Denisse Crapanzano | Remote Work Wonders: Challenges, new tools & collaboration

May 6, 2023Dianne Eberhardt

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Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to the next episode of Pixelated. Perfect. I'm super excited. I have with me Denisse Denny for short. Is that correct?

Denisse: Yes, that's correct.

Dianne: Perfect, perfect. So super excited to have you on the podcast. I wanted to give a quick overview for everyone, kind of some of her background and what we'll be talking with Deni about. So Vinny is a lead product designer for Mural right now, which is really awesome. Based in Nic Airs. She has over six years of experience in digital product design and a strong background in graphic design. She has successfully led projects from start to finish while collaborating with cross-functional teams to come up with impactful outcomes, which I'm curious to learn a little bit more about. She looks to build meaningful relationships with her team and stakeholders and is advocating for diversity and inclusion to foster a culture of respect and openness. So thank you so much for being here, Denny. I'm super excited to talk a little bit more about design and your background.

Denisse: Thank you Dianne, for the opportunity to have me here.

Dianne: Of course. So let's get started. I have some just like basic design questions for you. Something I like to start these interviews with is the question of what does design mean to you?

Denisse: Well, I, I think of design in the, the most broad, broad way possible. I think design is how we shape the world we live in. Maybe that's because of my background, because I studied graphic design, but in Buenos Aires at my university, the same campus is the building where they teach industrial design, architecture. Like all, all the design disciplines and I, I was always very interested in how they connect or relate to each other. So I think of design like the creating the systems or the tools that support our experience or mediate our experience. So design is everywhere, today. Yes. Especially with digital products nowadays. We use digital products for everything, for communications, like to express our feelings to book something for a trip. So all our desires, our thinking are our actions are put into digital products, and I think that's what I love about my role.

Dianne: Yeah, I love that. I think that you said it really well. Like design is everywhere. Everywhere we look, everything we do and especially today with technology, it's like always at our fingertips. There's never a moment where there's not some form of design, a digital product that we're interacting with in some way, whether it's like a digital billboard or on our phones or in our ears. Like there's always some kind of something that if you think about everything that you see as like someone designed that someone put a group, a team of people put that together. And so I always find that fascinating to think about. Like everything we see today, there was like a whole strategy and a whole process around building it.

Denisse: Yes. If you think of the science system as a, as like the concept or the tool, it frames like this, the science thinking, thinking as like a mindset, right? That you can apply to different disciplines. So you're like asking questions, trying to understand problems, doing, going through these moments of diversions or conversions. So the design process to me is something that can be applied to pretty much everything and brings more ideas into the table, it always will enrich any, any process or any experience.

Dianne: Yes, yes. A follow-up question to that, cause I think this is interesting is there's like a lot of workshops that I've done with teams where maybe there's not a designer in the room, maybe they're a developer and maybe they're like a marketing person and they're like, oh, I don't know how to draw . Like, Ida can't be in this meeting, I don't know how to do this workshop. What do you say to those people?

Denisse: First, I think everyone can draw, but that may be because I was a drawing teacher at university, and so for newcomers, for all the design careers, we have this drawing class in the first year. And there was this fear in many students, like, I can't draw because someone told them at some point that they weren't good at drawing. Right? But the way I think of drawing is like a way of thinking because when you draw, you, you, you, you're having a conversation with the thing you are drawing. So it's like you enter a feedback loop with your drawing and you start like, yeah, thinking or getting more ideas from the things you are, you are drawing. So I think of drawing as a way to visualize ideas. So it can be, adding a note can be like drawing or, or visually reflecting or, or keeping track of an idea or iterating on it and sharing it with others.

Denisse: That's how I think of drawing, that's why I think everyone can draw. Drawing comes in many ways. I like to think of it in a very poetic way. For instance, dancing to me is like drawing in, in space. It's like how I understand Yeah. A drawing in space, but well besides the poetic side, I think there's something very powerful in expressing our ideas visually because it's a great way of communicating these ideas and sharing them with others. So I will tell my developer friends that they can draw , you know?

