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#106 - Navigating gender, religion, and politics in UX research – with Zoë Glas

#106 - Navigating gender, religion, and politics in UX research – with Zoë Glas

Awkward Silences 26 October 2022

Episode Description

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Why religion is an overlooked topic in UX research
  • Attitudes and behaviors related to religion
  • Tips for researchers on how to address inclusion from a UX perspective

Highlights:

  • [00:01:41] The ‘I’ in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • [00:04:05] Forget about equity, this episode is about diversity and inclusion
  • [00:07:48] Applying inclusion to UX research
  • [00:10:56] How to start difficult conversations around inclusion
  • [00:13:25] Why Zoë is interested in UX research on religion
  • [00:20:38] How to keep your bias in check as a researcher
  • [00:25:09] Zoe shares how she addresses religion from a UX perspective
  • [00:27:11] Why it’s so hard to talk about religion at work

About our guest

Zoë Glas is a Senior UX Researcher at Google. She specializes in gathering and triangulating qualitative and quantitative data to improve amazing products. She has a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Social Science from Purdue University and a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana. Zoe has been published extensively in several international journals, including Sage journals, Society & Natural Resources, and Human Dimensions of Wildlife. 

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#135 - How to Influence Stakeholders with Strategic Research with Andrea Amorós, Associate Principal Researcher at ADP

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#134 - The End of an Era: A Fond Farewell to JH

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#133 - Driving Actionable Decisions from Insights with Pejman Mirza-Babaei, UX Research Consultant

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#129 - How to Upskill Product Teams in UX Research with Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist

#129 - How to Upskill Product Teams in UX Research with Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist

How can UX researchers enable other teams to do research? Show, don’t tell. According to Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist, upskilling product people to do research means letting them observe, sit in, and be present during each stage of a research project—not just being told what to do. Helen went from doing scrappy research with 0 researchers to supporting 50 product people at The Economist to conduct great research with the help of 2 other UX researchers. Tune into this episode to learn how she established UX research as a valued discipline at The Economist, plus how to balance developing research as a craft while supporting non-researchers at the same time.  👇 Highlights:  [00:04:11] From 0 researchers to 3 UXRs and 50 product people  [00:13:30] The art of observation and note-taking during moderated interviews  [00:18:59] Generative research? Bring in a pro researcher [00:24:34] Helen’s biggest wins in instructing others on how to do research better [0:31:07] Researchers develop the craft, but they don’t own it.  [00:33:54] Actionable tips on setting guardrails for non-researchers’ research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward userinterviews.com/awkwardsurvey About Our Guest Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist, is a user-focused research expert with experience in insight, ethnography, design, and user research across commercial, government, and non-profit sectors. Her current role involves telling user stories that uncover opportunities and inspire action across the organization’s portfolio of digital properties. Before joining The Economist, Helen has had an illustrious career involving positions at The Guardian, a housing and homeless charity shelter, Lloyds Banking Group, and Asda. Recently she spoke at the Insight Innovation Exchange 2023.

21 June 2023 43m and 46s


#128 - The Value of “Scrappy” Research with Varun Murugesan, Co-Founder of Apple and Banana

#128 - The Value of “Scrappy” Research with Varun Murugesan, Co-Founder of Apple and Banana

What does good “scrappy” user research look like? According to Varun Murugesan, Co-founder of Apple and Banana, “You could throw anything at Jason Bourne and he would solve it... Would it be effective? [Yes—and] that's what I think about. I don't need all the fanciest tools or software.” Being good at scrappy user research is like being the Jason Bourne of research: being effective with what you have, even if you’re shot down by a tight research budget or limited in bandwidth. Varun joins Erin and JH to discuss his tips for doing scrappy research, advice for finding and utilizing creative techniques in research, and the potential positive and negative effects of the AI explosion. Highlights:  [00:01:38] The value of “scrappy” research in tough economic times [00:05:50] Being “scrappy” is about speed [00:08:51] Innovating with scarce resources during the pandemic [00:17:33] Enhancing creativity through messiness [00:21:40] Sources of inspo for creative research [00:25:07] Re-evaluating your work and success [00:31:03] Research during the AI explosion [000:35:55] 7 years strong doing research, plus new opportunities for the future Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward fruitful.appleandbanana.org About Our Guest Varun Murugesan is the Co-Founder of Apple and Banana, a UXR training and development company helping to build better products through fruitful research. He is also the author of Fruitful, an online UX research library and toolkit of resources for researchers and UX teams aimed at conducting user experience research that drives impact. He is also the Senior UK Researcher of SeatGeek, a mobile ticketing marketplace. Before these positions, Varun worked in UXR roles at Best Buy and Facebook. An entrepreneur, author, and researcher, Varun has spent his career immersed in psychology, technology, and design, and has been featured on a various media platforms sharing fruitful research and his personal UXR career journey. A gift from Apple & Banana and Awkward Silences Interested in trying Apple & Banana for your next research project? Use our code AWKWARD-FRUITS-35 to save 35% on Fruitful, an advanced UX research repository used by 100s of teams around the world.

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#127 - The Power of Failure with Kevin Kelly, Publisher and Founding Editor of Wired

#127 - The Power of Failure with Kevin Kelly, Publisher and Founding Editor of Wired

“There’s a certain amount of forgetting that we need to do in order to learn something new.” – Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor of Wired magazine Whether you are designing a research project, prototyping a product, or carving out your career path, unlearning plays an important role in learning new things. But how do we embrace them in a practical way that leads to viable success? For Kevin Kelly, Publisher and Founding Editor of Wired, leaning on failure is a crucial aspect of the creative writing process—and the motions of life in general. From giving advice on embracing mistakes to finding true joy and fulfillment, Kevin Kelly shares a raw perspective on applying important life lessons to both work and life. In this episode we discuss: Understanding “known failures” and “unknown failures” Forgetting and unlearning your bias.  Prototyping and experimentation in research and in life Career advice, tips, and hacks Highlights: [00:01:51] Navigating failure: tractable vs. intractable failures [00:05:37] Understanding other people's beliefs and questioning our own [00:12:25] The value of prototyping and experimentation in life and your career [00:16:47] Redefining success and exploring unique opportunities [00:22:15] Learning what to ignore and discarding unnecessary information [00:33:44] Kevin's current project on a 100-year desirable future! Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://kk.org/books/the-inevitable About Our Guest Kevin Kelly is an accomplished author, speaker, and “evergreen optimist,” known for his work on technology, innovation, and the future. As the founding executive editor of Wired, Kevin has been instrumental in shaping discussions around technology and its implications on society. He has authored several influential books, including "The Inevitable," which delves into the technological forces that will impact our future. Currently, Kevin is working on a project envisioning a desirable 100-year future.

24 May 2023 45m and 22s


#126 - AI Anxiety: The Dangers (and Opportunities) of AI in Research with Mike Adams of Grain

#126 - AI Anxiety: The Dangers (and Opportunities) of AI in Research with Mike Adams of Grain

AI has recently become hugely popular with the likes of ChatGPT becoming a staple in day to day life, and it looks like it is here to stay. Could it replace the job of a researcher completely? Mike Adams, CEO and Founder of Grain doesn’t think so. Join the conversation as they discuss the potential perks and limitations of utilizing AI in research and product development, tips for getting started in the world of AI, and an insight into the current shift in the roadmap for research products. In this episode we discuss: [00:02:37] The potential of AI for automating away the monotonous  [00:14:23] Utilizing AI: building versus buying [00:18:05] Tips for getting started with AI applications [00:25:55] A shift in the roadmap of potential research products [00:31:43] How utilizing AI could go wrong for researchers Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward grain.com About Our Guest Mike Adams is the CEO and Co-Founder of Grain, a communication platform for teams that helps capture video snippets with ease. Self-describing as a three-time founder with over ten years of experience building skills for job education software programs, Mike is a pioneer for fully immersive cohort-based education. His current mission with Grain is to help teams to share more understanding with each other and the people they work together to serve, thus creating a more cohesive working environment. Mike has authored several useful articles, including “The Founder’s Guide to Actually Understanding Users”.

