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Oct. 21, 2022

E261 - Are you lost without your phone?

This week on the show, we talk about how smartphones promise satisfaction and meaning, but a new study shows they deliver only more searching. We also answer some questions from the community about some short and fun ice breaker games for your teams, feeling lonely and isolated as a UXR, and conducting user interviews over chat.


Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast -on Proactive Learning - An interview with Dr Marcin Nazaruk:

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Transcript

Hello everybody. You are watching, listening to whatever Human Factors cast. This is episode 261. We're recording this episode live on October 20, 2022, and I'm on a good one as well. My cohost here. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Hey there. How are you? It's been so long since I've seen you. Hey. It has been so long that that little pause there was quite dramatic. Thank you for the dramatic pause. Hey, we got a great show for you all tonight. We're going to be talking about how smart phones are promising satisfaction and meaning. But a new study we'll talk about that shows, they deliver only more searching. We'll also answer some of the questions from the community about some short and fun ice breaker games for your teams. Feeling lonely and isolated as UX researcher and conducting user interviews over chat. But first, hey, usually around this time and we see the numbers. And thank you so much for everybody. We usually get a lot of sort of new listeners around conference coverage. So thank you for joining us on our main show. This is human factors. Cast and if you're joining us because of our HF es coverage, welcome. We're so glad to have you here and we hope that you stick around for some of our main show stuff. Speaking of HFES, we have a ton of coverage for you. If you'd like, you can go listen to our full ten hour live stream that includes the presidential keynote address sorry, the presidential address. The keynote address by Craig Bowman from Boeing. Really good talks. Our commentary on all that is not included in any of the side pieces kind of set alone that we put out on our podcast feed. So if you're interested in that, go check it out on YouTube. Again. Ten hour live stream. You can kind of check for the bits and pieces that you missed. Everything else has been packaged up nice and neatly into, what, six individual episodes for you that we've dropped over the last week. So hopefully you've had a great time listening to those. As much as we've had talking with those folks, all that stuff was happening. All that stuff that went out over the last week happened in one day. So that was a really, really busy day for us and really great to have that all out there for you all to enjoy. Speaking of new stuff, we do have a couple of show trailers. So there's now a show trailer for Human Factors Cast and there's a show trailer for 1202, the Human Factors podcast. If you are trying to convince your friends to watch the show, maybe send them those trailers their way because that might help convince them to watch the show. And really the word of mouth helps the show grow. If you like what we do, you want to support us, that is probably the best way you can do so other than to keep listening. But speaking of twelve two, barry, what's going on over there? So twelve two, we've been talking about proactive learning. So this has been an interview with Dr. Massin Nazarek where he's been doing a lot of work around understanding safety, safety risk, how we identify it. And he's got years and years and years of experience. And one of the things he sort of identified is as we've got better at it, it's actually harder to the more historical approach to safety is all around saying, oh, lacks it happened, how do we fix it? Actually, then we got to knee and misses, right? An emiss happened. How do we stop that from happening in the future and stop it from evolving to something bigger? But now he's been looking at organizations and said, well, actually, how do we learn just from organizations? How do we learn from what people do on a normal basis? Or as he calls it, how do we learn from normal work? And so that's been a fascinating interview. And so, and so we're going to leave it as the main interview for a third week. So starting next week, the drop that we're going to have go live, I'm postponing because people are really enjoying this one. So we're going to do that. And also really interestingly with this episode, we've actually got the advert that you just mentioned dropped into this one as the breaker before the final three, which was a fun crafting exercise to make that happen. So go and have a watch of that on YouTube before nothing else, just to see how we crow bow that in. Yeah, thank you for that. We're trading trailers, so you get the little bump at the top and a post roll and I get that one right in the middle. So thank you. All right, well, hey, we're here to talk about the news, so why don't we get into the news?

 

 

