Human Factors Minute is now available to the public as of March 1st, 2023. Find out more information in our: Announcement Post!
Dec. 2, 2022

E265 - Why Twitter’s new verification system is a total disaster

This week on the show, we talk about the nightmare UX that has plagued Twitter recently. We also answer some questions from the community about becoming a UX Researcher, our ideal apps, and thoughts on generative AI replacing creative endeavor.

This week on the show, we talk about the nightmare UX that has plagued Twitter recently. We also answer some questions from the community about becoming a UX Researcher, our ideal apps, and thoughts on generative AI replacing creative endeavor.

Check out the latest from our sister podcast - 1202 The Human Factors Podcast -on The CIEHF - behind the scenes - An interview with Tina Worthy:




It Came From:

Let us know what you want to hear about next week by voting in our latest "Choose the News" poll!

Vote Here

Follow us:

Thank you to our Human Factors Cast Honorary Staff Patreons: 

  • Michelle Tripp
  • Neil Ganey 

Support us:

Human Factors Cast Socials:



  • Have something you would like to share with us? (Feedback or news):


Disclaimer: Human Factors Cast may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links here.


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



Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Human Factors Cast. This is episode 265, just a hundred short of an entire year's worth of Human Factors casting. We're pretty recording this episode on November 30 with an air date of December 1, 2022. Like I said, this is Steven Factors Cast, and I am your host, Nick Rome. I am joined today by the one, the only, Mr. Barry Kirby. Hey, good to be here. Hey, great to have you, Barry. And we even got some applause going for you. Privileged. Oh, man. We got a great show for you all tonight. We are going to be talking about the whole nightmare UX situation that Twitter has found themselves in. Yes, it's been a popular request over the last few weeks while we've been taking little breaks here and there. We're going to also answer some questions from the community about advice on becoming a UX researcher, our thoughts on making apps, and what our thoughts on generative AI replacing creative endeavors are, especially when it comes to our jobs, our work. But first, some programming notes. Community Update hey, we got a deep dive coming out to you next week. It's going to be on basically the human factors of fitness devices, which are really cool. We had a lab member working really hard on this over the last couple of weeks. It'll be out there for you consumption sometime next week, so pay attention for that. It's a great read, I do say so myself. In addition to that, as we always get towards the end of the year here, there's some intermittent content programming, I should say. So let's get that out of the way. We're going to be here the first I guess this is today, the first, the 8th, the 15th, the 22nd. We're taking off the 29th, but we'll still have something for you, which is everyone's favorite. Here's everything that you missed in 2022 in terms of Human Factors news as talked about by Barry and myself. So really there's no breaks from your end, just a break from ours since we took a lot in November anyway. Yes. With that, Barry, what's the latest over at twelve or two? Feels like a minute since I checked in. It is twelve or two. We've got an interview with the chief operating office of the Charity Institute of Economics and Human Factors at CIO Chap. And that's Tina Worthy. She is an absolute bastion of the organization. She's the person who makes a lot of stuff running the background, and she really shares a lot of the information about just what it takes to keep such a large organization running. I mean, so many people have heard of CIHF people. We have registered members all around the world, and yet there is such a small number of staff keeping this machinery going. And it's amazing just to hear the amount of things that she gets up to, the amount of things that her team get up to, and just her enthusiasm for what she does. So God have listened to that. That's going to be the last properly recorded interview of 2022. The next episode will be a review of 2022. And if all goes well, the chapter joined me last year. Joe Polson will be joining me again to review 2022 content and he'll give us his opinions on what he thinks the best bets are so that will hopefully come landed for Christmas as well. Speaking of EHF, nothing to officially announce, but I think we might be there in some capacity. Anyway, there is a strong chance, I know some people who know some people. I think the opportunity for us to have a stand and work out some sort of remoteness thing like we did for HFPS will be similar or something like that. It's looking good. Nothing to officially announce, but anyway, we know why you're here. You're here for the news. So why don't we go ahead and get into it?