10 May 2023 39m and 49s


#125 - What is UX Business Coaching? with Sylvana Rochet of Elan Vital Coaching

#125 - What is UX Business Coaching? with Sylvana Rochet of Elan Vital Coaching

Sylvana Rochet, Founder and Principal Coach at Elan Vital Coaching, visits the show to discuss what UX business coaching entails and how to maximize your professional growth opportunities with business coaching. Sylvana shares her past experiences coaching in the world of UX so you can learn what to expect from business coaching, how coaching works, and what the path of building a coaching career looks like. In this episode, we discuss: What does coaching entail? The individual benefits of coaching Finding the right coach When is it a good idea to consult a coach? What qualities do effective coaches have? Advice for aspiring coaches Highlights: [01:48.73] Sylvana defines coaching and shares her career journey [07:05.40] Sylvana explains why most people look for leadership coaches [10:59.60] The difference between mentorship and coaching [19:40.69] When not to call a coach and the duration of a coaching arrangement [21:52.00] Factors to consider when choosing a coach [27:14.36] What you can expect from working with a UX coach [39:51.76] Career tips for aspiring coaches  Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.linkedin.com/in/sylvanarochetbelleri https://www.linkedin.com/company/elan-vital-coaching About Our Guest Sylvana Rochet is the Founder and Principal Coach at Elan Vital, a leadership coaching and personal development company that helps founders and executives tap into their full potential and achieve their goals. Before founding Elan Vital, she worked as a Partner and Executive Coach at Evolution, a leading coaching, consulting, and investment firm that specializes in working with high-growth companies.

26 April 2023 42m and 40s


#124 - Defining a Research Strategy with Devin Harold of Capital One

#124 - Defining a Research Strategy with Devin Harold of Capital One

A solid UX research strategy serves as the compass that guides research ops and helps ensure repeatable success. But how do you envision, create, and execute a strategy that helps you achieve your goals in the most effective way possible?  In this episode of Awkward Silences, Devin Harold, Director of Research at Capital One, unpacks how to craft and refine a winning UXR strategy, including tips to help you make team playbooks, win stakeholder buy-in, and inform your strategy with maturity models. In this episode, we discuss: The significance of a robust UX research strategy The definition of a good and bad strategy  Essential components of an effective research plan Aligning research with stakeholder needs and expectations Metrics and KPIs to evaluate progress and success Highlights [00:01:17] Strategy vs delivery, prioritizing projects and allocating resources   [00:10:13] The role of flexibility and adaptability [00:15:38] Gaining stakeholder buy-in and tying research to organizational objectives [00:21:05] Establishing KPIs and metrics to measure progress and success [00:33:46] Periodic reviews and updates to maintain relevance and effectiveness Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt UXR Maturity Models: Move to a more advanced level in your org by Nikki Anderson of Dovetail UX Strategy Components by Nielsen Norman Group The Organizational Appetite for Research by Behzod Sirjani About our guest: Devin Harold is the Director of UX Research at Capital One, where he leads a team dedicated to improving end-to-end experiences and touchpoints for one of the company’s primary business units. With over eleven years of experience in UX design and research, he has a deep understanding of research methodologies, leadership, strategy, frameworks, and interaction design. Devin’s expertise and leadership have been recognized with multiple awards, including the IDEA Award, Verizon Beyond Award, and Verizon Credo Award.

19 April 2023 55m and 58s


#123 - The Power of Atomic Research with Daniel Pidcock of Glean.ly

#123 - The Power of Atomic Research with Daniel Pidcock of Glean.ly

Maintaining a huge insights repository can be overwhelming. It’s even more difficult to extract the right insights from research findings. Atomic research is an approach developed concurrently by Tomer Sharon and Daniel Pidcock to manage and break down research knowledge to their smallest modular form.  This week on Awkward Silences, Daniel Pidcock, the co-creator of atomic UX research and founder of Glean.ly, joins Erin and JH to explain this new approach to research knowledge management. Additionally, Daniel shares success stories of companies that have used Glean.ly to integrate data from disparate sources and glean meaningful insights.  In this episode, we discuss: What is atomic UX research? The pillars of atomic research How atomic research can improve your research strategy How does Glean.ly power atomic research? Highlights: [01:38.75] What is atomic research? What is Glean.ly? [08:24.98] Daniel discusses why atomic research works, including how it helps organizations solve crime cases [11:14.58] How Glean.ly enabled Just Eat to grow and expand [14:06.67] One big benefit of atomic research powered by Glean.ly [23:59.45] Applications for atomic research and research strategy tips [38:27.70] The atomic research origin story Sources mentioned in the episode: Glean.ly Cheat sheet About Our Guest Daniel Pidcock is the co-creator of atomic UX research and founder at Glean.ly, a UX research repository platform used by some of the world’s largest brands. He has spoken about atomic research at several events, including the UX Brighton Conference and Atomic UX Research for agencies. Before founding Glean.ly, Daniel worked as a UX consultant at Neighbourly, JUST EAT, and ie Marketing Communications.

12 April 2023 43m and 36s


#122- Exploring UX Research Career Options with Marieke McCloskey of LinkedIn

#122- Exploring UX Research Career Options with Marieke McCloskey of LinkedIn

What are the best UX career options? How do you vet a potential employer to ensure it’s the right fit? Should you join a smaller firm that offers plenty of autonomy and flexibility, or does it make more sense to work for a larger company with a ton of resources? Erin, JH, and Marieke McClosky, Director of UX Research at LinkedIn, address these questions, examining UX research as a career and a practice as they discuss Marieke’s journey as a UX researcher.  In this episode, we discuss: Navigating a career path in UX research Making career moves that align with your goals How to start a career in UX research Pros and cons of different working environments  Vetting potential employers Highlights [01:27] Marieke’s first job was at Nielsen Norman Group [04:42] The benefits of working at a large organization like LinkedIn [7:12] Getting started with– choosing a direction when you are new to UX research [12:57] How to vetMarieke shares valuable advice on vetting employers [19:37] How does the UX research team come up with research questions? [25:29] TJH summarizes the differences between working at a large company vs. a smaller firm [39:24] The best thing about consulting is “the breadth of who you get to work with, the different industries, different teams” About our guest Marieke McCloskey is the Director of UX Research at LinkedIn. For over a decade, she has worked as a UX researcher and consultant with the world’s most innovative companies, including Nielsen Norman Group and the NFL. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University College Utrecht and earned a MA in Cognitive Science at John Hopkins University.

29 March 2023 42m and 51s


#121 - The UX files: Top Moments from YouX 2023

#121 - The UX files: Top Moments from YouX 2023

YouX 2023 is a wrap! No big deal, just us and 3500 other UX-obsessed friends. The half-day virtual event featured breakout sessions and presentations conducted by some of the brightest minds in UX, who covered a number of topics from personal wellness and professional growth to work-life balance and community.   We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event, especially our guest speakers, panelists, and moderators. It was a truly extraordinary YouXperience for everyone. Head over to our blog to get a full recap of the 2023 YouX conference and videos of the sessions—we clipped all the awkward silences parts out, so you don’t have to. You can also download a recording of the entire event at the YouX event page. In this episode, we discuss: Interviewing with confidence Mentorships and coaching Wellness and UX Your unique UX career path Dealing with imposter syndrome Highlights:   [00:02:59] Interviewing with Confidence (Danny Essner) – Awkward silence is your friend and dealing with self-doubt [00:07:38] Will You Be My Mentor? (Paul Derby) – Navigating the mentor-mentee relationship [00:12:36] Reframing the Imposter Syndrome (Panel) – You are not a computer! The panel address imposter syndrome and getting to the root of the problem [00:18:06] Wellness and UX: Going Beyond the User Experience (Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen) – Dealing with stress through mindfulness. The power of language on your perspective [00:24:32] Research for All: Building Healthy Teams Through Democratization (Kate Kalcevich) – for all, How can we democratize research? Democratizing generative and evaluative research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward YouX 2023 Recap: Learnings, Session Recordings, and Additional Resources YouX 2023 - The Event for You, Researchers About our guests   Danny Essner is VP of Marketing at Chameleon, a SaaS platform that allows startups to create personalized and engaging experiences for their users.  Paul Derby is a SR. Manager of UX Research at ServiceNow. Paul is also the founder of Paul Derby Coaching, LLC, where he provides 1:1 coaching to UX researchers who want to establish their personal style of leadership. Devin Harold is Director of UX Research at Capital One, where he leads a team focused on design and research for Capital One's Financial Services in New York. Erika Spear has ten years of experience in qualitative and mixed-method research design and execution. She is currently a Research Manager at AnswerLab. Varun M is a Senior UX Researcher at SeatGeek and the Co-Founder of Apple & Banana.  Tiffany Eaton is a talented and creative self-employed graphic designer with expertise in logos, cover art, graphic design, children's illustration, and children's book illustration. Nikki Anderson-Stanier is Founder & Managing Director of User Research Academy, a company that offers coaching, mentoring, and remote courses on UX Research.  Fredrick Royster is an accomplished educator and UX/Web/Graphic Designer with over twenty years of experience in web design and front-end development. Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen is Principal User Experience Designer at Headspace Health, where she leads internal and external research programs dedicated to the design of Headspace's evidence-based digital interventions. Kate Kalcevich is Head of Accessibility and Innovation at Fable, a platform for people of all abilities, where she works on democratizing design and accessibility.  For our guests' full bios, visit https://www.userinterviews.com/blog/best-highlights-from-youx-2023

