Featured Books & Articles

Retaining Women in Tech

Retaining Women in Tech

Contextual Design 2nd Edition

Contextual Design is a series of techniques that guide cross-functional diverse product teams in how to produce successful products. Core to the practice is a series of working design meetings that are run with principles that ensure that the people work well together. Read this book to learn this world-renowned user-centered design technique and how we use data and structured ways of working together to bring diverse teams to a shared understanding of what to create.

Contextual Design is used by companies and universities worldwide. This new book, Contextual Design 2nd Edition: Design for Life is completely rewritten, covering how we’ve changed Contextual Design, including new techniques for the Cool Concepts and designing for mobile and service platform. Notably it expands descriptions on team formation and principles of working together well.

Article in “Networking Computing” Women in Tech: Keys to Retention

Karen’s article in Network Computing outlines the critical factors companies should focus on in order to retain women working in IT. The article is a great introduction to work being done by the Women in Tech Project.

Women in Tech: Intervention Ideas from CHI 2016 Conference

At the CHI 2016 Conference, we shared the initial Women in Tech research and Action Framework. SIG participants then reviewed the field data and generated interventions. Review the ideas, comment on them, and add your own ideas.

If We’re a Team, Why Don’t We Act Like One?

Featured Blog Entries

We Can Help Your Team Work Better Together!

We’re excited to announce that through our deep research into the experiences that help women in tech thrive, we have developed proven interventions that you can now use. Each intervention targets a different aspect of the daily work experience to help you retain and ensure the success of women in technology. Tell us how they work!

The Valuing and Jerk Posters

These fabulous Character Posters will help you get started. We have six Honorable characters and six Jerk characters. You can get them individually or as a combined poster.  Use the posters to guide conversations about how you want to interact as a team! Find the behaviors you need to work on in yourself. Let’s be more encouraging!  

Creating Dynamic, Valuing Teams

In this blog, Karen discussed one of the key dimensions of the Women in Tech Framework that defines the critical aspects of daily life necessary to help women thrive and succeed in the high technology industry.

The Valuing and Jerk Project

Women often state, and our research confirms, that women don’t feel valued or heard. They say that men, managers, or teammates are “bro’s” or “jerks”. But what does this mean?

Managing Interpersonal Dynamics in Teams: What is Rude?

What is “rude” to one person may be perfectly acceptable to another. What is fine in the US Northeast may be rude in the South. What is rude in one country may be perfectly fine in another. So what is “rude” and how do we handle it on a diverse team?

What If I Had James Damore of Google on a Team?

Many have asked Karen to respond about the James Damore situation. So, she thought about a hypothetical: “What If I had James Damore of Google on a team?”

This blog is her answer, including techniques she’s employed successfully in the past.

Men: Use Your Gender Norms for Good

In a blog designed to provoke conversation—and perhaps controversy—Karen speaks directly to men about how they can use behavior from chivalry and team sports to support women in the workplace.

International Women’s Day: Call to Action

Karen reflects on the lessons learned from how grassroots efforts transformed user-centered design and how the @Work Action Framework gives us ways to now make grassroots changes for Women in Technology.

The Women in Tech Project

While there are many reasons, research indicates that workplace factors, along with the realities of what they want for their lives, contribute most significantly to women leaving tech. Learn about the project and how to get involved.

Creating Dynamic, Valuing Teams

In this blog, Karen discussed one of the key dimensions of the Women in Tech Framework that defines the critical aspects of daily life necessary to help women thrive and succeed in the high technology industry.

Featured Videos

The Jerk Project for the University of Maryland

Here’s a talk about the Jerk project from the Unversity of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab Speaker Series.

UX Y’All 2020 – Remote Contextual Design

Join Karen for her most recent presentation on how to do remote contextual design, with some additional “ask me anything” questions!

Retaining Women in Tech in a Remote Work Environment

Women are twice as likely to leave the field mid-career compared to men. Attrition costs companies 16B a year. Diverse teams produce more innovative and successful solutions than male-only teams.

Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

What are best practices for managing our remote teams? How do issues of diversity play out when we are all on video? What happens to productivity?  We’ll reveal what the current literature and our research shows.

How to Do Remote Contextual Design

Learn about how you can keep being in the “field” and managing data synthesis, visioning, and design work remotely.  I’ll be sharing techniques and how to run some of the key techniques: Field interviews, interpretation sessions, affinity building, modeling and all detailed design in small groups.

Design Critiques

Design critiques are central to maker professions. However, 80% of women lose self esteem when criticized. Learn what our research shows about how to do team design critiques while also including everyone and making them feel valued in the process.

The Team Onboarding Checklist

Key success factors for onboarding new employees!

The Valuing and Jerk Project

Helping women thrive on tech teams. Learn what to do, and how not to be a jerk!

View Karen’s Keynote and PanelCloud Foundry Summit

Watch Karen introduce the Women in Tech project, followed by a panel discussing the Action Framework and interventions.

Women in Tech Presentation: Overview and Team Techniques

In this recording of a YouTube Live Event, Karen covered the latest from the Women in High Tech Retention (WIT-R) Project. She introduced the key retention factors, and then shared some of the interventions, along with some exercises you can try out.

Watch Karen’s CHI Story: A Personal Journey in High Tech

In “One Woman’s Journey in High Tech: Passion and Partnership” Karen shares her personal journey and the role of Guides, Partners, Coaches, and Supporters throughout the arc of her life.

Emerging Research Report: Retention and Women in High Tech

Thirty-something years after the computer revolution, many are asking, “Why are women leaving tech careers?” We’re applying our Contextual Inquiry techniques to gather deep ethnographic data from real design teams at actual companies to capture the workplace dynamics.

Finding the Themes in Qualitative Data: The Affinity Diagram

The Affinity Diagram is a key tool in organizing qualitative data to see the patterns and themes of the people you interviewed. Often people ask how did we find the dimensions of the @Work Experience Framework. The answer is build an affinity!

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