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July 8, 2022

E250 - What's the Deal with Double-Decker Airplane Seats?

This week on the show, we talk about the Human Factors and usability implications of double decker airplane seats. We also answer some questions from the community about job titles in Human Factors, the stress and demand of everyday work in this career, and how to present summaries of user flows.


Recorded live on July 7th, 2022, hosted by Nick Roome with & Barry Kirby.

Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast - on HF in Rail - An interview with David Golightly:

 

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Transcript

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

 

 

Hello everybody. We have made it to episode 250. We're this live on July 7, 2022. This is Human Factors cast. I'm your host Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Hello. Hi Barry. We got a great show for you all tonight. We're going to be talking about human factors and usability implications of double decker airline seats. We're also going to be answering some questions from the community about job titles and human factors, the stress and demand of everyday work in this career, and how to present summaries of user flows. But first, some quick programming notes and community update we did round out last month. Last month was Pride month and we launched kind of a huge information campaign. Just want to draw attention to one of the pieces of content that we pulled out. One that we haven't done in quite a while, which is a deep dive. And on this most recent deep dive it was into the sort of inclusion in the design process for LGBTQ IAP plus individuals. It's actually a piece that I am really proud of. I did not write this. Someone in our lab wrote this. Katie wrote this. It is a phenomenal piece. I recommend everybody go read it and include it into your process because it just talks a lot about inclusive design and sort of how we can sort of design for everyone, not just the 90% or whatever and it goes deep into the Human Factors connections as well. Anyway, that's a quick aside, but Barry, I want to know what's going on with twelve two. Well, just for twelve two it's worth saying that actually all the content that was produced by the team in the lab over Pride I thought was exceptional. There was a whole lot of stuff there, a whole lot of resources that I thought were really cool. But over at twelve or two, the latest episode has gone live. Nearly forgot to do it when I was mentioning the preshow here that there was a lot of social media stuff that I think I forgot to put out. But it was interview with David Gold lightly. Now Dave is electorate Newcastle University, but he's done a lot of work in the rail industry. He's done quite a broad range of things but the work is done in rail really bringing together the academic and the industrial look into all different parts of different parts of rail from freight all the way through to station design, etc, etc. E. But it was interesting the way that he was doing a lot of work that you'd think that most of the stuff that we would do would be around just purely the passenger experience. It was actually more the background stuff that led to good passenger experience and therefore led to good productivity for the real network, which is something we don't necessarily focus on as human practice practitioners, so we don't necessarily think about the complete end to end stuff. And that was really fascinating. But also a lot of people got involved in the social media feeds with this and there was quite a few railway based jokes based on this. We tried not to put too many in the episode, but after a while it all became a bit much. So on that, Nick, I suggest you get us back on track. Chuga, chugga, chu, chu. All aboard.

 

 

