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April 15, 2022

E241 - How Giving Paramedics Jetpacks can Stop People from Dying

This week on the show, we talk about how paramedics might use jetpacks in the near future to save people’s lives. We also answer some questions from the community about how to push back on developer suggestions, advice for conducting asynchronous activities, and red flags considering research turnaround time.

Recorded live on April 14th, 2022, hosted by Nick Roome & Barry Kirby.

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Welcome to Human Factors Cast, your weekly podcast for Human factors, psychology and design.

Hello. Hello. Episode 241. We're recording the is live on April 14, 2022. This is Human Factors Cast. I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Good evening. How are you? I'm well, you have a new title, Barry. It's very exciting. I am delighted to say that I'm now the President elect of charity and Human Factors. And I should have my own something now at the start of every show. Yeah, you should. King Barry Kirby, Sir. Barry Kirby. Is there an official President elect? Yes. Anyway, we got a great show not to glance over your achievements, Barry, Congratulations. We've got a great show for you tonight. We're actually going to be talking about how jet packs might be used in the near future to save people's lives. And later we're going to answer some questions from the community about how to push back on developer suggestions, advice for conducting asynchronous activities, and red flags when considering research turnaround time. But first, some programming notes. Hey, if you haven't already, we have put out that HFCs town hall. This is the first official episode since we've put that out. We sat down, we had a conversation with HFES leadership. We were talking about all that fun stuff over HFES, especially around outreach. Go check it out if you haven't already. And Barry, I understand that you have some stuff going on at twelve two, the Human Factors podcast. What's going on over there? Yeah. So I think the last time we were going to have this discussion, we just put out an episode around Fire. This time we look at agriculture and we just recorded an interview with John Owen, who's busy. He's the research project manager at Get the Eye, which is a farm campus of a further education College here in Wales called Colleague Cigar. He was good enough to basically give me a bit of an insight about how they use an IoT and technology, sensor technologies in particular, about how to give farmers a bit of an edge into decision making. And then he gives a bit of background into the sort of decisions they need to make around weather and all that sort of stuff. So that's going to go live on Monday. And then you talk about HFS leadership next week. I'm recording an episode with none other than Chris himself, Chris Reid. So hopefully if that all happens and goes ahead, then I'll be able to give you a bit of an insight from this side of the pond about what we think about HFS. Is Chris the only person that we both had on our podcast? Well, Tony, we both had Tony on it. Yes. I think so far there might be some other updates. Yes, we will. One more update here. We are always taking excited volunteers for our Human Factors Cast digital Media Lab. We got a lot of really fun stuff going on over there. In fact, we just done a whole update on our lab infrastructure to make sure that transition for volunteers is a good onboarding process. If you are interested in helping communicate human factors. If you're interested in creating content that will help others digest human factors psychology in a way that is effectively communicated, I encourage you to reach out to us. We are always looking for folks, but we know why you are here. You are here for the news. So why don't we go ahead and get into it?

I understand that people skip parts of the show. That intro is usually what people skip. So we're looking for people for the Lap. I'm going to say it one more time just after that break. Anyway, we know why you're here. You're here for the news. Barry, what is the new story this week? The new story this week is amazing. We're talking about jetsuit paramedics ready for a summer lift off. Really? What we're going to hear is paramedics in the Lake District here in the United Kingdom hope to be using jet suits to reach medical emergencies this summer. Currently, they use helicopters that take around 25 to 30 minutes to reach a patient in the Lake District once the crew was found an area flat enough to land. Once this program is operational, the jetpack Operation Medics will be able to fly up the Hill in 90 seconds, rather than taking that 30 minutes by foot that it takes to get there. The Jetsu consists of two mini engines on each arm and one on the back, allowing the pilot to control their movement just by moving their hands. We've all seen Iron Man. It can ascend quickly save invaluable time by flying close to the land. There is a major advantage for using this technology in the leg restrictors. The jetsuit can be used in poor conditions such as low visibility and strong winds, which would pose a challenge to a helicopter. And anybody who's been to the Lake District know that low visibility in strong winds are very common. The suits have also been proved to be effective in 35 miles an hour winds and, according to the data, could be used on 15 to 20 medical cases a week. Paramedics will need to fly with around ten to 15 kilos, or 20 to £35 of medical kit, including a defibrillator patient monitoring devices, which restructured pouches on the pilot's legs and chest. The idea is to get paramedics to patients in emergency care faster than ever, which could mean more people survive than expected if they normally had a longer response time. So, Nick, would you like to have the equivalent of a paramedic? I'm coming to save you in the Lake District. Let me first preface this by saying we you and I, Barry, talked a lot last week on our human factors until human factors hang out about jetpacks. In fact, that's why we repackaged that as a separate podcast episode because there was so much good discussion there about the human factors issues surrounding Jetpacks, and we'll get to some of it today. So I want to preface it with that. But on the surface, this is an awesome premise, but as we kind of discovered last week, there's a lot of Hoops that we need to jump through to get to the benefits that something like this could provide. Like I said, we'll talk about it in a little bit, but I am curious on what your initial thoughts on this are. We did go through a whole lot of stuff last week that I think was worth the content there, which was really good fun. But fundamentally with this, it feels on one