Yes, that's right. This is the part of the show all about human factors, news, barry of evil living ways. What is the story this week? This week, which is the story which I'm sure everybody heard about, is the Twitter nightmare verification in relation. So Twitter launched a new verification system. Anybody's wanting to pay $8 a month for Twitter Blue will now receive the long coveted by some anyway, the Blue checkmark. The rollout has been, quite frankly, an unmitigated disaster. People began signing up for the service immediately, yes, but they went on to impersonate celebrities, politicians and corporations, people like Donald Trump and Levon James, companies like Nintendo and Twitter itself, for example. The rogue account looking really authentic with the handle Ellie Lilianco tweeted a short message which had a huge impact. We are excited to announce Insulin is free. Now, the new verification system isn't really a verification system. In fact, Twitter planned on displaying a second gray badge to signal actual authenticity. But Musk himself killed the feature just hours after it launched. He was pointing all of his chips on the blue badge, saying it would be the great leveler. In fact, from a design perspective, he's simply created a Usability nightmare. So Nick, do you think you're going to be able to post the news next week on Twitter, or are we all heading to Truth, social or Macedon? We're not going to Truth or Mastodon for that matter. I have some complicated feelings around this whole thing. Twitter is one of the ways in which we interact with some of our listeners and it's one of the platforms, I think, that we've been on the longest. Here's a podcast, and it's really the only interaction that I do on Twitter. I do follow Twitter for other accounts, for news and just to see what's going on in the world. And I have some really complicated thoughts. My initial reaction that I put in the show notes was burn baby, burn. Disco Inferno, a link to the YouTube music video. So I don't know how I feel about this. I will say professionally, this was horribly mismanaged. This is just a complete shit show in every sense of management gone wrong. This is bad. This is an example of how you don't take over a company and will likely be taught in sort of economics textbooks for years to come. But in terms of a UX perspective and human factors perspective, I'm sure we have a lot of interesting things to discuss, Barry. Before we do that, though, I'm interested in what your gut reaction to this news, to this whole fiasco has been. What is it? In many ways, I think this is like a neon special, isn't it? It's kind of what he does and we will go into I mean, I'm sure we'll try and focus on the UX side of things, but are we going to mushroom out into into the the wider thing? I think we just have to. But fundamentally, I think Twitter has a unique space in that it was one of the original successful short term, short form blogging elements where you could go in, it was the original 140 characters. You have to be concise, you have to be precise to be able to put stuff out there and generate a gathering and all this sort of stuff. Other platforms have tried to copy it and with not as much success, I would say most politicians, most newspapers, most freelancers, and most companies are on Twitter. And so it is the most successful thing out there in this field. What they fail to do is to turn it into a financial revenue stream, a successful financial revenue stream. And that's where I think this is all come from. So I think that's there the bits that we'll get into, I think I do think that this whole idea that it's all going to turn off tomorrow, I don't think that's going to happen. I think that's very much over playing all these people thought, I'm going to put my last thoughts almost like a last will and testament of things. We're not going there. I very much doubt we will go there. And again, we'll probably talk about this in a bit, but is there any competition to it at the moment? Make real competition that open for discussion. Yeah. Before you even get into all the stuff, let's talk about all the stuff. Okay. I'm going to actually bring in a supplemental article here. This is by CNN. They released this earlier this week, I guess, on November 27. So this is fairly recent. This is an ongoing list of everything that's happened since Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. And if you're, I guess, been in the dark, this is what's been going on. I feel like this is some helpful context to sort of understand everything here. So first thing he does when he gets in, he clears out the C suite, then cuts approximately half of Twitter's staff. So that's the very first thing that happens. He gives an ultimatum then to the remaining employees, basically work really hard and come into the office or leave. And basically a lot of those employees just chose to leave. Yes. So now Twitter as an entity is completely understapped after this, the advertisers in a lot of ways fled, and basically there's like this huge drop in revenue, and then you get the blue check mark issue. So this was kind of delayed due to the midterms here in the States for misinformation. You mentioned in the blurb, the Eli Lilly tweet and that they made somebody who paid $8 for a little blue check mark with verification, made a company stock drop like $20 billion in one day because they paid $8 for a check mark. So that is kind of what we're talking about when we talk about this verification issue. Then more recently here, November 19, we're looking at reinstating band accounts instead of highly talked, over debated research with an ethics council. He fired them all and just did an unscientific Twitter poll, says, should I bring back Donald Trump? And the bots came out and said, yes. And so now he's back, but he hasn't posted. So that's a whole other conversation. But basically not just Trump, but the other dangerous accounts as well are now back, that are incredibly dangerous for public figures to be saying some really terrible misinformed things on the platform. I'll just leave it there then. So, yeah, like I said, that's kind of where we're at today. That's kind of a look at everything that's happened in the first month since he's taken over. But I think with that, what we've also got to do is look back before that as well, because I think articles like that one and there's been a whole bunch of them out there almost try and paint the idea that Twitter was all amazing before Elon took over. And actually the reality is quite far from the case. The whole hate speech problem was there. That's been there for a long time. How do we moderate hate speech? They were making inroads into it. Like I said, there was a committee around it and there was people looking at you, but it still happened. Fake news is still a big problem, was a big problem on Twitter. It still is. Bots on Twitter were a big problem and still are. So all that was happening, and fundamentally, if I understand the financials of it properly, it wasn't delivering any revenue, it wasn't profitable. In 2021, it turned over. So it had revenue of $5.08 billion, but actually still return at 221,000,000 pound loss, and that was as recent as 2021. So we sit there and think that Elon's breaking all of this. It was already kind of broken in terms of a business model, in terms of financial model, and a lot of the issues that we talked about around freedom of speech, freedom of speech and things like that, they were already there. So then that leads us to the question, what is it that Elon is trying to do? And so this will take us, I think, through to the verification piece. But fundamentally, we know he's a risktaker. We saw it with SpaceX. We saw it with Tesla. SpaceX is a really good example of he knew he could afford X number of launches before he had to turn around and say, we've used all the money. We can't go anymore. We're done. They used up all the launches. And he believed in what he in the company believed in the drive so much that he was like, let's do one more, and all of his own money into it. And if that were launched unwave, he would have been completely bust. So if he follows the SpaceX model, if he follows the Tesla model, he's trying to do what he believes is the right thing. So whether that is the right thing or not is something else. And, you know, we talk about the Trump and piece. We'll come back to that. And then I guess the final argument is, well, it is his money. He did throw in was it $44 million or was it billion dollars? I'm not sure. It was a very large amount of large amount of money into it. 24 million. They could have said, no, it was a takeover, but they could have turned around and said, you know what, we don't need to do that. Well, that's even interesting too. And that's something that I don't think we should cover on the show. But that was a hostile takeover. He bought all the shares. It wasn't an acquisition in the sense that I'm going to buy this company. He bought more than half the shares, which means he owned makes a mistake. The majority of them. Yeah. So there is all of that.



