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Everybody Hurts: Content for Kindness

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We all want interfaces that feel human—where the content is friendly and everything flows right along. But being human isn’t just about being breezy.

Every user who interacts with your site comes there with personal histories—with pain and problems, with past traumas or present crises. How can we take our users’ vulnerabilities, triggers, and touchy subjects into account when we don’t even know what they are? What would it mean to optimize not just for seamlessness, but for kindness? This talk discusses how clear intentions and compassionate communication can strengthen everything from form questions to headlines to site structures.

Published in: Marketing, Internet
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Everybody Hurts: Content for Kindness

  1. EVERYBODY HURTS 
 sara wachter-boettcher @sara_ann_marie flickr.com/photos/rickharris/3282983235 content for kindness
  2. flickr.com/photos/meddygarnet/3489151194
  3. Yes No Have you ever been sexually abused or assaulted?
  4. Yes No
  5. flickr.com/photos/ashtonpal/6457802535
  6. Everyone’s history is personal.
  7. Everyone’s life is complicated.
  8. Everyone’s reactions are unpredictable.
  9. Joy Excitement Love Anxiety Fear Shame Loss Life
  10. Make things for humans.
  11. Make things for whole humans.
  12. ‘‘When I look out at this room I see a comparatively small number of faces but I also see a trillion heartbeats. Not your own heartbeats, but those of your users… If we are going to ask them to spend their heartbeats on us, on our ideas, how can we be sure, far more sure than we are now, that they spend those heartbeats wisely? —Paul Ford, “Ten Timeframes”
  13. make every decision an act of KINDNESS
  14. rethink “normal.”
  15. Imagine your user.
  16. Imagine your user. What gender are they?
  17. Imagine your user. What gender are they? Race?
  18. Imagine your user. What gender are they? Race? Age?
  19. Imagine your user. What gender are they? Race? Age? Where do they live?
  20. Imagine your user. What gender are they? Race? Age? Where do they live? How do they feel?
  21. Imagine your user. What gender are they? Race? Age? Where do they live? How do they feel? What are they doing?
  22. What if you’re wrong?
  23. Don’t force false categories.
  24. Don’t assume feelings.
  25. Don’t forget who’s in charge.
  26. Don’t overstep your purpose.
  27. What assumptions are you building into your work?
  28. ‘‘These assumptions… are yet another example of technology telling queer, unpartnered, infertile, and/or women uninterested in procreating that they aren’t even women.
 —Maggie Delano
  29. ‘‘It’s telling women that the only women worth designing technology for are those women who are capable of conceiving and who are not only in a relationship, but in a sexual relationship, and in a sexual relationship with someone who can potentially get them pregnant. —Maggie Delano
  30. Smooth, seamless, easy. For whom?
  31. Ask users what they want.
  32. Accept nuance in their replies.
  33. What do you want to track? Cycle length/timing Fertile windows Pregnancy risk Sexual activity Moods and feelings General health ✓ ✓
  34. What do you want to track? Cycle length/timing Fertile windows Pregnancy risk Sexual activity Moods and feelings General health ✓ ✓
  35. What do you want to track? Cycle length/timing Fertile windows Pregnancy risk Sexual activity Moods and feelings General health ✓ ✓ ✓
  36. KINDNESS IS letting users define themselves
  37. make space.
  38. flickr.com/photos/tedxgrandvalley/5184654377
  39. Shane Creepingbear Lance Browneyes Robin Kills the Enemy Dana Lone Hill
  40. Your Name Wasn’t Approved. It looks like that name violates our name standards. You can enter an updated name again in 1 minute. To make sure the updated name complies with our policies, please read more about what names are allowed on Facebook.
  41. Your Name Wasn’t Approved. It looks like that name violates our name standards. You can enter an updated name again in 1 minute. To make sure the updated name complies with our policies, please read more about what names are allowed on Facebook.
  42. Your Name Wasn’t Approved. It looks like that name violates our name standards. You can enter an updated name again in 1 minute. To make sure the updated name complies with our policies, please read more about what names are allowed on Facebook.
  43. Your Name Wasn’t Approved. It looks like that name violates our name standards. You can enter an updated name again in 1 minute. To make sure the updated name complies with our policies, please read more about what names are allowed on Facebook.
  44. Your Name Wasn’t Approved. It looks like that name violates our name standards. You can enter an updated name again in 1 minute. To make sure the updated name complies with our policies, please read more about what names are allowed on Facebook.
  45. Your name is wrong.
  46. You don’t belong here.
  47. You need to change.
  48. We think this name might be fake. You’ll need to verify this is your real name before you may use it.
  49. We could be wrong.
  50. We want to fix this.
  51. Here’s what you can do.
  52. KINDNESS IS adjusting to our users’ needs, not asking them to fit ours
  53. set aside ego.
  54. We are very important.
  55. You’re likely not good enough.
  56. We don’t need you.
  57. flickr.com/photos/90461913@N00/6302538448
  58. Our authors matter.
  59. Your ideas count.
  60. You’re why we’re here.
  61. KINDNESS IS swallowing our pride if it’ll help our users
  62. be intentional.
  63. Ich bin das __ Kind meiner Mutter.
  64. Ich bin das __ Kind meiner Mutter. 2
  65. Ich bin das __ Kind meiner Mutter. 3
  66. Ich bin das __ Kind meiner Mutter.
  67. Every field carries weight.
  68. We can’t change that.
  69. But we can ask why.
  70. The question protocol
  71. A question protocol includes: • Every question you ask • Who within your organization uses the answers • What they use them for • Whether an answer is required or optional • If an answer is required, what happens if a user enters any old thing just to get through the form —Caroline Jarrett, “The Question Protocol”
  72. ‘‘This is the uncomfortable truth—everything is a trigger for someone. —Roxane Gay, 
 “The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion”
  73. KINDNESS IS only asking for what we need
  74. find the fractures.
  75. That’s just an edge case.
  76. That’s just an edge case.
  77. That’s a stress case.
  78. Stress cases show us the weaknesses in our work.
  79. Fun facts create real risks.
  80. MailChimp is: • fun but not childish • clever but not silly • powerful but not complicated • smart but not stodgy • cool but not alienating • informal but not sloppy • helpful but not overbearing • expert but not bossy —Kate Kiefer Lee, “Tone and Voice”
  81. ‘‘ Over the years we’ve moved to a much more neutral voice …We focus on clarity over cleverness and personality. We are not in an industry that is associated with crisis, but we don’t know what our readers and customers are going through. And our readers and customers are people. They could be in an emergency and they still have to use the internet. —Kate Kiefer Lee,
 Mailchimp content director
  82. Ask: do I control the context of my content?
  83. Identify: what’s the ideal scenario for this content?
  84. Imagine: what would the opposite look like?
  85. KINDNESS IS designing for
 the worst
  86. cultivate compassion.
  87. ‘‘We’re pretty good at being able to kind of get inside somebody else’s head and sort of model their task… But that cognitive empathy, that’s actually just one level of empathy. —Karen McGrane
  88. ‘‘There’s actually a much deeper level of it that you would call compassion. What that means is that you have genuine emotional feeling for the struggles that someone is going through and you are spontaneously moved to help them because you feel them. —Karen McGrane
  89. Compassion takes action.
  90. Compassion takes courage.
  91. Compassion takes practice.
  92. The only unit of time that matters is heartbeats. Paul Ford
  93. Flickr images used via Creative Commons Attribution license unless otherwise noted. @sara_ann_marie sarawb.com thank you.

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