Facets: Issue 38

May 28, 2017

Empathy is Bullshit

Farrah Bostic
"Instead of trying to identify with a person, understand their context, and the context of the communities they’re in."

Empathy has its limits. The term has itself has become fashionable and— when used the wrong way— a meaningless, unreasonable weapon. Bostic argues that it’s time to understand that we’ve lost our focus. Instead, we should work hard (and yes, it is hard) on the behaviour we use the term ‘empathy' as a stand-in for: perspective taking, understanding, and kindness.

How to make black people delete your app

dex digital
"I just lost interest at that point. The app ceased to speak to me. This seems nitpicky, but...UX/UI as a field is nothing if not understanding the little things that irk users.”

dex describes the direct impact of the Anchor app only allowing the default yellow and no other skin tone, while allowing users to customize an avatar, background, and website URL. The choice isn’t a superfluous one, and dex makes a far broader comment on how our apps are reflections of user and creator alike— and why it matters.

Through their eyes: real stories about diversity in tech.

joonko
"every time I tried expressing my opinion, the burden grew stronger; “I don’t even want to hear what you have to say,” was the CEO’s favorite sentence whenever I talked to him.”

We aren’t told anything about the writers in Joonko’s ‘Through their eyes’ series. Unconscious bias is eliminated and we focus on the story only. This first instalment is a story of how expertise is undermined, ambition curtailed at each turn, and how exhausting that can be. Unfortunately, the experience is all too common.

What if tech conferences don't matter that much?

Rachel Coldicutt
"Being an effective person who makes a difference in the world is not always the same as being a hero in a head mic."

Making conferences more diverse doesn’t make our industry so, too. Coldicutt argues that conferences are a reflection of power dynamics, structures and broken perceptions of legitimacy, credibility, and strength. Those perceptions are what need to be dismantled, and that won’t be achieved with a few “token” speakers at a conference.

Also, a reminder from Benjamin Williams:

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