Dianne: Right. And I, I love what you said, it's like when you're drawing, it's like you're entering a feedback loop, but is this like a conversation you're having with your brain, but you're like outputting something? So it's like a continuous loop of getting out a thought or an idea onto a piece of paper and having that feedback loop with you and then having something to show people so that they can help understand this concept in your head, I guess.

Denisse: Yes. It's similar to what happens with design prototypes when you wanna test or validate something, right? You build a prototype because you have questions that you need to answer. And depending on those questions, it's what the, what's the type of prototype you decide to build. But it's not only like you start learning not only when you put it in front of people, but also in the process of making it like, it's like the, the prototype, that prototype already design artifact brings new conversation, brings new questions to the table, so you start realizing what are the other questions you will need to answer. So the design process has this beautiful thing to me that is the, you are all the time learning is that, that should be like the, the approach or the attitude. That's the attitude I like to have about the design work we do.

Denisse: But we start with a few assumptions and some ideas and then we have to validate as much as possible or actually as much as needed because you don't need to validate everything. Sometimes you can also take risks. It really depends on the risks you have to mitigate. But yeah, I think that's a beautiful process when you realize you are wrong. You, you have the wrong actions when you collaborate with others. And that's why I like to involve developers early on in the design process because they always will see things from a different point of view because of their background. And that's very interesting because it always brings new questions like what will happen with performance when, when we release this feature and like a hundred people use it at the same time because our platform handles like real time collaboration and there are so many cases that you can never think of all of them. Right. Yeah. You, you learn on the, on the goal

Dianne: . Yeah, for sure. No, I, I love that. I, I love how you define like the princess and I, I definitely agree with everything you said. I thought something interesting you said was taking risks and how, like there's a lot of assumptions and you can test and mitigate some of those, but sometimes it's important to take those risks. And I, I really like how you said that because I think that's like, I think a big part of our role as a designer is to come up with new ideas and new concepts and like, how can we push the boundaries of specific things? And without us to push those boundaries or other people to push those boundaries, you might get stuck in the same loop. And so where do we decide to take those risks and to build that thing that maybe has not been completely validated? And how do we know how to, yeah, make those decisions of what to take risks on?

Denisse: That really depends on, on the product, on your users, on the impact it could have. It depends on a lot of things. What, like, if, if it's like a one way door decision, then you cannot revert. That's very risky. But if something that you can change later and it won't impact the rest of the experience, then that's different. There are so many things to consider. I don't, I don't know if I have a clear answer for that. I think every time that needs to be discussed, like every project, requires different approaches. And yeah, you have, you really need to have this, this critical thinking to, to understand what's the best process, what are the steps you cannot miss, what are the the questions you have to answer first, what could be answered later?

Denisse: Because you also need to be mindful of the effort we are doing because we have limited time and resources that apply for, for every company. Or what's the, the smartest use of our time because there's a market, there are competitors that are also releasing features. So sometimes you have time, time pressure, sometimes you are looking for quality. It really depends on the strategy. That's where I think design meets the business needs. Yes. Not only the user needs and, and we have to adjust a bit depending on that context, because of course, as designers of the user experience, we advocate for the user. And we always look for quality. And we try to be user-centric because we want to make an impact and deliver value for the user, but also we are part, we, we cannot be naive.

Denisse: We are part of a company. So we have to support that, that business as well. And there are a lot of trade offs. We make decisions all the time. Those decisions have trade offs. I think of designers as the owners of the design decisions, but, but more in a way that we drive the decision making process. It's not that we make decisions on our own. We facilitate the conversations that need to happen at certain points to align to a, to have agreement, to have to get buy-in from stakeholders or also to engage with, like with your team and understand, yeah, this is an important problem we are solving. There's a lot of that. There's a lot of leading and, and a lot of, to me, storytelling for instance, is a great skill for designers because when you are driving this process, you need to start with a compelling problem framing.

