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Oct. 7, 2022

E260 - A New Way to Alert Drivers to Pedestrians

This week on the show, we talk about how drivers could get alerts from nearby pedestrians’ phones. We also answer some questions from the community about ideas on how to reduce meeting overload, research repository development, and resources for shy/introverted folks. Ideas on how to reduce meeting overload?, Research Repository Development, and Facilitation resources for shy/introverted folks.


 

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Transcript

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

 

 

Hello everybody. Despite my bumbling preshow introduction, this is episode of 260. We're recording this episode live. You bet we are. On October 6, 2022. This is human factors. Cast I'm your host, Nick Rome. I am joined across the sea over the internet by Mr. Barry Kirby. Barry, how are you tonight? I'm great. And hopefully we'll get this show done in good style. I hope we do. We got a great show for you tonight. We're going to be talking about how drivers could soon get alerts from nearby pedestrian phones. And later, we're going to answer some questions from the community about ideas on how to reduce meeting overload research, repository development questions and resources for shy or introverted folks like myself. Believe it or not, you know, I am pretty introverted here. But first, we have a ton of community updates that we got to go over for you. Hey, if you're anywhere near the Human Factors sphere next week there's a little conference called HFES Human Factors and Ergonomic Society. We are going to be there. I'm going to be there in person. Barry is going to be supporting from overseas. We're going to plan to start this livestream around 08:00, a.m. Eastern. And we're just going to go. I'm not going to give any sort of promises for length or duration. I think. I'll tell you, our initial goal was something like 12 hours. It's going to be a long livestream. We got a ton of guests. We actually got nine confirmed guests covering some topics all the way from affinity group Spotlights at HFES. We got task forces that people have been working on, but then we also got some really interesting topics from the field in general. So we got VR for process control, automation talks, general artificial intelligence, managing teams, you name it. HFCs leadership will be there too. It's going to be a really great time. We have a lot of guests lined up. It's going to give me echoes of 2018. And we just had like nonstop. We had like 20 interviews that year. And in addition to that, we have one really exciting announcement from us here at Human Factors Cast. We've been cooking up and teasing for months. We will announce that on the live stream. If you'll be there in person, stop by the booth for some podcast swag. We'd love to meet some of you all in person. Come find me at the conference. I'll be there. I'll give you stickers and do all that fun stuff. At the end of our livestream. We're going to cap it off with a live show like we normally do, but it's going to round out the conference coverage. We're going to be talking about all things HFES annual meeting. So that will be an interesting week. Hopefully we're not going to encounter any live stream issues. It's all going to be gravy trained no issues there, right? Right. Positive vibes out in the world. But in addition to that, Barry, we got some stuff going on over at twelve two. What's the latest? So over at twelve two, we've been talking about The Dirty Dozen, which has been an interview that Michael Bates did with Gordon de Ponds, but upcoming on Monday. So, just prior to our livestream is an interview with Dr. Marcin Nazarak, who's talking about proactive learning. So, it's a new approach to safety analysis, one that he's championing and has had some great success with. So that's really well worth listening to. Called goes live on Monday. Excellent. I'm looking forward to that one, although I don't know if I'll be able to listen to it next week. My next week is pretty packed. We got a pretty packed calendar there. All right, well, hey, I know why you're all here. You're here to hear about the news, so why don't we get into it?

 

 