Like I said, he's got form. When he's doing all of this with Tesla and stuff, he's going to begin with, he made it what it is and has really driven it. So I think if we look at his past credentials, the way he's done it, we know he likes to get stuck into the engineering side of things. He doesn't sit around in the C suite area. He goes and likes to do the engineering or what he considers to be the engineering and gets involved at the nuts and bolts level. And I think he's just trying to run that same model again or a similar model at Twitter. And so he's trying to do some stuff to make that happen. Is it right? Is just a pure software thing the same as SpaceX and Tesla? Who is that? There's some sort of key differences here. One SpaceX Tesla. Those are hardware and software to some degree with the autopilot and the automated systems. But for a large part, you're looking at sort of physical things that don't rely as much on outside forces to make it work. I mean, you need people to buy Teslas, and you need government contracts to buy SpaceX shuttles to cart things up. But for something like a social media giant, you need some sort of ongoing source of revenue to keep it going. Additionally, the impact to individual people's lives is incredibly different between Tesla SpaceX and Twitter. Yeah, he wanted to buy Twitter to be this he called it like a town hall where everybody had a voice. And I think that's kind of his vision. And it's just that in real life, when people start spouting stupid shit, I'll just say it that way. When people say stupid shit, it's confronted either the police come and apprehend you, or citizens fight back against that stupid shit that somebody is saying. And so that's the whole content moderation piece. And that's why taking away accounts that are saying stupid shit and not enforcing that policy is a really dumb idea, because it's not a perfect analogy. And so this to me, is just a totally different animal than anything else that he's done before. And you're right here, you have it in here. He's a grifter, and I'm not a fan of him, if it's not abundantly clear. I think he's made some smart business moves. But beyond that, I can't say many nice things about him just to get that out of the way. But beyond that, we're talking about the conversation with respect to what happens to a platform that a lot of people have access to freely, that can influence society positively or negatively. That's a lot of responsibility. And this is a whole other discussion about what impact social media has on society and what content moderation and algorithms can do to promote or demote content that is truthful, accurate, entertaining. And right now, there's sort of the skew least on Facebook for outrage and interaction, right? I don't know what kind of algorithms trigger has going on, but just the fact that we're re platforming people that shouldn't have platforms is a whole issue. Anyway, speaking of other platforms, there is sort of this whole discussion of, well, should people move? And Barry, I think you should probably state here, I think we said it in the preshow, but do you have a Twitter and do you use it? Because I think that's some pretty key information here that we maybe didn't mention. I do have Twitter. I've had multiple Twitters. I've used it for work. I've used it for my personal stuff. I've used it as a political platform.