Denisse: People can have them, feel empathy for the user and, and understand that's the problem we want to solve, and that's the right problem and why, why we need to solve it. There's a lot of passion in, in, in that part of the process that is great to share with others. And yeah, and, and then I think like we are, I don't know, we are, we, we have to be very strategic on what we do in every phase. At murals, at least the product designer starts in the first research or discovery or problem framing phase, and we go through all the same process until the delivery. So each phase requires different approaches or excuses. Right.

Dianne: No, thank you. That was, I, I love what you said about storytelling and meeting business needs. I think that's like a lot of, I think more junior designers are people thinking about the design. They don't always think about all of these other aspects of being a designer. So I think you explained that very well. And I have a question about what a mural is like, so you're a lead designer and you said you kind of go through this whole process from start to end, which is, which is great. But I'm sure listeners out there are curious, like how maybe how do you go about facilitating some of these conversations and what does that team structure look like and how do you kind of fit in with the, the full business side of things?

Denisse: Mm-Hmm. . Well, there was a project that may help us, an example that was Yeah. Tables, because we were working on this feature to, to support, to have a table functionality or a table tool that lives within the canvas, the mural canvas, which is an infinite canvas. So it's a table, but it's living in a context where the rules are a bit different. Yeah. and, and we have this feature as a top feature request, our users asking, we want tables, we want tables. So yeah, let's build tables. But the question we had to answer first was, what do I mean by a table in murals? What are they gonna use the table for? What's the real problem that the table will solve for them? Because I'm pretty sure that when they say table, they don't mean like a spreadsheet or it's like, what's the concept or the mental model around that table that will leave inside a visual thinking tool, which is a completely different thing, right?

Denisse: Right. How many roles, like, are you gonna manage like the data on the table and expect to have formulas? Like what's, what's the real use case for the, for that table? Right? And so we started by, by doing interviews with users and asking them and trying to learn from the, their workflows and their use cases, what were their workarounds, because they didn't have these tools, but they were doing a lot of hacks with the, with the tools we, we had at that moment. And, and still it was very hard for us to understand what was the expected interaction, because it's not a very standard solution in a way. It's not something that you find everywhere, a table within an infinite campus. Right. And, and I remember that at that moment we realized the complexity that this project was gonna have.

Denisse: So I created a video with a problem framing that was very, very compelling. Like I made sure I had great storytelling in that presentation. So every time I have to introduce someone, someone new to that project, I will send that video like a six minute video explaining why we are doing this? What did we learn from the users? What are the hacks they are doing? What's the expected functionality? Even though we didn't know the scope at the moment, right? Because when you start with the problem, you are trying to understand it in the most broad way, and you are not trying to limit the way you think about the solution. But to reflect a bit of that complexity, we were saying like, these are table stakes. Like these are, this is functionality that has to be even in the first version.

Denisse: And creating the alignment and then the agreement. I also, that engagement with the project was the structure that sustained the engagement across a year, because that project lasted a year and I was leading the in like in the middle, the team changed the stakeholders map changed. So every time we were like going back to the initial problem framing, and that's why it was so valuable for me to invest at that moment during the research and also sharing the research with the rest of the team. And also, I remember the interviews we did, something that was great was, yeah, invite your developers to the interviews because then they have a different feeling. It's not that you are sharing the story of something you learn from the users, but the user is like an abstract thing. It's not a real person. But if they attend at least one of those interviews, they are so engaged and committed to solving the problem for them. That is, it's amazing. That's like a trick. That's, so that's something I, I, I will always like to repeat every time I start a, a pro a new project. Yeah.

Dianne: No, that was great. I think that like some takeaways that I've taken, especially for other designers, listening is like framing the problem and like making it a compelling story of why people should be interested in this. Solving this problem is huge, and I think a lot of people like to rush into so many other stages of a project. But the value of this early work is that defining a problem is so important. How can you find solutions if you don't even know exactly what the problem is that the user's finding? So you're like, just take a big step back and just like, what in general are we solving? Because yeah, it's more complex. I think a lot of people are like, oh, it's really straightforward. This is what we need, X, Y, Z. But then if you like to uncover the actual problem that a user is facing, it's usually way more complicated than like the initial idea that's being thrown around.

