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Sept. 23, 2022

E259 - Metaverse Standards are Coming

This week on the show, we talk about standardization in The Metaverse. We also answer some questions from the community about agile methodology in Human Factors, the artifacts we usually deliver, and how to deal with other people in your company doing UX Research.


Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast -on Applying Human Factors on the ground - An interview with Suzy Broadbent:

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Transcript

Welcome to Human Factors cast your weekly podcast for Human Factors Psychology and Design.

 

 

Greetings everyone, is episode 259. I'm going to say that slowly this week because I said 208 last week. We're recording this episode live on September 22, 2022. Human factors. Cast. I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Good evening, Nick, and good evening everybody. Good evening, good morning, good afternoon, wherever you're listening, watching, wherever from, good bat. We got a great show for you today. We're going to be talking about how the metaverse needs standards. And later we're going to answer some questions in the community about human factors and agile methodology, what artifacts we usually deliver, and whether or not other people in your company are doing UX research. But first, some programming notes. Hey, a lot of new listeners recently, and if you've joined us recently, hi, welcome. We're so happy that you found us. We typically get a lot of folks joining up on the podcast around the time of some big conferences. So welcome. We're happy you're here. Hope you like the show. And speaking of big conferences, there's a couple of other bits of news that I'd like to share. We have our HFPS town hall next Tuesday. We're going to sit down with Chris Reid and some other folks from HFPS, talk about some fun, exciting things. That will be the last one before the annual meeting, which by the way, we'll be there. We're covering the event. We'll be live streaming the event in some capacity. In what capacity? Well, we are going to have a big old live stream bash. It's going to be a big, long livestream. You can join us on all of our social platforms. We'll have guests from all different swathes of human Factors. We'll have some surprises, some announcements. It will be a good time and we hope that you'll join us there. We will kind of package everything up and drop it in our podcast feed. But really the live stuff is going to be super fun, super interesting, and we hope that you can all join us, especially if you're not planning to go to the conference in person. We'd love to have you join us. Barry, that's enough from me and the HFES side. What's going on with twelve two? So in twelve two, you still got the interview with Suzy Broker up that's up there. Obviously we haven't put the last episode up because of the Queen's funeral and things like that, but on Monday, the interview, the long promise interview we've gotten upon the Father of the Dirty Dozen, the twelve Main Reasons that cause people to make mistakes is going live on Monday morning, monday morning GMT. So that will be up on the Twelve or two podcast feed and up on YouTube. But the other thing that's going on, if you can talk about Hfvs, I want to talk about the CIA, because tomorrow at midday now, if you're listening to this either live through the live recording or when it just as it drops 12:00 GMT. The CHF is hosting a webinar with the Indian Society of Ergonomics about the impact of the Pandemic on the informal economy. Now, this is important because I'm sharing it and we look to explore the lessons from the Pandemic from our international community. And even if you miss it, miss the live version, then you will be able to get to it through the CHF. We obviously have all of our webinars that we host. They're always available afterwards as well. So even if you think you've missed this just because of the timing, and I recognize this is very last minute, you can definitely still listen to it later on. And I have no doubt because of the quality of the hosting, that it'll be a fantastic event. I trust that host. I think there's probably going to be some good stuff coming out of that webinar. But enough of inflating Barry's ego. Let's go ahead and get into the news.

 

 