I've been an avid Twitter user over a number of years. So what about you, Nick? Do you peruse the Twitter sphere? I do use it for gaining insights on what's going on in the world. I use it for following certain accounts that will give me updates and news. I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I was following the election, and so there were certain accounts that I was like, wait, Maricopa, incoming. And to me, that is some of the better parts of it. It's when I see things trending that it's just like, why does this need to like, why are we talking about this topic? And for me personally, I don't share any information on there. I use it as a communication piece for the podcast. I give them the keys to some others that use it more frequently than I do. And so if you see stuff on there, it's more likely than not me saying things on that platform. It's either automated services or somebody else. So in terms of like, outward communication, I don't use it as much, but for passive information gathering, I do. And that's where some of the issues we'll talk about the verification stuff a little bit later, where that comes in and just where it breaks down too. In terms of alternatives, you know, there's people who are wanting to jump ship to other platforms, which is just dumb and Mastodon, which is just you mentioned, I think, two weeks ago. And your One More thing, it's just a UX nightmare trying to set that up. But then there's also Discord, which, hey, quick free plug for our Discord community. We have one of those. If you want to talk with a bunch of other likeminded, UX human factors professionals, you can always join us over there. I don't know, Barry, do you have any comments on this whole jumping ship to other platforms? It feels like to me, a bunch of people are just trying to find some suitable replacement, but there's nothing quite like it, and it's odd to not have that. And I think that's the thing, isn't it? I think social media, if you got an exact thing like Twitter or any other platform, if you've got an exact copy of it, the wipes exist because something that does, that already exists. Facebook is a very different beast. It's used differently and actually it's very generation specific as well. So the young cool kids don't use Facebook unless they're talking to the parents or things like that anymore. It's very generational. You've also got things like Snapchat, you've got Instagram, which is almost the spinoff now on Facebook in a very different way. Macedon, as we mentioned, I tried it a couple of weeks ago and I did try, I tried to get in there, but again, it's a bit like Facebook. So respect, you create your own silos, and so therefore you create your own echo chambers. You talk about your social. That was obviously the way that was created is very particular. Nothing reaches out to a particular demographic. And Discord, we've got our Discord on there. There's a couple of other Discord servers that I mess around with my kids play around Discord servers. Obviously the initial idea was gaming but actually goes a bit broader than that now. But again, you're creating your own echo chamber, your own community. So the the thing unique thing that kind of Twitter does is throws everybody in there and there's almost I mean yes, we know that there's things working in the background and that's where some of the problems lie. But fundamentally if somebody's publishing on Twitter, you're publishing out to the world and other people can go and find it and therefore comment on it and things like that unless it's obviously locked down. So it is kind of unique and I don't think there is a real alternative to it now. And if somebody was to create that alternative it would still have the same problems that Twitter has now or at least premusk. It would still have the same problems that existed premusk currently that exists because nobody's been able to solve that the fake news problem really. And I think that maybe does spring borders into verification but there is a comment I'd like to make before we do and that is this like Facebook, like Macedon, like Truth Social, like Discord, they're all free platforms. They're all being provided by somebody now. They've all got revenue streams, some more successful than others around ad generation and things like that. But for us as just a normal user, they're free for us to use. Is it right that we are criticizing a free platform in such a way? But if we were paying into it, if we were a paid up member, say, and so this may be where take away the verification piece, though I would wrap it in, if we were paying $8 a month just to use it, I think we would be very well justified in saying, no, it's not safe, it's not right. It's all that sort of stuff because it's free. What rights do we have to do that? We have moral rights, but do we actually have any real rights? I don't know. I mean think about the social impact that it's making, right? That's the moral impact. But that is what sort of impact it has on society is our investment in it. And you might be a shareholder, you might not be, but that piece of what it can do to influence those around you and to stoke sort of extremism and hate speech and empower those who do those that is yes, I'm vested in that. I don't want my family to be at risk because some Ahol thinks it's okay to say white power at a gas station as he walks towards our car. No, to be fair, I don't think that person was a Twitter user. But like still this then gets into a deeper argument around people of just because the platform exists, the platform doesn't generate this content, we generate this content. There was an around bot as well which we can go, which was again a premise problem. But fundamentally a lot of this stuff we know real people generate this right wing and there's the other side of the Horseshoe as well as the left wing stuff as well, that there's this extremist stuff, but that's generated by people. There was an interesting analysis. So there was some riots in the UK a few years ago that was triggered by an event and a lot of the riots were coordinated by using BlackBerry phones because the BlackBerry chat function or BlackBerry IMS so that you tell how far back this goes. And the establishment, the politicians, the police were very quick to criticize the BlackBerry as being the thing that caused all of this stuff. It was like well, hold on a second, that's just the medium, that's just the way that they've been able to pass the message. It didn't magically do it. The content came from people. And so there is an element here of is the platform to blame? And the answer I think it depends, but not exclusively. Alright, well, let's get into the UX side of things because I think that's where at least some of the more, I guess, impactful stuff to us. And I think a lot of the UX side of things comes from the verification piece. Right? I think there's a lot to dig into with this verification. I know we're running a little bit long on time, but I want to get into this because it is so