22 March 2023 35m and 6s


#120- Building a Healthy Research Culture with Mike Oren of Klaviyo

#120- Building a Healthy Research Culture with Mike Oren of Klaviyo

Whether you are a team of one or one hundred, cultivating a healthy research culture starts with strong leadership. Strong leadership encourages UXR teams to promote better research practices across teams and manage healthy conflict. But what does a healthy company culture look like IRL? And how do you promote best practices throughout the organization to help scale your research? Mike Oren, Head of Design Research at Klaviyo, has built and scaled several thriving research teams from scratch throughout his career. In this episode, he discusses the power of company culture and shares advice on culture building. In this episode, we discuss: The overall impact of research culture on companies’ bottom-line goals The anatomy of a “healthy” company culture Establishing cultural norms in your organization Dealing with challenges and avoiding mistakes Tips and tricks for nurturing and developing a research-focused company culture Highlights: [00:01:11] Planting the seeds of research culture [00:03:18] The importance of psychological safety for UXR teams [00:06:04] Maintaining healthy conflict and avoiding cognitive bias [00:12:21] Attributes of a healthy research culture [00:21:45] How research culture fits in with the rest of the organization [00:28:39] Tips on how to build research awareness and educate stakeholders Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.linkedin.com/company/klaviyo About Our Guest Mike Oren, Head of Design Research at Klaviyo, a technology company that provides an automated email marketing and SMS marketing platform. He is also the Founder of Societech, an Adjunct Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design, and an independent UX Research Consultant. Mike holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Sociology from Iowa State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and English Writing from DePauw University.

15 March 2023 41m and 20s


#119 - It’s Not Research, It’s You! with Holly Hester-Reilly of H2R Product Science

#119 - It’s Not Research, It’s You! with Holly Hester-Reilly of H2R Product Science

In this episode of Awkward Silences, Erin May and John-Henry Forster are joined by Holly Hester-Reilly, CEO and Founder of H2R Product Science. They delve into how research can go  wrong, how bad research processes can give research a bad reputation, and how the methodology and timeline of your research can complement each other. Holly also outlines the best way to determine the right research method for your product. Tune in for an engaging conversation on research best practices with industry experts. In this episode, we discuss: How bad research processes can give research a bad reputation Top most common ways that research can go wrong The relationship between research methodologies and project timelines Figuring out the right method for your research Highlights: [00:04:27] Holly’s unique perspective from academic research and into tech [00:07:58] How can research go wrong? [00:10:20] The components of a good research model; what you need to get right [00:14:32] What to do with a research plan once you have it to ensure maximum alignment [00:16:54] How to combat biases in research and questionnaires [00:21:54] The interaction between methodology and the timeline in research [00:24:18] Figuring out the right method for your research [00:31:01] Interacting with stakeholders and organizations for the best research outcome Sources mentioned in the episode: Holly’s LinkedIn H2R Product Science Website H2R Product Science LinkedIn About our guest Holly Hester-Reilly is the Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science, as well as a Product Discovery Coach and Consultant for the company. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at New York University, a Member of the Board of Advisors at Octane11, and a Product Advisor at Ergatta. Needless to say, Holly is an undisputed expert in her field, and we’re lucky to have her on the show!

8 March 2023 53m and 34s


#118- The Product Launch Playbook with Derek Osgood

#118- The Product Launch Playbook with Derek Osgood

According to Derek Osgood, it takes a "great product and product marketing collaboration" to get people to adopt products. But with such a small window of opportunity and many moving parts, it's easy to get it wrong. So how do massively successful brands execute a winning product launch? Join Erin and JH as they welcome guest Derek Osgood, CEO of Ignition, to examine the key components of a product launch. Derek shares his perspective on branding at scale as he outlines critical aspects to consider before, during, and after launch. He also provides a step-by-step walkthrough of a successful go-to-market strategy, complete with specific marketing tactics for planning, targeting, collaboration, and research. In this episode, we discuss: What makes a successful product launch? The elements of a winning launch Best research practices, tactics, tips, and tools Common mistakes and oversights Highlights: [00:03:37] The ingredients to a successful launch [00:08:34] Walkthrough of a successful launch (plus a laundry list of important questions to consider) [00:12:11] Internal marketing and the importance of communicating across teams [00:17:17] How teams get it wrong, dos and don'ts [00:20:39] A simplistic way to segment your audience [00:26:25] Message testing tips - the how, when, and why [00:32:02] Specific tactics and tools Derek uses to find pricing and understand features Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward Ignition LinkedIn About Our Guest Derek Osgood is a product marketing specialist, entrepreneur, and Founder & CEO of Ignition, a platform that helps brands streamline go-to-market strategies. He has launched several products that have collectively generated over $1 billion in revenue. Before Ignition, Derek worked as Director of Product Marketing at Rippling, Director of Marketing and Growth at BBVA, and as a Product Manager at Playstation.

1 March 2023 46m and 47s


#117 - Understanding Growth Research with Carlos Tellez of Nubank

#117 - Understanding Growth Research with Carlos Tellez of Nubank

Erin May, John Henry Forster, and Carlos Tellez, Growth Research Manager at Nubank, get to the bottom of growth research. This episode is focused on two of Erin's favorite things – optimization and research. They discuss how research informs growth teams as Carlos describes the moving parts involved in the research process. Listen to hear what Carlos loves the most about his job, the scope of growth research, research design methods, tools, and tactics. In this episode, we discuss: The value and impact of growth research Key differences between growth research and product research Research workflows and the dynamics of working relationships Research methodologies, tactics, and toolkits Highlights: [00:01:08] What is growth research? What is platform research? [00:06:52] One big difference between growth research and product research [00:12:07] How does growth research "operate within the growth context"? [00:09:39] Support from leadership and the value of research in the context of growth [00:15:18] Carlos shares Nubank's approach to qualitative research [00:18:34] Carlos details his team's creative approach to data collection [00:28:41] Tactics for identifying the impact of research [00:28:41 Triangulation is a requirement of UX research; it's also the trickiest part to get right Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Nubank website Nubank LinkedIn About our guest Carlos Tellez is a digital strategist, UX researcher, service designer, and education enthusiast. Currently, he is the UX Research Manager at Nubank. Much of his work is focused on creating effective research teams and advancing the field of UX research. Carlos has a Master's degree in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Vassar College.

15 February 2023 41m and 24s


#116 - Emerging Trends in UX and CX with Alfonso de la Nuez and Dana Bishop of UserZoom

#116 - Emerging Trends in UX and CX with Alfonso de la Nuez and Dana Bishop of UserZoom

UX is exploding! It's tremendously exciting. But much of the technology pushing the state-of-the-art has been around for over a decade. What are the key driving factors behind the rapid rise of new tools like Figma? What does this mean for the future of collaboration? How will this affect research practices? Alfonso de la Nuez, Co-Founder, CVO & BoD Member at UserZoom, and Dana Bishop, VP, Strategic Research Partners at UserZoom, drop by to discuss the evolution of the UX and muse on Adobe's recent acquisition of Figma. They take Erin and JH along for a retrospective look at the past 30 years of UX, dig into industry trends, and explore the nuances of user research. In this episode, we discuss: The reasons behind the rise of UX tools like Figma The nature of collaboration in UX design, research, and stakeholders How tools affect the way we approach projects An evolution of UX design and UX research Highlights: [00:01:52] Why is Figma the “darling of the design world”? [00:06:37] Prototyping changing for two reasons: time and necessity [00:13:09] Alfonso puts things into historical perspective with an anecdote [00:17:28] Fundamental differences between UX design and UX research [00:24:38] Dana discusses one dramatic industry change [00:30:06] A CX story about an encounter DoorDash [00:36:46] What's the next big thing in UX research? Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.figma.com https://www.linkedin.com/company/userzoom https://www.userzoom.com About Our Guest Alfonso de la Nuez is Co-Founder, CVO & BoD Member at UserZoom. He has over seventeen years of experience in various disciplines, including UX, digital marketing, eCommerce, web design, and user-centered design. He is also the author of The Digital Experience Company, co-founder and former CEO of Xperience Consulting, and former co-founder and CEO of Xperience Consulting. Dana Bishop, VP and Strategic Research Partner at UserZoom, has over twenty years of experience in UX research. After spending nine years at Keynote Systems, Dana worked at Key Lime Interactive until she joined UserZoom in 2017. Her work in UX research is primarily focused on competitive research and benchmarking. Currently, she is co-host of UXpeditious, a weekly podcast exploring the world of UX.