Yes, this is the part of the show all about human factors news. It was a close one this week between our socials and between the patrons. The patrons want us out. Barry, what is the story this week? So the story this week is about the idea that the Metaverse needs standards too. So the Metaverse Standards Forum sees an opportunity to get everyone to sit down and hash out the basic technologies needed. With a more solid foundation, the forum believes the Metaverse can better develop and evolve. Now, the forums announced that after two months of hashing priorities, it has an initial list of priority topics that will steer the Metaverse standards development in its domain working groups. The topics include both straightforward technical problems like augmented and virtual reality standards, as well as the concerns around privacy, ethics, and user safety. The metadata itself doesn't exist yet, and probably won't for some years to come in the way that we believe it should, but there's enough industry interest industry interest in beginning the process towards building it, whatever it may ultimately be. The Metaphors Standards Forum is being organized by the Kronos Group, a software consortium developing royalty free standards around technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and vision processing. Although there are numerous competing versions of what this Metaverse will actually be, many visions of common points of connection virtual reality, augmented reality tech will be involved, as well as drive towards shared experiences, whether that's something exciting, like attending a concert or mum mundane things like renewing your driver's license. Some people see the future iteration of it or replacement for the Internet. But if so, the technologies that will make it happen needs to be more tightly integrated than they are now. Beyond standardizing Just, AR and VR come related technologies like 3D modeling, volumetric, video, and geospatial data. All in all, the members proposed more than 200 potential topics to prioritize for the metaverse development. That list has been narrowed down to eight areas of interest, which will form the first domain working group for the forum members to join. The list includes more technical challenges such as interoperable 3D assets, user identity, augmented and virtual reality, and user interfaces. Broader challenges also highlighted include metadata, ethics, privacy, governance and education and certification. So Nick, are you in favor of standards? Do you have any standards? Yes. Barry, what do you think? No, I'm just kidding. So look, the answer is simple. Yes, we need standards. And I think at the surface, standards seem like such an unsexy topic in any field. But standards are incredibly cool and I encourage anyone listening, watching go check out some standards in your field. You may or may not realize that a lot of things that you work around every day are because of standards. And when you go back and trace that back to the purpose of why those standards were implemented in the first place, it can sometimes be quite illuminating. And also, I'm going to mention this now versus later, but if you are part of a community like, I don't know, Human Factors and Ergonomics, where it's a sort of close knit kind of group, it's a smaller group. You can get involved in standards committee, in standards committees for a lot of different things. Not even, I don't know, four years ago we went out to Ergo X with an HFD in 2018, chris and Dave, Chris Reid, Davel, they were talking about standardization in exoskeletons and how exoskeletons don't have a whole lot of standards. Well, they were searching for people to get involved with that and that's what that whole event was about. And so go out, get involved, and you can have a say in what those standards are, especially if you feel super passionate about it. I don't know if that's necessarily going to be the case here because it's by this cronos group, but it sounds like a lot of big players are at the table for this. And so that kind of gives me some warm and fuzzy. They wouldn't just send anybody to this. And so, I don't know, it feels like, yes, we need this. Are the right people there? It seems like, for the most part, yes. And I have some thoughts about what standards should be implemented and we can talk about a lot of those. Barry, what is your initial thoughts on this? I like your face that the right people at the table. I think that's naive, but heartwarming. Do we need standard, as you absolutely say? I think you're absolutely right, but as we've already said, what is the metadata at the moment? It's an ideology, it's not actually be a thing. Or is it? I'm still not entirely sure. In many cases, whenever you get new technologies come along, the standards will evolve, they're there, and that's how many come to life. You get some initial things, and then they keep pace. But this is clearly fueled by a deeper question of trust. People don't trust now large corporates. They don't trust the Googles, the Metas, these organizations that aren't governed by literally the government type thing. Even then, with the government, we don't trust them either. We don't like having people think organizations like this having so much sway over what we do. For me, the best representation I can see of this, the image icons in my head when we talk about the metaverse now is I don't see the movie ready player One, where they talk about the Oasis, which was their all pervasive online community where people work, lived. And that's really, I think, where we're talking about now. Incidentally, I think the book is better than the film, but I think that's kind of where we're at. I think people struggle with that definition. Yeah. Do you want to set the scene for this quote here? Yeah. So

 

 

