesting on the article was the cause but the end is the thought that we have a broad range of perspectives around who does this and what the. Researchers are suggesting is the rather just you rather just engaging with doctors and. Specialist we should bring it in opinions from those people who were also for the people who use the services and what the heck is that could be. A real issue for them in the long term but actually might be a way to go in the in the short term. What do you think is there is one thing that that that abstracts you that we we should be highlighted before we finish this but yeah I do want to kind of follow up on that point right of of not necessarily counting on specialists and and researchers but asking. Service users which which model they feel to be most appropriate for them right now I think kind of it's almost like democratization of models. And I think that's really helpful right you think about these models is like tools in a tool kit not necessarily the end all be all and when you come to take that approach people can sort of think about mental health in the way that's best suited to them and you know that the one thing that this might have consequentially is is. Yet you might think that the non medical models might become a little bit more important to. Or quote unquote important then. The than some of these clinicians would be willing to accept. Because you know it is it is kind of based on the subject of a. Experience of of the person. You know there's. There's also there's all sorts of models right there's biological psycho psychological social models. And. If if you think about these models kind of fracturing write the researchers are showing that this this these types of models are fracturing into different. In different sub models if you will and they're thinking about this this field being dominated by a psychiatry psychology. You really need to bring in the perspectives of the people who are actually experiencing these issues and other professionals in in in other settings like nurses or social workers who experience this on a day to day basis. And and you need to have them be heard to kind of incorporate their feedback into this larger discussion about what constitutes mental health. Mmhm yeah I think that's that's really all I had about the article any any other closing thoughts. No no in particular I think it's it's a really good I think starting point I like the idea of and in this particular element that we are you know it's been a long time developing approaches and different bits now feels like an appropriate time to go back to basics almost restructure look a refresher what we doing to end to see whether we can we now know more can apply things better so I look forward to hopefully support but be in a 6 month time awesome saying be able to maybe revisit this and see where we got to where that it's it feels like an exciting time. Yeah I agree I do want to they had just pose the question to you. In berry's words how would you define mental health. We'll put you on the spot all right I I the clever Barry wouldn't but no it's not me it's the whole. It's everything that we we do is beat import defines as actually as people. Because everything that goes it's it's about was. I'm feeling comfortable with ourselves and what we do in day to day to day basis because if you're feeling. Comfortable with being an free enough to express yourself do what what is it you want to do working the way that you want to work and just generally exist in a way that is it is necessarily have to be you know exciting to all the time all but just content I think that that puts that means everything is sort of an equilibrium in some way and so it's it's but still lots. It's still a big loan for me I'd I'd dated that there's loads of different definitions I'm going to go out to this point Danbury still my answer no I think ultimately if you think about mental health to me your you kind of hit with that equilibrium comment you know that you're going to experience a wide range of either ailments or or sort of phases where there's little to no issues or problems that you experience and I think to me what mental the what what healthy mental health is is somewhere right in the middle where you don't let one strong feelings on either side of that damage really pull you in the direction. So hard that everything else in your life is is kind of impacted by it. That is the simplest way I can put it I'm not an expert berries and herbs but not in in mental health we're not mental health experts let's put it that way. And so with that you know I think we kind of handle this delicately there's a larger conversation to be had I'm excited because we got to talk about in the human factors lands. But with that let's let's move on I just wanna thank our patrons this week for selecting this topic we've been looking for mental health topic for a while and thank you to our friends over at university of bath for a news story this week you follow if you want to follow along we do post the links to all the original articles on the weekly roundups that we put on our blog you can also join us in our discord for more discussion on the stories and take a quick break and we'll be back to see what's going on in the 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 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. Yes use thank you as always to our patrons especially want to thank our honorary human factors cast staff patrons Machel trip. You know I I do want to mention we always talk about pastry on. And and I want to mention another resource for you I think. One thing that kind of goes off an undiscovered is our