All aboard the news train. This is the part of the show where we talk all about human factors news. Barry, what is the story this week? So the story this week is about what it might be like to travel on a double decker airplane seat. So flying economy for any extended period of time is an experience usually endured rather than enjoyed. But an airplane seat designer thinks their design could revolutionize budget travel in many ways. It's really going to be seen to be believed and I recommend that anybody follows the link to the article that's going to be in the description. But to try and describe it, the concept takes you get rid of the overhead lockers in the aircraft and instead of having them, you put another layer of seating on top of the lower seat, but forward in front of you. So it's almost like the sat in the lap, which is interesting, but you can sort of see it when you see the picture. So the purpose has really been to change the economy class seats because the designer claims for the better of humanity, or really for the people who cannot afford to pay for those more expensive seats. But whilst some people have been saying actually, wow, this is amazing, you'd be using better use of the space, people can stretch out the legs and things like that, others are really more concerned about claustrophobia and convinced that sitting underneath somebody else would be worse, not better, than the current economy set up on an airplane. To describe it in a bit more detail, effectively, the top level has been designed with two ladder like steps for the travelers to use to access that top level. It's described as a little bit precarious, but once you're up there, the seat is roomy, it's comfortable and there's plenty of room for stretching out your legs, which as a longer leg person, I think is the ideal. You're always looking to be able to stretch out your legs and as your head lockers have gone, there is now space. Or the idea is to have space in between the top and the bottom levels for travelers to stow their cabin luggage. Then it will be thinking about what about the person at the bottom. So in the bottom row, really, again, they were looking to aim to address that lack of legroom. And this offset design does allow for the passengers at the bottom to stretch out their legs as well. But because the other level of the seats are directly above them and in your eyeline, people who have tried to suggest that it does feel a bit claustrophobic but then again, if you don't mind tight spaces and you're planning to simply sleep all the way through the flight, it could be an effective solution. So this idea of the Shay's Longseat was initially envisaged for the flying V Del airplane, which is a new airplane concept currently in development to Delft University of Technology. The designer thinks that the design could be implemented in anything like a Boeing 747, an Airbus A 330, or any other medium to large wide body airplane. So Nick, would you be taking the top seat, the bottom seat, or is it not for you and you just wouldn't bother? I'm thinking about all the things that us as practitioners, design engineers, have to in order for this to happen before I even entertain the idea of whether or not I would enjoy this space. So putting all that aside, I'm going to do that live right now. Would I enjoy sitting in this space? I don't know. I think the bottom would feel quite claustrophobic. I don't know how I'd feel sitting on top unless I was sort of really in towards the window. Are there windows on top? I don't know. These are all things that I would think about. But I don't know this whole thing. And I do want to draw attention to one thing before we continue. You kept mentioning a designer. The person who designed these seats was 21 at the time of submitting this to the I forget what it's called, it's the Crystal Cabin Awards, which is a prize for sort of a design within the airplane cabin space, I should say. And so this is coming to us from a 21 year old and they don't want us to be too hard on that person because they are really trying to think outside the box here. And so we'll look at it with a human factor's lens. We'll try to approach it from a sensible perspective. But I really do want to sort of encourage younger folks to continue to do this type of work. Think about other ways in which maybe traditionally would have been I don't know, people would have put up a barrier because they said, okay, that's way too much. We can't think about everything. We're going to do that tonight. We're going to think through some of the implications and what all that means. But Barry, I'm curious what your kind of key or initial thoughts on this story were when you saw it. When I saw it, I've seen it a few times. I think it's brilliant. I think almost exactly the reasons that you just highlighted. If somebody's taken the idea and gone actually we could do this differently. We don't know whether it's better or not. And you won't know until you get into decent user testing and all it's at that concept stage and there is loads of stuff and I think hopefully some issues that we'll bring out will provide some almost direction, maybe in the way that they develop the system. But I really like the idea that we've tried to use that space more effectively. They're not just going with the traditional way just for the sake of it. So I would like to think that maybe I wouldn't like to sit in that seat as it currently sits, so to speak, but I think some evolution of that, I think there is definitely going to be something there that could be a good fun to work with. So I could easily see this double stacked approach in the future. And now Nick has enjoyed it. So Nick has decided to leave us. I've clearly bought him with my ideas already. So what we will do now is we'll give Nick a moment to see if it's going to come back because then you'll just cut this bit out of the edit anyway. But if not, then we will just crack on and keep evaluating it. But yes, he's not going to come back. So really the first element that we would want to look at in this, as we've been going into, we've been looking at breaking down all of these stories by these five main elements. Really, when you want to look at it from a personnel perspective, there are a few things that having something more up in the air. So if you imagine that this top row is kind of near, you got to get up with a small ladder to go and get to it. It's almost like the issues that you got with the traditional bunk bed, almost. I've been able to play with that. So how would you engage with the things you normally do around that space? And some of the things that have been highlighted is like if you've got children, when you want to let children out, normally, as annoying as it is, you let them wander around the seat area, wandering the aisle because there isn't very much space. Small children don't really understand the need to be shut in a very small can, especially if you're going for a number of hours. So you need to have that space to let them do that. With their lack of awareness of a full element there mean that they couldn't go into them top rows. And then taking that one step further, there are people who just wouldn't be able to physically get into them spaces. Therefore does not mean actually then top levels become a bit more elitist. You can only go in them if you're fully able bodied. In the same way that if you want to sit on the aisle that has the emergency exit, you have to be a fully able bodied person in order to be able to operate that emergency door. Which is something I quite like to do because I've got longer legs and they normally have