I usually do have done it for the past three, four episodes, put some stuff out there around onto social media, around what people thought about it. One of the expected eye roll that I got on one of my comments was kind of as expected by a professor Bob Stone, who's over here in the UK is very much at the forefront of virtual reality and XR and that type of thing. I looked at one of his more recent papers and articles to sort of give us a bit of a grounding, because Bob's very good at that. He's very grounded when it comes to this stuff. He doesn't take any nonsense. And so what I wanted to do was just drawn some of his words, and he says that the notion of a Metaverse, not necessarily a metiverse, is a persistent online, massive virtual environment with interoperable features that span both digital and real domains. And that idea has actually existed for many years. He then described some of the other collaborative projects, and we might drop into them, but the one that we have talked about previously is the one produced by Linden Labs Second Life. We saw that go, and that's not too dissimilar to what we're talking about. But actually he then goes on to say today, with the efforts of much accelerated today, the efforts have been very much accelerated by Kobe 19 pandemic, and the need for conferences and international events to go ahead with national and international social distancing well in mind. Interesting, the Meta versus exploded because of this on a global level, with all manner of organizations, small and large, offering products and platforms. Just a handful of those organizations active today include engage, Glue, Point Media, spatial decentralized, crypto, Voxels, and Vivella. In parallel with these technological developments, investors are already planning ahead for doing business within the metaverse. For example, in April, Decentral and sold over 40,000 virtual space for $572,000. In March, Vanessa Sundarison bought the first 5000 days. An item of an NFT, which we talked about before. An item of NFT art by people at Christie's. For nearly $70 million, he aims to show this digital art acquisition within the virtual worlds for all Meta visitors to enjoy. Firstly, I like this idea. Very simple description of it's, that persistent online environment. But it does span both the digital and real world. It is bringing them together, but their numbers at the end, values to show how people are now buying into it and throwing some serious cash. It's almost that investing in the futures piece, isn't it? It's quite scary, really. Yeah. And I want to comment on this too, because some of it's predatory. Some of it is people taking advantage of a situation where, like, for example, there's this thing called Earth 2.0, and it's basically Earth in the Metaverse, and you can buy plots of land in the Metaverse and you own that. Is it interoperable with other parts of the Metaverse? Maybe, I don't know. We haven't figured that out yet. That's what the standards are for. But if the Metaverse doesn't take off, or if this company goes out, then you've bought what this digital asset that is worthless for a lot of money and a lot of cases. And so some of it seems like it's that investment risk, right? And so you got to take that into consideration. But again, this really highlights why we need standards and sort of why this group of folks are getting together in the first place. And let's talk about standards and really what standards is, and we can maybe start there what a standard is, some way to define how to do a process, procedure, develop a product, or anything like that. Really? Standards can apply to a lot of different domains. We can apply to every domain. But they can also be a variety of different, I guess, interactions. Right? It could be a product, it could be a policy, it could be a procedure. It could be any one of those things. The five PS, whatever they are, policy, procedure, product, I'm blanking on it could be any one of those process. There you go. And really, ideally, some organizations like OSHA are out there for safety reasons. Occupational Safety, Health Association and so that's why they exist in a lot of cases. In most cases, I would argue, some are government mandated, some are not. Some are sort of community driven, like the Exoskeleton thing. I think there's ISO standards for that. But what is ISO? I don't even know. But there's ISO. There's OSHA. There's a bunch of different organizations that have standards. There's Ilee, who this story is from. They have standards as well, which is probably why they're bringing it up. So there's a bunch of different organizations that are working on standards, and they have different pedigrees associated with them. And sometimes some other standards take precedence, especially if they come down from the government. And that's kind of my primer on standards. Barry, do you have anything else to add to that? Yeah, I think some people you might get mixed up between what guidance is and what a standard is. So guidance is just an element of best practice where people say, oh, this is kind of how we should work together, whereas a standard is an agreement on how people work together or how things will work together. And if you don't follow the standard, you don't get to play. I think the three different categories of these are worth exploring because you can have, I guess, just follow that last comment up. You might think, well, how does a government mandated standard, we haven't agreed to do that. Well, by the fact you've elected the government. That is, you agreeing to do whatever it is that they say. It's unfortunate, but there it is, it's the law. But you have open standards, which is everyone can see how the standard was derived, how it was used, and how it's got to it's all agreed and all that sort of stuff. If you get a standard for an API programming interface and software, it's an open standard. You can see how it's derived, you can see the code behind it and things like that. So that's where that comes into play. Community standards is where, as you describe, people come together and mutually agree between organizations and individuals. Yes, this is the right thing to do, and we'll do this and generally they keep on keep on evolving. But the proprietary standards are some of the things that make me fear around the metaverse. And the proprietary standards are the ones that you fundamentally have to pay to see if you don't pay the fee to see the standard, then you don't get to play. And so you won't be able to interface with the software, you won't be able to interface with the way that they anticipate you working. And so then that excludes people, that excludes development, and that includes engagement, which can have all sorts of knock on effects. So we don't really have we sort of see that things are potentially going down, that maybe open standard, maybe standard route, but because we just don't have any visibility of it yet to see exactly how people are going to chime in to be able to engage. Right, got to pay the troll tool. So I think there's a bunch of different ways that we could attack this. I think since we're already talking about sort of community approach, I think sort of the broader organizational social aspect of standardization might be a good place to start. Now, I'll start in the sense of if you think about end user license agreements, there's standards around that and everyone's encountered where you just say, yes, I agree, and you haven't read a damn thing. Just because standards are there doesn't mean they are usable or that they are intuitive or really have sort of the best intent for the end user in mind because that is there to make sure that you understand everything about a program before you install it or process a service that you subscribe to. And what ends up happening is people just click I agree, with no sort of check to make sure that the person understands exactly what's going on. And that's because these things are super long. And if you think about some methods that companies and others have employed recently, it's like, okay, I agree. It's not clickable until you've scrolled through the thing, but now people just scroll through the thing and hit, I agree. So you're adding an extra step to it. They're not really comprehending it. It's a standard there so that way people can be aware if they choose to dig. And then that doesn't protect the consumer in a lot of ways because then the company can come back and say, but you hit I agree when you came onto our service or product, you hit, I agree, which means that you read that and it doesn't. And so when you think about stuff like that, you have to really think about who's making these decisions and why those decisions are there in the first place. That, to me, sounds like a legal thing where they were like, okay, we got to inform the user. Let's make it in the worst way possible. I don't know. End user license agreements are a huge thing, and they can be tackled by a variety of interaction methods, let's say, like quizzes, but

 

 

