The UX Book Club of Chicago met on February 23, 2021 over Zoom to discuss Melissa Gregg’s Counterproductive: Time Management in the Knowledge Economy.

Book Synopsis

Published in 2018, Counterproductive is a critical history of time management in the United States and a discussion of time management and productivity mostly as it pertains to what is often referred to as post-industrial, white collar, or knowledge work. In the book’s first section, “Theory,” Gregg writes of the origins of the modern concept of time management and specifically the overlooked domestic origins of time management. In the book’s second section, “Practice,” Gregg…

Over the years, people have asked us at the UX Book Club of Chicago what they should consider if they are interested in starting a UX or other kind of design book club where they live or work. Our latest request came from Uruguay! We typically answer these inquiries in one-off, private messages, but we figured it was time we capture what we’ve learned in a more open format, especially given things we’ve learned from our book club moving online since COVID-19.

This post won’t be a comprehensive how-to-start-and-run a design book club, though I would love to write that…

The UX Book Club of Chicago recently held its final meeting of 2020. The year was a tumultuous one to say the least. With the book club, we did not try to ignore the tumult. We tried instead to read books to help us think critically about urgent questions around us and have frank conversations about design and social justice. And people showed up, even in the thick of 2020. Long-time and brand new book club members joined meetings and without exception brought to the group respect, curiosity, and humility. …

The UX Book Club of Chicago met on Zoom on December 10 to discuss Xiaowei Wang’s Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China’s Countryside.

Book Synopsis

Published earlier this year, Blockchain Chicken Farm consists of intricately woven vignettes and “recipes,” or exercises, for futurist thinking. Xiaowei Wang narrates their exploration of rural areas of China and how individuals living in these areas engage intimately with artificial technology, surveillance technologies, blockchain, large databases, and commerce platforms. …

The UX Book Club of Chicago met over Zoom on September 16 to discuss What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa?, edited by Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga and published by The MIT Press in 2017. The book includes chapters by: Geri Augusto, Shadreck Chirikure, Chux Daniels, Ron Eglash, Ellen Foster, Garrick E. Louis, D. A. Masolo, Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Neda Nazemi, Toluwalogo Odumosu, Katrien Pype, and Scott Remer.

Book Synopsis

Over the course of an introduction and nine chapters, the authors discuss a number of common themes through the lens of various specific topics. Recurring themes include the Western…

Product teams working on Firefox at Mozilla have long been interested in helping people get things done, whether that’s completing homework for school, shopping for a pair of shoes, or doing one’s taxes. We are deeply invested in how we can support task continuity, the various steps that people take in getting things done, in our browser products. And we know that in our browsers, tabs play an important role for people carrying out tasks.

Task continuity model

In 2015, Firefox researchers Gemma Petrie and Bill Selman developed a model to explain different types of task continuity strategies, which are…

The UX Book Club of Chicago met over Zoom yesterday to discuss Sasha Costanza-Chock’s Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need, published by The MIT Press earlier this year. I selected this book several months ago, not knowing that police would kill George Floyd and that Floyd’s death would spark a long overdue, widespread reckoning with the racism and white supremacy-fueled violence that pervades our country. It was a coincidence that this month’s book club meeting fell on the day of Floyd’s funeral; there are few other books in the design field that would have been more…

The UX Book Club of Chicago met on Thursday, May 7 over Zoom to discuss Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code.

Book Synopsis

Published in 2019, Race After Technology is organized in five sections: Engineered Inequity; Default Discrimination; Coded Exposure; Technological Benevolence; and Retooling Solidarity, Reimagining Justice. Benjamin, currently Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, describes over the introduction and these five chapters the various ways that technology perpetuates long-standing inequities. Some of the reasons technology serves this function, according to Benjamin, include:

  • The perception that technology is less biased than…

About the Firefox User Research (UR) Team at Mozilla

Firefox User Research is a distributed team within Mozilla dedicated to conducting mixed methods research to define and support work related to Firefox products and services, present and future. Currently, the team consists of 11 people across North America: a director, a research operations specialist, and nine researchers with different backgrounds, training, and experiences.

6 people seated at a table in a restaurant, with an open laptop on the table showing one person onscreen
6 people seated at a table in a restaurant, with an open laptop on the table showing one person onscreen
Some members of the Firefox User Research team in Berlin, Germany in January 2020 (Thank you to Gemma Petrie for sharing the photo.)

In early 2019, then Firefox UR team members decided to develop a team charter, a living document containing information about team members, individual and team learning goals, and team operating principles and guidelines. …

A design sprint focused on privacy and browsing on mobile devices

Eight people from the Firefox for iOS team spent four days last week in a Google Ventures-style, remote design sprint. The team was inspired to gather for a sprint by existing Firefox user research about privacy and mobile devices and some business challenges that Firefox for iOS is facing.

In many ways, the sprint was traditional in its format. The two-year goal we set for the sprint was for Firefox to be the iOS browser people choose first for privacy. Related to that goal, we surfaced the following key questions:

  • Can we convert people into privacy-conscious browser users?
  • Can we…

Sharon Bautista

User experience researcher @ Mozilla, Organizer @ UX Book Club of Chicago

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