That's right. This is the part of the show, for better or worse, that we talk about human factors, news bury For Better or Worse, what is the story this week? So this week the story is all about smartphones promising the satisfaction of meaning, whereas they deliver only more searching, as studies shown. So smartphone users will be disappointed if they expect their devices in social media to fill that need for purpose and meaning. In fact, it will probably do the opposite, researchers have found in a recently published study. So the research was seeking to understand the complex relationship between meaning seeking and technology by analyzing data from the Baylor Religion Survey. Their research maladies of infinite aspiration smartphones meaning seeking and anomaly genesis I told you I was going to get that wrong was published in the Journal of Sociological Perspectives. The researchers provided a sociological link to the psychological studies that point to connections between digital services and media use with feelings of loneliness, depression, unhappiness suicidal ideation and other poor mental health outcomes. The researchers concluded that smartphone attachment could be anomogenic causing a breakdown in social values because the unstructured and limitless options they provide for seeking meaning and purpose and inadvertently exacerbating feelings of despair while simultaneously providing to resolve them. They go on to say that the act of seeking itself becomes the only meaningful activity which is the basis of anime and addiction. The researchers found a connection between the search for meaning and feelings of attachment to your own smartphone, which they suggest is then the possible precursor to technology addiction. One positive outcome, though, the researchers found, is that identifying a satisfying purpose for life seems to provide a protective effect against a sense of attachment to an enemy, though this effect is not as strong as the opposite effect of meaning seeking. Taken together, it's possible that the media use bolstered by purpose, such as through family work or faith, is less likely to produce alienating looking effects for the individual. So Nick, can I just drag you away from your phone and your phone addiction there to ask you what your thoughts are on this article. Oh, yes, sorry. I've been doing this for six years and I was on my phone. My bad. No, what are my thoughts? Can you tell that I haven't prepared? So the initial thought on this headline smartphones promise satisfaction and meaning deliver only more searching study shows. Okay, that is a provocative headline and I read through a little bit of this during the news recaps that we do and thought yes, this is a great point of conversation. I know Barry has a picture that he likes to share when he talks about this very subject so let's go ahead and throw it in the pile. And full disclosure, we forgot to do a poll with all the excitement of HFPS and so we thought that this one was a good story. After you sort of explain to me a little bit more about some of the other stuff going on with this study, I am intrigued with where this conversation is going to go. Can I leave it at that? I'm intrigued with where we're going to go. Yep, that's a good bluffer to outcome. I like it. Let me go back because I've done my preparation, I've done my background work today. Again, it is an interesting study. It is something I'm quite keen on researching. I do a lot of talks based on what's the impact of technology upon society, on culture and things like that, both as a provider and as an interactive piece of itself. So I like the idea behind this. I like people looking at the whole question. However. I do have a bit of a caveat to that with this particular study because as it says in there. It is based on from the Baylor Religion survey and you could see on the face of it. That actually where this data resourced or how this data is sourced or just the underlying biases that might exist. Might have underlying reasons by why the data has come out the way that it has. I think that having said this in the pre show, to a certain extent, normally when we do these type of talks and discussions, I'll look at the article, the article is brilliant. And then if there's something interesting, I'll dig into the underlying paper a bit more, but generally not so much. As a rule, we tend to just talk on the reflection of the article. This one, I've dived into the paper, I've dived into the underpinning questionnaire, I've dived into the because they've done a number of repetitive surveys, what they call waves. And this is wave five. So I've looked at wave six, I've looked at wave 1234 just because I'm really intrigued by it. So I don't know that there's a bit of an alarm bell ringing somewhere, but I don't know whether that's a justified alarm bell or not. So I think we probably need to talk a bit about that. We could talk about that. I almost want to frame this let's absolutely talk about it, but I almost want to frame this discussion around like what are smartphones doing to us as humans? Like a larger question and basically what are the human factors implications of that? Right? Because that's what the show is all about as human factors. Let's start by getting the ugly out of the way. Let's talk about the methodology. Barry, what did you find in your digging? Well, I found you words I said before I was reading that out then anami is anomy, depending on how you want to pronounce it, that is something you find in the dictionary. That is the lack of usual social or ethical standards in an individual or a group. And that is a relatively well used term. But then in this study, I think it's in this study that they then got an expanded expanded that word. So anomogenic is a word that's been introduced to describe how smartphones may produce anime or anime because of the unstructured and limitless options they provide for seeking meaning and purpose. So then they get into the other word that hit me from the top was the anomogenesis, which is then presumably that piece around the implications of this. So that whole bit was just like you're creating a newly words for this. That was something else because I just went to Google and tried to Google it and Google was like, you clearly mean something else. So that's interesting in itself. So for better or worse, they're creating new language, not something I like to do when you're trying to explain concepts. So then the methodology itself, so they have the Bailey University do a Baylor religion survey. They've done a number of ways of it in the past and we'll put the link in the show notes. But fundamentally they do these surveys, as they put it, their purpose is to provide the public and other research with the unique data concerning religion, health and community in America today. We're up to your questions and your requests. And so they do these different waves. This is from Wave Five where they've been talking about American values and mental health and using technology in the age of Trump. So interesting. So actually you read through it, some interesting bits in there. We were picking into it in the preshow and stuff and there's some good bits there. So what they did was actually take out the constructs and the responses used in this particular survey, focusing on information communication technology as ICT devices, as well as questions related to the meaning and purpose of meaning in life questionnaire to show that where devices promise satisfaction and meaning, they often deliver the opposite. So, yeah, so they've got the whole question, so they basically picked up a couple of questions and done the whole correlation piece on them and great, you know, that's an interesting use of the data. I guess my radar is going off because it's fundamentally it's based in a religion survey then, which is one type of approach of getting people to come together and coalesce around a single thoughter action. Is there an underpinning bias where actually is there a bit of a majority there that there's another device taken away thought and action, but then there's some interesting bits around in the results themselves where they identify where people are using mobile phone devices to pray and things like that. But fundamentally one of the big bits that they don't do is they don't actually know what people were doing on their phones throughout their whole period. They do what all good researchers do, which is turn around and say, that's a good question for future research, which is fabulous. So I've got, I guess, some things around the methodology itself, but I think what you said is absolutely right. We all know that smartphones have an effect in our life one way or another. I shared a photo with you beforehand and I use that in all of my lectures around where I talk around the social impact of technologies. And to paint a picture, it's a photo of me and my wife on a date and where she sat at the opposite me. And we were at a well known UK pizza restaurant and I thought we were going to have deep and meaningful conversation and I look up and she's just there on her phone, right in front of her face like this. And so I was like, right, I'll just have a photo of that. And so I'm taking a photo of her just on her phone and I now use that in all of my lectures going forward and have done for the past three years. And I think it is really important that we sort of dig into that rather than focus on the methodology of how we've done. Methodology is done now, and I'm over with. So what do you think about use of mobile phones? Hold on 1 second. I want to poke one more hole as we're talking about the methodology and just to sort of indicate the level of bias that we're dealing with here, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of religious affiliation or identity, you can see this bias already creeping in with some of the ways in which they title some of the segments of their report. I'm going to read the title here, the Sacred Values of Trumpism. So there you go. That just indicates a little bit of the bias that's creeping into this study. And I guess it's a cautionary tale to if you see a headline, dig more into it like Barry did. Don't just throw it into the pile like Nick did. And I've been caught on this before too. Right. But I think this can still be saved because, again, we're sticking with the religious theme. We can save this.

