06-07/2018 | Month in review | Dutch, anyone?

June was a short month due to my vacation and it already feels so long ago. I cannot believe that it is only 6 weeks ago that I woke up to this view every morning:


Fully recharged and with lots of energy, I dove straight into project work as I got back and a lot has happened these past few weeks. I was working on a variety of different topics, mainly providing support in creating proposals and first concept drafts for different clients. Since the beginning of July I have been working on a very exciting project, which required me to ramp-up in a completely new field quickly – not on digital things for a change, but on physical and chemical coherences instead. I also got to spend a couple of days in Den Haag and other places in Holland to meet the client and do user research in the field.

Field Research

Field research (& birthday) outfit

One challenge that I have never faced before was having to conduct the user interviews together with an interpreter in a language (Dutch) that I hardly understand. We chose to take a Dutch colleague on the project who could translate, but who is not a trained interpreter. However, that also means that the interview time (in our case 60 minutes) had to include the translation, which cut down on the number of questions that I had. What worked well: The participants spoke enough English to understand my questions and also mainly answered in English. Whenever I felt that they had trouble to think of the right words I asked them to say it in Dutch and my colleague translated. What did not work so well: I could clearly see that speaking in a foreign language limits the amount of details that a person shares. Also, whenever they spoke Dutch and my colleague provided a summary of what had been said, it was hard for me to refer back to what the person said in their answer and e.g. ask them to elaborate further, since I only understood the summary. In an ideal world, I would choose a trained interviewer that speaks the language of the participants to conduct the interview and work with a fully translated transcript as well as the video recordings (for body language analysis). You always have to work with what you got though and going through our recordings again and again, I feel we still get to collect a sufficient amount of insights.

In two different projects I was also reminded of a campaign from a couple of years ago that really inspired me back then and still is a great use case today. In both cases I thought about how you could motivate people to complete some work-related security training. This is an important, but often neglected task. A couple of years ago Metro Trains in Melbourne thought about how they could get young people to take security precautions when they are at the train station and they came up with this:

Dumb ways to die is a fantastic campaign – directed to people that are not open to hearing security advice. It works so well because it communicates in a fun way, without a wagging finger, the cartoon characters are inclusive and can refer to all age groups and ethnic backgrounds. Plus, the song has a catchy tune and is sung and written by two of my favorite artists – Emily Lubitz and Ollie McGill.

I bet you are humming along now… :-)

Stay safe and have a great month!

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