Personal email addresses are weird and a pain in the ass.

I used a raw gmail address for years for my personal email, while keeping my professional consulting work separate using our consultancy’s domain. Hey excited me not only because of their opinionated manifesto about email, but because the idea of having a email address for my personal email was super tantilizing.

Email addresses inherently mark a person as belonging to whatever the domain happens to be. Have an address? You’re a gmail user. Have a address? You’re about twenty years behind the times. was neat…

An active video call session underway with many participants, but no captions.
An active video call session underway with many participants, but no captions.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Over the last few months, workplace conversation and communication has adapted to the rise in remote work by shifting largely to some form of video calling. For people living with hearing loss, video calls are broadly inaccessible and exclusive. But we’re at a threshold where the technology exists to make these tools accessible to everyone. Google Meet now has real-time captions. Other real-time speech-to-text tools like Otter are flourishing.

The challenge: real-time captioning in video calls is a new problem space with its own risks, challenges, and opportunities. If we get it right, we’ll create more accessible and inclusive platforms…

A photo of a Macbook with the author in a Google Meet call on the screen. Macbook is next to a dog on the table.
A photo of a Macbook with the author in a Google Meet call on the screen. Macbook is next to a dog on the table.
Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash

With the rise of remote work in the midst of a pandemic, my working world is more accessible than ever before. But I find myself more dependent than ever on one of the most inaccessible forms of communication: the video call.

I’m deaf as a post. My hearing loss got worse throughout my childhood, which, as a side effect, helped me develop strong lip-reading skills. In practice, I can’t turn the sounds I hear into actual words that I can understand, so I rely on lip reading in conversations and meetings.

Early in my career, conversations took place over emails…

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

🚨 Before you read this article:

The COVID-19 pandemic evolved so quickly since I wrote this article, that I’d like to preface it with some additional context and to respond to some questions.

Why did I write this article?

We cancelled our research on Monday, March 9. I wrote this article on Wednesday, March 11 and published it in the morning on Thursday, March 12.

At the time of writing, the pandemic and global response was only beginning to pick up. …

Photo by Joshua Coleman on Unsplash

It can be paralyzing.

Not only do you have to decide between equally valid options, you have to commit to your decision and be prepared to defend it.

It’s a challenge that products teams deal with every day.

Thankfully, there’s a solution.

First, let me ask you a question: on which side of your car is the gas tank cover?

Why is your gas tank cover on [that] side of the car?

Not every car has the gas tank cover on the same side.

You might imagine the most aesthetically-pleasing location for the gas tank cover is in the middle of the back. …

Photo by manhhai on Flickr

The New York Times just published a fascinating feature revealing the story playing out in the background during the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire. It’s a compelling look behind the scenes, from the moment smoke was first detected to the moment the blaze was extinguished.

It’s also an infuriating look into the outcomes of bad design — and more crucially, the instinct to cast blame on the people who, themselves, are suffering from a design that failed them.

Casting Blame for Notre-Dame

As described by the NYT, a third-party security agency held responsibility for monitoring the smoke alarm system for the cathedral. This system used a…

Photo by Renee Lin on Unsplash

Ethics are a growing concern in digital products, particularly for UX designers, developers, and product managers.

Dark patterns continue to be pervasive and insidious. It’s our responsibility to identify and avoid these patterns in our own work.

However, there’s a specific type of dark pattern that I don’t think we’ve clearly labelled and identified, despite its prevalence in the digital ecosystem today.
I’m speaking of the Possibility Gap.

The Possibility Gap

The Possibility Gap is a dark pattern that arises when a product takes advantage of unknown unknowns on the part of their users, as it relates to their understanding of what is…

I’ve just returned from Amsterdam, where I had the opportunity to present at Uber Design Night about what sports, hearing loss, and language can teach us about better communication in our products.

One of the principles for better communication I shared was the idea that the most intuitive experiences deliberately use the scripts that users already hold in mind.

Scripts set defaults for props, actors, and settings. They’re a mental representation that helps us anticipate what will happen in a given situation. Essentially, they’re mental models that follow a sequence of events.

Take, for example, the script that someone might…

Photo by Vladimir Mokry on Unsplash

I’ve built up a pretty deep library of books that shaped the perspective and mindsets I bring to my work, which touches on UX, research, brand strategy and identity, business strategy, and workplaces and culture.

Most of these books I’ve read at least twice, but some of them are constant references for ideas and direction. I’ve marked those books that I return to again and again with an asterisk *.

I’m going to treat this as a living book list-as I come across new books to add to this list, I’ll update this article with the title and date that…

Photo by Joris Berthelot on Unsplash

I just finished moving my new writing away from Medium and onto my personal website because I forgot that my house is pink.

Quinn Keast

UX Designer and Partner at Caribou.

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