hard part of me that feels very excited about we're playing with this sort of technology now. It makes it I mean, I made a couple of references to my mind. You watch things on the movies where they've done that sort of thing. This technology is becoming accessible, but it also does feel like it's a bit of a fad. Is it more risky than actually useful? I think we need to step through a whole lot of the issues to work out. Is this something that is actually truly going to save lives or even take a step back is going to make life easier for people, or is it just going to look cool because who doesn't want to be a rocket man? But I'm not. Part of me in my heart loves it. My head thinks it's not as cool as it could be. I think we're on the same page there. And let's paint the picture for our listeners here. This is an audio format podcast, so you actually have experience living in the Lake District, and it has some very unique properties. Can you just briefly describe what makes the Lake District unique and why they're trying this technology there? Right, let's go with wet first, the Lake District is a very wet place. So the Lake District is north of England. So if you look at a map, it's basically the North West of England, just below the Scottish border, if you're in large handfuls. So it's in Cumbria, and it's a glaciated terrain, which means through the Ice Age, when the glaciers moved through that part of the country, it created a rather unique terrain, which is good. So it's got lots of Hills on it, very rugged terrain in that respect. In some respects, it's got some quite rolling Hills, but then it's also got some quite sharp rock formations. Parts of it are very open and very barren. So that means that the wind is quite significant. When it truly gets into raining rain, horizontal rain is quite well seen. But then almost in the same day, you could have all the rain roll back, the clouds roll back, and you get beautiful Sunshine and fantastic scenery. A lot of people. So it's a heavy tourist destination. And so what makes it quite popular when they have the mountain rescue teams there is, people will often go walking, thinking it's a beautiful day, sleeping on a little backpack with maybe a bottle of water and a chocolate bar, and go wandering up the Hill because why not? It's a beautiful day. You can crack on and do that, but then they can get about halfway up and suddenly again, the clouds come back down. You lose. You lose where you're going, so you lose orientation. You don't have the right clothes with you, so you get wet through, you get cold. Hypothermia is very common. And so just because that changing nature of the weather combined with that terrain makes it a very unique place to be. So you have normal mountain rescue teams that go out, that are all volunteer organizations that will go out. If you get a casualty on a Hill or even somebody just in distress, the mountain rescue team will be the first ones on call to go out there. And then normally just walkers themselves, they'll have special kit and perhaps a Land Rover, that type of thing, they'll go out and find casualties. But then if the casualty is severely injured enough, then you get the helmet, the helicopter medical team come out and then we'll airlift casualties off. So that gives you a bit of an insight into one of the areas of the UK that I actually consider to be the most beautiful part of the UK, but it can also be the most treacherous. Right. So painting that picture really kind of illustrates why they're testing this. There there's a lot of really unique geological features that makes it difficult for search and rescue medical teams to get to folks who might be in precarious conditions. So let's talk a little bit about, since we're talking about the physical side of things, let's talk about the physical features of what a Jackpack is kind of rehashed some of our conversation of last week, some of the human factors issues with human factors and jetpacks in general. So just to kind of briefly describe this system again, I know it was in the blurb, but you have sort of a jet on each wrist, jets at each wrist that help you control directionality, and then you have sort of one on your back that presumably controls thrust, upward thrust. And so you're able to, when you kind of move your body in certain ways, move forward, move backwards. You're right. We have all seen Iron Man. We kind of get the gist of how that might work. We saw him learning crash on the car, robot gets him with the fire extinguisher, all that stuff. That's kind of what's going on here, but without the comedy. And really we're looking at kind of training in various stages where you have sort of this tethered state where you're kind of on a stage you're tethered. You're kind of learning to control this. And I'm talking from the paramedics perspective here, you're learning to control this suit. And once you've learned that, then you kind of go into the smaller scale tests of getting off of that tether and doing short jumps from point A to point B. And then once you kind of mastered that, then you move on to the next stage, which ultimately leads you to being able to save people. And at some point along the way, you're going to have to test it with all this equipment on you, all this kit that you have to carry, the defibrillator, the medical supplies, all that stuff. Barry, do you want to go through some of the Usability issues of jetpacks and what that could mean for these operators? Yeah, this story has been supported by underpinned, by Gravity Industries, who would develop that, the jetpack. You've done that. And if you go to their website, they've got some good videos and YouTube links about the training process you have to go through. So it's worth having a look at that to see how you step through that. But if we to focus directly on the task that has been used for here in terms of being a paramedic. So for me, the flight there is part of the story. Imagine you're at the base, you get the call. So the helicopter team would then to do a comparison, would then go and preflight checks or suit up, preflight checks and get into the air. Now, the same is going to be the same for you in a suit that you got to suit up. Presumably, you're not walking around with this on all the time because presumably it's weighty and uncomfortable. You probably need to fuel it up. It has a limited fuel range, though. Presumably that's going to get better. So as you described, you have these thrusters on these jets, two jets on each wrist and one on your back. You've got to get all this kit, make sure you've got it there. When you get to your casualty, you then got to be able to perform medical tasks. You're then going to be able to do something. So the pictures that we've seen show that these jets