website we have 80 awesome website with a bunch of functionality built in for you all you can. Do all sorts of fun stuff over there so. Some of the things that are kind of standard for most podcasts websites you get detailed show notes including links to any guests that were on this week some in Baghdad YouTube videos that kind of link up with the episodes you can see how handsome Mr Beria's and you know. We also got other things on there aside from the podcasting stuff that we do all the stuff that comes out of the digital media lab that's what we put on our websites we have. News roundups weekly roundups monthly round ups and this is a good opportunity to check in with some of the other stories that we may not cover on the show you know we used to do 3 stories I think in one week on the show which actually was kind of insane now that I think about it because it was no. There's no way you could cover those in depth and. You know now that we're doing one story a week I think it's it's much much better there's let's see here like I said additional information on our gas there's deep dives on the different topics that we have and. There's ways to submit your own stories on our website so if you come across something that human factors related you want us to talk about you want us to know about it there's a way for you to submit their you can go in search all the episodes. For content if you wanna learn more about mental health you can go to our website and search it. We have conference recaps on there I'm going on right it's just if it's been a minute since you check out our website or if you don't know that we even have a website go check it out it's human factors it's websites but human factors cast that media again we'll put the link in the show notes but again really valuable resource just wanna make sure that the community knows about it speaking of the community we're going to we're we're gonna get into this next on the show we like to call. Yes it came from this is the part of the show where we searched all over the internet or we've already searched it's not like we're actively searching in this part of the show we've already searched we got it for you and and this is what we find topics that the community is talking about you find any of these useful be sure to give us a like to help other people find this content okay we got 3 up this week first one is a question for established professionals. What has got you excited about you X. and your job in the last quarter this is from hither and yon on the user experience already we're gonna play this to human factors as well. As as the subject says I'm just trying to amplify my in my interest in work right now and I'm curious what's been getting you going so Barry how do you stay motivated at work. And how do you stay motivated in human factors and with your job in general. So the for the human factors be easy easy I think because everything that we do. You could you can apply what we do to pretty much anything that and look at the lower the fun bit around human factors these he's getting the nitty gritty of right wall of given issues around B. this anything to do with it said a month system all all the way through to a a a piece of equipment in the kitchen there is a division of the out that bit but around the job itself. In the eighties I keep myself motivated by a not having my project being too long and about having more than one to go on the go at any one time and so generally as much as I love all of my projects at the Rolex will children to me and I care for them dearly some of them can get a bit annoying. And that that that happens with any solo projects in a long project for me is maybe too because that might be anyway 18 months to 2 years. And so if I've got something going like that I generally like to have something else to at least one of the top to put into the mix and that means that when you're getting maybe a bit a bit tired of of one project rather than having to keep this looking on with that you can take a break by going to do something else and keep mixing it up and I think that's generally what you gotta do is is mix of what you do the I would failed allowances to basically take on a broad variety of jobs the. The the just keeps everything fresher you'll find new problem in you a new issue and it weighs a prime what you do generally into when you divide so yeah I think that's what that is one of the most exciting factors about human factors in U. axes the fact that we are so bold the applicable let wait if you get bored you get frustrated old whatever happens in one the main job or something else you can then go on and do the same thing somewhere else quite easily. What do you think will work will get you excited about your job. That's a great question and and I wanna comment on one of your points there about. Our work in general is working on a bunch of different things and you're right except in the case where you are working for a company and its one product they're still variety within the product that you're still working on the same thing and I think that is a little harder to maintain sort of this excitement and motivation to keep going. And and really you do have to take the approach that you're talking about here is find new things to get you excited about it and. You know that really hasn't been an issue for me but I know some. It the excitement about the product is not the issue I think the motivation. It within human factors is is maybe a bigger issue and I think you know for it's easy for us we have a podcast every week that we discuss human factors it gives me that outlet to discuss topics that maybe I'm not working on and