1 February 2023 40m and 47s


#115 - Optimizing In-Product Research with Ryan Glasgow of Sprig

#115 - Optimizing In-Product Research with Ryan Glasgow of Sprig

In this episode of Awkward Silences, hosts Erin May and John Henry Forster welcome Ryan Glasgow, CEO of Sprig, to discuss the importance of in-product research. They dive into Sprig’s generative and evaluative research tools, as well as recruiting current customers and reaching out to prospective users for market research. The conversation concludes with a discussion about best practices for in-product research.   In this episode, we discuss: What is in-product research? Why is it important? The power of real-time research post-launch Strategies and best practices for conducting in-product surveys Shortening the feedback loop with Sprig Highlights: [00:01:46] The role of in-product research in the process of product development [00:04:39] How Sprig streamlines gathering feedback for in-product research experiments [00:08:26] Best practices: advice on how to maximize response rate and more [00:14:49] The benefits of hyper-targeted product research [00:17:55] Advanced use cases for Sprig - combining sentiment data with conversion data Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward Sprig About Our Guest Ryan Glasgow is the Founder and CEO at Sprig (formerly UserLeap), a research platform that provides advanced usability testing and in-product survey capabilities to companies such as Dropbox, Loom, and Shift. He is the author of The Customer‑Obsessed Product Manager's Playbook and current host of the People Driven Products Podcasts. Ryan has a strong background in product management. Prior to founding Sprig, he was the Group Product Manager at Weebly, Product Manager at Vurb, and Product Designer at Extrabux.

18 January 2023 32m and 47s


#114 - What Does a UX Research Chief of Staff Do?

#114 - What Does a UX Research Chief of Staff Do?

The rise of UX research was a game changer in software design and development. As UX continues to grow in nearly every industry, research ops experts with strong leadership skills are critical for companies working at scale. In this episode, A'verria Martin, Director, Chief of Staff, Head of Research Operations and Strategy at ServiceNow, provides a high-level overview of the UX Research Chief of Staff role and explains why this position is in high demand. As A'verria shares her journey, she defines the role of UX Research Chief of Staff and outlines her core responsibilities.

5 January 2023 35m and 46s


#113 - Tacos and Tidepods: A Very Awkward Goodbye with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

#113 - Tacos and Tidepods: A Very Awkward Goodbye with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

Thomas Aquinas once said, “Tacos cannot exist without tide pods”.  In this bittersweet edition of Tacos and Tidepods—Erin and JH say their goodbyes to Roberta and reflect back at her time at User Interviews. Roberta talks about her decision to pursue a career in coaching and leadership development training at Design Dept. From career challenges and memories to lessons she’s learned, Roberta shares her journey with User Interviews as Erin and JH do their best to make her cry. In this episode, we discuss: Roberta's career path Roberta's legacy at User Interviews Career development (finding your niche) Coaching for design leaders Highlights: [00:02:54] Roberta shares the most important lessons she's learned from working at User Interviews [00:06:11] They discuss Roberta's contributions [00:14:52] How to grow as a leader through self-care and teamwork [00:16:22] Roberta's tacos: what she's looking forward to the most as [00:18:21] Career tips on networking and finding your niche Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Design Dept. Leadership Coaching Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is a Research Partner at Maze (formerly VP of User Research at User Interviews). She is also an ICF certified Coach & Mindfulness Teacher, Level II Reiki Practitioner, and Predictive Index (PI) Certified Talent Optimization Leader. Roberta has been instrumental in creating and shaping cultures of learning at User Interviews, edX, Predictive Index, and Year Up.

27 December 2022 23m and 10s


#112 - Finding Your Best Customers with Andrew Michael, CEO at Avrio

#112 - Finding Your Best Customers with Andrew Michael, CEO at Avrio

Finding your dream customers can be tricky, and knowing which customers aren’t a good fit is important. That’s where customer profiles come in handy. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Andrew Michael, CEO of Avrio, discusses the importance of ideal customer profiles. Andrew draws upon his experience and shares insights on creating customer profiles, customer research methods, and tips on how to get started. In this episode, we discuss: The role of the ideal customer profile (ICP) in an organization Using thermographic and demographic properties to create an ICP Creating personas and segmenting audiences Conducting studies and collecting data about your customers How teams get ICPs wrong Tips and best practices for developing and using ICPs Highlights: [00:06:03] The benefits of ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and who uses them [00:08:15] Andrew discusses the details of how they developed ICPs at Hotjar [00:11:34] Anti-ICP: Ruling out a large portion of your audience [00:24:08] Andrew details how to discover criteria that reveal insight [00:25:40] Tip: Don’t overcomplicate ICP, three or four defining characteristics are enough [00:29:19] Anti-ICP: How to communicate with customers that you don’t want [00:32:16] An effective ICP contributes to retention, alignment, and customer satisfaction [00:35:44] Andrew's final piece of advice: ICPs “needs to be a company-wide initiative” Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward CHURN.FM Podcast About our guest Andrew Michael is the CEO at Avrio – a software development research platform – host of Churn.FM, and Founding Member of Startup Cyprus. Andrew is also a teacher and speaker featured at the How to Web Conference 2022 and Advancing Research 2022. Before joining Avrio, Andrew worked at Hotjar, where he held leadership roles in marketing, management, and experience design.

21 December 2022 35m and 17s


#111 - The 2022 UX Research Tools Map with Roberta Dombrowski

#111 - The 2022 UX Research Tools Map with Roberta Dombrowski

If you ask Roberta Dombrowski why it's her favorite time of year, she'll probably mention the UX Research Tools Map. Why? Because it’s one of User Interviews’ most popular projects of the year that features the best UX research tools available across different use cases. Ye one and all are invited to explore the fantastical land of the 2022 UX Research Tools Map! From the Royal Courts of The High Kingdom of Recruiting and Panel Management to the dark waters of Megalodon 365 and G-Dragon, you can explore more about each UX tool and get a comprehensive view of the UXR tool landscape. Informative, fun, and entertaining in its detail—the medieval-themed map is designed to help UX researchers far and wide gain a better understanding of the different UX tools available to them.   In this episode, we discuss: Why the UX Research Tools Map is awesome New features we love, updates, and categories The challenges of optimizing your tool stack Tools! UX research tools! And more wonderful tools! Highlights: [00:01:44] Taco: Roberta explains the motivation behind the map [00:06:11] JH and Roberta list some of their favorite UXR tools [00:07:30] Why we created the map and how it informs the tool optimization process [00:10:44] À la carte vs all-in-one, the challenge of choosing the best solution [00:12:24] Exciting new UX research tools and use cases for tools User Interviews relies on [00:15:59] Fun features, funny details, and easter eggs Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://sprig.com https://www.userinterviews.com/ux-research-tools-map-2022 About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is the VP of User Research at User Interviews. She is also a Coach & Mindfulness Teacher at Learn Mindfully—her professional and personal development service that helps leaders and individuals reach their full potential. Roberta holds a Master of Science and Organizational Development Workplace Learning from Boise State University, a Level II Reiki Certification, and is a perennial lover of nature.