more space there. So I could sort of see that being a bit of an issue. Nick, have you got any now that you've decided to come back and join us, have you got any thoughts on what is it about people that we need to think about when looking at these leads? Yeah, I'm going to jump down to sort of you're talking about various conditions that I guess attributes that people have. And I'm wondering, with respect to these seats, is there still going to be sort of an Ada section American Disabilities Act for you over there in the UK? But basically we're talking about disabilities, wheelchair and that type of thing, but not every disability is visible. You mentioned it in the blurb. But I think those with mild cases of things like anxiety or claustrophobia, those might be exacerbated by the exceeding arrangement. And so how do you account for that? Do you have sort of the normal seats, like ten to twelve normal seat rows in the back that would accommodate for this and the rest of them are like loaded up. And then the other thing that I am thinking of when you're talking about the seating arrangement, just generally is sort of the user interface of the applications that you use, the airplane apps that you use to pick your seat, what does that look like? Because do you make the plane twice as long now that you have so many seats? How do you indicate top versus bottom? You're introducing a whole other dimension with that upper level that you didn't have before. And then also, how do you select Ada seats or seats that are going to be accommodating to your conditions? And so I'm thinking about a lot here. Like I said, this was one of the easiest things for me to write up in terms of show notes, because there's a million different issues that I see. What strikes you, Barry? Where do you want to go next in this conversation? Well, for me, I guess an easy one to knock out to begin with would be the training aspect, because we go into an aircraft and we're all trained to culturally train. Now. You go onto it, you pick your seat, you make sure that you've got enough arm room, you have that little bit of a fight with either the person who sat next to you, the air crew give you the briefing, which you now largely ignore, which is something we covered on the previous episode, and you kind of into it, you know where your baggage goes, you roughly know what's going on. This is going to take, this is going to be a bit of a shock to the system in many ways. When the A 380 came out and it was double decker, a lot of people said that that couldn't happen and that type of thing. It's a different way of thinking. So you're going to have to learn how to deal with that because you're going to behave differently, because you're going to be in that enclosed space, how you interact with the people, either side of you, if it is going to go through in a row. So there's going to be them sort of things that unofficial conditioning is going to have to change. But then also, what about flight crew and the flight attendants? They're going to have to have new training packages, they're going to have to know what to do differently in this type of aircraft, because if they don't all go like this, we can have loads and loads of different types of aircraft. What will be the burden, the training burden there for flight crew in having to recognize the special needs that this is going to have? Because it's going to have special needs, which I think we'll talk about with the engineering bit, but how to manage your passengers is going to be very different, I can see, just because you got them two levels, if nothing else, at that top level, when you press the call attending light, they come along. Are they going to be busy staring at the crotch level? Can I help you, sir? Well, yeah. Are you going to be handing food up? What are the issues associated with that? Yeah, I think there's going to be some interesting pieces on that, but I think this is all small fried stuff. I think that the real meat of this sandwich, so to speak, is in the engineering, do you not think? Yeah, I do. I think if we're talking about solutions, I'm wondering if there's going to be like, just really quick, a double decker serving cart where they have a step stool that allows them to raise themselves up to get on their level. And maybe you have one person serving the top and one person serving the bottom as they cart it along, you know. Genius. Yeah, I just thought of it. You're welcome. There's the patent and so there are solutions, but there are going to be new ways to do that. Right. How do you mount up the flight attendant on that platform? How do you store it? How do you access the things down below in a way that's not going to interfere with your ability to hand it to people? So, yeah, if we dive into that engineering piece, then for me, as I said, this is where I think most of the fun is going to be, because firstly, let's look at this in terms of the idea was meant to make budget aircraft, or the budget area, the economy seating area, to be better. So what is invariably going to happen? Undoubtedly, aircraft manufacturers and airline executives are going to look at this and say, brilliant, we can fit half as many people again onto this aircraft. Now, I guess you're going to look at that and say well is that actually true? Because if you can fit half as many again people on the aircraft then will the engines take it? Will it be certificated to take that amount of load? Because most aircraft have to work within tolerances and so if you're retrofitting current aircraft then I cannot see that you're going to be able to just turn around and say right, we can take care of as many young people because the weight of the aircraft that they can work within just won't take it. But say we have new aircraft and it's built with this in mind. Therefore the landing systems, all the capability of the aircraft is therefore designed to take in another half again amount of people. If you've got all these people then they are going to need to get on the aircraft. And we all know what it's like when you go down to the boarding area, you go down to the gate, gates are already one of these places that's quite lit up already when lots of people are there and how fractious do you get when you're standing in line waiting to get onto a flight? So when you try and get onto that it's going to take half as long again to get on the aircraft if it isn't well managed, well facilitated. So the systems are going to have to be in place in order to make the onboarding of the passengers, to make that as quick and easy as possible. So as we've already said in the terminal itself there's going to be less waiting room, there's going to be more need for stuff to be there to deal with angry people and things like that. So you're going to need more stuffing around that terminal area just because you got it in that terminal area. It then rolls onto the rest of facilities, the rest of the airport. Does everything there actually fit this new abundance of new abundance of people in there? Because all the people who are it isn't just the people coming through that you need to think about but it's all the people who make this sort of stuff happen. So your security staff, your airline staff to get to issue tickets and make sure you do all the seat allocations, all the people who you don't see that make all this happen. Because if you've got more people, you got more luggage. If you've got more luggage you're going to have to have more systems that can cope with a lot more luggage going through there and it be robust. And if we haven't got this overhead space on the aircraft, in the article they did