Why and ways to be thoughtful
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Design Patterns for Working with Humans





  • Slides and speaker notes available online

Cathy Theys




  • About presenter, BlackMesh, travel



  • Background, cons, conversations, people, twitter follower experiment



  • I was thinking about a keynote.
  • I thought about the different kinds of people that would hear it.
  • The variety experience with Drupal you all have,
  • the variety of ways you interact with Drupal
  • The effect each of us can have, on others, coworkers, users, ourselves
  • And that sometimes decisions we make, things we do can effect people negatively
  • I think that we can be more aware of that, and avoid some of the effects we dont want, but we may not have predicted.
  • I think the more we hear stories, the more times we have a chance to look at the situations we are in critically, the better we get at making decisions that have the effect we want
  • The more exposure we have to what decisions others make, the more we can consider choices when we have to make decisions
  • My goal with this talk, is to use examples from a variety of different situations
  • You might have already be familar with some of the examples
  • Hopefully there will be a few that help you consider things in new ways
  • And with expanding those thoughts, it will help you make a habit for yourself of making thoughtful intentional decisions that have effects you wanted, and help you help others

showing concern for the needs of people


  • intentionally making decisions, that will benefit people

In general


  • Looking at many different isolated practical examples of being thoughtful in a few situations,
  • gives people a chance of being practiced in being thoughtful
  • so they can do it when faced with a new situation
  • even when they may not have been previously exposed to the debate and conversations organically through their social circles.
  • Personas have been coming up more and more in discussions I'm taking part in.
  • The first time I think I heard of using personas to help guide decision making was at a Drupal.org Community Working Group meeting, personas of users of d.o.
  • Recently, Cottser and laurii used personas for their new orleans core conversation when they were discussing how we can make decisions about the drupal theme system
  • Last night, it came up when working on my talk, when someone told me about how their Drupal camp uses personas, for example to help with session scheduling
  • I like the idea of starting with personas, cause
  • From the word itself, focuses on the people, considering their background, needs
  • Sometimes want to make a situation good for all personas
  • Or intentionally making a decision to favor one persona over the others
  • I think using personas makes a system that can help us be thoughtful



  • I wrote a ton of examples. They are in the notes of the slides in the github repo.
  • Well I wrote some, lots of people suggested other ideas, I rewrote some, they rewrote some of mine.
  • I wanted to keep the talk to a reasonable length, so I'm gonna just pick out a few to look at.

People you do not know


  • Users of a product, Readers of blogs, attendees at events
  • Accessibility at events,
  • session scheduling so there is something for everyone at all times,
  • signs so people unfamiliar with the area and venue know where to go/what to do without asking,
  • actively welcoming people
  • privacy



  • Recruiting, change the definition of most qualified,
  • shorter meetings that end on time,
  • protect people, listen, don’t keep people in the dark on decisions



  • Respect boundaries and personal life,
  • listen,
  • allow others time to speak in meetings



  • This one I had trouble with, and I would be interested in your thoughts, and some examples you have been thinking about
  • Breaks,
  • mind and body,
  • don’t overcommit,
  • pay attention to how people treat you



  • The first time people have to make a decision they haven't had to make before,
  • the outcome of that decision can be different based on, exposure to the "conversation" related to that decision
  • Looking at how to be thoughtful in many different situations, will hopefully help make being thoughtful a habit, and help us handle even making new decisions we haven't had to think about before


Thanks to David, Levi, Jeff, Christian, Marc, Mike, Fureigh, Katie, Kalpana, David, Alina, Roy, Damien, Greg, Emma