Dianne: I also just, I love what you said at the end too, is like I think that having, working more in a collaboration and like where everyone has, is doing some form of research, even if it's Dell developer, a project manager, doesn't matter. Like if everyone is invested in the full process and it's not siloed, that's when you're gonna get the best work. And that's where everyone really does care about the problem that you're solving and is really involved through the whole process. So I think that's really powerful. And I think a lot of companies are not structured that way. There's like these silos of, okay, first the researcher, then the designer, then the developer and everyone kind of works separately.

Denisse: Yes, there's this idea that the designer creates a solution and brings it, and then the engineers develop it. And, and it's, it's not like that. It's the opposite and the ideation phase we have to involve them because they have, sometimes they have the best ideas because of how they understand the product because, I don't know, maybe at the mirror a lot of developers are fans of video games. They, they have, they them, they bring ideas from other industries that I cannot think of on my own. And, and they, when they are involved, they have a better understanding of what we are building. So they are mindful of the, like the, the user and the experience and the solution. And that reduces a lot of work in the, in the future, like on writing down specs, for instance, that which is very time consuming and, and sometimes can be boring.

Denisse: But if you have a shared understanding of the thing you are building, you create, yeah, you create that shared knowledge and then you don't have to rely that much on that authority or like the designer is the one who has all the answers. Right? And we need to reach out to them every time we have a question because this edge case is not defined here. So we start building, you start building criteria with your team that's amazing. What, when that happens, because you can have more autonomy, you can have more velocity, you can take more risks. Yeah.

Dianne: Yeah. Well said. Oh my gosh, I love it. So I have a question for you about this concept of the mural of the infinite board, because that's not something a lot of people are familiar with. I guess now there's a lot more, but I feel like from my understanding, you guys are one of the first that created this infinite canvas. And how did you get to that concept? Like how can you communicate like an infinite canvas ,

Denisse: Like me, I'm not sure I understand the question. Like how can you communicate that canvas, how the users understand it or how

Dianne: Yeah, like how do user

Denisse: Approaches? Yeah.

Dianne: I guess both. I was actually thinking of it more from a user perspective, like, they're like, oh, like I can literally just keep going. Like, what's the value of that for a user and how can they like, cuz that's like a big selling point, I think. It's like you collaborate and you have this canvas, you can just keep moving around. You don't have to have new canvases. So how, how do you communicate that to users and how, I guess yeah. Do you design for that too?

Denisse: Definitely has lot of challenges in terms of the structure of the content, the way you navigate the content, the way you interact with the elements, because there are so many layers, like the, the content in the canvas and the, the objects that you manipulate, but also the UI on top of that and a lot of contextual information, a lot of metadata. So the collaborators that are with you in the, in the same mural I know it's, it's hard for new users to understand when they don't have experience with a tool like that. And sometimes they perceive it as a tool for designers or a very specialized tool that they will need to learn or invest a lot of time in learning. So yeah, we are working all the time on improving the onboarding experience or communicating how that infinite canvas works.

Denisse: It wasn't always like that. It was limited at some point, and then we made it infinite. But even with the limited one, it was very hard to understand the scale of the elements because you can swim or you can enlarge the elements, but it was hard to understand what was happening there. I think we still have a lot of work to do in that regard, like the scale of the elements in the mural. There are relationships between all of them and they work as a system and they have a cohesive size and scale depending on the type of object and the shop it's going to solve for the user. Because for instance, there are good practices with sticky notes. Like a sticky note should be a very concise and short idea that you can summarize in one sentence. So that drives how we design this sticky note. And yeah, those constraints I think help because they are guidelines for how to use the tool. But yeah, it's a different thinking style, but when they realize how it worked, there's like a wow moment, a wow effect when they see the value of the tool. That is, that is awesome. Yeah.

Dianne: Yeah. I mean, I think like, a bit like thinking about tables that we were talking about originally or sticky notes, it's like those come from others , like a sticky note is meant like most people know a sticky note and they've used it in their real, physical life. And so by translating this concept of a sticky note to like an infinite canvas, it's like there's, you're still trying to provide a pattern that people are somewhat familiar with. So there's like that interaction and that way of communicating.