important. I mean, you talked about trust in a system and not everybody knows what a blue check mark is, but those who do assume some level of official miss associated with it. And so when anybody can just buy that checkmark, change their name and change their profile picture to be some other account, it looks then like they are a person of trust or a person, a representative of that brand or person that you can trust. And that what they say is truthful. And because of this, it's this huge issue about knowing who we're talking to or if who we're talking about, especially in the case of like these big companies that lost billions of dollars and yes, insulin should be free. But that's that's a different conversation. But this also introduces issues of accountability. Like who is responsible for this? Is it Twitter? The platform? Or is it the person who bought the account or the verification and changed the account and said it jokingly? Is Parity not OK anymore? Because I know a certain owl that would be upset about that. And so there's all these different questions I have about the trust piece of it. But really the question here is what is freedom of speech is a concept that gets thrown around a lot. There people should be able to be free to voice the things that they want to say. That does not mean that there shouldn't be consequences for the things that you say. And if that means a banning on the platform, then that's a consequence of your action. And so especially when it comes to things like hate speech, I think that absolutely needs there needs to be some punishment for that. But what are your thoughts on the verification piece? So having applied for verification a bunch of years ago when I was more involved in politics, the process then was quite significant. And if anybody looks on my Twitter will see that there is no blue tick there. I didn't make the cut because the bar was quite high. You had to be a person of interest. You had to have a whole, you know, you have to be able to reference newspapers or you have to show them what your position, why that was a significant piece, et cetera, et cetera. So it wasn't just a case of, oh look, I'm really cool, therefore you can make that happen. They actually went to some significant depths to do that. Now, if you look at my Facebook, I am bluetooth verified on Facebook because I went with I was in Facebook and they could turn on, say, yes, that is you, and they verified me there and then because I could prove that I was a person. So, yeah, I'm just twitter jealous. But that shows that they go through a significant amount of process to prove that you are you. And really all your stuff that then comes out says that yes, anything you give doesn't necessarily say that what you say is truthful or accurate, but it's accountable to you. Now what you're doing is turning around and saying, right, I've got $8, I can throw $8 up. This brilliant. And I was tempted to go and try and sign up to it the other day just to see how easy it was just to go and get it, and then realized I couldn't really lower my soul low enough. But it is interesting that you will just take away that whole level of I see a blue tick, I can then do that. The bigger question really now is if the whole point of the blue tick bit and if you buy the blue tick, they then should be able to verify who you are because you've basically provided bank details to be able to make the payments. Now, I'm sure there are ways around that, but fundamentally boils down to should user accounts, should all use accounts be verified? Should they have to be in a format that you can easily identify who people are? So then that takes you to the next step of should we be allowing anonymity on social media platforms? Because if you turn around and said no anonymity, this would solve all this problem, because they would have to have a verification to prove that you were you in order to sign up for an account. Which all sounds great, but then how many people use. Twitter, Facebook, any social media platform is a form of whistleblowing for when something goes wrong, which I think in most cases whistleblowing is a positive thing for society. Is that just something that's just a consequence that has to soak up? I don't know, what value does an anonymity have because one person's whistleblower is another person's anarchist. Back to the verification piece, that process I think was really robust, maybe too robust in fact. And I think to lose that is a significant problem for the whole trust you place in what you read. Yeah, I want to talk about the anonymity because it really does encourage harassment when those who are anonymous, when you don't have your real identity attached to something, it encourages harassment. People are more likely to act up if they are anonymous. So basically using Twitter, if you do use your actual identity instead of making one up, then you would be less likely I'm not suggesting that anyone listening to the people would be less likely to harass others if it comes back to that accountability piece. Right, and that's where verification comes back in. If you have somebody that proves that somebody is actually who they say they are and that they are then accountable for those words. And