 

 

No. All right. That joke didn't land, so we can what do you want me to do? Walking water? Yeah, right. Here we go. So let's actually talk about what cell phones mean for us in society today. Yeah, maybe we can juxtapose this with some things from this based on what they're saying here. But I think for me, the first thing I'll talk about is sort of the generational divide. I think the aging population kind of sees them as cell phones, not people cell phones as overall, there's sort of this perception that they are corrupting youth in some ways. Right. And I don't think that is controversial to say. I think there are some very different opinions based on which generation that you're born in and how you view cell phones. Like, for me, millennial, I look at my phone as a tool. I'm on it quite frequently. But it is a tool to not only solve boredom, but also to it's my calculator, it's my reference sheet. So that way I don't have to have everything in, you know, hard copy. It is literally a tool for anything. It's an omni tool. It's an ubiquitous tool that I can sit there and reference at any time. And I think some of these opinions from other generations and maybe within my own, from people towards smartphones in general, come from the types of usage that happens on these apps or on these phones. Right. The various types of apps that are present on these phones, and more importantly, the design of those apps that encourages behaviors that are not prosocial. So what I'm talking about there is social media companies optimizing their algorithms for outrage. So that way it sort of increases divisiveness when it comes to looking at, I don't know, a news story or something that is clearly talking about bias biased in some way, shape or form. It's going to alarm some probably irrationally, or it could have the opposite effect of sort of instigating a fight between various people who believe different things. There's a lot going on there. But I think ultimately when we talk about corruption of youth, that is kind of what we get at the heart of things is how are these apps designed? That is the perception of what people are using their cellphones'for. How are people actually using their cellphones? And Barry, do you derive meaning from your cell phone? How do you use your cell phone? Let's start there. So I guess for me, yes, it is one of these things that like you, I use it as a tool, but I use it for such a broad variety of things. You see some pictures and memes and stuff, using it like a window or an access portal to get all that sort of stuff. So it is all around everything from my diary and all that, sort of having that connected element, doing show notes. So I'll open up the show notes up at the dinner table and we'll chat around what the topic is and what my one more thing can be. So then I can tap notes straight into the dinner table, then come up and finish them up. So it's a good quick access route to work stuff to that type of thing. But then also there is the meaningless time wasting as well. So when you're waiting for something to happen or, you know, you just sat around doing nothing, I think we've certainly I feel like I've lost the ability just to sit and be in my own space. You always have to be doing something. And so now the de facto doing something if you've got to do is to pick up your phone and either look at the latest news on Twitter or Facebook, or pick a social media framework network or play games, things like that, just simple games that you can do or whatever, play them. So it does become a device that you always want to have on you want to be we don't want to put it down. And I think this is one of the really I get the drive for addiction here because you don't want to put it down because you might miss something, you might miss a bit of news breaking or you might just miss a mention on a social media network or things like that. And this is where I think it really brings in something. I've talked about, what we've talked about before on here, and I talk about things is the difference around digital natives and digital immigrants and non digital people. And it's just about digital immigrants are people who come in and adapt themselves to technology in the same way that you would learn a second language. You learn to use it, but it's not necessarily 100% your world, but you learn to use it pretty proficiently and I think most of us who are sort of millennials and older sort of fit into that. Then you get digital natives which are sort of millennials and younger and they just completely because they think about this sort of stuff differently, then it's just there to be used and they use it all of the time. And so it isn't especially then to pick up a phone and use it. It's a natural they're just there. It is the source. We don't think about how cool that source is there. That information is there to have. Well, of course it's there. It's always been there. Why wouldn't it be there? So there is a difference and there is sort of a generational divide because it does bring one of the broader questions in. And it's about what you alluded to. Is it's this perception of what is communication, what is a community, what is that sort of engagement? Because we sort of look at this as saying, well, actually it's a physical interaction with people. You can't have any sort of relationship if you're not meeting face to face. Well, actually you could argue that we're meeting loads and loads of people all the time. Are we talking to people all the time? What we might not be having is deeper, meaningful relationships. We might be having more and more superfluous relationships, which is something interesting that we kind of need to think about what the impact is. So when we're looking at are we a more remote society? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, if we didn't have this ability to connect I mean, I know we're not doing it through a mobile phone at the moment, but we do we try to discord and things like that outside of this, is that a bad thing or a good thing? We've never been able to meet, or technically we still have never met, but yet we know an awful lot about it. I mean we spent a day with each other the other day, which we wouldn't be able to do without this sort of technology. But does that mean that we don't have a good relationship in that respect? Do we not know that much about each other? Well, that's clearly not true. Is physical connectivity needed for a human relationship and therefore the mobile phone is taking or the smartphone is taking that away? Or do we just need to look at relationships differently? Nick, what do you think? I think you're right. Let's think about relationships differently. But I want to tackle a point that you made about sort of pulling out your phone to fill time and chasing the news or anything like that, or chasing sort of understanding of the world in some way, shape or form. And what I mean by that is not necessarily news, but if somebody posts on a social channel, are you chasing to know what the latest is with your friends? Are you chasing to kind of know, keep up to date with your network on LinkedIn, those types of things? I want to bring up a point of like, what is actually happening at a biochemical level with us when we are looking at our phones. So we are pulling out our phones because we're bored and we're seeking some sort of dopamine hit. And that is a hallmark of addiction is when you seek that dopamine from some source and you get those withdrawals when you don't have it. And so, yes, phone addiction is a real thing and can happen, but at a basic biological level, that's what we're doing is we're seeking a dopamine hit and what do we get from those or what triggers those dopamine hits? Well, in some cases it can be like, I don't know, following good news. If you read a bunch of good positive headlines that are just generally good for the world, then that's great. You're going to get that dopamine hit. If you're following your friends and family who post positive things. Who post positive things about their lives. This is where it gets a little tricky because you might see something people put on their best selves on social media and so you might see something that makes you jealous and then you start to have a different body reaction to that where you're like. Oh. But they're in Paris right now and I'm in the States and they're enjoying themselves on a vacation. And I'm sitting here working and there's these complex feelings, maybe jealousy creeps. I want to be on vacation. Oh, Nick and Barry. They're covering HFES. Nick is there at the conference and Barry's jealous. Yeah, right. So, I mean, we put on our best selves when we present ourselves to the world. And that alone is a lot of interesting feelings that go on with that and something that I guess was brought up in therapy for me. And I'm being fully candid here. I chase the news for that dopamine hit myself, right? Politics. I'm politics junkie. And so sometimes I will sit there and read the news all day just to get some more information, especially during the election season. Right now, I've actually