Whitney HessUser Experience Coach

Whitney Hess coaches business leaders on how to more mindfully and compassionately design their products, their companies and themselves. She is the author of Pleasure & Pain and the co-host of Designing Yourself. Her life’s mission is to put humanity back into business.

Best known for her work with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Seamless Food Delivery and Boxee, Whitney has spent the last decade partnering with senior leaders and product teams at Fortune 500s, nonprofits and startups.

Whitney graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and a Bachelor’s in Professional Writing and HCI. She is currently pursuing a certification in Integral Coaching from New Ventures West and certification in Strategic Decision and Risk Management from Stanford University. She is a favored mentor to user experience practitioners and entrepreneurs, and has shared her message at dozens of conferences worldwide.

Born to challenge the status quo, Whitney is an only child, a lefty, a redhead, a JuBu, a nomad, an ENFJ, an 8 with a 7 wing, a yogi, a locavore, a hophead, an oyster aficionado, a PEZ collector, and a pretty good rapper. A native Manhattanite, she now lives in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, CA, with her sailor Fredrick and their EPIRB. They are in the early stages of planning their circumnavigation.

Recent Answers

There is benefits and drawbacks to every usability testing tool. People like usertesting.com because they can "set it and forget it" meaning they recruit all of the participants for you and offer automated unmoderated tests, then send you the results. It's an easy way to get a lot of feedback quickly.

While this may seem like a great way to save time and money, how does it really get you closer to achieving your goals of better understanding your users? Do you think that a test conducted in this manner is really attaining high quality results and valid data?

Empathy cannot be outsourced. It requires time and effort to get to know people at an intimate level. If you have stakeholders demanding usability testing with 100 participants and you're considering using a tool like this to save time, first consider educating your stakeholders on why it is unnecessary to conduct usability testing with that many participants. Five in-person test sessions will cost a heck of a lot less, take even less time, and result in very high quality and valuable feedback you can implement immediately. Plus it will help you and your team better internalize the flaws of your design and the needs of your users.

If you have more questions about these tools, usability testing, or other research methods, please feel free to call me on Clarity.

The best way to get paid speaking gigs is to build a following that is eager to hear you speak and willing to pay the price of admission. I started by speaking at community-organized events that are not run for a profit, so they are not able to pay speakers beyond offering free entry to the event. But those conferences tend to accept proposal submissions and many use a blind review process, offering opportunities to speakers who may not yet be well known.

After establishing a few successes and these types of events, and proving the value you provide to attendees both during the event and afterward, organizers of for-profit events will begin to seek you out. When there is a higher registration costs and more attendees, the organizers are more likely to be able to offer you an honorarium. You can begin by asking for reimbursement for your travel expenses and an honorarium of up to $500.

Then similarly, by building a track record at this level and proving you can fill seats, you will be able to demand increasing fees. As your following grows and you build your reputation, speaking rates can grow from $2000 up to $10000 for the most in demand speakers. Celebrities and household names can demand upwards of $25K per speaking engagement.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call me on Clarity.

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