so if there was some level of verification that we could put in that didn't require money, that people are who they say they are. And I think even Facebook requires some pictures of your driver's license now to verify your identity or something to verify your account. So like there's that, right? And I mean, it still happens over on Facebook. But I think really that's what we're talking about here is the accountability and harassment and being able to just say things without risk of consequences. When you okay it's a burner account, so you make another one. It's interesting because even now there's studies that are proven I've run some of them myself. That sort of show that people because you're not face to face with the person that you're insulting, commenting on or whatever. People are nastier on social media or people are more forthright is perhaps the best way of putting it with their opinions on social media, then you are in face to face. Like most people say stuff on social media that they would never dream of saying to somebody's face. And I think the anonymity makes that 100 times worse. Personally, I think that everybody should be verified but through a decent verification system, not just paid. And that's a good note to end on, right? Do you have any other closing thoughts on this whole debacle? We've talked not as much about the human factors applications of it that I was hoping for, but really it does kind of get at the trust issues when it comes to social media platforms in general and really how these platform, even though they're privately held companies, they have this massive impact on society and that things maybe shouldn't be. There needs to be some sort of oversight and regulation personally because of the impact that it could have on people. That's my personal opinion. Others might think that it's okay to just leave it be. But there needs to be some sort of way to get at a point where it's not all about outrage, it's not all about it is about accountability, and that people can't hurt other people on the virtual platform because nowadays our virtual selves are extensions of our physical selves. And that's a really important piece that I think a lot of people miss. Yeah, I think for me, this is the technical end of a cultural and behavioral issue of globalization, that we are still only coming to terms with the fact that we have so many people so quickly with actually little impact or consequence, that we as a society still struggle to handle it. The fundamental question for me here would be is if Elon switched off the big Twitter button tomorrow, what would be the impact to society then? Would we be poorer for it as society? Would we be able to work less? Would we have less fruitful interactions? I think the answer in this one world would be yes. I think we would be a pure for society. But I think we still have a long way to go before Twitter or any social media platform is a perfect haven. Yeah. Well said. All right. Thank you to our patrons this week for selecting our topic, and thank you to our friends over at UX Collective for our new story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post links to all the original articles on our weekly roundups in our blog. You can also join us on our discord. We plugged a couple of times tonight for more discussion on these stories and much more. We're going to take a quick break and see what's going back around in the Human Factors community right after this. 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 running. Patrons also get access to some other fun stuff you might not be aware of that aren't mentioned in that little commercial there. They do get access to our full audio versions. So if you're a normal listener, you might not know this, but we do a preshow and a post show every Thursday on our streaming platforms. We do this. Our patron listeners get that in their podcast feeds with all the commentary that we make before and all the commentary that we make after. So that's usually a lot of fun Barry and I have in those pre shows and post shows. If you want to get to know us a little bit more, what's the professional term, lucy Goosey. Casually. Casually. Let's go with that. Casual. All right. Yeah, you can come to patron things do that. We also have now we're having monthly Q and A just to be a little bit more better about the cadence, I think. So you can do monthly Q and A with us. We have those in posts. You can leave your questions with us. We'll answer them on the show. We'll answer them directly there on platform for you early access. So we do post our show right away over there for everyone else. You have to wait until Friday morning for them. They get it Thursday afternoon right after we're done. And sometimes occasionally we'll have some bonus content over there, which is like our HFPS coverage. We just put up the whole thing over there just in two big blocks, like, hey, listen to everything live. So that's some great stuff that they're getting over there. If you are a fan of the show, want to help support us. Patreon continues to be just perpetual wellspring for us to keep the show running. So we truly appreciate everyone's support. With that, let's get into this next part of the show.