Denisse: Yes. And there's a question of how far do you wanna take that metaphor from the real world to, to help the affordances of the tools and, and help people understand how they work. And when that metaphor starts limiting what you can do in a digital environment, which has way more capabilities. So there's a decision, something to balance there that is very interesting, but using metaphors from the real world, it's very, very helpful. If you think like a facilitator or someone guiding a workshop or a collaborative session in, in the real world in a room, and they ask everyone to write something down on a, on a, in their own city and then share it on the wall, right? You think of that moment when they write, that's like a private moment for them. It's not that everyone is reading what the others are doing, right?

Denisse: But in the mural, we have everything exposed all the time because that was how the two work, if you type others will see in real time what you are typing. So at some point we encountered issues with psychological safety. Like, I wanna work on my own. I don't want people to read what I'm writing down until I decide I'm ready to share it. And we are finding digital ways of solving those things. Sometimes simulating physical scenarios and sometimes thinking of new ideas. We, we, at that moment, I remember we were doing a research on our child use cases and the, for instance, for agile ceremonies, like retrospectives, sometimes people need to talk about sensitive topics or, or express things that need more Yeah. More elaboration and on more space for them to write down these ideas. So we work on the private model feature that allows you to write and nobody can read what you are writing until there's like this reveal moment where all the content is revealed at the same time and you can see whether there's or right. Yeah. So yeah, that, that's a conversation we have very often as we Yeah. When do we wanna use the metaphor from the real world and, and when we look for, for other ideas for innovation.

Dianne: Right? Right. And I, I mean, I think this is a great example of us talking about like, it seems simple, like, oh, I was like, oh, it's just like from the real, do you take a sticky note and you're like, yeah, but how far can you take it? And that's such a great example of there's so much more that is in a designer's job, or not even a product's mission is to like, think about all of these problems that we're solving and really go deep. And so I, yeah, I was like, oh my gosh. And then I was like, what if the sticky note in the real world, it's like, it's unstick. Like how do you do that on a digital campus? Like of course that's probably not necessary, but yeah, like where do you draw the line? It's really fascinating to think about now my brain's speaking about sticky notes,

Denisse: What is very interesting to me is that these tools, different tools, allow or support different thinking styles. So when you're trying to think of an idea, it is different, right? Trying to draw it or trying to write down sticky notes, putting the sticky in a very structured way, like a table and having like this clear areas or moving things around in a free form way or connecting things, ideas with arrows. I'm very passionate about that. Or also color calling any visual supports to, to visualize or understand and share ideas. I'm very passionate about that and I'm very happy to work in that part of the world because murals are a big platform. It's not only the experience in the canvas, it also has integrations, like a dashboard where you can find your content and navigate your murals. Like there are many aspects of the product, but the canvas to me is like thinking the, the tools themselves. That's very powerful because that's how we support people doing their work right,

Dianne: Which

Denisse: Is, yeah.

Dianne: So for me, for facilitation, you're kind of like, this is kind compassion. Do you have a specific process? Do you like to follow, like design thinking? Do you like to do the Google process? Like what's your favorite workshop method?

Denisse: I think we follow the design thinking methods where we make sure we go through the diversions phase and we get all the ideas and then converse. And that's something we never miss. We never take shortcuts on, on, on that on the diversion phase. Yeah, and I'm not a super I don't know, I'm not like a frameworks person. I am, I always struggle with recipes, even for cooking. It's hard for me to cook the same dish, like the same meal twice and, and do it the same way. I always, yeah. Change something just a little bit. Yeah. I think that frameworks are great, but also it shouldn't be the framework per se. Like I don't know the framework for, for the framework, right? So that's where critical thinking is, is key. So you design you on the design process, you have to design what's the next step. And maybe you have like a, it's great to have frameworks at hand that you can bring in when, when you need it, but you always have to be clear what's the question you need to answer? What's the decision you need to make, who do you want to involve and how do you wanna do it? It's very contextual, I think. Yeah. Yeah.