actually go down quite low down your hand because you've got almost like a gauntleton. So being able to then perform CPR, be able to dress a wound, be able to do anything. You presumably have to take this sort of stuff off or stash it in some way. So there's going to be a level of how do you do that? Because presumably it's going to get hole. How do you stop the jet Cowling touching you? Because you don't want to burn your hands off trying to get this thing off. And more importantly, probably you don't have burn the casualty, because if you've got that there, then so fundamentally, if you get there quickly, but then you have to spend like half an hour taking this kit off and making it safe before you then perform medical interventions. Are you doing any quicker? Don't know. You probably presumably take it off fairly quickly. I would like to think and dump it at the side, but you get it there. So, yeah, you need to be able to fly there. You need to be able to take off to do stuff. What is the range of it? So they've talked about being able to fly for around uphill in 90 seconds, which is great. They talk about taking loads of kit with them that we send in the blurb. So presumably you'd be able to get there, take the thing off or make it safe or whatever that means, get the right sort of kit out and apply it. But then I then get into my safety case stuff. And there's two big things that worry me to a certain extent. Firstly, what happens if it goes wrong or you forget how much fuel you've used? Because I should imagine that if you're in a helicopter or even in a plane, if you run out of fuel, you've got light or you can order to rotate or that type of thing. If you run out of fuel with wearing this suit and you're maybe in the Lake District, it's quite easy to be thinking that you're quite low of the ground and then suddenly for a big Valley to open up in front of you or a crevasse or big rock formation. If you suddenly run out of your whilst you're in that position, you then turn into a very fast brick and you've got velocity. So you're going to hit something hard. But presumably, again, I assume we're going to have queues. So you need some sort of queuing in some sort of either on your body or ideally, some sort of headsup display that you know what your range is, you know what any alerts are going on? How are you going to know if there's an error in one of the thrusters and what impact that has on what you're doing? So all that gets managed in a way that isn't just based on feel, because I can imagine that's how this is. You'd be able to feel if you start losing trust in one of your wrist type of thing. And the only other thing for me that I thought was interesting was around navigation. So you don't really know where you're going. You've had a phone call off a casualty or somebody who's with a casualty, a helicopter. When it flies up there, you generally got at least three sets of eyes. You've got pilot, copilot and a medic in the back, or even if you just got two, that's still two pairs of eyes, you'll have had a presumably rough location. But then, as I said, the terrain can be quite bleak. And if you're in a closed in, as in the fog rolled in or the mis rolled in. Normally on helicopter, you've at least got the ability to sort of slow down, take your bearings slowly, do searches across the terrain until you find a casualty. I don't think you know where your casualty pinpointed your casualty is straight away. So your 90 seconds suddenly becomes way more than that. So if you're not getting there straight away and you run out of flight time, how does that work? Now? There are solutions to that. So I guess I don't know whether I presume you have it's the new what, three words app. So if you got what, three words that takes you down to a three meter square triangle. So if that's built into the way it goes, then possibly that's a way of helping it. But again, you're going to need some sort of display to be able to sort of way find for you and things like that. There are stacks of I don't think any of this is insurmountable. This is just me being taking something that I'm very excited about and then breaking it down. So taking it out of my heart and putting it in my head and doing the analysis that you look at and go, because my head normally takes all the fun out of everything and start thinking about the what ifs. If we were to sit there and do a proper Y analysis and all that sort of stuff and break this thing down, then I'm sure we can load solutions to all of it. But I think that sort of thinking is why I feel it is still a bit of a fad. There's still a lot of work to be done. Honestly, we're working right now. We're trying to break this down from a practical standpoint of like, what are some of the challenges that they might experience here? And that was a really good overview of just the physical piece that is going on here, too. Right? I mean, we talked about some of the Usability issues with jetpack, and I think we recapped a lot of the stuff that we talked about last week. For more in depth discussion, go listen to that. But honestly, there's much more going on than just the physical aspects of these jet packs. Right. You have sort of the mental side of it going on from the paramedics perspective, too. So not only are they pairing this with some of their traditional job responsibilities now they have this whole other type of thing that they have to manage in navigating with a jetpack on. And so it's a different beast. And I thought it was a good idea for us to kind of go through and talk about some of the behavioral and human factors issues when it comes to first responders and look at it through the lens of the story and pair it with all these issues that we talked about with a jet pack, too. So first off, first and foremost. Right. These public health and safety workers, they have a broad range of health and mental health consequences because of the work that they do, either exposed to natural or human caused disasters or anything like that. And one of the top things that you'll see out of any sort of first responder is depression. It's so commonly reported, and rates of depression as well as severity kind of vary across studies. But there's a couple of instances here where in a control study of certified EMS professionals, depression was reported at 6.8, with mild depression, which was the most common type. And then you also have medical team workers who are responding to the Great East Japan earthquake back in 2011 where 21.4% of them were diagnosed with clinical depression. So it kind of ranges. But this is a very prevalent issue in which you have to consider. And we'll get into the human Factor's sort of implications here in a little bit. But obviously, as we talked about in previous episodes, mental