say that they've engineered that space in elsewhere. But are we going to have to even more reduce the amount that people take into the cabin? Therefore we're going to need more space on the aircraft to actually store all this luggage. So there's a lot of knock on effect, I think, with a lot of this and that's even before you get into so all we talked about really at the moment is systems around the supporting of the number of people. When you get into the actual seat itself, there's going to be all sorts of issues to play with. So firstly, we're getting very popular now rather than in modern aircraft, rather than having the aircraft standing up and give you a safety brief, you watch the video in front of you. So we need to make sure that the video screen that's mounted into the seat in front of you, which is now going to be mounted into the bottom of the seat in front of you, is going to have to be at the right eye line. It's going to have to be able to control that easily enough, it's going to have to make sure that that works, is not too close to your face. Then you've got everything around the seat itself. How do you make sure you've got enough movement in the seat to allow an, ergonomic fit when you sit down? But with the way that that seat is set up at the moment, it looks like it could be fairly limited in terms of movement that we don't know yet. So we need to play with that so we'll see how that all rolls through. But then it's not just when you're sat there that it's important, but you've got to transition in and out of this seat. And Nick, I don't know if you've had it before, where if you're sat in the middle seat of an aircraft that you have to get out, you have to do that all, please, can I just get by? How much worse is that going to be when you've got not only somebody sat beside you, but this other seat right in your face? Right? Yeah. Well, that alone is going to be difficult for the middle seat, but it's going to be even more difficult for those on the complete edge. Right. Because that's two people that you have to make it through and if you look at the illustration or even the physical mockup that they built, that's a really tight space. You can barely get your knees in there on the top, on the top level, right. It's very claustrophobic on the top. How does the person up against the window get out of there? I don't know. It's a lot to think about. I do want to talk a little bit about sort of some of the issues that maybe we didn't think about as much before the last couple of years here. With transmissible diseases, when you're that close to other people, you're very close in proximity. And so thinking about virus, cold, cough, those types of things, how does being this close to others affect transmissibility? Especially when I don't know if you mentioned it, Barry, but you did mention this on the post show last time. So I'm going to bring up flatulence when that's like right in your face when you're like kind of in the bottom row, it's something that you have to consider, right? Beyond that, there's other sort of social aspects of how is the public going to yeah, I mean, it is going to be interesting, isn't it? Because if you have something like this, like we said earlier, this is such a dramatic change to what we're doing because you're going to interact with people in completely different ways. And so we going to have to do this whole piece in a way that we've got to be able to roll it out. So it's one of these things how do you do that sort of campaign that normalizes what we're doing. What's an interesting piece with this is when people I've never had the luxury of flying first class, for example, but you see the videos of people in first class, that luxury, where they get beds and all this sort of stuff, and this is almost going the other way, but instinctively you have people to take you along that journey. So it goes back to almost that training issue that it will happen if this sort of concept was involved, but it will take time and it comes into an issue that I think we'll get into later on about cultural behavior. But then just to get back to that system safety thing that you were talking about, as well as you're right, we were all very nervous now about getting into sealed cans and things because of our experiences with Kobe. But even just on the real basics, if we're going to try and get into this high seat, what happens if you as you're trying to clamber up this seat? There's quite a few people who maybe get on board an aircraft with having had one or two half Lagoshandis in the aircraft in the airport before they left. They might miss the footing and fall off, which would be a bit of a disaster, but even then, just like they might not fall off, but an errant foot might go and kick the person below in the face. For example, if their face is quite close to ladder and your foot slips, it's not where's that foot going to go. There doesn't seem to be that much space around that for that foot to go and disappear to. And then when you come into land and invariably the same thing happens, even though you're told quite categorically, keep seatbelts on and keep sat down until the complaint comes to a complete stop and the seat belt sign has been switched off. Well, that clearly never happens because everybody starts rooting around. They have to get the luggage out, they have to know where it is and they have to get into that thing because they have to be first off that aircraft. Now, you potentially got another half as many people again on there, everyone's going to bail as quickly as possible? Or do you think it's going to be one of these things that this type of thing, if we don't train people properly, if we don't give people the right sort of input, then what's that going to do to the likelihood of fatalities? I mean, for me I can only see it's going to go one way, but if you've got it so there's a number of emergency exits that currently exist. We know that there's just two at the front and the two at the back. And I'm doing a cool little hand signals that we all know and love. Are we going to have to put more in to make that actually work properly? But the engineering side of this, I think there is going to be an awful lot there to get into. But as Nick mentioned right from the start then, this isn't a design that is there now that's going to be installed. It is a concept that's been done by a 21 year old student. And so all this sort of stuff that really will good usability testing will bring out and therefore I think that'd be quite good. What is going to be quite interesting, I think is when we look at the organizational and social aspects of this, nick already alluded to it. If you're having to pass out drinks to various people, how do you not only mechanically get up there from an engineering perspective, but how do you work both of them elements socially, how does your relationship with other passengers work? And really, I guess, a question for me and I think Nick, you guys have probably episodes before I came along. I didn't know this, but you guys have been doing episodes for a long time. You've been talking about different cultural divides that different types of technology would bring. What do you think that the cultural divide will be between this? Will it not just exacerbate that divide between rich and poor? I don't know. Will it? I mean, will the cost of seats differ depending on whether you're up top or down below? I don't know. What is the pricing structure? That's something else that we have to consider. It will certainly be a divide between able bodied and unable bodied or however you phrase that, I don't know. Right, so