That's right. This is the part of the show all about human factors news as selected by our patrons and listeners on social media. Barry, what is the story this week? It's a cool one. It is. And welcome to bedrooms. For selecting it, ford drivers could get alerts from nearby pedestrians phones, so Ford is working on a mobile app designed to alert drivers to pedestrians and bicep to cyclists nearby. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy, or better known as Ble, to send a location alert from a pedestrians or a cyclist smartphone to passing Ford vehicles equipped with the latest infotainment system. The system then calculates potential crash risks, providing screens and audio alerts. The technology has other potential uses, including detecting construction zones, construction workers. According to Ford, the function is intended to complement, not really replace, its Copilot 360 Advanced Driver Assistance System. The safety package includes features such as automatic lane keeping and blind spot assistance, and I can verify that that stuff works. Instead of relying upon the cameras or the radar which are on board the vehicle already, they can only really detect people and objects in the line of sight. This Ble, or Bluetooth Lowenger uses radio waves to sense behind buildings and other obstructions. This technology is already widely available in smartphones, which typically must pair with other devices in order to communicate. Ford has said that its application can communicate with multiple similar equipped devices within range without pairing with them. So, Nick, what are your thoughts on betting my car, hijacking your phone, and turning it into a sensor? You know, if it's going to keep me safe, I'm all for it. Here's the thing. There's obviously a lot of safety and security concerns with something like this, and we can talk through some of those. My initial thoughts is if we can use existing signals and technology out there in the world that will help identify people and protect them, just basic passively almost, I guess, then I'm all for it. Barry, what are you thinking? So for me, this is that Internet of Things, or IoT, Nirvana, all the different types of technology working together to provide an augmented sensor picture. And from that perspective, I love it. And also it's going to come into a Ford, which I own. So that's brilliant. And being somebody who drives a Ford, their latest, what did they call it? The Core Pilot 360, is something that I use already and have used it for the past few weeks. And I'm quite a fan of that. So if this is going to augment that, then that's brilliant. However, whilst I'm quite enthusiastic, I need to temper that a little bit with we've got to think about some of the social conscience here. There's some I think there's some ethical, societal and privacy issues that we should probably dig into. But as usual, I think we should go and look at the breadth of human factors elements here into this. So where would you like to begin? Well, I think the first thing that I would like to talk about because I think help us paint a picture of what this Copilot 360 driver assistance system looks like in practice today. You have a Ford, you drive one, you know what this looks like and you're happy with it. What is it? What does it look like today? And then maybe we can add on to that. That's cool. And I'm pleased you mentioned that because obviously I haven't mentioned about my new car very much, so that's very good. Oh, you have a new car, you say. A Ford. Okay. Great. Ford. It's a Mustang as well. As I mentioned that. Can they just send us a free Mustang? Because like we mentioned it enough on the show anyway. Go ahead. So the Core Part 360 feature is really interesting. That on your so the Mustang has two screens. It's got one that is right in front of you. Then it's got the big tablet screen in the middle, and it has a lane assist system, so it senses the edges of the road or the edges of your lane that you have. It's also got a radar sensor out in front so you can tell whether something in front of you. So when it senses where the edges of the lane are, you got that little diagram in front of you of your car and with two basically gray lane symbols. So gray lane symbols on either side when they go green, that means that it understands that you're in a lane and it recognizes that the lane is there at that point. If you press cruise control and you switch on your cruise control, it will also keep in with lane keeping. That means you could actually take your if you wanted to take your hands off the wheel and it will keep you in your lane. It also has the front sensor. So it recognizes when there's a vehicle in front of you. So if you set your cruise control to 70 miles an hour, like we would on a UK motorway, if the car pulls out in front of you, it will then reduce your speed to make sure that you are always a set distance away from the car in front. So even though you speed set at 70, it will keep you dropping down to 50. Then it gets a bit clever than that. So if it detects that there's something that you can potentially collide into, it has pre collision alert, which I found out about the other day, when it comes up with a bit more of a

 

 