been very good at putting it down. HIV is a good distractor for all that, and I haven't really picked it up too much. But that is something that can happen. And one question that my therapist kept bringing up is what will happen if you missed some of that news? Will you as a person change fundamentally because you don't know a piece of information? If there is anything big, you will likely hear about it. If you miss something about the next Star Wars movie being released, is it going to kill you? Well, maybe. I don't know. I'm huge Star Wars fan. I'd love to know, right? And the same thing can go with other aspects of your life. What is going to happen if you miss this thing, if you miss the premiere of Disney Plus show that airs at midnight, your time to actually sleep, are you going to be fundamentally different if you watch it in the morning? No. So, starting to think about some of those things and really there's sort of a call for more awareness about what these types of things that we do to chase this dopamine to chase these hits do for mental health. And I don't think a lot of the platforms that we use now for news or social media or otherwise video games do a good job of this. There are some disclaimers in them obviously, like in video games, if you feel unwell or you feel like spending a $1,000 on this game, don't do it, consult a doctor, those types of things and they're there, but they're largely ineffective. I think there's other discussions around what we can do for policy and regulation that would help with some of those things. But I just think a larger awareness sort of around mental health and what these types of interactions do and I know there are good researchers out there and I know there are good designers out there who are trying their best to sort of present situations where maybe there is something that might be ultimately detrimental to a human but is better for the platform as a whole and that they're trying to reconcile that in their own conscious as they're trying to design something that somebody else has told them to make that may be sort of damaging for people in general. I understand we have a social thought. Barry, do you want to read this? Yeah, like we try to do now. So whenever we put a topic out out there, we try and get some people thoughts and interactions. And this one came from Mark Jones who is a good friend of mine, lives down the road. And he's not a human factor practitioner at all, in fact he's a student. But he's been brought into listening to our podcast and learning more about it, which is brilliant. So anyway, Mark says that he took the car for an OT this morning and had great intentions of reading his book. 3 hours he was there and Facebook and TikTok grabbed his attention. He sometimes wishes that he didn't have social media anymore. He's got six books he wants to read, but his phone won't let him. And that's quite true. I mean, I'm an avid reader. When I'm away on business, it's my absolute favorite thing to do is I never switch to tell you I've always got my book there, but I have noticed more and more I will sit there and scroll through the I mean, you can lose hours on TikTok just doing that all reels off and the shorts and doing which platform play with and you can just lose that. And I can sort of see I'll. Read a bit of my book and then I'll pick up my phone again and have a bit more of a thing, because that's not even trying to find the latest news. It's just scrolling through stuff, which I think is a relatively new phenomenon. But it's interesting. And I'm just going to comment on this too, because it's not just with social media too. It's like with mobile games, too. A lot of mobile games that you access through your phone are now sort of designed in ways that just one more cycle is sort of the concept, right, where you have sort of these behavioral paths and video games in which you complete a cycle, and that could be like an upgrade cycle or a level up cycle or something. And you have enough of these cycles going on at any one given time that you're just close enough to finishing off the next one. So you're like, why don't I just do that and then I'll be done. But then when you've completed that, you're very close to the next one. And so it becomes more and more difficult to peel away from those types of interactions when you have mobile games that are designed in that way to encourage that loop, that gameplay loop is what they call it. And so that's another sort of aspect of it. And that gameplay loop concept is applied to any of the things that you're using, like a tick tock. You watch something for a couple of seconds, it holds your attention, you flip onto the next one. That's the loop. That loop is so small, so short, what that does for our attention span is a completely different subject and topic, but that is the loop. And so when you think just one more, just one more, just a couple of seconds more, it's 30 minutes later, we're contributing to that. Thank you for plugging that, by the way, Barry. We have shorts out on social platforms now. I guess the next step we've got with this, then, given that we've almost talked about how worrying and how bad this is, the flip side is what can we do in terms of human factors perspective to do stuff around it? So when we design this stuff, can we engineer social fail safes or can we engineer our way out of this? I think you've got some good examples of best practice, perhaps, yeah. So there are some ways in which we can think about, well, how do we do this? Right? There's obvious ones, like, let's not take advantage of human psychology in ways that are going to be beneficial for our pocketbooks, but maybe not so beneficial for society. There's that. But then there's also are there ways in which we can hijack our relationships with our phone? And I've talked about this on the show before, but there are certain I'm just going to say the name of it. Jackbox Games is a perfect example. It actually hijacks your phone as an interaction method. So that way as you are playing a social game with other people, you cannot be distracted by your phone because you are interacting with your phone as a control mechanism for this game. What if we took that concept and applied it to other aspects of life, work, school, right? What might that look like? So in a classroom setting, if you actually have some sort of platform that allows you to engage and interact with concepts that are being taught in the classroom, yes, that's a lot more work for teachers and they're already overworked. But can you imagine what that would do to reduce distractions and increase engagement? Because you are no longer just a passive listener, you are actually engaging with platforms. And there are some technologies out there already that are looking at this type of thing, like in classroom polls and pop quizzes that you answer on your phone, on your devices. So that way you have to be engaged. You have to stay awake and aware of what's going on at any given time. Because if you don't, then you're going to miss these things and hopefully you're not punished for them, but you're rewarded for that's. A whole other discussion too, right? We're just throwing out other discussions that we can have, but those types of interactions right? And if you think about what happens at work right. Is there some sort of way in which we can design workspaces that hijack this thing? Too? I don't know of any current technologies out there that look at a workspace in this way where we're sort of using our phone as a control device. I can think of maybe one example might be in retail stores where they actually have employees using the apps on their personal phones. So that way they have to use the apps while they're on the floor and not be distracted by other things while they're helping out customers. Right, so that's one example of it. But I think there might be other ways to sort of I don't say monopolies because that's not great in this context, but sort of sort of use that technology or use that paradigm of using our cell phones, hijacking our cell phones. That's what I call it. To sort of act as an interaction method for our day to day. I guess the flip side is true as well. So I've worked on. I guess. In the military environment. So the certain amount element place where you can go. You can't take your phone at all when you walk in and in fact work for a number of years. As soon as you walked in. You put your you locked your phone away and you had no interaction with it except for you to go outside and check it. But you weren't allowed to bring it on the floplet. So most of your time you weren't allowed it. And it was interesting. I guess, the way I felt going through that. So initially I was like, well, how dare you, I'm not going to phone it. Why? Take away from your cutting off a limb, you know, but actually, once you get in again, you get used to it and you're just like, yeah, go out and check it a couple of times. But actually it was fine. Just sat there doing its own thing until he forgot what number locker you locked it in, which happened to me once, and that was slightly painful.