14 December 2022 17m and 19s


#110 - Experience Design Research in Healthcare with Tiffany Mura and Erica Devine

#110 - Experience Design Research in Healthcare with Tiffany Mura and Erica Devine

Healthcare organizations are responding to the UX design boom by focusing on the patient experience. What is driving this shift? Why did it take so long? How does quantitative research align with qualitative research? In this episode of Awkward Silences, Tiffany Mura, Senior Vice President of Health Practice Lead at Mad*Pow, and Erica Devine, Associate Director, Patient Experience Strategy and Support at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies (U.S.), discuss patient-centered design in healthcare research. They explore the complexities of the healthcare ecosystem and share key aspects of their research methodologies to help paint a picture of how research can help improve the overall patient experience. Highlights:   [00:03:48] Digital health companies are disrupting the industry [00:11:38] Erica shares data collection procedures and discusses research trends [00:14:28] How do healthcare researchers find the right people to talk to? [00:17:00] Tiffany explains standard healthcare research methodologies  [00:26:39] Ethical considerations are central to planning and recruitment  [00:37:02] How to use qualitative data to better understand the patient experience [00:40:21] New regulations will force companies to measure patient-reported outcomes Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine User Research for UX Designers: The Complete Guide About our guests   Human-centered design specialist Tiffany Mura is a senior-level brand marketing strategist with a range of experience in multiple healthcare sectors. She is currently the Strategic Lead of Healthcare at Stone Mantel (formerly Senior Vice President, Health Practice Lead at Mad*Pow). She has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Penn State University. Erica Devine is a practicing pharmacist with over sixteen years of experience building and overseeing teams. She is currently the Associate Director of Patient Experience Strategy at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies. Her work centers around business development and customer experience strategy, among other things. Erica has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh, licensed to practice in NY and PA.

7 December 2022 44m and 10s


#109 - The Challenges of Hybrid Work with Eduardo Gomez Ruiz of Miro

#109 - The Challenges of Hybrid Work with Eduardo Gomez Ruiz of Miro

As teams look for effective ways to collaborate between in-person and remote work, hybrid meetings are a flexible solution to meet both needs. But how can teams strike a balance of both in-person and remote meetings in a hybrid setting? How can facilitators reimagine collaboration to make meetings more effective and productive? In this episode of Awkward Silences, Lead UX Research Manager at Miro, Eduardo Gomez Ruiz, is back to share his team’s insight from Miro’s latest research study on the advantages and challenges of hybrid meetings. He shares exactly how he secured stakeholder buy-ins, UX research methods, and surprising signals. As hybrid working models take hold, this study serves as a great starting point for understanding new paradigms, trends, and attitudes as we continue to navigate new ways of working. In this episode, we discuss: How UX is affected by the evolving hybrid work environment Effective ways to gather collaborators and stakeholders The various UX research methods Eduardo and his team used for the study, and some surprising results The role of inclusion in facilitating hybrid work environments Best tips and practices from successful hybrid meeting facilitators Highlights: [00:05:17] The project's hypothesis was to uncover the dynamics of the overlap between devices, environment, and culture [00:09:12] How Eduardo gained support from the CEO and the Chief Product Officer [00:13:50] The four-phase plan; observation, interviews, surveys, and a co-creation session [00:18:57] Revealing surprising insights about IRL vs. remote user research and inclusivity [00:21:27] Attending in-office meetings as if they were remote [00:25:29] The biggest challenge: maximizing hybrid meetings for both remote and in-person contributors [00:35:01] J.H. touches on emerging approaches to asynchronous communication in meetings [00:37:33] Helpful tips on inclusion and initiating collaboration during hybrid meetings Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://miro.com/ About our guest Eduardo Gomez Ruiz is the Senior UX Research Manager at Miro, which develops cutting-edge collaboration software trusted by over forty million users. He has also served as a Design Thinking Associate Professor at IE Business School for nearly eight years. Since Eduardo joined Miro in 2020, he has been instrumental in the growth and development of the company’s UX research department. Prior to joining Miro, he held positions at Uber and several consulting agencies as a Global UX Researcher and UX Consultant

30 November 2022 40m and 49s


#108- Perfecting the UX of UX testing with Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics

#108- Perfecting the UX of UX testing with Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics

The dual nature of research on research is exciting in itself, especially for Senior UX Researcher Nicholas Aramouni. In this episode, things get meta as we address the UX of UX research. Nicholas discusses the importance of testing everything, testing early, and testing often. He elaborates on his approach to UX research from different angles and describes the beauty (and absurdity) of what it’s like when UX researchers become participants. In this episode, we discuss: Best practices for building better UX The UX challenges UX researchers face Important factors that influence UX testing The pros and cons of adopting new research tools A walkthrough of Nicholas’ testing methods Highlights: [00:01:52] The keys to designing a great UX test are flawlessness, simplicity, and making it intentional [00:05:42] Nicholas’ approach: test everything, test early, and test often to create the perfect test [00:06:53] Nicholas talks about staying focused on what matters and that empathy is a powerful research tool [00:10:42] The test is a valuable asset, and how tools affect the outcomes [00:23:17] Do researchers make good participants? [00:27:52] Tips for researchers using a new UX platform [00:31:39] More on researchers as participants. Nicholas shares his experience as a participant [00:33:04] Erin asks Nick how he got into user research About our guest Nicholas Aramouni is a Senior Communications Manager and UX Researcher at Userlytics who specializes in global UX practices. Nicholas has experience in various industries, including music, entertainment, media, and e-commerce. He is passionate about humanities, holds a B.Ed. in Social Studies from Mount Royal University, and was the former co-host of Mindspark. A learning podcast focused on K-12 education.

23 November 2022 33m and 43s


#107 - Making Research Ops Visible with Benson Low of REA Group

#107 - Making Research Ops Visible with Benson Low of REA Group

Most people have no idea what UX researchers do. Even less known is what Research Ops Specialists do, which is why one of the Research Ops community’s main priorities is to shine a light on the people, mechanisms, and strategies that set research in motion. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Hosts Erin May and John-Henry Forster chat with research design leader Benson Low about why it’s time to bring attention to Research Ops. They discuss the emerging role of Research Ops specialists, and Benson provides several strategies that can help communicate the value of Research Ops to stakeholders.   In this episode, we discuss: Ways to communicate the value of your work in Research Ops Tactics and strategies to gain support in your organization How to leverage the power of the ReOps community Tips for Research Ops advocates on dealing with roadblocks  Highlights: [00:02:32] What is Research Ops? What is the Research Ops community? [00:07:50] How to start advocating for Research Ops [00:14:49] Use ReOps community resources to create awareness [00:17:30] Stress the importance of research in the product development lifecycle [00:19:55] Communicating the impact and value your work to stakeholders [00:32:36 ] Advice on overcoming barriers during advocacy work About our guest Benson is leading and scaling the UX Research practice as the Head of Design Capability at REA Group. For over 20 years, he's led design and UX teams throughout Australia, across the emerging web, games development, start-ups, design consultancies, and enterprise product design teams. He is also a board member of the ResearchOps community, organizing workshops and meetups, and has been part of other global projects.

17 November 2022 43m and 3s


#105 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Big plans, a product relaunch, and healthy organizational tension

#105 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Big plans, a product relaunch, and healthy organizational tension

Our VP of User Research, Roberta Dombrowski, talks about the fast-paced work behind the scenes of UX research and the excitement when things fall into place. We also examine how deeper insight drives strategy and informs long-term planning as research matures, and the reality of team collaboration. In this episode, we discuss: Our exciting plans and strategy for the future How we use research to inform planning Product perspectives vs people perspectives The beauty of new insights and their impact on a big relaunch The difference between healthy organizational tension and dysfunction About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is the VP of User Research at User Interviews, as well as a career and life coach at Learn Mindfully. She has spent her career leading research teams and enabling researchers in various industries to better understand their customers. In addition to her work as a UX researcher, she is  known for being an excellent cat mom, gardener, and thought leader. Visit her profile to learn more.

19 October 2022 19m and 51s


#104 - User Research Incentives with Nick Baum of Tremendous

#104 - User Research Incentives with Nick Baum of Tremendous

Incentives do more than just attract quality participants to your study. Ultimately, offering great incentives helps you collect great data. But if logistics aren’t your thing, managing and distributing incentives can be a nightmare. Nick Baum founded Tremendous, the payouts management platform, to take the pain out of that process. He joined us to chat about how Tremendous makes researchers’ lives easier, tips for managing research incentives, and how to choose the right type and amount of incentive. In this episode: How Tremendous helps UX researchers pay incentives simply In-person versus digital incentives How to choose the right amount of incentive Managing incentive budgets Highlights: [1:14] Why Tremendous? [1:57] How Tremendous helps UX researchers [5:06] Let the UX researcher research and not deal with incentives [6:24] What do UX researchers need to understand about incentives? [8:55] Incentive options [10:07] Choosing the right level of the incentive [11:41] In-person versus digital incentive [16:22] Managing incentive budgets [17:43] International incentive challenges [20:57] How can you make the incentive appealing? [24:41] Why should you set up authentic expectations for participants about incentives? Sources mentioned in the episode: The Ultimate Guide to User Research Incentives The User Research Incentive Calculator Recruit qualified participants with User Interviews  About our guest Nick Baum is the Co-founder and CEO of Tremendous, a payouts platform enabling businesses to send money, pre-paid cards, and gift cards to people around the world. Before Tremendous, Nick was the Co-founder and CEO of GiftRocket and the Quantitative Equity Analyst of MDT Advisers.