 

 

you kind of get it now. You take the seats that have the larger legroom because you can open up the door, but this is going to be that times however many seats are stacked up against each other because all those people on top need to be able to get down quickly and the people on bottom need to be able to get out into the aisle without any issue. Right, so do you need to have like twice the amount of emergency exits? I think that is yes. I don't know. Barry, do you have any other closing thoughts on this story? Yes. For me this is fascinating. As we said from the off, I think I really like the idea that somebody is taking this and thinking of the box. I think there is a lot that engaging Human Factors practitioner in this will help this design evolve. I think it's got legs for one of a better word. But there's a lot of fee to be done here and I think there is a massive amount of social element. Nick, what do you think? Have you got anything? Any final things? Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts that I wish I could have talked about, but internet, I do all that by you. I know. I hope you enjoyed talking about this story, Barry, because I was really looking forward to it. Anyway, thank you to our patrons this week for selecting our topic and thank you to our friends over at CNN for our new story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post the links to all the original articles on our weekly roundups on our blog. You can also join us in our discord for more discussion on these stories. You know, I'll be there. We're going to take a quick break and then we're going to be seeing what's going on in the 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 start at just one dollars per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q and A with the hosts personalized professional reviews and Human Factors Minute, a Patreon only weekly podcast where the hosts break down unique, obscure and interesting Human Factors topics in just 1 minute. Patreon rewards are always evolving, so stop by Patreon.com Humanfactorscast to see what support level may be right for you. Thank you. And remember, it depends. Yes, huge. Thank you as always to our patrons. We especially want to thank our honorary Human Factors Cast staff patrons, Michelle Tripp. Patrons like you keep the show running. And not only do you keep the show running, you keep our lab running too. Did you know that we have a digital media lab? In fact, I alluded it to it during the pre show tonight. We are working on some really exciting things that we can't quite talk about yet, but a lot of them you already seen. So some of the pride stuff, all of the Pride stuff actually last month came directly out from our lab. Lots of really bright minds working on that stuff. We are focused on communicating Human Factors in a fun, entertaining way. Like I said, we have some exciting projects we can't talk about yet. If you want to get involved, reach out to us. We may be able to find some room for you. So get some work experience on some real world tools. And hey, that deep dive that I mentioned at the top, that's something else that the lab has produced. There's a lot of really cool things coming out of there. We always like to take a little bit of time every now and then to mention that that is a thing. So maybe check it out. Anyway, we're getting into this next part of the show.