still gives me kind of had that excitement of of a connecting over another topic that so I still get my fix right. So I guess my advice would be like talk to other people. Who may be. Aren't working on the same thing that you're working on and if you hear about the way that they talk about it then you might get excited about that topic again right so I don't know you're working on a product let's just. You press a button it does something. Very simple right but what if that something is is so beneficial to that person's job I'm describing a user here by the way I'm. So beneficial to that person's job that they would love to have that button they just want that button. Well then your motivation should be to make that but in the past but it could be in the right place so that way that person can do their job. That analogy probably I don't know I I I I get motivated talking to the people who actually use the product that's my point I get I get motivated by talking to users to you know that the work that we're doing actually matters I think that is is the part that really just gets me to get up in the morning. All right let's get in this next one here. This one 's titled long term archive of research outputs this is by fox 91 again on the user experience sub reddit here they're wondering what other teams used to store their past research efforts whether this is customer research. Competitive analysis or something like that they have a wiki at their company which works but it's not really conducive to holding all the artifacts and such however it is nice because with the wiki search makes it at least able to find an older test our project they use Miro another tool for some of their work but they're finding that older other than titles you can't really search within the boards so work gets lost over time very. Storage of work and artifacts is incredibly important because there might be something that you've worked on in the past that you need to go and look at what are your thoughts on storage of documents and information at work. So you have to be right it is important because it's the the potential it's not necessarily gonna loose tooth but you gain you you don't gain the advantage you could get by IBM to quickly call up the stuff that you've done before be able to re use previous stuff and you might be. Trying out the stuff and you've actually got it within you know you've already got it within your ecosystem so much so we've had this problem with my company in fact quite recently so the governor should be tried to sold over while about 10 years now about but the thing I've I've almost come to a perfect solution for us. We've also highlighted a couple tools there already I use we use checkpoint the the the Microsoft tool and really what we've done and you could do this with you just have to be shipped out I don't think it could be we could do it Google Google drive and things like that as well but we've setup the way that we've we deal with projects into my site not. Not closely regimented full out but in a way that we can come pick up a project show that it's live but when he then dies down and and finishes the week an archive that project in in such a way that nothing truly displays we deal with clean up job on the project now because within a process he get rid of all of the dozens if not contribute any of the of the Verstappen evolutions that you're proud so you you know the stuff you definitely use but we still keep all the project artifacts in only deliverables that we have we actually extract into a joyous and would do into it reporter a different culture within that within that short same sites so that allows us to use the global search search function which will lend your dive into not only the different document names on the title but actually search within the documents themselves which is just proven now really really powerful. That actually was this week that I was then searching for something some research waves the talk around around simulation I'm exited some simulation will go 8 years ago that I completely forgot about a number because we did this reorganization I was able to search for it and he popped up of what we have and this works on 2 levels one is knowing the work you've done so the final reports you produce the artifact you produced but if you're doing some sort literature review you might to be viewed literature already that you kind of just got about because he was 10 years ago but you keep that literature in the repository and be able to do to pull that out as well so yeah for me that that the the new the new web cloud technologies is is working really really well except we use now we know use SharePoint and in the way that it it flows and it really I think it's certainly I would eat the Volusia just in the past 12 months has been quite phenomenal so yeah I I know that that's my solution and I'm very evangelical about it because I did it now works with which he has done in the past well you know what what do you what do you use for your long term archive this it came from brought to you by SharePoint. I've used a variety of different things in the past I've used wikis I've used share drives. Where stuff gets lost in folders and it's really inefficient I've used wikis where people don't check the pages and it's really inefficient I've used SharePoint where people don't know where to store things are where things are stored and it's really inefficient. The thing that I think I will I want you to take away from the system and not necessarily the tool or the way in which you store the information it's who's using it are they trained to use it and can you find stuff on it. There there's