more alerting sound and it comes up with this nice red flashy thing that says pre alert, collision of warning. I'm like, Well, I'm not going to look down at that and recite all that by the time but apparently, and I haven't tested this, that if you get to a point where it say where the car recognizes that you haven't taken any action, it will take the action for you and that will either be braking or swerving to avoid. And so I haven't done that yet. I've been in that situation and I don't know how to test it. So that's an aside. So, in short, I mean, there are a couple of other elements around it, but fundamentally it recognizes where you're at in the road, width wise, so it keeps you in your lane, it recognizes that there's cars in front of you. And then also, obviously, when you're reversing and stuff, it's got the cameras all around, you got 360 camera view and things like that, which having learned to reverse without looking through your back window, is a bit of a novelty. And the other final cool thing it does is in this 360 camera view, which I think probably the other cars would already, but takes the pictures from either side and front and back and gives you what looks like almost a satellite view of you reversing. Yeah, it's an augmented side view, which is just that blows my mind, is brilliant and really, really useful for getting car park spaces. And I said a hotel last week where the car park space was really, really, really tight and I was like, if I didn't have all these systems, there was no way I would have parked there. It was excellent. So that is what 60 does. So all that to recap, it's a pictograph of what is going on visually around your vehicle at any given time. Either the lanes, the car ahead of you, that spatial awareness of when you're in a parking lot backing up, that type of thing, right? And so when we look at this story and we think about how this type of thing is going to be implemented, for me, this is the big question is how is this going to be displayed to the drivers? How is it going to be communicated that there's a pedestrian nearby? If there's multiple pedestrians, how does it combine or distinguish between those signals? How does it communicate that there's multiple pedestrians traveling, you know, at a certain distance, and if you're going through an intersection at a certain speed, I don't know, 30 mph? I'm just saying arbitrary number there. What is the distance of bluetooth ble? What is that distance that it would activate or communicate with the vehicle? And then also, is that enough time for the driver to register and perceive that there are pedestrians just around the corner that they can't see? Right. So there's a bunch of human factors issues that I see at a glance with all of this. Is it a good thing that we are going to ultimately include something like this in a vehicle? Absolutely. My concerns are range of bluetooth and also the time in which it would take to communicate those pedestrians nearby to a driver. I think you're driving through a city street and you see a bunch of dots on there. Is it meaningful to you if you can't discern which direction they're traveling, if you can't discern which ones immediately impact you? And so those are the types of issues that I think of first. What are some of the first things that you think of, Barry, when you think of human factors issues with this or human factors? Wins yeah, it's very easy, I think, and I certainly did this was like, well, more data is good data, isn't it? I think anything that gives you that more information. But then having worked with what I would call secondary data in situational awareness displays in the past, there is a certain element there around how do we define the difference between primary data. So stuff that your platform, your car has sensed, therefore we know it's better or it's got less latency and things like that. So how do we need to differentiate between the two different types of data? And really I thought it's like digging into just how useful will this data be? Because if we told about bluetooth, low energy well, actually the range of that is fairly restricted because it's low energy. And that's one of the reasons it was defined in the way that it is. And one of the things that the article isn't exactly clear on, exactly what data is going to be transferred. Is it using the ble as a sensor in of itself in order to work out what is going around it? Or is it simply just passing data back that says this person with well, or this device you're making the assumption that somebody is carrying from that is then being passed to the card to say there is somebody with this app 5 meters away from you. And if you're traveling I'll take your arbitrary figure of 30. Again, if you're traveling 30 miles an hour by the time that's traveled over there, is that risk already passed and by the time it sensed to you. Because really when this is going to be used, you're looking at somebody crossing the road. You're looking at somebody who is maybe going to cause an incursion into your driving space. How is that going to work? So I guess the other side of it as well is I sort of have to take a big approach because having said that, I love my Ford, the Ford app. So you can have an app which I can switch, I can turn my car on and off in, I can see it's charged and all that sort of stuff. That's great. But the app isn't brilliant. I've seen better apps. But even if the app was brilliant, if I unafford, I'm going to download a Ford app. That's kind of a given. And therefore I'd have it running on my machine that's on my device. If you don't own a Ford, then why on earth would you download a Ford app to help only Ford drivers? That just doesn't seem sensible or indeed going to work. Therefore, I think I would hope that actually what Ford are doing with talking about the development of a generic app, or even better, a service built into the operating system of the phone that shares data in such a way that any from a car manufacturer who is developing these devices can pick that up. That is the only way that you're going to get social buying into this. Because if we jump onto the safety element of it, the positive side of this gives you, yes, you know where these people are running this app. But what happens when somebody steps out who wasn't running the app? And therefore could your defense be, well, I didn't know they were there because my car didn't let me because they didn't have the app running. That's not going to stand up in court. It's not going to stand up on the moral measure, is it? So there's almost the flip side of if some people have got it, you've only got a partial data view. Therefore, is it actually any good? Is one of these things that you have to have 100% coverage in order to make it work? I've been proud of a number of topics there, so I'm going to go, yes. I have a couple of clarifications that I'd like to make because I think the way that this article is worded makes it a little bit confusing. But the way that this app is working is that it is a phone app that is communicating with other passive bluetooth signals and it is sending the information about those signals to the vehicle. So I don't think any pedestrian needs the Ford app to do this. I think the app is for the driver. It collects information based on the signals that the phone receives and sends it to the car. So the car then parses that data and plots it I know I had to double check. Barry, I can see the confusion on your face

 

 