 

 

I think my wife would quite happily agree that she's maybe got a bit of a smartphone addiction where. You know. She's now done it in a way that at night she'll pass me her phone. So I plug it in on my side of the bed so she can't wake up in the middle of the night and just immediately pick it up and look at it. Which is good from a behavioral perspective. She's addressing and dealing with the problem. Except, as we found last night, I work on middle night to find her on her phone. Is it because she's kind of crept around the outside of the bed so she didn't wake me up, quietly unhooked the phone and take it back? That's not quite delivering what it is that you wanted to deliver. So I think, considering you didn't plan it, we've had a really good conversation around that. Is there any more sort of loose rounds or final thoughts that you've got on this one? For me, it's just sort of an awareness piece. Understand why it's more like a PSA than anything, right? Understand why you're reaching for your phone. Are you trying to fill that boredom? What would happen if you took a couple more seconds to think about, I don't know, whatever else you got going on, instead of sort of using it as a distraction? I've been exercising this in practice. It's fine, it's totally fine. If I miss what's going on on Twitter, it's fine, I'll hear about it, it's really important. Otherwise there's no reason for me to get outraged about anything. What about you, Barry? Any other sort of last? I guess there's one bit of the study that was interesting. So one of the key findings was that feeling of attachment is high for those who use social media less often. However, the researchers found that individuals seeking solicitor connections through their phones in shorter spurts might exacerbate the attachment. So basically, people who are using it, using social media more actually didn't have less of a problem here, which I thought was interesting. But for me, I still wonder. He goes back to a comment you made at the start. Is this truly a problem that is a real problem or is it a made up problem by people who don't understand how phones work? And that might just be me trying to get around doing some selfjustification there, but given that we sort of said that they are really antisocial. Well, actually, it's part of one of the comments I usually make in my presentations is, well, actually it's only antisocial the people that perhaps you're in front of, but you're actually talking to a whole bunch of people just because they're not in the room. So who's got the problem? Which is interesting. Anyway, I think the article might have been slightly dubiously sourced. I think he provoked a good discussion. So well done. Well, thank you to us for selecting the topic because we forgot to do this poll this week. Thank you to Baylor University for a new story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post links to the original articles in our weekly round ups and blog. You can also join us on our discord for more discussion on these stories and much, much more. 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.