6 October 2022 30m and 26s


#103 - Ethical Design and Respectful UX Research with Kat Zhou of Epidemic Sound

#103 - Ethical Design and Respectful UX Research with Kat Zhou of Epidemic Sound

‘Ethical design’ is a term that encompasses a process of designing useful, empowering, and accessible products that do not harm, manipulate, or deceive people. It is, in essence, about treating people you design for with respect and consideration. That’s a deceptively simple goal, and many companies miss the mark. Kat Zhou joins us today to talk about the challenges, opportunities, and urgent need for ethical design and research. In this episode: Why is ethical design so critical for both users and companies? How to integrate ethics and respect in your UX research How ethical design empowers inclusive and equitable representation Highlights: [0:51] What is ethical design in UX? [2:35] Where can you learn about ethical design for UX? [4:38] Ethical design resources for researchers [5:29] What does it mean to treat people with respect? [8:33] Could we balance business goals with respect? [12:40] Pragmatism versus idealism [15:52] What does deceptive design imply? [17:40] Ethical design practices for UX researchers [24:28] Boosting inclusive representation [29:44] Changing the world for the better [34:11] UX regulations [43:00] Kat’s key takeaways on ethical design and research Sources mentioned in the episode: < Design Ethically > Race After Technology by Ruha Benjamin Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein The UX Designer's Guide to User Research About our guest Kat Zhou is a product developer and designer who focuses on integrating ethics into the design of AI systems. Currently, she is the Senior Product Designer at Epidemic Sound. Before that, Kat was the Creator of the < Design Ethically > project, a Member Of The Board Of Advisors at The YX Foundation, and a Product Designer at Spotify and IBM. Kat is also a strong advocate for more inclusive and privacy-friendly approaches to AI.

22 September 2022 42m and 40s


#102 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Authenticity, Exciting Milestones, and LinkedIn

#102 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Authenticity, Exciting Milestones, and LinkedIn

Tacos = the great. Tide Pods = the not-so-great. An honest chat about the (mostly really great) state of User Interviews. Roberta Dombrowski, VP of UX Research at User Interviews, is back for our third installment of Tacos and Tide Pods. She joins Erin and JH to talk about the 100th episode of Awkward Silences, the importance of prioritizing authenticity over patterns on LinkedIn, and Roberta's upcoming wedding. In this episode: The 100th episode of Awkward Silences Why you should focus on bigger things Maintaining LinkedIn content format while expressing authenticity

15 September 2022 12m and 4s


#101 - Onboarding UX: How to Research and Design a Great First Impression with Pulkit Agrawal of Chameleon

#101 - Onboarding UX: How to Research and Design a Great First Impression with Pulkit Agrawal of Chameleon

Onboarding is a customer’s first impression of your product. The way you research, design, and implement user onboarding can make or break the overall experience. So how do you refine this important aspect of your product’s UX? Pulkit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO of Chameleon, joins us to discuss just that: How to optimize the user onboarding experience to get your customers off to a great start. In this episode: What is onboarding? Best practices for onboarding users How to integrate personality into onboarding Highlights: [1:24] What is onboarding in an app? [3:50] Measuring the onboarding trade-offs [6:24] Where should UXers start optimizing their onboarding? [8:42] Limited segmentation in onboarding [12:09] How can UXRs understand the customer's core issues? [15:06] Onboarding golden practices [18:01] Great onboarding examples [22:40] Increasing user motivation [26:55] Implementing the right triggers and motivations to match the user and the product [28:49] Onboarding mistakes UXers make [30:38] The big picture versus the details [33:06] Top tips and takeaways about onboarding About our guest Pulkit Agrawal is the Co-founder and CEO of Chameleon, a product adoption platform for SaaS that helps companies create better user onboarding. He is also an Angel Investor at product-led startups and a part-time featured speaker at Product School. Before founding Chameleon, Pulkit was the UX and User Onboarding Mentor at 500 Startups.

30 August 2022 34m and 21s


#100 - UXR Productivity Hacks with Michele Ronsen of Curiosity Tank

#100 - UXR Productivity Hacks with Michele Ronsen of Curiosity Tank

Work smarter, not harder with the right UXR productivity hacks. Michele Ronsen, founder of Curiosity Tank and our first repeat guest, joins us for our landmark 100th episode to tell us about the best user research hacks she’s learned to increase productivity, reduce cognitive load, and save time. Make your life a little easier with these pro UXR tips on scheduling, archiving, recruiting, screening, and more. In this episode: What is a UXR productivity hack? UXR productivity hacks examples and tips Enhancing productivity Highlights: [2:48] The stakeholder kickoff sheet [5:14] The right balance between setting up systems and doing research [8:08] Defining every section of your UX research plan template [11:55] Scheduling hacks [14:03] Core screening criteria [16:26] PII tips [19:01] Saving time for the archiving process [21:12] Files and folders [24:03] Reducing fraudulent participants [25:39] Making sure your participants are prepared [27:59] How to build your own pool of participants Sources mentioned in the episode: UXR Productivity Hacks Bundle (Curiosity Tank) Sample Stakeholder Kickoff Questions (Curiosity Tank) Research Countdown Planner (Curiosity Tank) Participant Question Starters Template (Curiosity Tank) “Ask Like A Pro” User research workshop series (Curiosity Tank) ‍Team Training (Curiosity Tank) Note-Taking for UX Research: Templates and Methods (User Interviews)‍ Google Workspace‍ How to recruit qualified participants, fast (User Interviews) About our guest Michele Ronsen is the founder of Curiosity Tank, a consulting and education firm specializing in human-centered research, design development, and hands-on learning programs. Her clients include Slack, Zillow, Facebook, Microsoft, and others. Michele is also an Instructor, Content Creator, and Workshop Facilitator at General Assembly. Previously, she worked at Wells Fargo as the Vice President and Creative Director and the Senior Vice President and Creative Director and held two positions at the Bank of America.

17 August 2022 41m and 39s


#99 - Leading UX Research for Healthcare Apps with Wendy Johansson of MiSalud Health

#99 - Leading UX Research for Healthcare Apps with Wendy Johansson of MiSalud Health

Healthcare in the U.S. is expensive—and as a result, some communities struggle to afford medical services. This inequity has become increasingly apparent as underserved communities are disproportionately affected by things like the pandemic.  So, what can UXers do to help? Wendy Johansson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Experience Officer of MiSalud Health, believes the answer lies in health tech. In this episode, Wendy shares how the MiSalud app works and her approach to using qualitative research to help build a great product. Highlights: [1:10] Why MiSalud Health? [5:50] A unique UX research method [12:27] Learning and discovery before launching the app [15:38] How to ensure you get qualitative data [18:23] Improving the product through user interviews [28:04] How UXers can build trust with participants [31:20] The importance of building equitable teams [34:05] Getting doctors onboard [39:17] Monetizing the app [42:39] The future of health tech Sources mentioned in the episode: MiSalud Health About our guest Wendy Johansson is a global product experience leader and entrepreneur focused on the intersection of product and user experience and on scaling up high-performing global teams. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Experience Officer of MiSalud Health and an advisor for companies like Cerby, adplist.org, and Wizeline. Wendy has a background in design and product, focuses on building equitable teams and products, and supports underrepresented people in tech.

