Research & Design, Strategy, & Speaking

Speaking and Workshops

Don't Shut Me Out! Language is Content, Usability, and Accessibility. UXPA-MN, 8 June, 2017.

Don't Shut Me Out! Language is Content, Usability, and Accessibility. UXPA-MN, 8 June, 2017.

I'm available for speaking engagements and workshops! 

I speak on a variety of topics related to UX, language and content, and mental health as well as the intersection of those things.  I am an engaging, clear speaker, and I'd be delighted to learn more about what you're looking for! 

I would highly recommend the rest of the team check out any further talks she does. Very informative perspective on usability, and one that is often neglected in traditional training (and work practices for that matter).
— Gabe Persons, User Researcher and Experience Designer
Did you get to hear Abby Bajuniemi, PhD’s talk tonight at Macalester ? Thought-provoking, engaging discussion on the importance of understanding the nuances of language, language localization, what grade level is your site written at, the dangers of machine translation and chatbots and so on. So much to digest from this fascinating discussion! Bravo Abby, great job!
— Molly Gurtin, UXPA-MN 2017 Program Director
I very much enjoyed it as well! Brought a friend who is a graphic designer and he literally whispered “oh man” under his breath at some of Abby’s points! We both got a lot out of it, great talk!
— Kiersten, UI Developer

Don't Shut Me Out! Language is Content, Usability, and Accessibility

We don’t always think of language itself as a usability or accessibility issue, but language is highly complex and socially constructed. Language can draw a user in or make her feel rejected or othered, which will make or break an experience. This talk will center on why language is a content, usability, and accessibility issue, and highlight the consequences of not considering your users/audience when designing/writing content. You will learn how to reflect on your language choices, be more thoughtful with your content, and when/how to use translators.

By the end of this session, you should learn:

  • How language standards become standards and what that means when writing for specific audiences

  • More about the social and contextual effects of meaning-making and how humans communicate without saying exactly what they mean

  • How you can be more inclusive with your writing

  • Why you need to test your content with users, especially if you are using translated material

  • The benefits of using a human translator and testing your translated content with your target audience and why it matters that you test

8 June, 2017: UXPA-MN; 1 May, 2017: MinneWebCon; 23 Feburary, 2019: World IA Day Minneapolis


Invited talk for Hennepin County's Health@Work series

The effects of the "casual pathologizing" of mental illness and the effects of the language you use around mental health in the workplace. 

Invited panelist. 20 April, 2017


Twin Cities Geekettes - UX: How did I get here and what am I doing?

Invited to share with women in technology how I got into UX and what my day-to-day looks like. 

8 March, 2017


Language and Gender in the Workplace

The ways women are talked about and how they talk about themselves is coded into culture and language. In this workshop, I explain how language becomes part of "common sense," or shared background/cultural knowledge. I illustrate how gender bias is implicitly and explicitly reinforced by language, intentional or not, by providing examples and activities to uncover hidden (or not) biases that even women hold about other women. I include some strategies to become more mindful of those biases as well as strategies for changing them if desired. Finally, I also include some ways to think about how to support and empower fellow women at work when they see subtle or overt sexism happening. This workshop is highly interactive, so expect to be an active contributor!

January and March, 2017: Women in Tech @ C.H. Robinson; October 2017 and May 2018: MN WiT 


Mental Models

This workshop is meant to illustrate why it is so important to talk to your users when designing a product. Using my background in cognitive linguistics, I walk attendees through several exercises meant to tease out their mental models (in linguistics, mental representation) of some common concept classifications. Doing this illustrates the basic premise behind what a mental model is, and provides new ways for people to think about how to approach design with a user-centered approach. Suitable for UX and non-UX audiences. 

January, 2017: Prime Digital Academy UX Cohort; February, 2017: UX Team @ C.H. Robinson


More in development! Not seeing exactly what you want? Email me! We'll talk about what you'd like to develop for your context!