 

 

That's right, it came from this is where we search all over the internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. And no matter where you're watching, listening, I don't know how else you're absorbing this hearing. Anyway, give us a like a heart, a thumbs up wherever you're at. It help other people find this content. Alright, we got three tonight. First one here is from the Human Factor subreddit. I always like it when we get them from there. This is by user. I got qualms talking about job titles. This is specific to the Human Factors field. So I'm a couple of months away from completing a Master's in Human Factors and I've been looking into the job market. I've googled jobs titled Human Factors, ergonomics, User Research, et cetera, but there don't seem to be very many with those in my city. What other jobs could I look up that'd be relevant to my degree? I live in England if that helps. So Barry, I'm hoping for a UK perspective on some of these job titles. What does it look like over there? What do you all called? I hadn't read in the pre show actually that this is an England person because I'm very surprised that using them terms you haven't found acres of jobs or you live somewhere so remote because the English or the UK economics job market at the moment is massively buoyant. There are so many jobs out there. So I don't know, change your search engine maybe. But I would reach out to Chat Institute of Economics, Human Factors go on their website. There is jobs posted up there but to be honest, the terms that you're going for are the terms I'd be hitting. Maybe the other way I would do is go and look at specific

 

 

employers. So if you want to work in things like defense rail, the nuclear, things like that, go and couple up these searches, couple of these terms with them domains because I can almost definitely say that their jobs are out there using the terms. Yeah, I mean, like I'm in the same boat, right? For me, a lot of those jobs using those terms, you'd come back with some results and I'm wondering what parameters are you using to filter? Because if you are just looking at geolocation well yeah, if you are remote. You're going to have a hard time unless you find somebody doing remote work, but for something like Ergonomics, it's a little harder to do. There's other titles, I guess, that you can look for, right. Human Factors Engineer is one of them, and sometimes it varies by domain. You might just be called an Engineer or Usability Specialist, or if you're in tech, it could be UX researcher, it could be UX. I don't know why I'm coming up with a blank, too. Barry, I was really hoping that there's something unique about the UK that's just odd. But having said that, there are tons of jobs out there. It is still a niche market compared to software, all the standard engineering, things like that. So, comparatively, yes, there's fewer jobs and I guess most of them jobs do. I don't know whether I'll go and push myself up there and say this, that they're clustered around places like London, Farmer, Bristol, Cardiff, some north around the Preston area, Luftwa, but there are dotted up and down the country, northern Scotland, for some critical work. So they're definitely out there. That's what I would say. Make some connections, maybe join our slack or our discord, and talk to Mr Barry Kirby, see if he has any other thoughts. Yeah. All right, let's get into this next one here. How stressful, demanding or intense is this job or career? This one's actually on the user experience. Subreddit by Psykit but what is your work life balance like, mostly in terms of working hours or having to take your work home with you? I've worked menial labor jobs, where it's clock in, clock out, mindless kind of work. Just scared that I won't be able to adapt to a high stress, fast paced, highly competitive and demanding workplace or lifestyle, assuming that might be the case. Barry, how stressful, demanding or intense is your job or career? Well, I wanted to put people off. What I love about the Human Factors world is I think you can make it as high or low stress as you want to have, depending on the role that you go into. So mine personally is quite high stress, but then I run my own business and I want to look up staff, I'm doing various bits and I have a quite a high, I guess, threshold for quality and things like that. So I don't like to be sitting around doing nothing. I'm always trying to bounce around new ideas and push them out. But equally, I know that there are loads of other roles out there that are I won't say menial, but they are clock in, clock out. You go in, you do the job, you leave again. And it's not mindless, because I don't think I've ever been in any role in HF that I could call mindless, because there's always something stimulating, I guess, why we do the job. But there are more rules there that are better for a worklife balance. My work life balance is largely rubbish because running my own business, I'm particularly being a family business now because not only does my wife work in our company, but also my daughter does now as well. So it has been made part of our living and breathing. So I'm a bad example. But you shouldn't be scared about joining somewhere because it's been high stress and fast pace. There are loads of jobs out there that allow you to almost pitch it to be right for you. So just go with it and see what you think. Nick, what do you think? Well, yes, you're