Risk reduction is trying to make sure bad things happen as rarely as possible. It’s antilock brakes and vaccinations and irons that turn off by themselves and all sorts of things that we think of as safety modifications in our life. Harm mitigation is what we do so that when bad things do happen, they are less catastrophic. Building fire sprinklers and seat belts and needle exchanges are all about making the consequences of something bad less terrible.
Developers need to be thinking about failure states more than we currently do. We talk about avoiding them or testing them away, but we don’t talk about how to make even failure a better experience. Heidi Waterhouse explores risk reduction and harm mitigation, helping you understand where you can prevent problems and where you can just make them less bad, and shares available tools to make every disaster a disappointing fizzle.
Heidi is a developer advocate with LaunchDarkly. She delights in working at the intersection of usability, risk reduction, and cutting-edge technology. One of her favorite hobbies is talking to developers about things they already knew but had never thought of that way before. She sews all her conference dresses so that she’s sure there is a pocket for the mic.
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