Virtual Tapia Conference: Takeaways from UX Panels

Last week I attended the ACM Richard Tapia Conference virtually. This conference aims to promote diversity in computing by connecting students, researchers, professionals, and technology enthusiasts to opportunities in industry or higher education. There are several informative sessions to attend and a career fair where you can learn about companies and universities.

I would like to discuss my key takeaways from two of the user experience related panels at the conference.

Photo by UX Store on Unsplash

Designing Customer-focused Products (Dropbox hosted)

In this session, Timothy Young, the SVP & GM at Dropbox Products, shared some insights on how to build impactful products while keeping the customers at the core.

Some key takeaways that stood out to me:

  • The main ingredients to win a product include design principles, diverse team, and innovation
  • Product leaders own customer outcome, every action you take will directly impact the customers
  • A PM has to be an advocate for the customers, a voice for them during the product development process
  • Prioritize social impact and make it approachable
  • Start with something distinct and be a champion for that

Preparing for the People: Tips for Creating Inclusive User Studies

This panel was led by Imani N. Sherman who is a Doctoral Research Assistant at the University of Florida. User studies are an integral part of product development and capturing human behavior. The panel focused on how to make such studies more inclusive by focusing on basics, diversity, and ethics of UX.

Below are some of the takeaways:

  • User study is a systematic evaluation of user behavior on a service or product.
  • Studies should be carried out at an accessible location, the timing must be thoroughly planned out, be empathetic with a user, and provide breaks during the study
  • Provide an eye-catching compensation and reimburse travel costs
  • Avoid the ‘isms’ such as sexism, racism, ableism
  • Carry out research on a diverse pool of participants, and be mindful of cultural and social differences
  • Make no assumptions, rather try to understand your target audience

In the current pandemic era, user studies have been affected because in-person research has become hard to conduct. There are limits but technology has been pretty useful and remote studies are being done now.