Alba Villamil Profile picture
Sociological User Researcher. Equity Design. Talks ethics at @HmntyCntrd. Dreams of retiring as a food blogger. She/her #RaceInTheField #CriticalUX
Jordan Y. Jackson Profile picture Paco Montero ن (working in-house) Profile picture 2 subscribed
Jun 14, 2023 5 tweets 1 min read
As I become more experienced as a researcher, I've come to appreciate the different approaches to interviewing.

I wish "how to user research" books focused less on best practices and more on
1. How to hone your natural style and
2. What to be vigilant for because of your style For example, researchers who lean towards an "Investigator" style tend to produce very precise data because of their attention to detail and completionist persistence but they can also slip into Interrogator mode, leaving participants feeling scrutinized or overwhelmed.
Jun 13, 2023 4 tweets 1 min read
One of the things I miss the most about academic research is the relative sophistication of synthesis during the research process.

Sometimes I look at my datasets and just long for a group of colleagues to form a paper workshop and theorize all the really cool shit happening. Researchers can't survive on "what do users do, think, and feel" alone, you know?

Where are all the processes, mechanisms, and narratives? At least throw in a conceptual framework--anything.
Jun 12, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
Adding to the weaponization of care: how bad actors use trauma-informed practices and language to gain power in fragile team contexts.

Research teams spend so much time collating "trauma-informed practices" that they can fail to recognize when those practices are corrupted. Something I've been mulling over is "principles over practice."

When we focus too much on "what we're doing", we inevitably ignore:
1. Who is leading this charge to be trauma-informed
2. How they ground & curate their practice
3. When & why they choose to wield those practices
Apr 9, 2023 4 tweets 1 min read
Gah, I really hope A24 starts doing more tv dramas. The first episode of Beef is so good! And to think it all could have been avoided if that store had an easier return policy.

Also, appreciated the very well-placed O-Town song on the soundtrack lol
Ali Wong is so good. I need her to be cast in all the things.
Mar 19, 2023 5 tweets 1 min read
What’s fascinating about this GPT “academic review” is that it replicates positivism endemic to the field (esp. subfields like economic sociology). I’m curious if it can

1. Do reviews from a particular epistemology/paradigm

2. Critique articles that have been publicly lambasted 1. The review’s focus on generalizability, assuming the paper was framed as exploratory, is at best inapplicable if not inappropriate.

It’s also concerning that the review equates more data with less bias when “bias” itself permeates question generation, analysis, theory, etc.
Aug 25, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
RESOURCE RECOMMENDATION: I was recently asked what resources/activities folks should engage with to hone their ability to THINK like a researcher. Thoughts?

So NOT how to do X method, Y analysis/synthesis technique, sell one's findings, etc. But how to *think*. 2/ Always had a soft spot for Becker's Tricks of the Trade because it forces us to recognize the conceptual shaping of our perception. My fave chapter is where he introduces metaphorical "thought experiments" to encourage us to *see* the world differently.…
Aug 15, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
1/ When we do qualitative research, how do we "find" insights? Timmerman & Tavory (2022) offer several clues--look for:
•Tensions within/across participant narratives (e.g., impossible choices & compromise; opposing expectations & actions; reorientations)… 2/ Timmerman & Tavory: Tensions can emerge when people face opposing norms b/c of their group/position/status (e.g., marginality of being part of 2 cultures, double consciousness of seeing ourselves through others' eyes) but also what we observe and what participants narrate.
Mar 25, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Lately, I've been really thinking about care vs. paternalism. For example, how do researchers define risk and benefit vs. how participants define, perceive, and experience it? These resources call into question how researchers weigh risk/benefit BUT what could they be missing? Some of the linked resources try to weigh in-session distress with post-session self-reported feelings of "being heard" and catharsis. It would be interesting to analyze how the researchers:

1. Read and explain in-session distress

2. Monitor and support post-session distress
Mar 24, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
The heady power of receiving this ability 😈 And given how *quite* a few folks on Design Twitter have decided to show their asses these last months, I now have a starter list for that Block list 😇

Also, I have no idea how to use this feature. Screenshot of Twitter’s inv... It’s fun trying to come up with rules because these Twitter starter rules are a *choice*. Might use my Practical Ethics working group as a model…

