Support Driven 2019 Day 2: Afternoon sessions

Notes from Support Driven 2019 Day 2 of the sessions that I attended.

Don’t blame the user: A human-centered approach to support and design

Erin Grace, Epiq Global

Thoughts like “what a stupid user” is not helpful to the situation.


  • design doesn’t account for actual community
  • users’ only option is the contact support
  • design is overly complicated and difficult to understand, even when you do know what’s going on

Communities are almost always more complex than we imagine.

  • disabilities
  • cultural and language differences
  • tech experience differences

Give users alternative ways to contact support; no one wants to sit on a phone tree

Complex systems can have complicated design but they don’t have to.


  • practice empathy
  • provide better docs
  • pass feedback to people who can fix the problem

Make users feel safe: asking questions is vulnerable. Often may have been shamed for low level of tech skills.

Improve user documentation

  • if there are docs, make them easy to find and search
  • make a FAQ
  • improve on-screen text: field names, errors, tooltips, etc.

Fix problems in the short term and fix designs in the long term

  • dig into “why”
  • reach across teams
  • get metrics and show trends

Closing the Loops: Enhancing team dynamics by leveraging constructive and thoughtful feedback

Marco Yim (Speaker) Founder, Extempra

Written feedback is better for going back to. Positive feedback should be more ongoing, though negative feedback might be direct to a situation. Typically you want 5-6 positive feedback pieces for every constructive piece of feedback over time.

It’s easier to give feedback than it is to receive feedback.

Understand your own style of feedback first: Analyzer, Connector, Achiever, Energizer

feedback style questionnaire

Good to understand the other person’s feedback as well so that you can

Organization and clarity is everything. Chunk: chronological, theme/topics (e.g. type of work), scale: micro vs. macro (personal vs. business level), activity, rubric, problem-effect, other ; Sub-structure: point, reason, example, point (PREP), cause-effect-recommendation-effect, goal, reality opportunity, way forward (GROW), learner feedback, giver feedback, action (Pendlton) ; Evidence: statistics, stories, videos, news, other

Giving feedback in positive, constructive, and thoughtful

  • don’t make assumptions, blame, condemn in front of others, use hearsay, overwhelm
  • offer support to them, and open to feedback (two-way feedback)
  • focus is on the person
  • ensure it’s not a bad time
  • ask for permission
  • making sure the other person feels safe, respected and trusted, then will receive feedback better
  • use facts
  • actionable next steps
  • reinforce nothing has changed (still a valuable part of the team, just making it better)
  • co-creation process: what are things we want to do?
  • specific, fact of why

Word strength

  • directing or facilitating, expert or learning
  • expert to explore: consider, not expert: try
  • expert: recommend, not expert: do, active verb
  • invite

That’s it!

Hope you enjoyed, and maybe we’ll see you again next year?!


Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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