because it wouldn't work otherwise. Right? You're absolutely right. If everybody had to download an app, it just wouldn't be feasible. So the thing with this is that you're right, there'd be that social buy in if that was the issue. I don't foresee that being the issue if it's passively reading and passively picking up. Now, I do want to sort of follow up on a thought that I had earlier. I did some research while Barry was rambling about sorry, I mean to hurt your feelings, barry, I mean to hurt your feelings, not rambling. You are constructively commenting on the article here? No, but I want to talk about the range of Bluetooth and specifically Ble. So estimates from a phone powered device, a phone device, I guess you're looking at a low end of about 80 meters, which is about 260ft, all the way up to about 100 meters, which in us is about 300 plus feet. Right. So it's actually quite a long range when you think about it that way, and especially when it doesn't need to maintain a sustained signal. This would be enough data for the phone to pick it up and say there's something that direction based on the signal and the rate at which it picks it up so it can determine all that stuff, send it to the car. Now, I can see this being really beneficial in a city environment where, let's say you have a cyclist coming up from behind you that you can't see, but Bluetooth is picking up, and it's picking up their rate, and you're about to make a right turn. And it's sorry, I'm here in the States, right? So we drive on the right side of the road and turn right. And so it's driving on my right. I'm going to turn right, and it tells me that there's somebody right behind me. And I see this little dot on my auto copilot 360 advanced awareness. I see it coming up behind me and I say, oh, I'm not going to turn because there's an alert that pops up that says, hey, cyclists coming in. When you're stopped at an intersection, you're about to make a move and new information comes in. I can see that being very useful. Likewise, if, let's say it's dark, somebody's dressed in all black about to cross the street, you can't see them because they're dressed in all black. Then if they have a phone on them, you're going to see a little dot on your device that says, oh, hey, somebody's right here. And my eyes don't see anything, but the signals are telling me that somebody's right there. You take a second look, oh, yes, there's somebody crossing the street. It's very useful for those situations, I think, where you are close to stationary. It's picking up all the information around you and relaying that information in that regard. Now, like I was saying, in a city environment where there's like lots of signals going on, even potentially from the buildings nearby, from the people sitting down at coffee shops on the corner, there's a lot of signals that can go into this. And so the thing I'm wondering is, how is this going to parse display and sort of consolidate, display all this information in a meaningful way to the driver? That's going to be actionable, right? If they see all these dots on it, they're not going to be paying attention to it in the middle of a city environment. I just don't see that happening because it's information overload. How do you sort of reduce that information to be meaningful? Do you do the ones that only have velocity attached to them? Well, then, what does that look like? If you have a bunch of walking people, does it show it as one sort of consolidated blob moving in one direction, and the size of the blob indicates how many signals it's getting from that direction? How does it consolidate that information? These are all user interface usability issues that need to be thought out, that need to be thought through as it displays it to the driver. Because, again, and in a situation where you are going 100 times faster than anybody walking or can, you are making decisions at a faster pace than those people because they have more time to react than you do if you're traveling at a faster pace. And so you need to be able to react faster. You need to be able to parse that data faster as a human. So these are some of the questions I have, and we've focused a lot about sort of the usability aspects, the UI, is this a radar kind of display? Is it easily perceivable at a glance? Those types of things. And the interesting piece to me is what happens if somebody's carrying multiple devices? Can it tell what those devices are? Are there passive bluetooth? Like somebody has a speaker out there and they're just listening to stuff on the street corner? Does it show up as a dot? I don't know. Right. These are questions that I have. Is it only attached to velocity? I don't know. And I don't know the right answer to them. I'm not an expert in this. I don't know. Barry. Now I've rambled. Where do you want to go from here? You haven't rambled, you thought and you've expressed, yeah, we go to the stack. I think it's just because it's so interesting, because if you had just a Bluetooth transmitter, which is effectively what we say the phone is, if that was just transmitting, saying it's there, then that's useless to the car because it cannot determine where it is and if it's got any velocity or anything like that. So I'm interested in what data is actually transmitting. And this is why we go back to the app and how they do it. Because if just because it's got Bluetooth isn't going to be doesn't by default send out any GPS data. And so for you to know where this thing is, you either need to just know its ID and know, I guess you could you don't have any direction finding on your vehicle is kind of what I'm getting to. You got one receiver, which is your phone and you've got a Bluetooth device there. You don't know where that Bluetooth device is. It's deliberately not as intelligent as WiFi and stuff like that because it's made for this type of just low levels of passing data. So the Bluetooth will need to be able to receive some sort of some sort of location location which you can clearly I think it could derive that information. Right? Because I mean, if your phone has a velocity attached to it, you're in a car, you're moving, it then will detect the delta is between the signal strength and just based on signal strength alone, you can tell how far away you are moving away from something or how close you are moving towards something. And beyond that you are kind of limited on your path of a street. And so by that deduction it can also kind of calculate angles, right? Because your direction, your velocity, your, I guess, field of movement is restricted based on the street or hypothetically should be. And so it can almost interpolate where those positions are based on just the differences in signal strength. That's my low level layman's person understanding of how they're calculating those types of that directional data, right, is the algorithms that make it. I'm done with that. I'm just trying to look upon the good old Wikipedia to see exactly what information is given because I'm not so you can have a level of proximity sensing. So we've done this before, we've done with ibeacons. So again, using Bluetooth for that sort of thing, but again, we couldn't work out where they were until you cited them onto a map ourselves and we give them an ID and said we've dropped this