3 August 2022 47m and 55s


#98 -  Customer-Centricity in Practice with Ferdinand Goetzen of Reveall

#98 - Customer-Centricity in Practice with Ferdinand Goetzen of Reveall

Let’s face it… most companies these days say they are customer-centric, but the reality just doesn’t bear that out. Because in order to be truly center-centric (or even “customer-obsessed”), you need to obsessively (i.e. continuously) gather and use customer insights. Ferdinand Goetzen, CEO and Co-Founder of Reveall, joins us to explain how teams can start actually centering their customers by adopting certain practices that will help you collect, analyze, and interpret customer insights on a regular basis. In this episode: How to gather and use customer insights Active vs passive data Making the most of your data Highlights: [1:06] Start simple [3:47] Rating feedback [5:13] Active vs passive data [7:15] Interpreting the data [13:22] Start getting insights centralized across departments [16:06] Creating a culture where people want to share feedback [20:27] Making the most of your large data sets [24:44] User stories [27:00] Challenges and solutions ‍ Sources mentioned in the episode: Recruit qualified participants fast Google Analytics 🤔 Customer Success Teams: Are they a roadblock or a valuable resource for UX research? About our guest Ferdinand Goetzen is the CEO and Co-Founder at Reveall - a platform that allows product teams to better prioritize what to build next with the help of customer insights. He was previously the Director of Growth at Hubs.com and the Chief Growth Officer at Recruitee (both exited in 2021). He is passionate about customer-led product development and growth.

21 July 2022 35m and 36s


#97 - Tacos and Tide Pods: House Cats, Research Repositories, and the Economy

#97 - Tacos and Tide Pods: House Cats, Research Repositories, and the Economy

Roberta Dombrowski, VP of UX Research at User Interviews, is back for the second instalment of Tacos and Tide Pods with Erin and JH. In this episode, they discuss the importance of an effective personal productivity process, overestimated expectations, and the (very Tide Pod-y) state of the global economy. In this episode: Creating a research repository at User Interviews Setting up an effective personal productivity process Overestimated expectations Meetings vs asynchronous collab

13 July 2022 15m and 45s


#96 - Your UX Career Is a Product with Sarah Doody

#96 - Your UX Career Is a Product with Sarah Doody

Most people—including product people—don't think of their career as a product. And even the best researchers often neglect to do the research to identify suitable roles and opportunities. The result? They stay in roles for too long, or accept one that simply doesn't align with their career goals, interest, or values. They burn out and feel stuck.  Sarah Doody, Founder and CEO of Career Strategy Lab, joins us to share why you should start thinking of your User Research career as a product and how you can start doing so today. In this episode: How to treat your UX career like a product How to build (and follow) your career roadmap Managing the UX role application process Highlights [1:05] What does it mean to treat something like a product? [3:59] How to start treating your own career like a product [10:02] Understanding the UX market [17:44] Uncovering UX hiring processes and principles [24:05] Do UXers still need resumes? [29:29] Tailoring your application to the role [36:06] The “career value criteria document” [39:01] Asking the right questions [44:32] “There's a time to earn, and there's a time to learn” [45:56] Are there any downsides to treating your UX career like a product? [49:02] How to take ownership of your education 🏆 Looking for more ways to learn and connect? Follow these Top UX Research Leaders on Linkedin. Sources mentioned in the episode Recruit qualified participants fast (User Interviews) Career Strategy Lab's UX workshops, courses, and trainings (UX Portfolio Formula) How to ask someone to review your UX portfolio or resume (UX Portfolio Formula) How to find a UX mentor (Sarah Doody) UX Recruiter & Hiring Manager Interviews (Sarah Doody) About our guest Sarah Doody is the Founder and CEO of Career Strategy Lab, a job search accelerator and UX recruiting agency for UX and Product professionals. In 2017, she founded The UX Portfolio Formula, a UX career accelerator that helps UX professionals create, cultivate, and achieve their career goals.

30 June 2022 50m and 42s


#95 - UX Writing and Content Design with Yuval Keshtcher of UX Writing Hub

#95 - UX Writing and Content Design with Yuval Keshtcher of UX Writing Hub

In the world of product design, wordsmiths go by many names—UX writers, content strategists, product writers, and so on. But whatever you call them, these folks play an important role in developing seamless user experiences. Yuval Keshtcher is the Founder of the UX Writing Hub, an online education platform helping hundreds of people perfect their UX writing. He joins us to explain the difference between UX writing and content design, how the discipline is growing, and his favorite writing resources. In this episode: Creative ways to do research for UX writing How the UX writing process works in theory and practice What makes a great UX write Highlights [2:00] Are UX Writing and Content Design the same? [6:27] Where do UX writers sit in an organization? [8:40] To be a great UX writer, you need to master research. [11:05] How to use conversation mining to communicate better with users. [17:23] How many emojis can we really use in UX copy? [25:04] How easy is it to change product copy later? [28:37] If you don't have a UX writer, start with a content design system. Sources mentioned in the episode ​​Top 16 Content Style Guides 2022 (and How to Use Them) Words Matter: Testing Copy With Shakespeare About our guest Yuval Keshtcher is the founder of the UX Writing Hub. UX Writing Hub is an online education platform for all things UX writing. The UX Writing Hub has helped hundreds of professionals transition into UX writing and content design. He also hosts the Writers in Tech podcast.

17 June 2022 39m and 44s


#94 - Tacos and Tide Pods: A New Series from Awkward Silences

#94 - Tacos and Tide Pods: A New Series from Awkward Silences

We’re changing things up a bit! Introducing a brand new series: Tacos and Tide Pods! Every month or so, Erin and JH will chat with User Interviews’s VP of Research, Roberta Dombrowski. They’ll talk about what’s going on behind the scenes at User Interviews, reflect on recent lessons learned, share their thoughts on the UXR space right now, and discuss what they're hoping to see more of in the future.

2 June 2022 21m and 7s


#93 - Digital Ethnography and Real-World Context in UXR with Megan McLean of Spotify

#93 - Digital Ethnography and Real-World Context in UXR with Megan McLean of Spotify

Context acts as the bridge between an abstract idea (’a comfortable user experience’) and a tangible design (‘cushioned, breathable running shoes’). Although gaining context through remote research can be tricky, our UXR friends with an anthropological background know the solution: Digital ethnography. This week, we’re joined by Megan McLean, User Researcher at Spotify. Megan shared the who-what-and-how of digital ethnography, what she’s learned about mapping the digital landscape, and how she ensures her ethnography projects succeed. Highlights [03:55] The core tenets of ethnography [06:50] Spend more time with your data throughout your study to get the most out of it. [10:01] What is digital ethnography anyway? [14:09] How Megan gets her participants to go deep on the subjects she wants to learn about [16:05] Pros and cons of the pandemic’s effect on research [19:28] How Megan recreates more real life context in her interviews [23:20] How does the audio first platform of Spotify change the way you look at things? [27:17] Who is digital ethnography a good fit for? [30:28] How Megan makes things simpler for her participants [36:36] The difference between writing analysis for usability studies and for ethnographies [39:14] What Megan’s learned about people and technology through her work About our guest Megan McLean is a User Research Manager at Spotify. Before Spotify, Megan received a Masters in Anthropology, worked in academia, and on UX research teams at places like Ipsos.

18 May 2022 43m and 26s


#92 - What Librarians Can Teach UXRs about Insights Repositories with Nada Alnakeeb of DoorDash and Joanna Perez of Netflix

#92 - What Librarians Can Teach UXRs about Insights Repositories with Nada Alnakeeb of DoorDash and Joanna Perez of Netflix

Public libraries have been using insights repositories for decades—and it’s time user research teams catch up. This week, we’re joined by Nada Alnakeeb, Head of Design and Research Operations at DoorDash, and Joanna Perez, Sr. Taxonomy Strategist/Digital Archivist, Studio Production at Netflix. Nada and Joanna shared learnings from their experience building the insights repository at Meta, using familiar organizational patterns to reduce mental load, tips for effective taxonomies, and more. Highlights [00:01:34] Their experience building the repository at Meta [00:05:54] How to archive fleeting or one-off insights [00:07:59] Tools and teams required to build a minimum viable repository [00:09:10] Building a low-budget repository [00:11:20] What is an ‘insight’? [00:13:23] Using familiar organizational patterns to reduce mental load [00:24:53] Buying vs. building in-house [00:33:29] Considerations for scale [00:36:52] Measuring success and value

5 May 2022 45m and 35s


#91 - Design Psychology with Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf

#91 - Design Psychology with Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf

What is design psychology? Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf compares it to ergonomics—both fields aim to make products feel as comfortable as possible for their users. Where ergonomics is concerned with things like the shape of your office chair’s back or the height of its armrests, design psychology is all about making software experiences more intuitive and reducing cognitive load. This week on the podcast, Thomas chatted with Erin and JH about the similarities and differences between design psychology and UX research, risks and need-to-knows for psychologists transitioning into business research, the power of mental models, and more. Highlights [01:08] What is design psychology? [05:44] Similarities and differences between design psychology and UX research [08:32] Practical examples: Superiority effect, perpetual intermediates, mental loads [13:59] What psychologists need to learn to thrive in business research [18:26] Risks of applying design psychology in UX [26:03] Why Thomas likes bringing his expertise to UX research [26:59] The power of mental models like JTBD About our guest  Thomas Watkins is UX architect and Principal and Founder of 3Leaf. He is a life-long learner who has a passion for bringing greater clarity to the world.  Thomas has made it his career’s focus to combine technology with design psychology in order to drive business success. He specializes in helping his business partners bring their own brilliant ideas to life, by translating complexity into simplicity. The scope of his work has included interface design for mobile, SaaS system architecture, usability research, and data visualization.