health has a huge impact on your performance and your stress levels when you are trying to perform certain duties and we'll get to performance and all that stuff safety later, you want to talk a little bit about suicide? Not really, but this is an obvious next step because you're right. When you look at the whole depression side of things, it's no wonder when you consider the job that they're having to do when they see people out there best, but also see people at their most vulnerable and at the worst when things don't go right. So it's almost then no wonder that actually suicide ideation has been reported in first responders in a number of studies. But there are still questions around the rates, given the way data has been collected. But existing research does suggest that emergency medical responders personnel may be more likely than the general population to think about and attempt suicide. So there has been a literature review where suicide thought and ideation in EMS and paramedics were evaluated as compared to the general population. And now, based on the findings from the study, a lifetime prevalence rate of 28% for feeling that life is not worth living, 10.4% for serious suicide ideation, 3.1% for having actually had a past suicide attempt. So it is one of these things that obviously we don't want to focus on necessarily too much overplay, but the environment that they work in and the things they see and have to put up with and the consequences, because not all of these chips end up in a happy ending. And it's them that have to process that. And in many ways, you see on a lot of programs where they obviously, it's a scoop and run thing is, they bring people into the hospital and they often don't necessarily know what the outcome was until either much later, if they do at all. So it's having to process one after the other, and then get ready for the next one. Yeah. They also made F issues. Yes. Well, there's obviously overlap between mental health and human factors issues. And I think one thing that this overlap really fits nicely and is kind of the stress and post traumatic stress. So if you think about some of these stress symptoms or PTSD symptoms that EMS personnel have reported, there's a number of studies that when you look at what they're experiencing. Right. So if you look at another lit review here, EMS and paramedics reported higher traumatic disassociation at the time of the Loma Prieta Bay Area earthquake in 1989 compared to police. So even just looking at the differences between first responders, you also have a study in Germany where 16.8% of emergency positions had probable PTSD. And then you have a case control study among EMS professionals where stress was reported in 6%, where mild stress being the most common type. So even though it's mild, even though it's only in 6%, you're still introducing all these different factors into sort of the normal, I guess, everyday lives of these professionals. And one thing to consider is that they take it home with them, first off. And that can be really bad for home relationships, especially when you consider PTSD and bringing it now back to the human factor side of things. When you consider stress PTSD on the job, those can be huge performance sort of hits. Right. If you're bringing stress, you're bringing PTSD. This can have a huge impact on performance. What about performance, Barry? Performance in this field is significant, isn't it? Because it is literally life and death. They've got very high levels of performance and the need to repeat time and time and time again. So one of the core risk factors is the pace of their work. The first responders are always on the front line, facing highly stressful and risky calls. But that tempo that always on. And having to do it time and time again can lead to an inability to integrate work experiences. So again, according to a study, 69% of EMS professionals have never had enough time to recover between traumatic events. So therefore, as a result of that depression, stress and postmodern PTSD suicide ideation and a host of other functional relational conditions have been reported. So what we need to look at here is understanding how is everything that we do here then going to relate back to them actually being able to do the job and being able to do it. What does a good performance look like? We see in hospitals as well, where you have doctors and surgeons working on patients when they've been on 1214 hours shifts, but yet we still expect a high level of performance out of them. Right. We want to be able to risk and protective factors. Well, one sort of really important thing here, too, with the tempo. This is critically important when you think about what we're trying to accomplish. With this Jetpack story. We're trying to get to them quicker and thus reducing the amount of time it takes to respond. And so we have to consider this when training these individuals or setting them up to respond to some of these situations, you need to increase the distance temporarily between the time that they pick somebody up and the time that they go out to do it again, because already if you're looking at sort of this not having enough time to recover between events and you're making it faster, you really need to slow it down and have somebody else do it. And you need to train a lot of people to do it. So that way you can trade off the responsibilities. But, yeah, let's talk about risk and protective factors. And specifically during some of these disastrous events, this is more of a sort of a broad overview. You're probably not going to have hopefully knock on wood, not going to have disastrous natural disasters or human man made disasters in the Lake District. But if this technology starts expanding outside of it, this could be something to consider if you have risk factors during these disastrous events for first responders, and they could be either related to the disaster or the event itself. Right. Any one of these things could cause stress, posttraumatic stress, any of these things impact on performance. So if you take another lit review, we're bringing a lot of lit reviews here. We've done our research today. You have sort of these psychological outcomes from these stressful events. You have stress general wellbeing, mental disorders, resilience, personal growth, all affected when considering these humanitarian aid workers or similar professionals who are deployed to assist with the aftermath of a disaster. And what they found is that the proximity to that epicenter of the disaster is associated with higher levels of mental health issues. So if you have a jet pack and you're able to get to that center, the epicenter of the disaster, first, there might be some additional considerations that you have to make there for these