Yes, that's right. This is the part of the show where we search all over the Internet to bring you topics the community's talking about it came from. If you find any of these answers useful, wherever you're watching or listening, give us a like to help other people find it. All right, we got three really fun ones tonight, Barry. And this first one here. Okay, so the first one is from the User Experience Research subreddit. This is by random bando Peep and they write advice on becoming a UX researcher. Hey everyone. Right now I'm currently a project manager, but would love to become a UX researcher. My bachelor's is in psychology and I have four years experience in project management. I have connections through my current role to UX team, but any advice on how to get into the UX researcher role from here would be greatly appreciated. Barry, how do you migrate from a product management role into a UX research role? That's a really good question. I think in the grand scheme of things, because they've already got links to their UX team, I would be going to talk to the UX team and seeing if you can leverage jump from your position now to maybe a similar role in and around the UX team. Maybe that would work for you. I think fundamentally with them, get some background, maybe get some experience in some way, develop your own portfolio and do that sort of stuff. But many companies would see that as almost what they see that as a step down or it's not really a sideways step, depending on the type of company, because some companies look at product managers in the hierarchy as a higher role. So yeah, that's a difficult, challenging one. I think, short of just saying going to retrained, I mean, that's an obvious answer. But to use what you've got. What you really want to try and do is use what you've got and make that a value to a UX team. Yeah. Nick, I don't know if you've got any thoughts. The last thing you said is what I tell all my mentees. So take the transferable skills that you have now and try to get in on some sort of research task. If they're a good researcher, they'll bring you into the process and help you understand how they're thinking about things, how they understand what pieces of information they need and what information they have available to them. So take what skills you have that are transferable. So, like interviews, right. If you've done a lot of interviews as a product manager, maybe you can start doing those interviews from a perspective of a user researcher. I don't know, look at some best practices online. Do your research is a trite answer for this, but also one that does make a whole lot of sense for this type of transition. Find a mentor, all the regular answers that we give, but I think the biggest bang for your buck is going to be try to identify what skills you have that are transferable, especially with a background in psychology. I think there's probably a lot there that maybe you can mine for those transferable skills. All right, getting into this next one. Barry, this one's written by Affectionate Let 41 71. On the UX research subreddit, they write, this is my favorite one of the nightmare. You ready? If you could make an app, what would it be? See, with this one, I thought about all the stuff you just couldn't say and then all the stuff I shouldn't say. But actually one of the things that I think for me, because in many ways it's quite easy to develop apps nowadays. There's app generators and things like that and you get some basic stuff going. So actually I then go down the route. What would actually make my day to day life easier if I was to truly go back to what is the user requirement. And one of the things I'm struggling with at the moment, having children of different ages, we're trying to run kids going to various clubs and camps and classes and things like that. Eldest is back and forth to university doing their thing. We're trying to manage work as well. What I would like to have is an app that isn't just a straight calendar app, but some sort of distributed family diary manager so I could look and see easily what I've got to do, what the requirements are in my time. Do I need to take somebody for a lift somewhere, pick them up and be able to manage that sort of journeys and times? But also then one of my kids can see if I'm nearby somewhere and they can then organize a lift with me because I'm going to be close doing something else. So something where everybody has their own view on the family and can manage our times together accordingly would be great. That's a great use of a free app. There you go. For me, I am also selfishly thinking about from my own perspective on what would be useful. And the thing I keep coming back to is there's a lot of there's a lot of logic builders and there's a lot of, like, macro builders out there. And basically the app that I want is some sort of technology that understands where to go for certain things and to be able to build a workflow that adapts and basically say, okay, to make a restream event, I need these pieces of information. I will know that I have these pieces of information when I put them into this document. And so then it's looking for a trigger, but I want that trigger to be smart, or I want to be able to trigger it with a button and just get that information from one place and put it into another, because that is something that I do with the podcast. We tried to optimize a lot of this stuff, but even beyond the podcast, there's a lot of useful things for this, right? Like, let's say, for your job, right? You do a certain amount of processes every day, and you can try to automate that workflow with tools like Zapier where it will plug in and understand what some of those triggers are. But not everything that you're looking for is always there. And so just some way to visually not with code or not with anything else, tell a certain program, a certain website, understanding the context. If it's not logged in, log me in, then go to this URL and put in this information in these fields, just to me feels like complete. And if that exists, somebody please tell me, because there's a lot of that I do. So tell me. All right, let's get into this next one here. This is thoughts on generative AI replacing creative endeavors. This is by muffin on the user experience subreddit. There's no texture. But Barry, what are your thoughts on generative AI basically replacing UX designers, UX researchers, anyone that does some sort of creative work, right? What do you think that impact is on those roles? I don't think I like the idea of replacing them, but I do like the idea of them being there as a tool for them to use. Because sometimes one of the hardest bits you can do, or some people get fixated that prototypes or early wireframes have to be perfect. And the whole point is that they're not, that you