Note: -I copy and pasted this from a formatted google doc, sticking it here just to keep the info together with the slides. Conference planning Decision What logistical planning does a conference need? Thoughtful about How to reach goals of new people attending, people returning, having a safe event, having an enjoyable conference… more. Thinking about who we want to feel welcome at an event Making accommodations a default, ordinary thing Actions: Transportation/distance Accommodations close to venue for people who have trouble moving Low cost options locals picking up visitors at the airport Privacy Lanyards to indicate photography preferences Opt in to scannable details on badges Food Making sure that food options include vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, gluten-free Label with ingredients Assemble food Cost Reducing cost, offering scholarships, grants Compensation Paying speakers Child-care Not sure if there are Drupal events that have offered this, but some events do Live-captioning Deaf, hard-of-hearing, non-English speakers Live-captioning transcript benefits speakers who worked on their talk for the conference. They become more googleable and quotable. Venue Quiet room, maps, detailed directions, tape on the floor to indicate moving lanes to help people who have trouble moving Timing Breaks between talks, long lunch, making an environment that allows people to connect and not feel rushed Socials Game night, not all loud parties At parties, provide lots of quality non-alcoholic drink options Recruiting Avoid the picking-the-best-qualified dilemma by working to change the pool of applicants Decision Who gets recruited, who gets interviewed (and by whom and how), who gets hired? Thoughtful about How to reach goals of … diversity of employees Action change the pool of applicants Change the definition of most qualified to include bringing to a team a point of view that is missing from the team. Cause teams have better results when the team has members with different perspectives. https://textio.com/ Limit the interview steps Reimburse for interview expenses Meetings Be small Be short End on time Brainstorming (in a room, spontaneously, verbally, synchronously) doesn't work "doesn't always work" - can work for some, but not everyone Meeting output should be actionable items Take notes Rotate note taking between different people to avoid falling into a pattern of 'stereotypical note taking the person taking notes participates differently because they are listening intently and summarizing, without as much opportunity to contribute to the conversations Remote workers Benefits/Thoughtful How to reach goal of retaining remote workers Actions Be inclusive Remote first If some work remote, all work as if they are remote. Meetings via Hangouts, not some in room, others conference call in. Avoid feeling of an in group and that other person over there. Encourage people to disconnect Project management Benefits/Thoughtful How to reach the goal of increasing employee retention Action Protecting the people on their team Well defined structured tasks Trust team to interpret and deliver Marketing

(open source) governance

Technology, code, tools, process Make it easier for people to maintain and change things for them, not for the person writing code or setting up the tools and workflow. Speaking Things that help people get the message of a talk, are things that help people know what you are trying to communicate. It might not be obvious which people are helped by making the message accessible. Make information: slides, code repos, and speaker notes: available ahead of time In a format people can manipulate (strip out formatting, alter font sizes, use readers) Describe images with "alt" text Literal Verbally Use high color contrast Repeat questions and comments from the audience Comments are tricky. If a speaker asks for questions, and instead someone from the audience "comments"... it can reduce the authority of the speaker. Can be devastating for a .. person speaking for the first time. And gets more tricky if the speaker is historically disinfranchized/underrepresented group and the commenter is from a majority group. Describe things happening in the room If ask a question to the audience, verbalize how many people are there, and how many respond

Personas From the word itself, focuses on the people, considering their background, needs Sometimes want to make a situation good for all personas Or intentionally making a decision to favor one persona over the others

Three general thoughtful principles that applied widely to those different situations

---------- notes and other random things -----------

Brainstorming: At Work: Why Brainstorming Rarely Works http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=470780864:470780866

Technical interviews are broken https://medium.com/@CODE2040/real-talk-the-technical-interview-is-broken-b84b8375dccb#.ne13vyht3


glasnt Nice talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQxFKxbWcFM TLDR: so many people are working on FOSS that aren’t being thanked More than that: there’s being thanked, and there’s being appreciated

Sara Wachter-Boettcher Everybody Hurts: Design for Kindness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcjT63hl4l4
Everyone's life is complicated Everyone's reactions are unpredictable Make things for whole humans Make every decision an act of kindness Don't assume feelings Don't forget who is in charge What assumptions are you building into your work? Inclusivity take nuance Kindness is adjusting to our users' needs, not asking them to fit ours You're why we're here. "It is those little words, those little differences that can actually make a big change." Kindness is swallowing our pride if it'll help our users But we can ask why

Prickles and Goo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXi_ldNRNtM

Oprah Winfrey talks with Thich Nhat Hanh Excerpt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ9UtuWfs3U

"Big Things have Small Beginnings." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCdQkgSwNoU

And just cause: http://www.ashedryden.com/blog/the-ethics-of-unpaid-labor-and-the-oss-community