ibeacon here, which was a Ble device. I'm not convinced that my phone would I'm not even convinced it actually understands where that it can actually derive what the strength of the Bluetooth signal it's receiving is. I need to do some research and this is fascinating. Yeah, it really is, right? I mean it's just opened up this big old Pandora's box for us to sit and sort through and be like how does this really work from a technical perspective? But I mean, OK, let's just put all that away. Assuming that this works from a technological perspective. Let's talk about the human factors issues here. Right? Because I think human factors issue, if it doesn't work, I think we need to go and tell forward that we don't think it can work. Oh, I don't think it can work. You think it can. Anyway, let's assume that because some sort of data is going to have to be passed, which as a minimum, it's going to have some sort of ID, because you know what it is. Because each Bluetooth transmitter transmits an idea. That's how you know where it's at. So that leads us into privacy. So let's get into some nice cultural, ethical sort of issues here. So everybody has a right to privacy. And so if you're there and the car or your device recognizes that somebody's been there, it also pulls in this data and will hopefully anonymise it on the display. But that data will sit in your phone in some sort of storage somewhere. What happens if one of the people there was maybe where they shouldn't have been? And you've got a record of that now that could be a good or a bad thing. So one of the thoughts I had was actually, if there's been an accident or something, could we use this to help recreate accident data for accident reconstruction? So then you can actually work out, if you had that car, what was around it anyway. It's almost equivalent to a bit of a black box, isn't it? That would be quite neat. That would be. Then let's take this thing a little bit further, is if this is data that should have just been transmitted, what happens if it's hacked? What happens if that data is actually not real or the work? The flip side is true. The transmitter that you think is nicely protecting you and all that sort of stuff is actually switched off or something like that, that we don't know what we can do with. So I think there's some of those. How do we ensure system safety? How do we ensure that it's robust enough to have enough confidence to protect people? But I think, again, that could be having this idea of almost a black box reconstruction, I think that's really neat. The final bit, I'll sort of chuck this before I let you have a go again, is if we're talking about the Bluetooth been used to talk between sort of pedestrians of vehicles. Could this be used to talk between vehicle and vehicle? That's something that we have talked about on quite a few different occasions. And I think it's that nirvana for use that word twice a day for the IoT side of things. Because if the car in front of you sends somebody on the crossing the road when they shouldn't do it in front of you, not only would it be useful for that card to know, but actually for that card to pass the information back to me if I'm behind it. So I recognize that they're probably going to break really sharply soon, so I can take evasive action quicker as well. Only if it's a Ford. Only if it's a Ford. But then everyone buys Fords nowadays, don't they? I've got one, therefore, definitely, I've got. New cow. There's a clip for TikTok. All right, I said I was going to let you talk. I lied. The last thing that I think for me that this sort of brings out is when we spoke about that before in terms of standards, this just is crying out for being incorporated into the common standard, be that the BL standard, the bluetooth lung standard or whatever, but there is clearly something there around commonality of use. I'll let you talk. Yeah, well, I just want to comment briefly on some of the standard stuff. Right. We actually talked last week with Rom from HFS about standards and standardizations. If you haven't checked out our town hall yet, go check that out. It's a great talk about standards and publications within HFES. Great talk. But I think standards you're right, there's a great opportunity there too. And we talked about standardizing the metro. Go check that out too. But yeah, there's a great opportunity there. You're right, because if everyone is on board for the same thing, then we could almost make it a standard to transmit that GPS data along. Does that what kind of security implications does that introduce? But that might be if it's for maybe only pass it along if it's connected to an authorized app, and maybe the apps have to go through some authorization to get security applied to it. I don't know. The next sort of bit of this that I'd like to go into is maybe talking about the usefulness that this has for certain populations and really those that are at risk who may not necessarily have the same perceptual abilities as most adults. Right. So I'm thinking from the pedestrian side now because, yes, we've been talking a lot about the driver. This is going to benefit a whole other population. This is going to benefit the pedestrians, too. If the drivers are able to detect where they're at and that intent behind sort of where the pedestrians are, then the pedestrians lives are going to be more protected than they would have otherwise. And so I'm thinking of other populations like children or aging populations who may find it difficult to detect cars on the road, especially as cars become more and more electric, they make less noise. And so if someone's hard of hearing the deaf community, there's going to be a real issue with detecting vehicles on the road. There already is. And so thinking about how this might be able to impact them, again, communicating that information to the drivers going to ultimately protect those on the road and not necessarily the driver. And so I think it's a good thing because. Again. We will sort of protect children who maybe they don't have a phone on them. But they might have a tablet that mom and dad lets them play with or something along those lines that. You know. If they're going over to their friends house or if they're on the bus. If they're getting off the bus from school. That's going to make those situations a lot more safe. Too. So that's another interesting bit. We've already talked a little bit about the UI, but understanding what information is presented to you. So the training piece of it, right, we really need to make sure that the people who are driving the vehicles don't need training or very little training to use this thing because it can save lives, it can save those populations that I just brought up. And the additional thing is that if there's an alert, that needs to be intuitive as well. Basically, training is not a patch for this. It needs to not exist for something like this. It needs to be very intuitive to use. I've talked now enough, barry, I'm going to throw it back over to you one more time. Do you have any other closing thoughts on this article? This technology, what can be done with it? It is one of these things. I think it's exciting. I think it's something that's going to be quite cool. I think there's potential for the law of unintended consequence to