almost scribble down something because they end up being springboards for other things. And that's a really valuable piece. So maybe the AI helps in generating more broader wireframes or initial ideas. It can help do some of that, or it can be used to maybe bring in some other influences. Because sometimes, particularly if you're a smaller team, you can become tunnel vision into some things. And maybe the use of an AI, which would take broader inputs, might throw you some places that you weren't considering because you'd locked into a mindset. So things like that might be useful, but you're right in the way that you were at the question. What my fear is that they would turn around and say you've got an AI or almost towards an AGI type capability. We can then turn around and say, oh well, we get rid of the creatives now, we don't need them, we just need, you know, just another programming task that we turn a handle on and that will come up with some with some interface and that would be fine because AI produced it. So cool. Yes. Replacement? No, thank you. That's exactly where I'm at. I think it needs to be incorporated into the process as sort of here's some ways that you can go. And I know that just beyond human factors in UX right now, there's a lot of fear from creatives that these AI art generators will be taking them out of business. And if you see some of the results, maybe not yet, but I mean, some of them are really impressive and some of them maybe not yet, but using that type of tool can give you so much different type of inspiration because it's pulling from a variety of different sources. And so when you think about that in terms of UX or human factors, if you're like, okay, well, what is the solution to this thing? Right? Or you can put in some keywords that say like, I want to design a solution for X, Y and Z. There needs to be buttons with this and that and that. Put in the requirements and see what comes back and use that as inspiration for the final design. Or if you're doing a research task, maybe use that as inspiration for the questions that kickback or whatever it is. I think it can be definitely used more of a tool than for the replacement. But you're right, there's going to be that temptation from decision makers to get rid of those roles than when that exists. All right, well, since we ended on a happy note, barry, what's your one more thing this week? So my one more thing is actually the whole reason that we're doing this on prerecording on a Wednesday rather than doing the Thursday live is I got a two day CIHF meeting coming up tomorrow or a bunch of meetings coming tomorrow which is going to take me away for two days. But this is really exciting because it's the first apart from when we have conference, but it's the first council meeting that we've had in person. We've been doing the monsoon and through Pandemic and now we've continued because there is value in them, people being able to attend them, but I'm really quite excited about getting the entire or most of the council together and the executive together. And we've got a new chief executive first council meeting as well. I'm just really stoked. I think it's going to be brilliant. Two days. So I'm really excited. I'm excited for you. That will be fun to get to know everybody in person. And network. And network. There's going to be people with glasses, wine, I fancy. Good for you. The podcast would have totally held you back from that. So I'm glad we're recording on a Wednesday. Who knows? My one more thing this week is that I am getting back into, well, crafting. So I think I may have talked about this with you, but anyone who watches the show can see that I have like some fun things on my shelves behind me that I've made. And a lot of times the source for inspiration is dry. And this is where so I've actually got one of those AI art generators and put in like Star Wars concept art and for like specific things. And it's returned some really cool results that have inspired me to make not quite yet, but have led me to prepare for some things. I have something on my desk right here that I'm fiddling with that I don't know, you can't really see it. But anyway, that leads me to my reference book. So over the sale weekend, there was a bunch of books on sale that I have gone and bought, concept art books. And they have some really beautiful illustrations in there and I'm using them as a source of inspiration to make future crafts. I've even pulled out my little notebook and I've started once again making little sketches. Again, you can't see it, but I've started making little sketches about ideas for creating these props and decorations for my office. And I'm very excited about that. So I'll leave it at that. And that's it for today, everyone. If you like the episode and enjoy some of the discussion about social media and maybe how we feel about our phones, I'll encourage you to go listen to episode 261. Are you lost without your phone comment? Wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week. For more in depth discussion, you can always visit 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. One, just keep listening. We love it when you listen. We see those numbers. You can always leave us a five star review. We got a glowing review recently. If you want to go check that out, check us on our discord. Tell all your friends about us. Oh, hey. You like human Factors? I like human factors. You hear about the human factors podcast? They're great. And if you have the financial means and are able to do so for just the cost of one copy a month, you can support us in all of our endeavors on Patreon, and you get access to a whole other podcast when you do that too. So always links to all of our socials can be found in the description of this episode. Mr. Barry Kirby, thank you for being on the show today. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about how you feel about Mr. Elon Musk? If you want to find my fascination with Elon, then go and hit me up on Twitter, which is quite topical at Bazamaskokay. Or if you want to come and listen to some indepth interviews with practitioners and people adjacent to the human practice community, come and find me on Twitter to the Human Factors podcast at Twelve As for me, I've been your host, Nick Rome. You can find me on our discord and across social media at Nick Rome. Thanks again for tuning in to Human Factors cast. Until next time.



Hey, everybody. It is great to be back. We're recording. This is what is an introduction. We don't have a higher quality prerecorded than we do have, logical. I mean, you know what? Hey, editing nick Keep this in. All right? And then we're going to just start again. Right, here we go. Ready?


Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

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