 

 

Yes, huge. Thank you, as always to our patrons. We especially want to thank our honorary Human Factors cast staff patron Michelle Trip. Truly, patrons like you keep the show running. Like I always make the joke lights on all that. Truly, it does. That support it goes a long way and I don't think people may or may not know how far that support goes. We have a whole lot that we need to support. But I want to talk about something during this little section of the show where I like to talk about things related to supporting us, we typically have patrons choose the news, which I alluded to we forgot to do, but there was a lot of excitement around HFPS, so forgive me, I was on a flight on Friday and I forgot to put it up. So we chose the story this week. However, most of our stories, like 99.9% of our stories, this is the .1% are chosen by you, the audience. Now, if you are listening to the show, please interact with us on social media after we just had a long discussion about what social media can do for you. This is dumb. I should have planned this better. We do post the links to these polls on our website. So if you follow the link back to our website, you'll see the Twitter poll there. You can actually choose leave a vote on Twitter or LinkedIn. We have a poll there as well about what you want to hear about. And this is usually just a couple of stories that we've picked off the top of our heads and we're like, yes, we can have a discussion about this. It might be a biased source or methodology, not sound, but we can talk about it. So anyway, there's that. And if you're a patron, your vote counts a little bit more than everybody else's. We like to. Like I said, they keep the lights on. So we like to give them what they want and we always kind of give them preferential treatment. Alright, with all that being said, go vote on some stuff. And you know what, just generally go vote. Here in the States, it's election season, so if you've got your ballot, just go vote. So there's that. Anyway, let's get into the next part of the show. It came from you know, we've had that intro to this segment for like the better part of a year. I need to redo that because it's just dumb visually and I don't know what we need to do to fix it. Anyway, there's that. So if you're listening to the show, sorry, but there's a stupid intro on video that you can watch if you check us out on social media. Again, plugging the social media on an episode about the dangers of social media. So there we go. Let's get into it came from this is the part of the show where we search all over the internet to bring you topics that the community is talking about. If you find these answers useful, give us a like to help other people find this content. We have three up tonight. This first one here is a fun one. This is by Evil Piggy on the user Experience subreddit they write what are some fun and short icebreaker games for your teams? Barry, what do you use as ice breakers? I don't. Ice breakers make me just die a little bit inside. It's one of these things that I just don't like them. And whenever, you know, when you go on a course and things like that and the first thing that the organizer says is to get to know what are you going to do? An ice breaker. And just a little part of me just shrivels up though. I get the reason why we do them and they are really, really useful and from that perspective. But I'm not going to play the game of this one. I'm not going to tell you which ones work well because I don't want anybody to do them at all. Is that being really sort of down on this? You must have some really good ones there. I do, yeah. So the one that I like the most is Two Truths and a Lie. And I will play it with you. You don't have to answer and actually I'm not going to tell you the answer because if anyone is listening wants to play along, they can do so too. But I find that Two Truths in a Lie is really interesting because it forces people to get creative. It forces people to sort of think outside the box. If they're prepared for it ahead of time, they can come up with some really good things. And so I always have sort of one that I like to give people and I have that here, I will tell you. But it also forces others to sort of reflect on what it forces people to reflect on human psychology, which in a lot of cases is really interesting. Here are my three. I am Facebook friends with Terry Crews and know them personally. Cool. That's one. Two. I have urinated on a Jonas brother less cool. Three. I can one hand clap. That's a skill. Which one do you think is the lie? I don't think you're friends with Terry Crews. Well, I will leave that to everybody's judgment. If you want to know the answer, come join us in discord. There you go, another plug for the discord. There you go. Good. Check it out. All right, this next one here feeling Lonely. And I'll tell you the posho. I'll text it to you in our chat here. This next one here is by Panda Putin on the UX research subreddit. Feeling lonely and isolated as a UX researcher sorry. During the preshow, we read this to a melancholy music track anyway, and an upbeat one, too. They go on to write hi, everyone. How common is it to feel lonely and isolated working as a UX researcher? Is UX research inherently a solitary role? Work at a large company on a team of UX researchers that serves ten plus product teams. I rotate to a new product team every five weeks for a new study. I rarely collaborate with other researchers and my involvement with the product teams is minimal. Outside of intro meetings, kick offs, presentations, I feel very separated from the teams I work with and it's been a challenge to build rapport in the span of a single project. As someone who is energized by close collaboration and feeling part of a cohesive team, I'm concerned that as a UX researcher, I will always be seen as a consultant on the sidelines, someone to tap when you need them, and not someone who is part of the team effort to do to make a successful product. Love to hear about your experiences with collaboration as UX researchers. Do you identify as an extrovert? How have you fared, Barry? Is this an isolating experience? I've sort of struggled with this one as I've read it because I've always felt that so take the UX and larger HF approach. We generally are the sort of people who are the ones who reach out to different parts of teams. And actually I often described as always the glue that brings project together. So to find somebody who's really struggling to get involved in teams, there's almost there can only really be one of two issues. One is that the teams have been really sort of really standoffish and not letting you get involved or if you're expecting them to come to you. Part of our role is to go out and step out and be the person to go and try and drag them in, because we are the people with the people people. And when you're talking with, and I don't mean to be geography to software engineers and then sort of types. But they don't talk as much as we do and so we sort of bring them in. So depending on which way it goes. But I also picked up on this rotate to a new product every five weeks. If the product development lifecycle isn't just five weeks long and you're constantly rotating through different things, that sounds interesting and difficult. I'd be quite intrigued as to what the rationale behind that is because