probably an optimal way I think Barry's way is probably fine and probably works best for their company but like. For me what I've found success with his is when you have everybody using something like a wiki you can store things on a wiki you can link to other repositories and have information on their an archive if you will of of past projects that have worked well you can also implement a tagging system if you know something was like a results or or an outcomes brief you can tag it outcomes or results or keep it consistent but whatever it is you can tag it and then search across all of your stuff and say okay well here's here's results from this project or you know if you if you have a prime a certain project that you're doing for a certain contract. Get a hashtag for that contract. HFC 2022 human factors got 2022 right and that way you can see all the things that were associated with that project. And be consistent about it put it in the file name so that way you know you might need to look for the methods that you did for HSC 2022 and you can type in hashtag methods hashtag HST point would you go back and find it really easily because you have put it in the file name or you know at the header of the document and if it has robust enough search of your platform has robust enough search it will find that really easily. That tagging is is really crucial to. Especially when it comes to user feedback but that's a whole other separate thing you can you can. That's not file storage that's analysis we'll get into that at the time. That's my thoughts on it I don't know. Okay. Well good for you that the the I think the most important bit the both of us come out with ease no this happened by accident you it takes a little bit of planning it takes a little bit of thought it might take a little bit of evolution but it just I don't know what the process would but he does take a little bit of a growing up process and working with it too and and then briefing everybody else into its right to use it the same way no matter what for me is it's it got the process right and then everything else actually giving you reap the rewards later on. Gap agree are this last one is something that we don't typically do but we're gonna do it anyway the this question is why is sign up ultra prominent nowadays but sign in and gets buried this is by adequate elder berry on the user experience I've read it we don't typically like to talk about you why stuff too much. They say hello you X. folks I've noticed over sometime that a lot of popular platforms seem to be making account creation procedures more and more central older eye catching at cetera the reason here is not too hard to understand the a lot more users are streamlining the process he's. But I'm baffled why they often don't they why they often do it at the expense of a log in procedures for existing accounts it's gotten to the point where I'm actually annoyed having to look up some small non bold sign in tax link the upper right hand corner something like that I also noticed the wording in general seems to shift from register slash log in to sign in or sign up which brings no obvious advantage but there but is more likely to get mixed up so please tell me from a professional human factors are you expected Sir any underlying rationale behind some of these developments that escapes my layman's awareness as there is so often in U. acts. So from my perspective I think it's the majority of it is because we now use make so much use of auto auto sign in. The actual time you go and click in the actual sign in button is so limited compared to. When you first London on something and they really want to drive you into to signing up and moving forward especially now there's a whole lot of problems around using you know either your Google ID your Facebook ID all apply do you already have the ID's or exist to try to get you to to training without a because when you know me now go in there and you'll be able to login if you've you've already signed up then chances are you seeing that page or actually slim. Very very low now there was an interesting flip on this of the rasam. Some some phase at some pages outlet now some sites out there that's a if we've used recently that actually just trying to find the Sino element is low is really really difficult you have to sign in is is really comments which seemed to be seem to find the face of this to some extent but that also does seem to be a bit of a trend which I com justify my head as easily as I as I can justify this one yeah I think for me that the fundamental that's well that's why this is because some people don't really get to see the the login page now because we do the auto sign in. They give you a different sector I know I have the same take I think the other piece of this. That. I don't know it it's probably a back in thing honestly but I don't understand why at this point in 2022 we can't just put in our credentials what we think they are and if they exist log in great found a user for this user name great if they don't exist Hey would you like to make an account and it's just all 1 unified log in. At. This is my that's my grumble you take I think more seriously you know there's. I think you're right there's there's sort of a. Everyone's going to be logged into the systems 90 percent of the time and the 10 percent of the time that you're not you just gotta do a little hunting. And they've kind of way that with the. Sort of benefit of having one of the sign up things available and easy to get to so that way people get in their system that's ultimately what it comes down to I don't think we're sort of over thinking at all I think that's kind of