there's no good way to do it. I think that's the ultimate takeaway there. And the reason why I'm bringing up end user license agreements is because that's what the Metaverse is going to be made of, especially when you have all these different players in there. And if you have sort of assets from different companies, if you have different organizations with different rules, you're going to have to play by all those rules when you're in the Metaverse. And if you break one of those rules and you're not aware of those, then it's one of those things where can you really be at fault because you weren't aware of it, and so they got to present that information to you. I'm going off on a tangent here, but really the thing I'm getting at is that it's complicated. It's very complicated, and that standards can't necessarily protect users of whatever product they're using. What do you want to jump into, Barry? I've talked about Eula's. Yeah. I think taking that almost a step up and sort of saying, right, well, where are we going to use this? Brought up the film and the better book ready player one where you had people were docking into the Oasis and you could go to school there, people would go in there for their education because the education experience was just so much richer. So much better. You could work, there was various work options that you could have there. Obviously entertainment was massive, you could trade and the higher up you got in the social hierarchy then more things were open to you. Also going back to the second life that we used the example of earlier. There was large broadcasting corporations were holding concerts and everything in virtual environments and so you could easily get people together to have meetings to discuss things and all that sort of stuff and you can just see how this type of technology will make all that better because particularly say you're working collaboratively you can see where standards are going to be used here because if you've got different languages. If you've got different discussions. If you've got different ways of working on the ability to share data in a meaningful collaborative way. The ability to discuss in a collaborative way but also the ability to easily legally actually chime into what you said about and use license them legal elements because if we're going to be talking business across countries in a much freer way than we are now. Then different countries have different business legal standards and so how do we make sure that that all works? So it should make that sort of stuff easier. Your education piece is going to be huge because the ability to go and demonstrate foreign cultures. The ability to go some examples that you can use when you're talking about things in space you can actually go and visit the sun. The planets or the representations of but how do we know that the lessons that are being taught will be to the appropriate standard. An appropriate representation and not just made up? You're then back to standards. How do you apply teaching standards within the Metaverse society? Again, it's just two replications of them things and if you're doing public meetings, public forums or concerts and things like that, how do you make sure that artists rights are respected? Anybody can chime into these things. We've already got now that if you want to watch programs in a different country to where you're at, then you can now use DPN tunneling to make your DNS look like it's within that country and therefore you get around some of these barriers. We're going to need standards to be able to deal with geographical issues around licensing and things to make that work. So I think it's one of these things it's easy to dive down into and I think we will dive down into some almost not the negatives but the challenges of what the Metaverse is going to give us. But it's a massive opportunity as well because it is a next generation jump. But I do think we've got some really physical things that act as barriers to us exploiting it properly. Right? Do you want to pick one up now? Because I realized I was going no, it's okay, I want to continue on your thought? Because if you're talking about international laws and different countries having different laws, is the Metaverse in itself its own environment? And should we treat it as such? Should it be governed outside of real world governments? Right? Like, should we have a government in the Metaverse that decides the standards, that decides how all these laws work in the Metaverse? And really that becomes even more challenging because how do you come up with a system, a political philosophy that satisfies everyone or that will sort of satisfy most? And if that differs from the country that you are physically located in, how do those laws interact? If you've done something illegal in your country but it happened in the Metaverse, does it count? So there's all these like, this opens up another can of worms. But this is where I'm headed. Because if you think about standards, you are operating, especially in a space where if we think this is truly the Internet x .0, whatever it is ends up being we can bring some of the lessons learned forward from those. But also it introduces a whole bunch of new challenges, especially if we're spending our entire lives in the Merch. We had an entire show on that. And so if you're thinking about how people might interact with this virtual thing, do they reside there? Are they a member of society there? Does the government make sense? Is that somebody's whole job? But then how do they make money in the real world? Do they make real world money from the Metaverse and then use that to fund a residence in the real world? This whole thing becomes a very complex issue very quickly when you start to pull on the strings here a little bit and understand what standards might actually mean. Because you can't implement a standard that's illegal in another country. Or what I mean by illegal is that you can't necessarily implement those restrictions on people in another country. And so you have to think about that type of stuff. One example of this could be, like, international copyright law. And if you have, like, Fortnite does this now you have a bunch of different characters in Fortnite that are interacting with each other. And it's such a bizarre thing to see characters from one franchise that you love, like stormtroopers fighting goku, it's weird, right? And it's this weird experiment. And they have concerts in there, too. It's like the most true example of what a metaverse could be right now, at least in my opinion. The only thing that's missing from it, really, is VR. And there's a lot missing from