David will be presenting the following session
  • David Thomas

    David Thomas - Design for Cognitive Bias: Using Mental Shortcuts for Good Instead of Evil

    David Thomas
    David Thomas
    David Dylan Thomas LLC
    schedule 1 year ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Users' minds take shortcuts to get through the day. Usually, they’re harmless. Even helpful. But what happens when they’re not? In this talk, I’ll use real-world examples to identify some particularly harmful biases that frequently lead users to make bad decisions. I'll then talk about some content strategies and design choices we can use in our apps, designs, and platforms to redirect or eliminate the impact of those biases. Finally, I'll explore our own biases as designers and some methods to prevent our own blind spots from hurting users.

1. What got you started/interested in modern software development methods?

I learned about agile from a certified scrum master who happened to be my producing partner on a web series we were working on. We used agile methodologies to produce the series.

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by the software product engineering community today?

Bias. It is hard for us to see where and how our processes might be biased because we are so used to them and lack, often, an outside perspective.

3. What do you think are the most exciting developments in software product engineering today?

The number of people of color and women who are getting more involved is exciting because it is introducing new perspectives into the mix.

4. Why did you choose the topic(s) you will be speaking about at the conference?

I feel that bias is both fascinating and important for us to understand. A bias-informed process can help us produce products and services and software that are less harmful and more helpful to society.

5. What are some of the key takeaways from your session(s) at Agile India?
  • Cognitive bias is an unconscious process that's playing in the background while you try to make decisions, so you may not be aware of it when it happens.
  • Because it's happening in the background, it's important to build in practices into your process (like red team/blue team) to check that bias before it can do any harm.
  • It's also important to introduce the perspective of those who will be impacted by your work and, where possible, give them power over the outcome.
6. Which sessions are you particularly looking forward to attending at Agile India this year?

I look forward to hearing more about data analytics from psychology and agile coaching ethics.

7. Any personal remarks/message you want to share with the software community?

I hope that my message is helpful in framing the tough decisions we need to make as practitioners and, if so moved, you feel inclined to buy my book to learn more!