I think you're clearly making and breaking a team every five weeks. So that's got to be quite a difficult pace to keep up with. But they say that they're energized by close collaboration and things like that. I do wonder whether it's the enjoy it if it happens around them rather than them going out and creating it. So yeah, it does sound like they're in a tough position, but I kind of feel like they need to go out and they need to solve it, and they are part of the part of the solution. I have some issues with the way that they phrase things in this. It came from they say, I'm on a small team of UX researchers, ten researchers that's on a small team. That is not a small team. I'm sorry I went down with that. But then you go on ten plus product teams I looked at, it was like one per product team. It's a horizontal so rather than think it's not really a team, it's a capability, I would suggest. Yes, I understand that. I'm just wondering that they say large company. And I'm wondering if what's happening here is that the resolution of projects is so small that you can do it in five weeks. You're looking at micro changes on a large product color of a button or something like that, where you have this very large team, this very large company, looking at very micro level changes. And if that's the case, this makes somewhat sense to me. It doesn't give you that opportunity to build these teams and to sort of increase that rapport, as this person so puts it. I don't find that the experience as a UX researcher is isolating. I think I work plenty with designers and PMS and developers and everything like that, and I think our relationships are fine and I speak with them multiple times a week. I think what's happening here is that the resolution on these things are so small. That is my suspicion. Because when things are that small, there's not a need to collaborate as much. You kind of have the details that you need to set right. If you're looking at a color on a button or maybe a B test, a couple of colors, maybe ABC test, whatever, there's a couple of ways to figure that stuff out without the need for a larger collaborative piece. And I think in human factors, just generally, some of the projects, some of the products. Some of the things that we look at are much larger in scope, some can be microlike that but I think when you're looking at like a UX Research role in an embedded large company, that might be what's happening here, because I don't think that experience is typical of at least those in my network. I feel like it's a pretty collaborative experience for a lot of them. Any other thoughts on that one, Barry? No, I agree. I think it sounds if they're unhappy in doing this and they've been there a while and it might just be that sort of it might be cultural more than anything else. And I have just been messaged by Amanda, who is actually listening to also suggest that it's potentially more cultural as well. If it's something like that that's going to be completely ongoing, then maybe that's the time to think, well, actually, is this the right is this going to be the culture going forward? Is this the right position for you? Is there a better one out there if you want to go and have that more teaming collaboratively approach? Yeah. All right, we got one more here. This is by Dumb 87 on the UX research subreddit. They ask about conducting user interviews over chat. Hi, everyone. I'm a PM at a small startup and I do a lot of user interviews, typically over Zoom. After a couple of weeks. I noticed that they're really time consuming, can do most five per day before getting completely burnt out or running out of time in the day. I was wondering if anyone else experiences this and whether it makes sense to conduct user interviews over chat instead. Probably miss out on facial and voice cues, but seems like a reasonable trade off. Thoughts on whether this could be a viable way to do user interviews? Barry, what do you think about chat? My initial thought on this, and I've got to be brutally honest with suck it up, Buttercup. Interviews, they are hard work and I almost get to that piece of if you do a day's worth of interviews or you do a bunch of interviews and you're not tired at the end of it, are you putting enough into it? Are you actually spending the time and effort to work with the interviewees and things like that? You can do the mobile track, you can do them over zoom and you can do that. There are other ways to do things I've done particularly through Kobe and stuff. That was what we had to do, that was there. But the richest experience you get, particularly one to one focus groups in particular, I find if you're doing groups of people getting because not only do you get the output of what they're saying, but you get the social cues, the interactions between people, and you can see whether people have reacted well or badly to what somebody else has said. But if you're doing five in a day and get completely burnt out and running at the time of the day. That's the way it is, I'm afraid, in my experience, anyway. I think it just is. If you're trying to downgrade it to chat or through that other thing just to make your life easier, I think you're going to lose good quality input if it means you can do more and you can keep going for longer, and then I guess there is a trade off there to be had. But if you're just a bit tired, then, yeah, crack on. Nick, what do you think? It might just be too unsympathetic here, maybe? I think it's a tool in the toolbox that you can use. If you can use a chat bot to get data from people, use it. If you can use chat as a tool to get data, then use it. There are probably better methods to do so, but if the method matches the scope and the information that you're looking to get, there's no reason. Let's use that previous example. Right. What color do you prefer? A or B? Okay, well, then that's preference, but there's obviously science that goes into that whole thing, but very superficial level. If you need a preference on something, A or B, what do you like that could be done through Chat? It doesn't need to be a full interview if you have it as a piece of your toolbox and use it. I just think it really depends on the scope that we were talking about. What's the level of scope? If you're doing like a huge discovery project now, you got to sit down with those people and really understand what are the problems. All right, that's it. It's time for this last part of the show we just like to call One More Thing. Barry, what is your one more thing? It's exciting. See, I was going to tell you all about my day yesterday, where it was my first challenging to tell you. I got a new car on the EV front where I had a really time pressured, day long trip, over 100 miles to try to do, and it didn't quite work in terms of the adequate charging infrastructure, et cetera, et cetera. I was going to tell you all about that and then the British Prime Minister said, well, basically hold my part and to hold my beer, because she decided to resign today. And so, having only been in place for 44 days, literally just over a month, she decided she can't do the job and give it across to somebody else. So that's the latest drama over here in the UK is the fact that we now lead us again. I was doing a little research on UK politics, too, and even though they were only in office for 44 days, they still get paid.

