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I'm Ricky Abisla, a user researcher, educator, and facilitator focused on elevating the voice of the user. Since 2003, I've been using participatory techniques to encourage users to talk about and co-design tech and educational solutions to local problems. Most recently, I've led participatory design work with groups of library users - and librarians - throughout Brazil, in two projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

I'm curious, empathetic, solutions-oriented, and I love to learn. I use techniques from popular education, participatory action research, and UX research to understand the needs of the end user, and I use these insights to improve service and UX design.


In addition to English, I speak Spanish and Portuguese, and have facilitated events and performed research in all three languages. I have worked in Honduras, Jamaica, Brazil, and India, and am comfortable in a variety of settings and cultures. I hold an AB from the University of Chicago and an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

A seasoned public speaker and presenter, I have often been called upon to represent my projects at conferences worldwide. Some highlights include:

  •   “Think Local - Better Data Through Community Participation,”                          OpenDataCon, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2018.

  •   “Listening to Create: Participatory Methodologies in Public Libraries”            interactive workshop at NextLibrary Conference, Aarhus, Denmark,              2017.

  •   "Made at the Library and Innovation in Public Libraries.” Brazilian Forum     of Public Libraries Conference, São Paulo, Brazil, 2015.

  •   “Participatory Methodologies in Mobile Application Development.”                 TechSoup Partner Summit, San Francisco, CA, 2017.

  •    Presentation before Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mignon Clyburn at the       Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C., 2013.

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