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.
“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.