professionals who are operating in that manner. Likewise, there's other studies here that when you work long hours in unfamiliar or demanding circumstances, not taking a day off each week led to surprise, fatigue, mental distress, job dissatisfaction, and subjective health complaints. So, again, when you have sort of these humanitarian crises where you need people to go out, perform duties in situations that are not normal, you're going to have some additional demands there to think about. Then you also have, I guess, the somewhat obvious and tragic dealing with serious injuries or bodies of people resulting in sort of this higher probability of developing PTSD, depression, alcohol problems, all this stuff, anxiety. Do you want to talk a little bit about some of the job duties or qualities during these events? Yeah. So during the disaster or an event and a quote is during it associated with elevated risks of mental health issues. So not having enough job related information, added extra or unfamiliar or conflicted duties, or basically too many people to look after and supervise direct survivor or family contacts, longer assignments, longer time working with children, working with clients who basically discussing morbid materials, excessive exposure to gory sites and sounds, environmental hazards, and working as mental health workers, all of that associated with increased skill levels. Then you bring into that poor leadership, lack of interagency agreement. They're all seen as additional stresses during a disaster period. So that gives you low perceived safety. Sorry. Low perceived safety is also associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms. Yes. And the last piece here is kind of leadership. Right. Or lack of direction during these events. And so that sort of leads to safety, too, because if you don't have leadership, you don't have sort of this perceived safety of having somebody who knows what they're doing. And because of that, you're kind of increasing the levels of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms. But when you don't have that safety, when you don't have leadership, that is critical for when you're operating in these type of high risk environments, because safety is everything, it could lead to potentially more death. Right. What if you slip up and accidentally burn your victim with their jet pack on? It's a lot to consider. And there are some things after a disaster, too. Like all this stuff that we talk about is really you're going to take this home with you. And so the more that we can do to help train these individuals or establish processes, procedures in place that will help reduce some of these mental health issues with first responders that will help with the usability of the jet pack. Even if something is easier to use, they're going to be less stressed doing it because they'll feel confident doing it. All this together kind of paints the picture of this very complex issue of giving paramedics jetpacks. Now let's kind of bring it back to the article, Barry. I want to make sure that we have some time to hit some closing thoughts, because we did have a lot of thoughts on this. So what are some things that you want to take away from this? So I guess there's a little bit I saw painting a bit of context about the train and stuff that this thing's got to work in. But we've also got to think about the context that this has been running. So the trials started in September 2020. But obviously, COVID as with everything took the joy out of everything. And they've also had difficulty finding sponsors to cover the cost. Now that's really important because in the UK, air ambulances are all charities. They're not ran as part of the National Health Service or anything like that. And so they're all funded by donations. If you think about how much that cost and the budget gives you, etcetera, etcetera. The running this is a trial is going to use up them funds on this. So how are we going to justify that cost to people who are giving to the charity? So far, one member of the Great North Air Ambulance has completed their training using the suit unassisted and they're going to get a couple of more on board and it will give you, as we mentioned earlier, quite a significant performance increase. So if we talk about interest in terms of being able to reach a casualty, they're going to be up towards that casualty in 90 seconds rather than that 30 minutes. Fantastic. But in another part of the article, I thought there was a bit of a sort of concerning quote where it's a machine that's attached to your body, you have to find the balance point and we're in a job where we challenge ourselves. There's a lot of pressure on us to make it work, but it has a real purpose to get to people who need urgent medical care if we love you to enjoy it, but we have a job to do at the end of the day. Now, I have a problem with that quote because it feels like they're being told that you have to make this work, otherwise people are going to die. Right. And are we trying to force a technology that may or may on the face, it could be brilliant. As we talked about, we talked about 2 hours last week. We think we all find a jet suits, but when we're forcing a solution like this, this is when accidents happen. This is when we could have some serious consequences. So that for me is not only just waving a red flag, I've got two red flags in each house and two red flares going on. Right. So that concerns me. What about you, Nick? What are your sort of takeaways? Well, I think you kind of hit the nail on the head there. This to me feels more like, oh, we have a technology, let's use it. In fact, I'm going to pull up a quote here from the Great North Air Ambulance Director who has completed this training himself. We're still awestruck by it. Everyone looks at the wow factor and the fact that we are the world's first jetsuit paramedics. But for us it's about delivering patient care. When I started as a paramedic, I never thought I'd be working with a helicopter. Never mind this, if you think about that, to me it sounds like they are more impressed by the technology and the pairing of it with paramedics and they are concerned. I'm not saying the goal obviously is to save people's lives. I'm not saying that it's ill intentioned. I'm saying that I think maybe the way that we're talking about it needs to shift ever so slightly into, yes, it will save lives, but we also have to consider at what cost and really kind of the last bit for me is just that if this ultimately comes out of trial and this becomes the norm, at least in this district, you know, others will follow suit. And so I feel like this is the opportunity to get best practices, processes, procedures in place before you start doing it at scale, because there's going