right. It really does depend hit the button for how you approach your job and the company and values that they have too. For me, I'll give you all insight. I was banging my head against a wall yesterday to try to get something to make my job easier. Full disclosure, I was trying to do some things that wouldn't quite work and it got to the point where I felt like physically queasy because I was sitting at my computer just going, does this work? Does this work? Does this work? That's a rarity where I feel that I value work life balance very much to the point where 03:00 every day, I'm done. And unless there's like a really important thing that I need to do or I'm on travel or something like that, I'm done. Don't schedule me anything after that. And fortunately, the people that I work with respect those boundaries and I think part of your success with making it or preventing it from being a demanding or intense job is setting those boundaries. Don't allow people to kind of walk over you and say, I'm done, I'm out of here. Do not contact me until tomorrow unless it's like a real emergency. And the other thing I'll say to that is that in terms of taking work home with you, I work from home. So it's here, but also at the same time I can leave my desk, go sit down on the couch with my wife and son and still be thinking about work. And I consider that still working. If I'm working through a problem or something, you need to think about what that actually means. Are you the type of person that will perpetually think about how to better something like Barry or myself? Or are you somebody who can turn it off, which I envy you because if it's like a faucet for you, you turn it off and go, then those are two very different types of lifestyles that you'll live. Like, I can say I'm done at three and I will be done at three. I'm not going to sit at my desk past three, but I might think about something, but I won't go back and work on it until after the next day has started. Right, so just thinking about that, I don't know any other thoughts on that one? No, not really. I think it is that case of I think human practice is better generally at recognizing certainly if you're working in nature team, we are sometimes better at understanding how people work. I say it generally I've also worked in situations where that hasn't been the case and I've had to fight that corner. So really think about the company you're working for and if the company isn't working for you and you've tried to change stuff, trying to find another company, but they are out there, there are some really good employers out there, so don't let it put you off. Apparently not in the UK though. Not in the UK. All right, let's get into this last one here. This one's on the user experience. Subreddit by Bowie Buoy an executive summary of a user flow question mark those of you that work with people or speak in PowerPoint, how do you present your user flows? More often than not I end up talking through a PowerPoint of exported artboards where I explain motivations suggestions and highlight certain details. Is there a tool that provides a middle ground between completely functional and completely static user flows? I'd love to be able to include notes, navigation, arrows on the blank space outside the fully functional prototype being presented. Barry just generally, how do you communicate user workflows or flows within an interface or even just task flows in general? I'm PowerPoint and that's mainly because my clients generally work with Microsoft suite. Therefore if I want to export stuff, it goes with them. But PowerPoint in itself is really powerful, it's way more powerful than people give you credit for so you can use it in a kiosk mode where people use it as a complete I mean, I've done aircraft display prototyping with it and I got it so you can export, but you can send that to pilots and they can play with it in their own time and it's not the same, but it does give you your flows and things like that. Equally you can use it in ways that more white body so you can step through things that way. I have tried other tools, things like Figma do this sort of stuff quite well, visio to a certain extent, can make up play and there are loads of other tools out there and there's more and more appearing on the market every day or on the internet. The bit that I always struggle with, and particularly now with this working remote so much more is the clients have got to be able to see what you're producing. The cleverer the tool, the more expensive the tool is and therefore the chance of your client being able to either have figure or something like that. If you can't export it properly, then they're not going to have it, therefore they're not going to be able to see it, therefore you're not necessarily wasting time, but you're going to have to cut it into a way that they have now. If you can create standalone models, brilliant. The downside of that is if they don't export as HTML and they export as an executable, if you put an executable into an email or something like that, chances are Firewalls going to pick it up. The clients are not going to be able to get it unless it's been sanitized. It's just a whole lot of stress. And I'm an old commuter, so I do believe in keeping it simple. It takes a lot for me, and I've tried different tools. Still, PowerPoint is the one I go to. Nick, what about you? You're more of a younger getter than I am.

 

 