it and I think I'm. Just in terms of the wording right register verses sign up. I think register has a more. A it's a different connotation to it though it's almost like you're committing to something where signing up as like. I don't know kind of an industry standard right now for for getting into a platform that's that's my $0.2 I don't wanna spend too much time on this we don't normally do these but it was a fun one. I'm I'm grumbling about it. It just so we can still do that hold you X. thing yeah yeah we yeah we can we can look at the stuff we do this in our day job. Yeah that's right well this this next what is your needs no introduction is just one more thing berry what is your one more thing this week I'm gonna stick with a Mustang rather my relative I'm going on holiday next week we talk about mental health and needing to refresh to regenerate and all that sort of stuff and I'd like to say that Ali you know I die you die by would volunteer to go on holiday next week but as is my usual thing I was told I'm going to hold the next because apparently you knew I'm a little bit stressed give in quite a while and we just coming we come to the end of a couple of very large jobs on this I know that Sir among the very kind of suggested very forthright manner the week on holiday and I'm so I'm really very much looking forward to it we got it stressful couple days just to finish out with work and next week I will do I'm not let's take my laptop I think my phone's gonna be sunny restricted so yeah I'm I'm I'm I'm going to try to practice what we preach today and and go look after myself a little bit I am thrilled for you so that means you're gonna leave me high and dry next week for content. This is yet. I want to say don't worry about it because like I said we are trying to get some of that health care symposium. Review out for you in place of a of a regular schedule podcast next week so so I wouldn't put in a programming notes anyway if if nothing's next week you know berries on holiday as for me you know I E. I had a a by Hannah was a weird moment. Over the last couple weeks. We've had some technical setbacks on the show you know last week it was my microphone. And 2 weeks ago it was it was the fact that the service that we used to broadcast I kind of froze up on us. I'm at at. Towards the end of the show so we lost some content. I really this is kind of got me down. It didn't. I I know it's just a podcast but really we do put a lot of effort and and time into this thing on a weekly basis and and genuinely it's something that we feel passionate about and so when it doesn't go as well as it could it really bums me out it's a hobby but it's also you know a way for me to connect with the community and. Yeah I felt like one week after another was something outside of our control or really just a dumb little mistake that kind of impact on the quality of the show and. You know this is a comment on this court this week that actually made give me gave me a big chuckle and I want to call it out this one from a saami that says only only some of us are bots this is after saying that they really liked the show so you know it's it's always just refreshing to hear from people on the other side of the headphones because we're sitting here we're talking into a microphone like I said we put a lot of time and effort into this thing and. Sometimes it feels like no one 's listening even though we know there are we we see the numbers we know people are listening but you know hearing from hearing from you all it's like hearing from the users right like. It's a it's refreshing so thank you and and really that goes for anyone who's ever left a kind comment about the podcast can't thank you enough for your kind words it just it means a lot to me. I'm. That's it that's it for today everyone if you like this episode and enjoy some of the discussion about mental health and what it is and want to hear about some potential solutions to monitoring mental health only heard you all to go listen to episode 174 we discussed researchers are creating an apple basically to monitor some mental health by measuring emotions you can always counted wherever you're listening with what you think of a story this week for more in depth discussion join us on our after show or join us on our desk discord community in visit our official website like I mentioned sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest human factors news you like what you hear you wanna support the show there's a couple things you can do one just jump in our discord let us know we're doing all right. That's really awesome you can always leave us a 5 star review that's something you can do to receive those and we appreciate those you can tell your friends about us the more people that listen to the show we grow by word of mouth so that really helps us out to and if you're you're really feeling generous you can always support us on Patreon financial stuff helps with some of the behind the scenes stuff here. As always links all of our socials and website are gonna be in the description of this episode I thank Mr Barry Kirby for being on the show today where can our listeners going thank you if they want to figure out where they can bother you on holiday. It's going to bother me on holiday then you can hit me up on Twitter but some school K. all you can go listen to my podcast a trilogy. Okay stop cold that's our website for the tool to keep. As for me I've been in his neck road you can find me across social media at Nick _ Rome thanks again for tuning into human factors cast until next time. Identified as.

Barry KirbyProfile 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.