Transcript of Interview With Jill Mugge, Cali White, and Darby Siscoe

Interview With Jill Mugge, Cali White, and Darby Siscoe

This interview features Jill Mugge, senior manager of digital accessibility at Hilton, Cali White, senior manager of experience design research at Hilton, and Darby Siscoe, senior manager of experience design research at Hilton. You can watch it on Jill’s, Cali’s, and Darby’s profile pages.


– Hello, I’m Joe Welinske and I’m the conference director for ConveyUX, which is coming up at the end of February. And we’re looking forward to having people in Seattle and online. And I have the opportunity to speak with our presenters from the conference. Today, I’m speaking with a three person team. It, I’d like to introduce you to Jill Mugge, Cali White and also Darby Siscoe. So, hello everyone. It’s good to have you here.

– Hello. Thanks for having us.

– Well, one of the things I like to do at the very start is find out a little bit about your background and the nature of your work. So maybe you could start us off, Jill.

– Yeah, sounds good. So my name is Jill Mugge and I am a senior manager at Hilton with our digital accessibility team. And I’ve been at Hilton for about three years or so now. And this was actually a career change for me. I came from the world of marketing and found a lot of personal and career satisfaction in moving into the world of, of disability and making digital products, especially hospitality, digital products accessible. Callie,

– Hi everybody. My name’s Cali White. I am a senior manager on the user experience research team. And so I had been with Hilton for about five years now. Before Hilton, I was actually working on human-centered design projects in hospitals. So I was in the healthcare field, found my passion for user-centric, so it was patient-centric work in healthcare. And then I made an industry change to hospitality and I’ve been with Hilton ever since.

– Hey everyone. I’m Darby. I am also a senior manager on the US research team at Hilton. I have a background in human computer interaction where I used, I used to mentor undergraduate students at the university before in Indiana, before I came to Hilton.

– Alright, well that gives us a good idea of who you are and what you’re involved in. Let’s talk about your topic, which is the journey to include people with disabilities in research. And that’s an area that I am, I’m always actively involved in at Blink as our accessibility director in addition to my work with the conference. But why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you came around to this topic and what people could expect to learn from it.

– Yeah, this has been a passion project for the three of us. We have been working at this for, for quite a while now. What we’re gonna be talking about in our presentation is really what it’s like to stand up and formalize a program of including people with disabilities in our user research. And one of the points that we make here is that this is not about compliance, accessibility, monitoring or, or checking or research, but it’s more along the lines of innovation and ideation. And so it’s a, it’s a program that we’ve been working really hard at for a while. Hilton is a very large organization and so to, to stand up and formalize the program, it’s, it’s taken all three of us and we’re lucky that we’re passionate about it because we’ve run into some, to some challenges, but, you know, have found some ways to overcome it. We know that this is a really important topic, not just for Hilton and hospitality, but in the world of accessibility in general. It’s an important topic. There’s nothing without us, nothing about us without us, and it’s something, it’s sort of the, the driver that we use to, to, and our passion point for moving the program forward. So we’re gonna tell you all about how we did it, our journey through that, some of the, maybe some, some of the challenges and maybe where we’re headed.

– And, you know, just to to to, you know, talk a little bit maybe about your workflow or how, how it developed you, might one of you have something that you could talk to us about in terms of how the accessibility initiative at your organization developed. Is it something that was, has been part of your design and research for a long time or is it something that you know, is relatively new that you’re moving forward with?

– So the accessibility program has been around for a while at Hilton. We have in the last several years grown it and, and have integrated a lot deeper into our software development life cycles. And we are actually the accessibility team, our design team and our research team are all under the same umbrella. We like to refer to ourselves as cousins and so we’re, we’re pretty close. We get to work with each other quite often. And so this was a really a natural progression for both how we were maturing our program and how the user research, they’ve always been ready for us to, to show up. So we just had a little bit of catching up to do and, and they were open for sure. And so really it was just a matter of putting that, putting that to work and putting that into, into action. And so that’s, that’s where we are right now.

– Well, in, in accessibility. I know from my own experience working with our, our many different clients across a lot of D industries, that while there are a lot of accessibility principles that are common throughout that, that you need to pay attention to, there’s also things that end up being unique to different industries, different vertical markets. And as wondering if there’s something you know about the, the nature of Hilton that has you look at things in a way that maybe would be different from others that aren’t in in that industry.

– Kelly, do you wanna take a stab at that one?

– That, yeah, I, so thinking about, you know, our guest and their entire guest journey, I think one thing that we have to think about and has to be top of mind is the digital and physical experience. And so where we really come in is that digital experience from the very beginning because if somebody, you know, if a person with a disability of various kinds goes to our website and they can’t access it or they can’t get through the experience, we automatically and quickly lose them as a guest. And so I think we have to remember from the very beginning, it’s their choice where they book a hotel room. And so if we can make that experience accessible as possible for all of our guests and potential guests, then I think that has, you know, that’s super important for us as a company. And so I think just we have to remember that, you know, they have a choice where they stay and so we wanna make sure that our experience is as accessible as possible for all of our guests.

– And Doug, Terry,

– Anything to add around that?

– I think as a company kind of tally alluded to this a little bit, there are things internally that we talk about. Like we have promises that we want to uphold to our guests and our internal team members. And so that’s always at the root of, I think everything we do as a company and at definitely at the root of this work as well.

– Alright, well yeah, thanks for providing us with a, a little bit about the behind the scenes of how you do your work at, at Hilton and also a little bit about the session that’s coming up and look forward to seeing you in Seattle for the presentation in a few months.

– Yeah, we’re really excited. Thanks Joe for the opportunity to share a little bit about our story and give you a little sneak peek into it. So we look forward to meeting you and seeing you in Seattle.

– All right, great. Thank you. Bye-Bye.