PowerPoint. Yes, I agree with you entirely, and I've echoed that sentiment on the show before. The PowerPoint is much more powerful than people do give a credit for. It is insanely robust and accessible for a lot of different people, especially when you're working in something like Defense where things are locked down and they can't open, like you said, some of those more fancy tools. Yeah, PowerPoint. But I think the thing that I want to talk about is almost more abstracted nature, right? Like, what if you have this massive flow that you're trying to communicate that goes through a process role base. You have them almost in swim lanes and you have different tasks at different times and coordination between those roles. That gets more complex to share when you're looking at this massive flow with all these tasks along the way, decision points and everything. And for something like that, this is what I want to talk about because I found that this really works for me, is make that your product, make that pretty as a deliverable because you can talk through it. Now, it does become a little bit more difficult to present something that large. However, I do want to mention this. I've used a mini map in the past. So I've put here's the entire task flow on the first slide and then up in the top right corner, this is a mini map. And then you zoom in on little bits and pieces and talk through them as they make sense. And so I'm going to walk you through this path first and kind of just do screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, screenshot as it's going through that one path and then say, okay, here's the different way that could have gone and kind of loop you back. So there's a couple of different ways to approach that problem. And I think that is the one trick tip that I want to pass along is mini maps. All right, any other closing thoughts on this one, Barry? The only other one that I've used that I thought was interesting and got away was that called Prezi, which was one of the animated that stepped you through. I personally never got comfortable with it in a way that would allow me to do that whole sketching idea that takes you from one to another. I kind of like that approach. If I could find a tool that would do so that was one that was out there that was sort of good. And I did get a little bit of traction with a client once that was better than just a slam door. So that might be worth looking at. I don't know. All right, we're moving on to that last part of the show. No introduction. Both right here. Right here. It's One More thing. This is where we just talk about one more thing, human factors related or not. Barry, what's your One more thing this week? And I've only got one, so I'm back to form. I was in a special interest group the other day, so the CIA chiefs have a bunch of special interest groups and this one was AI and digital and in the agenda, which was kind of lucky because I hadn't actually read the agenda beforehand. I'm normally better organizing this, but I jumped into this very last minute and one of the items was whether Google had got sentient AI or not. And they were sort of discussing this and I chipped in. I was like, I'm familiar. I was talking about this just the other day. Were you? And I said yes, and clearly you guys don't listen to the podcast I'm part of. I said that our last episode was on Google AI and could you put the link in the chat? And so I put the link in the chat and they all seem to like it. So I thought that was a nice link from what we do here into a direct application. That's nice. Barry, I don't hear enough of those stories. If our listeners have a story where they've taken an episode and said, hey, they just talked about this, I'd love to hear more about that. My One More Thing this week is on automation. I talked a little bit about this in the preshow. In fact, I talked a lot about this in the preshow. I showed a whole diagram of what I made in terms of logic. I just want to talk about sort of the reward that comes with banging your head against a task for hours and hours and hours in order to make your life easier, because it really is right? I'm thinking about the amount of time I'm putting into something versus the amount of time that it is going to save me and automation in days, months, years time. I've just done something this week that is going to save me an hour every month. And so my return on investment on this is going to be six months down the line because I spent about 6 hours on it. And so I'm really happy with that. It'll take six months for it to pay for itself. But seeing everything happen just entirely automated is just insane and rewarding and would highly recommend it. And I'll talk about Zapier. It's just an amazingly powerful tool for connecting your applications and having it just do things. No code. It's awesome. Anyway, that's all I got. And that's it for today, everyone. If you like this episode, enjoy some of the discussion about improvements about flying in plane. I'll encourage you to go listen to episode 214, where we talk about games potentially improving inflight passenger safety. Go comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the news story this week. Did you enjoy Barry's commentary? I certainly did. I'm going to go back and listen to it later because there were so many drops on my end anyway, for more in depth discussion, you can join us on our Discord community. You can visit our official website, sign up for our newsletter. Stay up to date with all the latest Human Factors news. If you like what you hear, you want to support the show, there's a couple of things you can do right now. You can go to whatever podcast reviewer you're on and leave us a five star review that's free for you to do. Like Barry is saying, tell your friends about us. That really helps the show grow. People just might not know about us. And if you bring them a story like Google's AI, they might love it. So do that. And then three, if you have the financial means to do so, we have an entire separate podcast on Human Factors Minute, which is a little chunk of Human Factors every week. If you support us on Patreon over there at the Human Factors Engineer level or higher, you'll get access to that. 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 holding down the ship and carrying that conversation all by himself today. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about what do you do if someone farts on you in these planes? If you want to come and talk to me about accidents or otherwise, hit me up on Twitter, on any socials, actually, at Basmasko. Okay? I'll come listen to some interviews that we do on there. We sort of do more one to one interviews at Twelve Two Podcast.com. As for you having your host, Nick Rome, you can find me Disconnecting from our Discord server and across social media at Nick. Thanks again for tuning into Human Factors cast. Until next time.

 

 

Bye.

Barry Kirby Profile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

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