rewrite head, which we need to work through, like some really random things. Like if we encourage a lot of people have Bluetooth on all the time already, but if we're actually doing a bit more Bluetooth interrogation, what impact does that have on the battery life of your phone? And if we're passing data for deriving data and passing for it, that actually might be happening anonymously, who's paying for that? Are we expecting just normal people who walk down the road to be almost paying for the service that I'm getting as a Ford driver? But I think for me it's a really good start. I'm quite excited to see how this develops. Yeah, I agree. The last thing I'll add is that I said it snarkily only if you're a Ford driver will that alert the next car down. But I think that is one place where standards could make a huge difference, is that if everybody is using this system, you must communicate something like that to the car behind you, regardless of make and model. If it's going to save lives, if it's going to prevent damage, destruction, lives being lost, I think that's an incredibly important thing. And I said it's not really. Because Ford in their best interest, as much as you love them, their interest is to make Ford cars look good in comparison to other cars so that more people will buy those cars. And if Ford cars can communicate with each other and prevent those accidents, then that's going to make them look better. It's the same thing with Tesla, it's the same thing with Honda, it's the same thing with whatever car manufacturer you want to go with. That is what's going on there. All right, I think that's enough. Thank you so much to our patrons this week for selecting that topic and thank you to our friends over at TechCrunch for our news story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post the links to all the original articles in our weekly roundups in our blog and can also join us on our discord for more discussion on these stories and more. We'll see if we get a weekly roundup next week. It'll be a Tuesday when I'm at conference, so we'll see. We're going to take a quick break. 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% listeners. 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 $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 hosts break down unique, obscure and interesting humanfactors 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 patron Michelle Trip. Patrons like you truly keep the show going. Your contributions not only help us, but also help did you know we have a lab? That was a smooth transition, right? Did you know that we have a lab? Now. We do have a Human Factors Cast Digital Media lab. We're highly focused on communicating Human Factors topics, concepts, information to everybody. Not just Human Factors individuals, but folks who may be Human Factors adjacent, like UX, or even just the layman, right? We're really interested in communicating Human Factors effectively. We do have a lot of exciting projects in development over at the lab. In fact, one of them we're going to announce next week at HFES, we're super excited about it. We've been working on it for a very long time. So if you want to get involved, if you want to get some work experience, if you want to hang out with myself and Barry and a bunch of other enthusiastic, not only listeners, we have people who are in the lab who don't even listen to the show. They're from different domains entirely. If you want to get involved, work with some industry tools, get some skills, reach out to us on any of our social platforms. We have a lab website kind of Hscdml.com. You can go there, visit our official website. Seriously, there's a couple of different ways that you can get in touch with us. Any one of them is effective. We're always welcoming new people to the lab. Anyway, that's just a little bump that we like to do from time to time, just to let people know. Because these little bumps, we've actually gotten people to join the lab because of them. And I think one of them is in Chat tonight. Hi, Alex. All right, well, let's get into this next part of the show we just like to call It Came From. It came from. Oh, that's right. It came from It's the part of the show where we search all over the community to bring you topics that the community is talking about, the Internet to bring the community topics. Anyway, if you find these answers useful, wherever you're watching, listening, absorbing, osmosing, just give us a like to help other people find this type of thing. We got three tonight. The first one here is from the User Experience subreddit. This is by user experience guy. Well, that's sitting. They write ideas on how to reduce meeting overload. They write, I'm working at a big company. The staff is mostly remote. Bosses are running Sprints every week, requiring presentation, solution, research, validation. On top of that, there are crossfunctional meetings with PMS, devs accessibility, as well as other design teams. The staff has little time to work, little heads down time, that is. Now the bosses are asking for solutions. Note the design maturity of the company is low. Big fights between PMS and designers, last minute requests. This process was created to reduce friction. So basically the question is, what do you do to reduce some of this meeting overload? There's a lot going on. Barry, what strategies have worked for you? So this is quite simple. It actually makes me quite cross, I think, because it feels very much like a large company has said, let's do Agile, because Agile is the new sexy thing in the market and we must do it. And so they've sent somebody on a couple of our job courses and then they said, right, let's do it, let's make that happen. And then some big bosses turned around and said, oh, actually I also want to have this crosswalk, I want oversight on what's going on and I want to have all my PMS, I want to talk to all my dance today, I want to talk to blah blah, blah, blah blah. And so they're trying to not do Agile, they're doing waterfall. But putting Agile, that you're throwing the word sprint in here and there. So fundamentally they need a sprint leader. A sprint leader who is to do their job properly. The whole point of a Sprint lead is they're a servant leader. They get rid of all the rubbish they deflect and let the team get on with their job. If the team has been set up right, then they shouldn't need to be worried about bosses coming and asking for updates and all this sort of stuff. That's the lead. That is the job of the Sprint lead is to make sure that they reflect all of that stuff off. This isn't agile. This is so far from agile it's unreal. It's worse than not doing it at all. So my argument would be fight a lot of them and start again slightly more seriously. But no, some people need to step up and say that either if they want to do agile by using Sprints and things like that, crack on and put do it properly or don't. Just because agile is popular doesn't necessarily mean it's the right solution for a lot of large companies. They just can't deal with it, they can't work with it. Go back to what you want to do. This sounds very much more matrix matrix with waterfall projects. If that's really what works for you as an organization, go back to doing that, but do it properly. Don't mess around with