it. But the businesses that have participated in this type of thing have agreed to have their character licensed out into the game and are available some in perpetuity, which is really interesting. Will those laws apply in the Metaverse? And can somebody create a digital asset that is, a character from an IP that's in the real world and how is that protected? There's just so many issues and really it's just a can of worms and I kind of want to get out of this because it's just leading me down a rabbit hole that I can't get out of. A lot of that is being sorted out now, isn't it? Because at the moment I still see the way you expressed it is this internet sort of 2.03.0 whatever because it kind of is we're still just talking about data and all we're doing really is talking about a better way of visualizing it at this point. I mean we are going down that route of what do we do a bit later on but right now we do have pervasive data that's going that doesn't know geographical boundaries and so we're having to deal with some of them issues already different libel laws and things like that we have to deal with on a country by country basis. So your social media has to deal with that because it's kind of ubiquitous and different things happen. So I think we need to worry about it but not too much right now if that makes sense because I think that will evolve and it'll be tested unfortunately by people screwing up and it will get tested in law and that's kind of how most legal systems work and this won't be any different in that respect. It will just be as case law develops, we'll work out what it is. I mean the financial industry is a really big one for that like who pays tax where the thing that worries me about this to a certain extent and then I will dive off this into some more engineering and stuff is we talk about geographic actual proper government ranked countries and then this is going to be a corporate ran and how does that work? And again mentioned Ready Player one a couple of times. They do deal with that as a topic and it's interesting but to go back to the definition that we read out from Bob earlier he sort of highlights that it's got to span both digital and real domains and I think this is where for me the engineering is kind of getting there but it's still got a bit to do because fundamentally everything is that you've got to be able to put on a headset to make it happen. So you're immediately blocking out the world. I mean we've used this language already, you stay immersed in it all the time but if you're wearing a VR headset then you're not seeing the outside world therefore you're not interacting. It's not that what I think fits with the idea of a metaverse. You're just in a fancy video game. It's a very good one and quite cool but you're not augmenting you're not augmenting both realities together. But I think again going back to the standards for this even with the VR headsets we need the. Standards in place. Now to look at things like when you put on a headset, do we insist that it checks the environment around you to make sure that it looks after you? You're not going to trip over anything. You're not going to run into a wall. You're not going to trip over something you left on the floor because of the space that you need in the physical space to explore the virtual space. So one of the headsets I've got at the moment will now do that at the beginning. You put it on, it checks the environment around you and you can see through to see what is in you. Exactly right. And so some of them will do that, but they're doing that because it's a nice thing to do. It's not a standard of a headset. There's no directive there that says the user shall be kept safe by ensuring that they don't walk into something that endangers them. And this is where I think we need to start looking at standards for things like that because you've got games that have you flailing your arms around everywhere. Next thing you know you've knocked something off your sideboard because you didn't check it straight away or you knocked off the top of your toe or you knock your telly over because you didn't realize it was there when you start crying, kicking things and things like that. So we need to make sure that the technologies that keep people safe are included in some sort of standard around how we develop accessories for any sort of equipment that we use with the metervorous. Yeah, I agree. Just look at any sort of super cut of people getting injured with VR headsets on and you'll see exactly what we're talking about here. There's a lot of different safety standards that need to go into it and really this comes down from everything from the physical safety concerns. That's kind of what we're talking about here. With your eye health, can you wear a headset for that long of a time without having some sort of impact to your eyesight? Can you look at physical health if you're in this thing and you're not moving? If you're kind of just sitting there looking at things in the middle of the moving with a joystick rather than your physical body? If you're unable to, are you then neglecting your physical health in terms of exercise and nutrition even? Are you opting for the easier choices versus perhaps a more robust nutritional choice? Because you're stuck in an environment you want to stay there? Not stuck, you choose to be there and then there's the physical health of others. Like Barry said, if you're waving your hands around in the environment, how do you communicate with others in that environment that they can't see you and that you are at risk of being in that danger zone? There are some really tough videos to watch where there's children walking around people in VR and it's like, okay, well you just hit them in the face because they were unaware that you can't see them and it's this whole external awareness thing that needs to happen. Beyond that there's also the sort of ergonomics of the headgear, right? Thankfully some of the headsets now are fairly light but if you imagine sort of long term effects of having a weight on the front of your head, you're pulling your neck forward and is that great for posture or long term mobility? Probably not counterweights but you're still putting weight down on your head and so are there timers associated? There's all these different things that need to go into it. I think beyond that there's some of the engineering of the devices themselves. I talked a little bit about the ergonomics you want to talk a little bit about usability? Barry? Yeah, I mean we've got to make sure that a bit like what we have with a lot of phones now. You've got a lot of basic standards around the user interface