to be a lot of lessons learned and a lot of human factors issues and safety issues, especially if we don't learn those lessons early on. I think what you're saying there is that the need to maybe be some human factors involvement at this early stage of make sure you're running trials and highlighting those issues through maybe a good human factors assessment a bit human factors integration, maybe. Is that what you're hinting at? Yeah. And you do consulting, right. Well, I'm sure we both could do a really good job on this. Right? Yeah. We just gave them a bunch of ideas. Well, thank you. Thank you to our patrons this week for selecting our topic. And thank you to our friends over at the BBC for our news story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post the links to all the original articles on our weekly roundups in our blog. You can also join us on our discord for more discussion on these stories and more. We're going to 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% listener supported. All the funds that go into running the show come from our listeners. Our patrons are our priority, and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us. Pledges started just one dollars per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q and A's with the hosts, personalized professional reviews, and Human Factors Minute, a Patreon only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique, obscure and interesting Human Factors topics in just 1 minute Patreon. Rewards are always evolving. So stop by Patreon. Comhumanfactorscast to see what support level may be right for you. Thank you. And remember, it depends. Yes. Huge. Thank you. Huge. Thank you. As always to our patrons, especially want to thank our honorary Human Factors Cast staff patron Michelle Tripp. Patrons like you, keep the show running. Thank you so much for your continued support. Okay. I know most of you will skip over this part. I keep mentioning this because now we have advanced analytics. I can tell when you're skipping. So I'm going to say don't skip here because this is really important. This is really cool. I'm going to talk a little bit about our lab and what we do because we get a lot of questions about this actually from folks who are interested in learning more about the lab or just curious what we're doing. One thing that I don't think is immediately obvious is that we're not always putting stuff out into the world. So people are wondering what you are doing over there in that lab. We have a lot of different things that we're tracking and trying to accomplish over here at the lab that you don't see. And one thing that I want to mention is that kind of our mission, if you will, is to kind of provide solutions to communicating human factors principles in an easily digestible way. And the podcast is one of those, and it's certainly borne out of that. But it is one of those passion projects for me because traditionally and I'm not pointing any fingers here, human factors has been communicated by old crusty white dudes. And you know what? I have a problem with that because, okay, I'm not talking about you. I said I'm not pointing fingers. But look, here's the thing. There's sort of this rift almost between academia and industry, and I want to bridge that rift. I want academia to see industry as a serious thing. I want industry to respect what academia has done to pave the way for some of this research. And so I don't think they always see eye to eye trying to bridge that gap, build a community of like minded individuals who share a passion of human factors. And to do that, we're really experimenting with different formats behind the scenes here. We have podcasts, we have blog articles. We have other types of content that we're putting out there into the world to communicate these things effectively. And one of our goals is to really reach people where they are. If you've ever seen a YouTube video pop up that's adjacent to the thing that you're looking on, and it says human factors cast how giving paramedic Jetbacks can stop people from dying. That's what we want to do. We want to pop up in those recommendations as a way to say, look, you enjoy this stuff. What's human factors? Because a lot of people don't know what that is. It is truly a confluence of many different things. We want to get behind it. And so there are a lot of perks for being in the lab. Obviously, it will give you experience working on stuff, build up portfolio, demonstrable results for things like University applications, future work, and industry, that type of thing. You also get to work with some of the industry standard tools that we're using behind the scenes here. We have a lot of really experienced folks in the lab that can mentor you and help you connect with networks. So that's another benefit there. And you know what? We have a roadmap for benefits. So just if you're thinking about it at all, maybe consider reaching out to us. We'd love to have you. We're always looking for passionate people who want to communicate human factors. Anyway, that's my spiel. I think it's time that we get into this next part of the show we like to call it Came From. That's right, it Came From. This is where we search all over the community to find you topics that the community is talking about. If you find any of these answers useful, no matter where you're at, please give us a like wherever you're watching, help other people find this content. So we have three questions today. They're all from Reddit, they're all from the User Experience subreddit, which has been on a roll lately with some of these really good questions. This first one here is by Herito Rico. I hope I said that right. They say, how do I kindly push back on a suggestion made by a developer? I'm new to the organization, so I'm still building relationships. The default design can't be done due to technical and time constraints. So the development team suggested an alternative which is functional but isn't great from an experienced design perspective. How do I push back while still keeping the working relationship positive, if that makes sense? Barry, I'm sure you've never encountered this in your life. No, in fact, I've got no idea. I think this is business as usual for any human factors UX practitioner, really, isn't it? The Dev will always there is always going to be a and I think it's actually quite a healthy thing, a positive tension between everything that the design that we want to achieve in the design, we want everything that we possibly can to work for the user, and that's why we exist. The Dev wants to get the code written in the best possible way, the most efficient way, and to make it work from their perspective. And the best comes out of that healthy tension between the two. So whenever you meet a