The best games have memorable, three-dimensional characters. As our understanding of gender expands, so should the variety of characters in our games. This talk explores 5 games that feature characters outside the binary or non-binary friendly character creation and what lessons developers can take from these games to encourage inclusivity in their own work.
Ten years ago, I was an emergency veterinarian. Five years ago, I owned an event planning business. A year ago, I started coding and wonder, every single day, if I made the right decision. I'm almost forty and an intern yet again. I'm surrounded by mostly men with CS Master's Degrees, compared to my five months worth of formal training. Somehow, though, I have to hold my own and deliver - come hear how.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a condition characterized by problems paying attention and difficulty controlling behavior. A large part of developing the condition is the environment a child grows up in: If the parents are stressed out or distracted and can't give the child the attention he or she needs to develop healthily, ADD can occur. What does ADD have to do with being Black? Well, Black people, on average, are over-represented in the US prison system, make a lower household income, and have much lower NET worths than other races. Factor in a culture where over 100 unarmed Black men can be killed in a year, like in 2015, and you have the kind of stressful conditions that are ripe for developmental issues in children. So... what can we be doing right now, to fix the situation? How bad is it, really? And what happens if we don't do anything?
I want to show how community outreach has kept a small open source project, Refuge Restrooms, moving and up to date. Creating welcoming avenues for newcomers, lowering barriers for communication and bringing people together has done so much to increase our contribution rate and quality. It has also helped foster teamwork and gratitude that can be difficult to build with a geographically sparse user and contributor group. I'm also going to take a try at relating this to an office environment where community and inclusion tends to be an afterthought and underappreciated value. A lot of this will stem from my personal experience, but it's not like the tech bubble is booming with trans app startup stories :)
Black men and women are dying at a faster rate than any other racial group. We feel the need to work twice as hard as our counterparts. We don't want to be seen as the slacker, we have something to prove. All the while we're suffering from stress, High blood pressure, and Heart Disease. How do we as individuals, make a commitment to ourselves and the generations to come, to be spiritually, and mentally healthy to combat the everyday stress of working in IT. We have deadlines, and in IT there is a big push to stay current. As Minorities we have a fear of speaking up, and out regarding bandwidth. Career opportunities don't just come around freely. Although this is true, I'd like to help people implement a few exercises and mental help tools to relieve stress from work in a high paced IT position.
Minority groups who represent diversity checkboxes in tech are often positioned as "part of the club / part of the photo op" and feel included....until they are not. Whether it is a PR, leadership, or internal culture challenge, when the club feels threatened, the club beings to close rank, and the minority member begins to be shut out. Regardless whether the reasons for exclusion seem believable enough, the effect is the same, which reinforces systemic discrimination and modern day exile. And ultimately, these behaviors, when unchecked, impacts a company, not only in their everyday work environment but in their ability to attract future talent and maintain productivity. So what are the power structures and hierarchies that allows for such dramas to unfold? How can an individual find true allies and safe spaces in such structures? Are there survival strategies when the closing of ranks occur in tech? And how can non-marginalized individuals identify and support from the inside?
People who self-advocate work to push for change which can also benefit others around them. Advocacy isn’t always an easy process and it can be long and slow, and sometimes not arrive at the desired result. It takes confidence, bravery and humility of the individual to acknowledge their need for access and ask for accommodations, to understand what the law allows, and to use positive advocacy to create inclusive allies along the way. Through his personal experience of being deaf and Deaf, Brendan's talk discusses why self-advocacy is important and what to consider when advocating to enrich your environment.
When creating experiences, we often overlook the subtleties of who our users are, and what their expectations are. By telling ourselves stories about those users, we can capture a wider breadth of users. We can also create a more fulfilling, personalized experience for everyone. This talk will cover how factors like education level, age, and gender affect how a user interacts with a product, and what will make the experience most satisfying for them. It will also cover the basics of how to design a user profile and walk through an experience as that user.
Virtual reality as a medium goes beyond our previous conceptions of immersion. The feeling of "presence" created by VR allows for new levels of raw emotional experience. Alongside the thrilling possibilities this opens up, there are a number of new considerations that must be made to avoid abuse and harassment, as well as reduce unwanted discomfort from either the content or other users. Learn about what to consider, provide and avoid to prevent abuse in virtual reality.
It often goes unnoticed that the majority of innovations today stems from investments by government bodies to produce platforms, software and data for the greater societal good. The Internet, the Global Positioning System, voice-controlled software are all examples of these investments. The private industry has no business case for undertaking these efforts; as the business model and return on investment is often unknown. These well-known examples started as military projects in search of ethical commercial use cases. Private industry is often the biggest benefactors of the production of these systems. In this talk, I will speak about the cycle of open innovation, highlight a few examples, discuss what went and is wrong, and highlight course corrections. Specifically, the focus will be initiatives that were intentionally meant to be open , like weather data from NOAA, survey data from the Census Bureau, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and public health data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.