 

 

almost. There is a standard around what we see, what you expect to see, what actions do, what you expected on switch to do. For example, how you expect to engage with different bits with the use of VR and AR. The is obviously potentially different ways and if you use any of these devices at the moment, you see that there are different ways, different ways of manipulating things, different ways to have you progress through a game or through a building or something like that. And we need to get some standards there about making sure that is a common way of working. Not necessarily because it's hypercritical or anything like that, but it means that when people are developing new applications and new cool stuff that we expect to get the benefit from that. If you've got standards there to delve into, it a bit like having a library of like what we would at the moment with any sort of user interface design. You go for the library of the stuff that is ready to find from there already because you know it's going to be adapted. It means that the training burden is going to be super low. It means that people are going to be able to go and be immersed in it and use it straight away. Some people see standards as being the stick that you beat people with to do exactly what you want. Actually in many ways, certainly from our perspective, from an HP perspective, particularly from a user design perspective, then they're brilliant because you know, if you implement the standard then there's a really good chance that it's adoption will be super high and its usability will be really good. And then that means you can actually focus on what's the novelty of what I'm doing, what is it, what is it that's super special that I'm doing that we couldn't do before and that's where the metaverse then will have value. Because if we can get rid of the dual stuff, in theory, you can actually focus on the value. Right. You brought up a good point about how to train people on this thing and whether or not it should be intuitive. Like our phones, there's no real instruction manual, but sort of using something feels intuitive and you kind of get it just from being, from interacting with the things. Should be our operate the same way. If not, then we need to have training associated with that. But then what does that look like? And I'm sure there are skills in VR that you will need training for like, I don't know, I can think of perhaps taking a class for drawing in VR. What does that look like? How do you use the tools? But that's not necessarily to use the headset and to use VR. That's a different thing. It's a skill set within VR. I'm of the belief that, yes, it should be intuitive as we incorporate this into people's lives and everything in the environment, or at least be able to understand once you're in there, how to interact with things. Like it should be crystal clear. And I think there's a bunch of different ways in which you can communicate to the user and that'll be evolved over time. But I think the last point that I want to talk about before we move on here is sort of the safety of people who need protection. And we talk a lot about privacy on the show and cybersecurity is a huge human factors issue. But really when you're looking at those at risk, like minors or prisoners or another population, pregnant women, you have all these different populations that need special considerations and especially those who in a virtual environment have like motion sickness. How do you communicate to those types of people who have specific needs, what type of protection that they have? And so if you think about some of these methods that we're employing now, we have like GDPR that is really just a button that says, here, accept all these cookies. But at the base of it, it's saying, what information are you allowing these companies to track about you? And it's that whole end user license agreement that I brought up at the beginning of this discussion where they're communicating to you kind of what information they're tracking on you, but how do you sort of make sure that personal data around you is protected and you're sharing the things that you want to share with others? We all have a right to privacy and I think these types of issues will certainly rise up. Barry, any last thoughts on standards in the metaverse before we move on? Yeah, I think just a sort of final point on that whole people bit is the one thing that I think we do now is you have a home life and a work life, if you like me, it just all blends together. But most people go to work and then come home and kind of want to have a bit of a gap between the two. If you're living your life in the meta verse and you don't have an ability like we do at the moment, that you can say to your employer or whatever, back off, I'm at home. Now, how do we balance that work home life piece? How do we keep our hobbies away from and our extracurricular activities away from our day to day activities and things like that? So how do we put in the barriers? But it's a final thought for me. If we get all this done right, looking at the positive side of things, there's some really big advantages that we're going to see. So the ability to do I mean, even now we're doing this hybrid working where we're still missing. I still miss physical meetings. I went to one this week, and it was really nice to be in a room where you could pick up subtle cues. I could tell when I was making people, I was putting people in distress when I was asking the question, and then I could rephrase my question in a way that was perhaps less threatening, in a way that you just wouldn't pick up on a camera system like we use it at the moment, a remote system. So if the whole VRP gets better and you can actually see more of that interaction, then that means actually people will be less there will be less need to travel. And so that would be brilliant for the climate. And we can also you can go and visit people, talk to people you don't necessarily talk to very much because they live so far away. I'm actually going to sell it to my parents and things, so I think that sort of thing, it will be really good if we get it right, but we're going to need to rely on the standards to make them sort of interactions that we can focus on, the interaction and not everything else. So, yeah, I'm quite excited, but nervous at the same time. Well said. All right, well, thank you to our patrons this week for selecting the topic, and thank you to our friends over at the IEEE Spectrum 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 much more. We're going to take a quick break and then 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 $1 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.com Humanfactorscast to see what support level may be right for you. Thank you. And remember, it depends. Yeah, huge. Thank you, as always to our patrons. We especially want to thank our honorary Human Factors cast staff patron Michelle Tripp. Patrons like you truly keep the show running and our lab running too. So we thank you all so much for your continued support. I want to talk about something else that you may or may not be aware of, and we started this a couple of weeks ago, I guess a couple of months ago. At this point, I'm going to encourage you all to follow us on social media. If you don't have the time to watch or listen to a full episode, that's okay, I don't blame you. We're all busy people. But on those social media accounts, we're now producing some shorts around the episodes that we put out there so you can still keep up with the news. We post a little sound bite about what we're talking about on the news story that week. A lot of bite size content if you don't have the time to listen to the full show. And we're posting these on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, go follow us there. I don't request this often, and I feel like too much of a social media influencer when I say follow up on these platforms. But we are putting out good stuff, and really, it's a way for you to connect with the show even if you don't have time to listen to the full thing. We also put our It came from out there, which we'll get to in just a second, and then you'll find it on the Socials. Beyond that, we have our Twitter and our LinkedIn, where we actually post our weekly poll. So there's a couple of ways to interact with us, right? Short videos on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and then we have our weekly polls on Twitter and LinkedIn, where you can actually have a voice in what we talk about on the show. I wanted to bring that up. I don't talk about that enough, but follow us on those platforms if you'd like to have more agency in the show and keep in touch with us, even if you can't listen on a daily basis. I understand. All right, so let's go ahead and switch gears, get into this next part of the show. We like to call

 