Although I wish there was a way these could be workshopped by members in-app so that the rules are community generated/agreed on🤔 Twitter’s starter rules wit...Alba’s revised rules with “...
Mar 23, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Ah, this again. What most fascinates me is how much design practitioners:
1. Ignore the difference between literal visual description and connotative
2. Limit discussions of etymology to the actual term "dark patterns" not "darkness"
3. Continue to discount how rife UX is with 3. Racist, colonialist, and appropriative language AND *thinking.* For every call to remove the term from common usage, how are designers challenging their frameworks, processes, and tools? Dark patterns is being swallowed by the checklist culture of UX.
Mar 18, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
"I am not an ideal user. By this, I mean bodyminds like mine are not the ones designers have in mind." Rauchberg (2022) asks how neuroqueerness facilitate new possibilities for relationality, self-expression, and communication practices in tech creation.… Article Title: Imagining a ... Rauchberg proposes "neuroqueer technoscience", which addresses how neurodivergent people were always already creating, making, and engaging with technology. It also disidentifies with neurotypical epistemologies and compulsory able-mindedness to unsettle cultural conditioning.
Mar 18, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
I'm curious how researchers in industry handle this. Whenever I've sat in on user research presentations, I've seen researchers erase themselves completely. "Users need X" without narrating how the researcher came to that conclusion--even when participants didn't flat out say it. Using the 1st person does several things. One is that it provides a sense of place. Suddenly we're made more aware of how we could have influenced *what happened* during data collection, analysis, synthesis etc. Consequently, we also lose the "authority" of supposed omnipotence.
Jan 3, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
What's the line between care and paternalism in UX research? Participant vulnerability is when people can't protect their own interests. But how do we determine that? Peter & Friedland (2017) argue IRBs default to protectionism, which can harm participants There are many ways to conceptualize vulnerability. For example
•Kipnis (2001): 6 analytical categories of risk (cognitive, juridical, deferential, medical, allocational, and infrastructural)
•Lange et al (2013): sources of vulnerability (inherent, situational, or pathogenic)
Nov 11, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
Le sigh. I know these memes are done in light-hearted fun (and qual research deserves industry justice) but one of the insidious consequences is that *some* researchers ignore the amount of “creative” interpretation in quant work and implicitly treat it as more objective. Tweet from Raul Pacheco Vega (@raulpacheco): Picture of LadyMan dressed in boring black coat and polo shirt (Labeled as Reminds me of this earlier discussion as well as what skills and behaviors/performances are categorized by peers as necessary for certain types of research.
Nov 10, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
How do we uncover ethical design dilemmas? Garcia & Cifor (2019) use the collaborative method "duoethnography" to foster reflexivity and critique of social norms. This method requires: relationality, difference, dialogic process, and critical subjectivity.… Article Title: Expanding Ou... Garcia & Cifor argue that as a Feminist method duoethnography can highlight how "diverse epistemologies have an impact on design goals and processes....[challenge] established identity models, defamiliarization of domestic tech, and operationalization of intimacy and sexuality"
Nov 8, 2021 13 tweets 12 min read
1/ Registration closes 11/9 (tomorrow!) for @hmntycntrd's #CriticalUX event. We'll be hosting panels challenging design's uncritical focus on accessibility and "diversity" as well as its reliance on carceral logics:

Here's a sneak peek for Friday... HmntyCntrd presents Critica... 2/ In #CriticalUX's "Beyond Accessibility," @jtknoxroxs and @elizejackson (moderated by @LindsPlay) will call out how design/accessibility discards, appropriates, and assimilates disability and will then discuss what alternatives they ground their work in Afro-Latina woman wearing a...White person with short bro...White woman with shoulder-l...
Nov 6, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
(1) This is why I always say our research tools and processes reflect social norms/culture and researchers need to be intentional about *why* they do what they do. Transcripts can be a tool of authority or power AND a tool of care and resistance depending on the research context. (2) Co-constructing a set of notes can be incredibly valuable when working with participants* who are members of communities that are overresearched and/or have had to reckon with (unanticipated) consequences of researcher interpretations

*using this loaded term for brevity
Oct 21, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
ADVICE FOR NEW RESEARCHERS: What's one piece of advice you have for folks diving into research?

1. Fall in love with the research question, not the method. (Also, who said that?) Each research approach has strengths/weaknesses, purpose, & ideal conditions. Wield accordingly. 2. Relatedly, project constraints are a curse and a blessing. Lean into them. For example, choosing methods ethically depends on much more than what you want to study and why. We need to also look at factors like researcher skill, feasibility, sociocultural context, safety, etc.
Feb 24, 2021 10 tweets 7 min read
Time to livetweet my @UXRCollective talk 🤓 Researchers have always been architects of racism; how we interpret the racial realities of our participants shapes their navigation of the world. How does our minimization of race/racism in #uxresearch produce racist design? #UXRConf Dear Designers...We Need to... We know that race is socially constructed but what does it mean, as sociologist Dorothy E. Roberts notes, that race is an invention? How have social researchers historically invented notions of race that have served their economic and political goals (and oppression)? #UXRConf Inventor (social researcher...
Jan 14, 2021 8 tweets 6 min read
K. Crenshaw at @AAPolicyForum: While celebrating historical wins in Georgia we braced for an existential threat to democracy at the Capitol. The refrain "Our country is better than this" weaponizes denial & reconciliation. How do we step back from the abyss? #UnderTheBlacklight January 13 at 8 pm ET: If Hindsight is 2020, Why Are We Stil @ProfCAnderson: The "Republican heroes of democracy" is a script that needs to be kicked back. Raffensperger & Kemp still engaged in voter suppression--they just weren't cruel enough. The mob was about the addictive power of white supremacy #UnderTheBlacklight 4 hour line of Black votersNews broadcast of billboard that says "Traitor Kemp & T
Jul 2, 2020 4 tweets 5 min read
@mamaazure's manifesto of critical #design education
1. Start w/ positionality
2. Help students see color, oppression, injustice, & bias
3. Forget diversity and inclusion...embrace plurality, pluriversality, and anti-hegemony

#BreakingSilos hosted by @aiacae Forget diversity and inclusion... embrace plurality, plurive @mamaazure's manifesto of critical #design education
4. Center the experiences and expertise of People of Color
5. Intentionally shift power to
6-7. See PoC as experts and don't just focus on suffering

#BreakingSilos hosted by @aiacae