new Dev, it's always difficult because I would say good chunk of organizations. The devs still are given probably more respect than other HF practitioners or UX practitioners, and so they tend to carry a bit more weight behind their opinions. Not everywhere, and some places are different, but certainly my experiences, that is the case. But all you can do is do what we do, which is put forward the argument, put forward the proposal and why you don't have to do it in antagonistic way. You don't need baseball bat or anything. It is literally just put forward your reasoning. If you've done the research or the research exists, you should have the evidence behind you to say why you're proposing what you're proposing or why their proposal isn't going to work. Normally. If you're just going to say, that's rubbish, it's not going to work, that generally won't float very well. You need to come up with a counter proposal. So just say that's not going to work. I find it doesn't get very far. That doesn't work. But if you tweak it and did this tends to get a better reception. So I think you do all that in a positive way. You don't have to be nasty about it. I don't think you have to do any of that if you can basically be Proactive about what you're delivering. But don't be too subservient either. You're equally as important in that relationship is what they are. So just because you're new to the organization doesn't mean that you shouldn't put your opinion forward. What do you think, Nick? How do you deal with this one? Yeah, I think that's right. And I think there's a couple of really important considerations here. So one, they say it's not able to be done because of technical and time constraints. And one piece of advice that I would offer in this situation is pick your battles. Is this going to be something that is going to have a negative impact on the user? If not, is it really that important? And I know that is kind of counterintuitive to what we as human practitioners are wanting to do. But I think it's important to consider because especially if you don't have the clout in the UX in the company, that is something to consider. Is it going to be mission critical that they get this right, or can it slide? You say it's functional, it isn't great from a user experience design perspective, but it's functional. Is there another battle that you want to pick? That's a better thing to pick. So I'm going to argue that you might not even want to push back in this case. Is it really important? I mean, try say, hey, look, I really think it should be like this. Is there any way we can make it work? Obviously, push back, but don't be so pushy. That like, I don't know. It does develop that friction between you and somebody that you'll potentially work with for a while. That's my $0.02. All right, let's get into this next one here. This one's advice for conducting asynchronous Activities by Jen Piggy on the user Experience subreddit. At my company, our project design team wants to conduct a journey mapping workshop and include people outside of our team as well, like clients, stakeholders, et cetera. But because we're in different countries, time zones are hard to deal with. Any advice on asynchronous workshops or asynchronous workshopping that still gets everyone on the same page? Barry, do you have any experience with this? Yes, not so much because of time zones, but because of different organizations and basically access to a user community that isn't always around. Fundamentally, it's about good organization and having software that is common across everybody and you can access. So for us, when I've done this before, I've done it in two levels, which actually works with something that was going on around Twitter today, run the use of PowerPoint and slides. So if you basically put the journey map through a set of slides Google whatever, choose your poison, but then make that available on a network with a header slide that exactly depicts what it is you want the other stakeholders to do on that journey and the time period that they've got to do it. So basically a good instruction slide give everybody a way of annotating themselves. So if you want to track that sort of thing, I've done it both ways. Where one project I did and one product I wanted Anonymous to get people to write it in whatever they're adding in different colors. So you can track the evolution and over, say a 72 hours period or whatever time zone time period you're using, give them that time period to do it. Then at the end of the time period. So say 24 hours. At the end of the 24 hours, you then go back and review it and come up with a consolidated set of comments to allow you then to go through another cycle. It's slow or slower. You don't get the interaction between people like you would in a face to face workshop. There are things you can do around that, around. I've seen suggestions about recording voice notes, about recording bits of video to maybe to explore some of your rationale and things like that. They don't tend to work out. In my experience, other people might find them better. The best thing I found is actually just leaving comments in the PowerPoint slide. So when you normally do a review, use that user review comments to add notes in for your justifications if you feel that fits. I just find that most people don't want bits of video and listen to it, but that might just be the domain that I work in. So that's kind of it for me in terms of it's a longer, more drawn out process. You have to be on top of your admin to make it work because everybody has to have a fair crack at the whip. Everybody has to know what they're doing without you being able to be there in person briefing them about it. So if you get your admin right, it can work. And yes, make it so, but just get your admin up to scratch. Nick, what about you? Have you experience in doing this? No, I'm curious. This was one of those ones that I picked out, a genuine curiosity. I have a need to do asynchronous work. And there's the traditional sort of asynchronous user tools for things like usability studies, all that stuff. I can name a couple of names, but I think the interesting thing to me is yes, you're right. This requires a lot of setup. And I just do want to stress that the setup is probably the most important part here. Because doing the thing that you just said, setting up in your very clear instructions, how do you make sure people read those instructions is another question. But if you have the idea there at least you could attend the start of each of these things. You could get people going. I don't know. There's got to be ways out there. If you know, let us know. All right. This last one here is it a red flag to anyone else if a company says they tend to have one week turnarounds for