 

 

Yes. So that's fine. That's where your money's going. Feel good about that? Oh, I feel so rewarded about that. What made it even better was she was doing so they do premises questions every Wednesday, every week when Parliament's in session. And so only yesterday, she stood in front of the lead of the opposition when they were doing their verbal soul play, and he was basically calling for her to resign. And she said, I'm a fighter, not a quitter. And if this is what fighting looks like, I'd hate to see what quitting looks like. Oh, all right. It's interesting. I mean, there are some interesting little bits about this from our perspective, that firstly, there's the whole front bit about how at what point does a leader actually lead and then become managed? Because clearly she's been managed for the past couple of days by other people around her. And it's interesting to see that almost that transition of power, which has clearly happened. And so, from a psychological perspective, I think it's thoroughly interesting. But as an actual citizen of my country, I find it utterly depressing. So I have something a little less depressing. I want to start my one More thing with just, wow, I am so undepressed from HFPS. It was absolutely amazing. And I just want to take a moment to sincerely thank every single one of you. Yes, you listening to the show who stopped by the booth, said, hi, stopped by, told me stories about the podcast, what it means to you in your life. I kept telling everybody that stopped by. I see this. This is a camera. Every week, I talk into this. This is a microphone. And Barry, I see you on my screen alongside the show notes. That is what I see every week. And occasionally there's some chat that pops in. And the preshow was really great for that today, but I got to say, it's rare. And we see the numbers come in and that's all there. But to actually interact with some of you, that was so energizing. I'm still on a high from some of the conversations I had. There were several people who stopped by and told me that the podcast actually helped them discover human factors as a field, and now they're going to school for it. That is a huge compliment. I called my wife and almost cried on the phone because I was like, this is going to sound so dumb. You know, I sit in that podcast booth every week and do that stupid thing. People come up to me and say they like it and they want me to keep doing more of it and it means a lot to them. So it sincerely almost made me cry. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone that stopped by and everyone who listens who can't stop by, that I appreciate you. And seriously, the show couldn't happen without you, and it just means the world to me. And that's what I wanted to spend my. One more Thing on this week. So thank you all for tuning in. That's it for today, everyone. If you like this episode, enjoy some of the discussion about maybe what cell phones can do for your mental health. Go check in with our episode 236 on how we can better define mental health. Comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week, more in depth discussion. And for answers on my two truths and a lie, you can always join us on our Discord community. Visit our official website. Sign up for our newsletter. Stay up to date with all the latest Human Factors news. If you like what you hear, you want to support the show, there's a couple of things you can do. Wanted to say hi. You can do that. And that really makes me feel good. And Barry feel good too. I kept relaying all those stories to Barry, I was like, hey, this happened. And his ego just late. But seriously, if you want to support the show, say hi. Leave us a five star review that's free for you to do. You can do that right now. Wherever you're watching, listening, thumbs up. All that stuff to tell your friends about us. Like I said, we got those show trailers out there now. Show them the show trailer. It kind of gives a good overview of what this podcast and Twelve Two is all about. We always love new listeners. And three, if you're able to financially support us on Patreon, that is, like I said, seriously keeps the lights on and keep joking about it, but it really does. As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. Mr. Barry Kirby, thank you for coming back. After that Ten Hour Livestream, agreeing to do another episode with me. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about maybe where you store your phone at night? Yes. Well, if you want to come and find out about me and my phone, find us on social media, particularly on Twitter at bazamasco kay. I'm going to come on to the twelve to the Human Practice podcast and listen to some interviews with some interesting people, not least of which Mr. Nick Rome has been a subject of the interrogation. Find us at twelve or two Podcast.com. As for me, I'm your host, Nick Rome. You can find me on our Discord and across social media at nick underscore Roome. Thanks again for tuning in to Human Factors cast. Until next time, it Depends1

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.