 

that's right it came from. This is the part of the show where we search all over the Internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. If you find any of these answers useful, no matter where you're watching listening, give us a like to help other people find this content. Those algorithms are sure sneaky. All right, we have three tonight. The first one up here is from the Human Factors subreddit. This is by Buff Chin 5566. They write human factors and agile methods. Hello, all. I'm curious about if anyone here has some experience with human Factors within agile development environment. Starting a new job not too long ago and the company product is heavily relying on software development. My feeling is that my company is using Scrum, which I think makes sense for the software development side, but is new to me as a Human Factors engineer. I also have a feeling that my team does not strictly follow the Scrum method anyway. Basically just following my manager's direction. I'm also trying to learn new things about agile. So Barry, have you worked in an agile environment? How does Human Factors fit into that equation? Well, funny you should mention this. If you go to two or two and look at episode two of season one, I think it is, I talk all about use of agile in Human Factors. Well worth a look. But fundamentally, yes, I think in the HF world we sort of think that agile is maybe something new and shiny, but actually, for me, I just think it's doing good HF. There is some of the wider structures around it, around Scrum. And whatever way you're going to do it, you do bring out a really good differentiator between agile isn't necessarily sorry, scrum isn't necessarily completely agile or agile. They're not one of the same thing. You can be agile and not follow Scrum. Agile is a way of thinking, scrum is a specific methodology, but fundamentally around agile is bringing the right people around the table. And so for us, that means making sure the user is at the heart of what we do. And for us, we're like, well, yeah, okay, we always do that. That's the nature of the job. But we've got to remember, particularly for software engineers or you do physical stuff, engineers on the outside, they don't necessarily do that. That is a completely new way of working for them. And then to get I always get like, the project management involved as well, because they don't normally see what you do on a day to day basis and they come up, oh, you do actually work, and things like that. So, yeah, agile and sprint is something very close to my heart. I think it's a good way of working. It's not necessarily better wait, I think it's not necessarily quicker. The timetable should be about the same because you're just doing it in a different way. The amount of work hasn't actually changed and how you work within sprints, you'll pick that up as you go along, but fundamentally you don't necessarily finish. If you don't finish all the work, you put it back into the backlog, re, prioritize, and then draw, and it might get drawn out again next time. I might get pushed on further down the line. Nick, what about you? What's your experience with Agile? Full disclosure here, I am a licensed Scrum master, so there's that. But I think really, when you talk about Agile and you talk about Scrum, it's a way to organize and ultimately that's it. There's some concerns in here, in this original posters comment that I didn't quite get to, and most of it was around the time taken, there's two to four week sprints that a lot of companies implement. And when you start applying the time limit to those things, that's where it gets a little tricky, especially from a human factor's domain, because we are reliant on access to users. And so there are some things that we can do, some things that we can't do. But that's why we plan, we say, okay, in these next two weeks, we're hoping to talk to two users, and if we can't make it, then we do that in the next sprint. It's kind of like a backlog. We want to talk to five users, and so we're hoping to talk to three of them this time and two of them the following sprint. And if we don't match the three this time, then we do the two next time, or then we do three next time. And so it's just a way to get organized. And I don't think that we as human factors practitioners should take it to gospel. It's just a way that people organize, and it's also a way in which we can communicate with other places, other people. We speak different languages, like developers and designers and product managers. It's a way that we can communicate with them about what we are doing within their framework to beyond that, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Let's get into this next one here by Voxanov on the UX Research subreddit. This one is simple. Barry, what artifacts do you usually deliver? Do you design wireframes or prototypes? What do you do? What do you give? It depends. Yes, it could be what it depends what the client is wanting to see or whoever I'm delivering into, what it is that they're wanting and the level of detail that they're trying to get to. It could be wireframes, it could be we talked about it, that's with the use of a PowerPoint model, it could be the use, it could be a fig machine, it could be a report. It depends on what the client is and what it is that you're trying to achieve. Overall, there's never been a more it depends questions on the show, I think, because really, who's your audience? What information are you trying to communicate? What information do you have that you need to analyze? There's just a bunch of different ways in which to interpret this question. And in fact, I don't do this often, but one of the top answers here on Reddit itself is it depends with an exclamation point. And I just had to bring that up because really that's what the motto of the show is. And they go into a bunch of different types of artifacts that are delivered. But Barry, you hit it right on the head. I would say bread and butter, probably presentations of some sort. And I don't know beyond that, design recommendations, I think those are the two big ones for me, is like you're reporting and you're providing design recommendations, and anything kind of falls within those two buckets. How you deliver them is going to differ. That's sad. All right, we have one more here. This one is from the Ilove Hopslam on the UX research subreddit. Other people in your company doing UX research. This one's interesting. In the past year, a team of bass in my company have started doing user testing. At first, they assured me my UX team wasn't user testing. It's become obvious it is. They make UX recommendations when they've finished, and they've completely cut out any actual UX people in the process bothered for two reasons the quality of work is poor in a lot of ways, which leads to a rubber stamp, and I think that's part of the appeal for product owners. Two, that's my job. They could have passed that request to us and we would have done it. It's pretty clear to me that they're intentionally cutting UX out at my company. UX is poorly understood by stakeholders and product owners feeling really undervalued isolated and also