Empathy is not enough - the power of engaging hard-to-reach users

Executing user research never goes according to plan, and practices like “get out of the building” can often drive us to design with our abilities and biases without recognizing who we are excluding. Who isn’t walking outside of our building? Who isn’t able to engage verbally with us? Without thinking of who we are excluding right from the beginning, we may create products and services designed for people of a specific age, gender, ability, tech literacy and those with specific access to money, time and network. While advances in technology have served us well -- offering access to a large number of users and their data, they’ve also made it more challenging to engage with hard-to-reach audiences in a way that doesn't extend our bias. Think about who isn’t part of your user testing pool or datasets? The fact is, there is no such thing as a “general market” or a “normal” experience, and we need to be mindful of the physical, cognitive, cultural and social exclusions our solutions may create.

In this talk, I’ll share what we learned from working directly with busy moms who were raising a child with Autism and Gen Zs to understand their experiences with bullying. You’ll learn what types of biases and points of exclusions to watch out for, how to engage hard-to-reach audiences, and how the user-driven insights we gained uncovered the struggles unique to their community and informed our design decisions and product iterations. Whether or not you work in UX design, this talk will help you create tech solutions that are physically, cognitively and emotionally accessible and ultimately valuable for all humans.