agile. That's under that. Yeah, it's tricky because there's agile methodology but what if you don't do agile? What if your company just does not do Agile and there's all these meetings in a software development environment where you still have all these players but you're not agile. And I'm wondering how that might happen. For me, I spend an unhealthy amount of time on emails, agonizing over every word, sending, but that's because I want to avoid those meetings and I want to sort of make sure that I have the time to be heads down or have the freedom to work when I want. Right? And so I think that's another thing too is if you're bogged down with these meetings and you are at the mercy of when other people set them and thankfully I work with a team that is very understanding and very flexible and really prioritizes meetings only when they're necessary. And I think the mindset it's really difficult to change culture, but I think there's a culture change that needs to happen here. I think the default should be asynchronous by default and synchronous when absolutely necessary. And it sounds like it's almost the other way around. Synchronous by default and asynchronous after that. So really it's just changing mindsets and saying hey, it's the push back piece to hey, my time is being taken up by all these meetings. Is there any way that this could be accomplished by an email? And you know, that goes a long way. People don't feel great about wasting other people's time or monopolizing people's time as much as you might think otherwise. I think if you communicate that work's not getting done because meetings they'll be more willing to pull back on some that are unnecessary. It's tricky here because of the stage in which they're in, but I don't know, that's my advice. Two cent. Let's get into this next one here by Whiskers 91 100 on the UX research subreddit they talk about research repository development. Hello all. I am currently the only UX researcher at my company and I'm looking to consolidate my information, a research repository. Apart from dedicated products, what have other people done to store and organize their information? My company uses Jira, Microsoft products, by the way. Thank you. Barry, how do you organize information? I feel like we talked about this one before, but generally how do you organize your research? Yes, we have done a similar risk question like this before. If you're using Microsoft product then SharePoint is very, very useful. It can be set up in such a way that you because I use it, I set up separate project sites so SharePoint site per project with the team's buying and then I also have a central repository for research information. So stuff that isn't necessarily sort of with a project, but it's a really good reference. Or when a project is finished and I want to make sure that all the references we've used go into a central repository that we can then tag. And the thing that SharePoint does well is metadata and stuff. So you can put it in and you can add all the tags and things like that, but it's not the only tool out there. The questions already named a couple, but if you got SharePoint already there then actually it's quite powerful tool because you'll get for free because it's already in with what you've got. Drama is more for the management side of things rather than the actual research data, but different people use it in different ways. Yeah, I'd be down to SharePoint site or teams. Obviously team is back off on SharePoint anyway. Yeah, I tend to advocate for use the tool that everyone else is using to kind of communicate that stuff. Because if your product development team is using Jira, then use Jira to communicate because then you're going to have less friction between those teams as you try to show them. Like here's a research finding in a Jira ticket and well, you can attach that to the development of a UI element or the development of a thing in the workflow. So that's kind of where I default to is use the tools that everybody else is so that way there's less friction with communication of things between teams. And communication is really important, obviously. But if you're the only person at a company that is doing research, then you might look into just making a spreadsheet to start until you find a tool that's useful for you. Spreadsheets can do a lot and look into that. All right, we got one more here. Facilitation resources for shy or introverted folks. This is by user zapaline user experience subreddit. That's it. Facilitation resources for shy and introverted folks. Barry, for people who are shy or introverted, how do you sort of what resources are available? So for me there's only one resource that you need to be aware of and that is a good facilitator. If you've got a good facilitator in doing all your being that facilitator. It's about empowering people. You can have a whole group of people there that you'll always say almost every group I ever work with, you've always got the loud one. You've always got the one that's maybe like checking the phone, you've got the one whose nose down into writing stuff down, writing all lamps or notes and you've always got the one person who's maybe more whatever, you can tell they want to say something but then the loud person is always shouting up or the other person, they never get that space. It is up to you as a facilitator to look around the group, see if anybody is in that situation and empower people, turn around and say have you got something to contribute or are you trying to say something? Not picking on them by any stretch because that again will just make them more introverted. But give them the ability, give them the affordance of being able to speak up. If you can make that happen, then that's brilliant. And if you're the introverted one, because again, certainly in new groups and stuff, I'm down with that. I can be very, very introverted. I don't like shouting up into a room unless I feel empowered to do so. If you see somebody else struggling, you know exactly how they feel. So feel free for you to shout up and say we haven't heard from Mary or Bob or whoever. Become an ally to them and then they might do the same for you as well. So go Team Introverted. But it's about empowerment. Nick, what do you think? Yeah, I mean, I struggle with this because I'm thinking about it from the perspective of actually talking with users, right? Like what do you do if you are shy and introverted but you're expected to get user data or interact with other users? Your researcher and researchers can kind of be introverted, they look at data all day and so how do you sort of combat that and reach out and get that feedback from people in a facilitation role? So you start a podcast because it helps you with the extroverted stuff in a way. I think one strategy that I've done that has worked asterisk for me is to put myself in situations where I am forced to do a thing. Because as a researcher you research a thing on how to do it before you do it and you prep for it. And so when you put yourself out there and do something that you're maybe uncomfortable with or commit to it, then you are kind of forcing yourself to do the work, to be prepared. And that preparation going in prepared feels really good because then you know exactly how to approach a situation.