research, this is by poor poof on the user experience subreddit I'm a senior UX researcher and I sat down for a panel interview for a position where I would essentially be building up the research Department from the ground up with a lot of focus on discovery. Exploratory research. Lead researcher from another group owned by the company asked what I would do if I had a week to conduct research, and I answered honestly, with good research takes time. They didn't like that answer at all. I'm already employed, so I'm not worried if I get the job or not, but I just want to check in to see I'm not crazy for suggesting more time for research. Barry, is one week enough time? No. There we go again. It depends. But if we got things lined up. So you have a user pool, things are planned out or things are easy to access and put in front of user community. You don't have to do all of the because the stuff that takes time is recruiting your user pool is generating the prototypes that are in a fit state to engage with, or if you do more basic research, it's more generative research. To be able to go and do that sort of research. There is organization. To deliver that in five days is incredibly difficult. So I think fair play. Go back and yes, ask for the questions and see what you get. If they're not willing to play, then really how comfortable do you feel about that job is that some people would see that and some people would see that as a challenge, and I like the fast pace of that. And maybe you could develop processes, but yeah, I think that's a bit tied. Two weeks, I think would be playing with. But I think all week is. Yeah. It also depends on the scope. Right. The default time of research, I say, is two months, and that is by design. If you are looking for a scope on a big project, I say two months because that gives me time to talk to you, to organize meetings, to come up with some of these requirements for research, and then actually talk to the people that need to participate in the research, organize all those times. It really depends on scope. Are you doing user interviews? Are you doing a survey? It's very different. Do you have a user base or not? And so I think a week is way too quick. That's my two cent. I don't really feel like adding more to this. It feels way too quick. What are you going to do. Monday you set up the study. Tuesday you send it out. Wednesday you get some back. Thursday you analyze, and Friday you present. That is way too like it just seems way too accelerated to me. There is an interesting bid in there that you've actually just the way you just made me think. Google actually the Google agile approach. They have a five day sprint process. They detail on a day by day basis what you should do. It's not directly generative research, but it is maybe something that could be applied in this situation. I don't have to look at the book again, but you could even take that five day agile thing and plan it out like one week planning, second week recruiting, third week executing, fourth week analysis, fifth week. That is to me what a more standard cycle is. Maybe I'm at school. I don't know. Let's hear from you. All right. I'm tired of talking about this. Let's get into one more thing. One more thing. It's just where we talk about whatever. Barry, what is going on with you? So this week I'm just going to highlight the fact we mentioned a while ago I was going to get a new electric cars. All very excited and all that sort of stuff a couple of weeks ago. Well, a couple of weeks have gone by. I still haven't got it. Turns out I'm not going to get that car after all, because when they promised me that I was going to get such a car, which I was very excited about, they've never run out of them. And if I kept with that, I wouldn't get until January. So we've done a bit of a bait and switch, and I'm hopefully going to get a car in, I think, about six weeks time, which I'm going to go. I'm getting the new Ford Mustang, so I'm very excited. So the Mustang Mucky. So I'm quite excited about that. But I'm now not holding my breath because I kind of get might get to sponsor lecturers. So I thought I'd just have a little known about that around the fact I'm not getting the car I wanted, but I am hopefully going to get a Mustang, which is actually quite exciting. Yeah. Well, hopefully you have a couple of backups just in case the Mustang doesn't work out. Yeah, we'll see. I might just go back to the first one and wait till January 5. Yeah. At that point. Right. For me, we're getting organized over here at the lab. I mentioned it during the break or coming back from the break. There was sort of a lack of effectiveness with the pills this week, and it led to some hyper fixation on my part and through that resulted some productivity and some late nights. But it worked out in my benefit. So it's weird because normally hyperfixation occurs when I am sitting at my desk and like carving up old water bottles with my Exacto knife that I have here. That is what it usually results in. But this time it was kind of more dedicated towards actually being productive and that was nice. Anyway, journey is nonlinear. That's going to be it for today, everyone. If you like this episode since we talked so much about the mental health of first responders today, I'll encourage you all to go listen to episode 236. We talk about how we can better define mental health. Why don't you go ahead and give us a comment wherever you're listening on what you think of the story this week? For more in depth discussion, you can always join us on our Discord community. We're always chatting in there. 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, you want to support the show, there's a couple of things you can do. One, leave us a five star review that is free for you to do. And I think right now if you go to podcaster and leave us a review there, they'll donate $0.25 for every review left to the efforts in Ukraine. So go do that. You can always tell your friends about us and that is also free for you to do. Just let them know that you listen to the show and that it's a good thing or three, if you have money and want to give us money to support the lab, you can always support us on Patreon. As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. I want to thank Mr. Barry Kirby for being on the show today. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about how they can be saved via jet pack? You can find me on Twitter at basmaskolk or any other socials also, you can pick up some of my interviews on travel to podcast which is at twelve for me. I've been your host, Nick Rome. You can find me across social media at Nick Rome. Thanks for tuning into human factors cast. Until next time, it depends.


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.