The truth about the presentation process

Having the opportunity to speak to an audience who cares what you have to say and believes they can learn something new from you is a totally surreal experience. Especially when you consider that months of work pours out of you in under an hour. I’ve been speaking at conferences since the fall of 2008. [Keep Reading…]

Speaking Up

Two days ago, a prominent designer named Sarah Parmenter published a post titled Speaking Up, in which she revealed the horrific harassment she has endured as a public woman in technology. Sarah and I have spoken at the same conferences and share a lot of the same friends, and I have admired her ability to [Keep Reading…]

Today marks 5 years on Twitter

I can hardly believe that the year is 2013 and today is the 5th anniversary of when I joined Twitter. It may seem like a silly thing to celebrate or even recognize, but to me it’s a moment to remember when things changed forever. My life has taken many twists and turns over the last [Keep Reading…]

My 2012 Year in Review

2012 has been a big year for me, one of tremendous evolution and many new experiences. At the start of the year, I expanded my vision of user experience beyond product design and shifted my focus to organizational empathy. Designing the product is all for naught if you don’t first take the time to design [Keep Reading…]

Whitney Hess: The Cultural Questionnaire

I was asked to complete a questionnaire for One Two One Two Microphone Check, a project by Alex Duloz. OTOTMC has questionnaires on Work, Lifestyle, Culture, Health & Beauty, Nightlife, and If I Could Do It All Over Again. They’re all in the style of Proust Questionnaires, meant to reveal your true personality. I chose [Keep Reading…]


I was sketched while presenting at An Event Apart Boston 2012 by the highly accomplished artist Fish McGill: The 5 Whys and Fishbone Diagram on either side of my head are techniques I discuss in my talk, What’s Your Problem? Putting Purpose Back into Your Projects. Check out all of his portraits from the event. [Keep Reading…]

Four Years of Independence

Exactly four years ago today — Friday, August 22, 2008 — I “left work” for the last time. It was the last day of my last full-time job, and I’ve been independently employed ever since. I choose to say “independently employed” rather than self-employed because over these four years I’ve been forced to accept that [Keep Reading…]