Dianne: Oh, that's interesting. This made me think of AI chat. G B T obviously is like the thing right now. The world is changing because of it. And as I've been playing more with it, I realize that it's more of a tool to like, there's never like a re i, I guess it's like the prompts. It's like, how much more, how do you learn? How can you take your learnings from something you asked chap g p t yesterday and maybe tweak something so that you get a better answer. And so I think it's always like, yeah, like critical thinking, like how can you, like not just repeat the same patterns over and over and expect different results? How can you keep pushing the boundaries and keep thinking about how you can get the best answers for you? Or how can you take what they gave you and turn it into something else? And so I think it's always like diving a little deeper and changing things slightly to see what happens from it and the differences that you get from it in learning, I guess always.

Denisse: Yes. That's like an experimentation mindset, right? Right, right. If you think of a design project as an experiment, that's very helpful. You know, have all the pressure to make the right decisions now everything in advance. You, you are learning and, and by learning, you, you build a thing at, at the end, you end up with something that hopefully adds value. That's our goal. Yeah. But you also have, you also learn a lot in the meantime. So to me, I like to think of my job in a way that I get meaning from the things I do. Like there should be meaning if, even if you're using a framework, make sure there's meaning within the framework that is meaningful for you at that moment in the process now that we are doing because you're following a recipe.

Dianne: Yes, well said. It's kind of like when you're cooking and you have to taste it along the way and decide what you need, what you need to change instead of just doing it. And then you get to the final result and you're like, oh, I should have put more salt in at the beginning. Like, if you're thinking of it as an experiment and testing along the way, you're gonna get there.

Denisse: Yeah, exactly.

Dianne: So one of the last kinds of concepts I wanted to ask you about was collaboration. Obviously murals are a huge tool for collaboration, especially during covid. Like obviously people's need to collaborate in a space together remotely kind of blew up. And so what are, I mean, this is kind of a broad question, but like, what are the biggest challenges you as a designer are faced with building a tool for collaboration?

Denisse: That's a good question. Yeah, for, yeah, we have this facilitator role, you know, that has become more popular during the last years. It's like a formalized role where someone takes the lead and guides a session and uses, maybe they are the experts in using murals and, and using the features to, to guide people through the activities. But I also noticed that lately sometimes you don't have a clear facilitator person who will take care of everything and will make the perfect worship or the perfect session. Sometimes it's like your teammates trying to guide a conversation and get like outcomes to get to agreement or like, we are thinking on how we might support everyone in this role trying to guide this conversation and how murals can be the platform. Well, that allows those conversations to happen in a more horizontal, collaborative way.

Denisse: There are some interesting mechanisms in the digital world. For instance, if you run a vote in session, right in, in, in, you vote on the ideas in a mural that's very horizontal. And, that way you prevent people from taking out the space because they are more charismatic and they talk more or they speak more out loud so you can hear all the voices. And also, we are thinking more on how we communicate non-verbally, which is a huge part of our communication. How can we translate that into the canvas experience through sending reactions in real time or, or reacting to the content in the canvas. Those types of moments help collaboration, help people express ideas, express how they feel. We try to think a lot about how we can create psychological safety. And so people feel willing to, to express their ideas and also how we bring some joy into the product, because collaboration is also about engagement, being present, sharing what you think entering this flow sometimes where you are like bringing more ideas and, and getting inspired from others.

Denisse: So there's a lot of that also, like finding opportunities to bring small delights. So maybe you end a session and you can celebrate and there's confetti on the screen, and you create this, this moment of engagement because working remotely is, it's, it's hard. I mean, it's awesome. I love staying at home with my pets and working with people across the world, but sometimes you feel a bit isolated. There's a big issue with teams that are disconnected or not working as effectively as they could. Because this is still new for us learning and we adapted very fast. But there are a lot of things from the human experience that can still be potentiated in the digital environment. Yeah, yeah,

Dianne: Yeah. No, for sure. I, I feel like it's funny now because I have been working remotely so much in my team's remote . If we do get together in person, I find we still like using murals or using Figma. Like we still get on our computers and do the workshops instead of like getting an actual sticky note. We're like, oh, we don't have time to go to the store and get a sticky note. So I think it's also interesting to think about facilitating in-person collaborations through technology as well, because I feel like a lot of people use it in that sense too.

