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April Wensel is a veteran software engineer and technical leader whose varied career spans education (Zoodles), research (UserTesting, Carnegie Institution at Stanford), healthcare (Cognoa), and entertainment (Sony, Playdom). She has also mentored and led workshops with diversity-focused organizations like Hackbright Academy and Black Girls Code.
Over the course of more than a decade in the software world, she has researched and experimented with solutions for addressing common problems and has ultimately devised a suite of strategies for harnessing the power of kindness and compassion to build effective software development teams. She founded Compassionate Coding in order to share these strategies with the wider community.
When not coding or leading workshops, she enjoys running marathons and cooking vegan food—because animals deserve our compassion, too!
Examples of previous talks / appearances:
Developers, Meet Your Users: Growing Compassion Through User Research
Most UX designers recognize the importance of user testing to uncover user needs and build empathy for the user's experience with the product. However, in many companies, developers are completely left out of the user testing equation, or perhaps only included in second-hand accounts.
What a tragedy! Nothing beats seeing your users interacting with your product first-hand. If you're leaving the developers out of your user tests, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. By bringing their unique perspective to the user tests, developers can glean helpful insights and build empathy, which will have far-reaching effects on the future of your product. Not only that, but when developers participate in user tests, they gain a better understanding of the motivation behind designer requests, which facilitates better collaboration.
In this talk, developers will learn how to get the most out of user tests, and designers and others will learn how to include developers in user tests most effectively and avoid common pitfalls.
Mobile + Web Dev Con, San Francisco, 2017
Retrospect Yourself: Personal Retrospectives for Values-Based Productivity
Retrospectives are a great way for a team to learn and grow. Why restrict those benefits to the workplace? This talk will introduce the idea of a ”personal retrospective” in which you as an individual take time to reflect on your behavior at regular intervals in order to grow. First, we’ll cover establishing the equivalent of the ”agile principles” for your life. Then, we’ll delve into how to conduct the personal retrospective itself. Finally, we’ll discuss ways to measure the effectiveness of the practice over time.
Microsoft Tech Days, Stockholm, Sweden, 2016