threatened that someone is effectively stealing my job. Has anyone else dealt with a situation like this? I'm struggling to figure out how to deal with this professionally, but also psychologically. Barry, how do you deal with this? It's not an easy one, but it fits into sort of things that we mentioned before around how is human factors respected a within your immediate company, within your department, or however you're structured, but also within your community as well. It might be the way that this reads is that obviously the author is feeling like it's a bit malicious in many ways, that they're deliberately being cut out, the loop and that type of thing. And it might just be that the wider organization, they just don't quite get what it is you do. And sometimes and it's quite pertinent with me at the moment, because I'm actually going through this exact problem right now, is I'm having to almost bite off a bit of almost a stakeholder at a time to try and go and say, well, actually, you're talking about this sort of stuff and that's evolving people. I do the people better, and you can have my resource for free. I'm here and believe it or not, actually know what I'm talking about. Sometimes that might be the problem. And if it is, then unfortunately that is down to you and your team to be evangelical about what you do. You need to tell people that that is what you're there for, that is what your job is and you're a professionally trained person and you can do the job and it's going to cost them no more because you've already been paid. The other one there is if they are intentionally cutting you out. There's clearly some issues or politics at play and really there's two ways of doing it. One is ignoring it and go find another job if you just don't like it. If the company is not working for you, go find the one that loves you. Or you could try and solve it because other people might not realize that this issue is in play and raise it up. Go and tell your raise up to your management or whatever the appropriate route is. No matter what the problem is though, don't just ignore it. That's possibly the worst thing you can do. If you just sit there and just let it roll, you'll feel more disrespected. You won't get the satisfaction of the job that you want to do well. So it is sometimes quite appealing just to think, oh, it'll sort itself out over time. It won't. It will only get worse and you'll feel worse. And that's probably the most important thing at this point. Yeah, I think there needs to be some sort of internal stakeholder meeting understand roles and responsibilities and if that isn't clearly defined, roll it up. There's an opportunity here, right? And like you said, Barry, step in and say, hey look, this is great that you guys are doing this. I'd love to help out with this. There's a way to approach it sort of nonthreatening and that internal communication is also a part of what we do too. And I think communication is really key to a lot of things that we do. And just keeping in mind they are people too and they're looking out for the best interest of the product and hopefully the user. And really you can step in and say, hey look, there's ways to provide subtle recommendations without being a jerk about it. Did you know that next time you ask that question, don't lead them and you'll get some better results. Not calling you out here, just saying, all right, it's time we get into that part of the show. One more thing. It's just where we talk about whatever top of mind. Barry, what is your one more thing this week? So you might recall that I got into American football. Oh yes, I did all that and we won the Super Bowl last year. Just point that out this year. My next step is I've got into fantasy football. So I was inviting football, NFL League and now there's now sort of ten of us. Not only are you just following a team, you're then following individual members across many teams, which makes them the evenings when the football is a lot more interesting because you're actually more bought into and it's really interesting. So just seeing the dynamic of how that's changed my interest in what's going on. But the reason I'm so interested in it is because after the last two games, I'm still number one in the league and I still don't know what I'm doing. But it's brilliant. So, yes, I'm a big fan of fantasy football at the moment. That's wonderful for me. It's andor released this week on Disney. Plus they released three episodes. I'm huge Star Wars fan. For anyone unaware, I try to temper that on the show. However, if you're watching, you might see a bunch of things behind me that say Star Wars. Anyway, so andor I aired this week and I have a gripe to bring up with Disney. Can you just release your stuff at prime time in US time, so that way I don't have to stay up until 02:00 a.m. Watching a three episode premiere so that way I don't get spoiled. Come on, you know your audience. And then I have to do it for the next night for the Marvel stuff, too. I did it last night with she Hulk. So it's like, come on, just like back to back. Just do it at primetime, let people on the east coast watch, make the folks in the UK suffer a little bit. Come on. Come on, Disney, what are you doing? Here we go. And that's it for today, everyone episode. This week, enjoy some of the discussion about the Metaverse. I'll encourage you to go listen to Episode 232 where we talk about will future humans live their entire lives in the metaverse. Always comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week. For more indepth discussion, join us on our discord community. Please hang out with us over there. You can also 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 ways that you can do that. One, leave us a five star review. You can do that. Wherever you're watching listening right now, go do that. It's free too. You can tell your friends about us. That is also free for you to do. And you might send a new Human Factors nerd that you can nerd out about the show with three. If you have the financial means to do so, consider supporting us. We do have a whole lab that is supported by your contributions. So it's not just Barry and myself pocketing the cash. It really goes to the tools and the resources that they use to make stuff. And beyond that links to all of our Socials and our website and are in the description of this episode. Remember, we put out a bunch of fun stuff over there on our platforms. Please follow us. Mr. Barry Kirby thank you for being on the show today, where kind of listeners go find you if they want to talk about standardizing fantasy football. If you want to come and talk about that with me on The Social, then come and find me at Bazam, particularly on Twitter. If you want to come into some interviews, some more long form interviews with interesting people about interesting topics, then come and find me on Twitter to the Humanfactor's Podcast@twelvecast.com. As for we have been your host, Nick Rome. You can find me on our Discord server and across social media at nick underscore Rome. Thanks again for tuning into Human Factors Cast. Until next time.

 

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.