Denisse: Yes. Well, being digital first has a lot of advantages. If you start your work and your work is already digitized, then you can extract, like, process that information, transform it into something else. It has, yeah, it's very powerful. So it's great that we are taking advantage of those capabilities. And, and yeah, collaboration is, is key for success. We often talk, we talk a lot about empathy. We talk about empathy for the user right, in, in this time, for this time. But I also think that empathy should be applied to your colleagues to understand who you collaborate with, to have to be successful in the things you do. You have to understand who is working with you and what they need from you, how can you also make them successful. We have it as a company value that is my favorite one, that is to make others successful.

Denisse: And that's like a value I really try to embody. So when I think of writing these specs, I think about what's the best way for my engineers to write, to read and go through these specs in a way that it's not very time consuming and easy to find the information. It's engaging. They understand the why behind the decisions. So, or if I'm, I work with my pm I want to understand what are their concerns, what are, what are the things that are creating pressure or that are stressing her or that I don't know, there are so many things happening for people where you must and trying to do our, our best, that when you start having, applying that empathy for your colleagues, it gets to better results. But also there's, well, empathy to me, it's, it's hard because it's a, it could be a bit controversial in the way that sometimes you, you, it's easier to have empathy for people who you share the same background with or have feel closer to. Yeah. So that has a lot of bias. We need to be very careful with that. But yeah, having some, bringing your sensitivity or your human self to work. Yeah. Yeah. I,

Dianne: I think that was so beautifully said. I feel like that's such a big part of it, it's like we're all just here, like getting by, right? Like, be gentle. You never know what other people are experiencing and yeah. Like how can you make everyone's experience as seamless and easy as possible, whether it's with your colleagues or you're building a product or like in general, like how can you be empathetic, which is really interesting, especially when you think about other cultures and like, what does empathy mean to them? What are, what kind of cultural differences are present that you don't even recognize that are causing someone else to feel uncomfortable? It's endless. There's not,

Denisse: Yes. When, when, when I started working at Mural my shop required that I speak English, and I was just learning. I didn't know English. I could have a fluid conversation. So it was very hard for me the first three or six months because I was onboarding, being onboarded to the company and to the pro. But also I was learning the language to communicate with my, with my colleagues and with my users. And I, I was like, I will, I will start a re meeting with this disclaimer, like, please be mindful full. I'm like, English is my second language, or Can you repeat that? Can you say it like I was so obsessed with this. It was very hard for me, but everyone was so empathetic and helped me so much that I'm very helpful for that. And that's something that puts you in a position to understand. Everyone is going through different things. But we, everyone has so much to bring to, to the, so much value to bring, especially from different backgrounds when you have diversity, it's very valuable for a team to have this type of diversity and to give space for everyone to develop, to learn yeah, creating this, this environment for everyone to, to, to succeed.

Dianne: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I, I feel like you having that experience definitely like, put you in a whole different mindset of how to like, tackle challenges. Like, you experienced something that, I mean, not only were you starting a new job and onboarding, you were learning a whole new language. Like, I can't even imagine how exhausting every day had to have been for you at the beginning. That's,

Denisse: Yeah. There, there was a fun story. I will share it shortly because I, my, the first interviews I had to do with users, I wasn't very good at English, so I practiced the questions like a script. So I was prepared for asking the questions. That was it. And then when the users started answering, I really, I couldn't understand what they were saying. I was so nervous. And people we were talking to were from different countries with different accents, so it was very hard for me to understand. So I was like, mm-hmm. , like, I just waiting for them to, to wrap their last idea and jump to the next question. Like, I couldn't do any follow up questions because I was not understanding. And then I had to watch all the recordings like twice to, to have the transcripts and, and process the ideas. And I have help from, from my PMA at the moment. She was awesome. She helped me a lot. But what I actually learned there is that it's a great research skill to be to have English as your second language or, or to interview in a second language because you are being so careful that the person understands the question that they speak.

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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