 

 

Basically whenever you approach a situation, you know kind of what to expect. And even in the unexpected situations you kind of have a fallback, right? So that's kind of the best advice I got is prep and commit to those situations. All right, we've done. It came from now. It's just time for the part of the show we like to simply call one More thing. Barry, what's your one more thing this week? So my one more Thing, I mentioned a few weeks ago that our eldest daughter went off to university. We sent her off into the big wide world. Well, she's coming back this weekend. She's realized that there's only so much alcohol you can drink and purchase. She's going to come back and see us with ours, but we're very excited to hopefully have her come back tomorrow. So it's been a really interesting almost journey for us to have into this next stage of all of our lives, really. And yeah, you're going to be quite excited to see you tomorrow. Well, I'm really happy for you that you get to see family for me. My one more thing this week is I woke up Saturday morning, last Saturday morning, and opened my phone, and none of the things that I wanted were where I wanted them. I have a launcher on my Android that I really liked, and the latest update bricked the launcher to where it didn't pull in any of my preferences. And so everything that I was looking for was not there. And so I had to switch to the default the default launcher and slowly rebuild where I had everything. It's really annoying because I'm still rebuilding it and I don't have the same level of customization that I did with the other update. I'm just scared that the other update will brick it again. And so I've switched over to the default launcher on the Android system. It's fine. It takes them getting used to. I think I'm almost there to where I've got the essentials right. There's still a couple that are annoying, like, I made shortcuts to websites that don't have apps for them or whatever, and I got to recreate all those and I don't remember because I didn't take screenshots because I wasn't expecting it. It's just an annoying process. All right. Anything else, Barry? No, actually, an interesting thing on that is there's a lot more people producing web apps nowadays. So you do need to be able to do the whole linkage to a web page more so than you used to. Yeah, that would be annoying. Yeah, very annoying. Well, that's it for today, everyone. If you enjoy the discussion about our topic today, why don't you go listen to episode 258 where we talk about touchscreens in cars and you can hear a little bit more about Barry's new ride there. Have you heard he has a new ride. Comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week. For more in depth discussion, you can always join us on our discord community. We have one of those. Visit our official website. Sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest team of Factors news. You like what you hear? You want to support the show? There's a couple of things you can do. One, you can leave us a five star review. Two, you could tell your friends about it, that it continues to be the best way that people find the show. Or three, if you have the financial means to and you want to support the show that way, consider supporting us on Patreon. We do give back to you over there as well. As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. Mr. Barry Kirby thank you for being on the show today, working on listeners go and find you if they want to talk about your new ride and what to expect with Bluetooth signals coming into your phone. So you can find me on social media at Bosniaskok. Or if you want to listen to some of the interviews that we've been up to around the human practice community, then find me on twelve or two podcasts, which is twelvepodcast.com. As for me, I've been your host, Nick Rome. You can find me in Atlanta, Georgia next week for HFES and across social media at nick underscore Rome. We will see you next week for Human Factors ergonomics Society. I am so excited. Thank you for tuning in to Human Factors cast. Until next week. It depends.

 

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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.