20 April 2022 30m and 18s


#90 - The State of User Research 2022 with Roberta Dombrowski

#90 - The State of User Research 2022 with Roberta Dombrowski

The State of User Research 2022 Report unpacks the data from our international survey of UX researchers and people who do research as part of their jobs.  This week, we met with Roberta Dombrowski, VP of User Research at User Interviews and one of the creators of the report, to talk about how it was made and what she thinks of the insights. She talked about the rise of buy-in and demand for research, what democratization means for professional researchers, and her predictions for the future of user research.

5 April 2022 40m and 12s


#89 - UX Agencies: Setting Clients Up for Success with Karen VanHouten

#89 - UX Agencies: Setting Clients Up for Success with Karen VanHouten

Doing user research in an agency setting comes with its own set of challenges—from context switching to stubborn clients to less-than-optimal tool stacks. Karen VanHouten, Director of Product Strategy at Philosophie by InfoBeans, spent most of her career in enterprise B2B before transitioning to agency life. In this podcast episode, Karen shared some great advice on setting expectations, fostering ongoing client relationships, and why she thinks more researchers should be involved in the sales cycle. Episode highlights [00:01:29] Transitioning from enterprise B2B to agency life [00:03:05] The value of getting involved in the sales cycle as a researcher [00:06:04] Which clients does Karen not want to work with? [00:13:00] Setting clear client expectations [00:20:10] Why her team only uses essential tools [00:24:35] Building trust by saying “no”   [00:27:59] Finding your champion [00:33:14] Recruiting for client projects [00:37:54] Should you make the move to an agency? Resources mentioned in this episode Kim Goodwin on stakeholder research Essential tools: Google Sheets, MURAL, Miro Just Enough Research, Erika Hall About our guest Karen VanHouten has over 20 years of experience as a UX professional and strategist, with a focus on B2B & SaaS. She uses human-centered design principles to build useful & accessible digital products and healthy and impactful product teams. Karen is currently the UX Practice Lead at TMG.

30 March 2022 39m and 57s


#88 - Research Operations for Democratization at Scale with Garrett Tsukada

#88 - Research Operations for Democratization at Scale with Garrett Tsukada

The democratization of research continues to grow—and with it, the complexities of research operations. This week, we chatted with Garrett Tsukada, Head of Customer Connect UX Research Operations at Intuit about how research ops supports democratization at scale. He talked about how Intuit approaches research democratization for a 14,000+ team, guardrails and processes to ensure research quality, advice for starting and scaling a research operations function, and more. Highlights [04:39] How Intuit approaches research democratization at scale [11:53] The compounding value of research education [13:28] Guardrails and processes to ensure research quality [24:02] Keeping up with the growing demand for democratization [27:37] Balancing the 6 pillars of research operations [32:18] Advice for starting and scaling a research operations function About our guest Garett Tsukada is Head of Customer Connect UX Research Operations at Intuit. He leads a global Research Ops team to amplify the value and impact of connecting with customers at scale, drive operational impact, and foster a culture of innovation and customer obsession.

2 March 2022 36m and 7s


#87 - User Interviews 201: Leveling Up Your Interviews with Therese Fessenden of NN/g

#87 - User Interviews 201: Leveling Up Your Interviews with Therese Fessenden of NN/g

You’ve mastered the basics, but now it’s time to take your interviews to the next level. This week, we chatted with Therese Fessenden, Senior User Experience Specialist at NN/g about how to get even better at interviewing. She talked about how to master the basics, hone your skills, and become an A+ interviewer. Highlights [3:40] You can get more out of your interviews by going in with a solid plan. [9:44] Mastering probing questions. [20:36] Common mistakes people make when they get comfortable doing research, like oversharing. [29:19] Staying objective as you get further into the research and learn more. [33:52] How do you know you're getting better at interviews? [35:10] Doing inclusive research.  About our guest Therese Fessenden is a Senior User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group, host of the NN/g UX Podcast, and manager of the 1-Hour Talk program. Her research focuses on understanding human behaviors, attitudes, and expectations in order to better orchestrate system and service design strategies.

15 February 2022 41m and 33s


#86 - Research is Everyone’s Job: The Democratization of Research with Jonathan Widawski, CEO of Maze

#86 - Research is Everyone’s Job: The Democratization of Research with Jonathan Widawski, CEO of Maze

Should everyone do research? It’s a tricky question. Yes, research is a craft that takes years to master. But on the other hand, if we want research to happen all the time, everyone needs to be able to do some of the basics on their own. Today, we talked to Jonathan Widawski, Founder and CEO of Maze about how the democratization of research is actually advancing the craft. He talked about the need for researchers to be good teachers, how research can grow in the same way data and design did, and why the future is user-centric. Highlights [4:52] Ultimately, research teams need to scale to meet the rising demand. But democratization is a good way to increase an organization's learning potential and the visibility of research. [8:25] How do we balance good research practices with letting everyone participate? [14:55] Unlike disciplines like data and design, research needs to be guided by an expert at multiple points in the process. [19:13] The Maze team’s research process. [23:07] How to balance being your own user with getting out of the building.  [25:06] What Jonathan is excited about as research advances. About our guest Jonathan Widawski is the Founder and CEO at Maze. He’s a veteran Product Designer & former UX teacher. As a UX lead working with clients like McKinsey, Rocket Internet & PSG, he saw first-hand how hard it is for product teams to get the data, insights, and feedback they need to make confident design decisions. Now he’s co-founded Maze, the continuous product discovery platform for user-centric teams.

1 February 2022 26m and 43s


#85 - So Meta: Doing User Research at UXR Company with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

#85 - So Meta: Doing User Research at UXR Company with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

It’s our most meta episode yet. Today, we chatted with Roberta Dombrowski, VP of User Research at User Interviews, about doing user research about user researchers at a user research company. Listen in to learn about how adding a formal user research practice has benefited the UI team, the challenges of going from an IC to a leadership role, and building a research practice from the ground up. Highlights [2:58] What’s different about being a user researcher for a user research platform. [11:04] Roberta's biggest wins from adding a formal researcher to the UI team. [16:27] Tackling insight management when lots of people do research. [22:33] Lessons from talking to lots of different researchers about their work. [27:57] Why are so many researchers introverts? [30:50] On making the transition from an IC researcher to a research leader. [34:26] Our hosts reflect on what’s changed since Awkward Silences began.

18 January 2022 39m and 37s


#84 - B2B Recruiting with Matthew Morrison of Braze

#84 - B2B Recruiting with Matthew Morrison of Braze

Recruiting participants for user research is hard. Recruiting participants from a pool of your own customers? Somehow even harder. There’s client relationships, privacy concerns, and lots of red tape. This week on the podcast, Matthew Morrison joins Erin and JH to share what he’s learned after a year of B2B recruiting at Braze. Highlights [2:04]The key problems with B2B recruiting. [8:22] Make your sessions as short as possible, 30-45 minutes is best. [12:53] How to make users feel connected to research, even if you can’t offer an incentive. [16:53] How to work with internal stakeholders to get better response rates from participants. [23:08] How Matt built a study about new Braze users with a lookalike panel of people who had never used Braze.  [33:09] Steering clear of over contacting participants, even with a small pool.  [38:09] What Matt's thinking about going into 2022. About our guest Matthew Morrison is a UX Research Manager at Braze. Before Braze, he worked on the research teams at Etsy and WillowTree. He’s excited by the challenge of B2B recruitment and is looking forward to continuing to improve his practice.

4 January 2022 41m and 22s


#83 - Being Black in UX Research with Dr. Lisanne Norman of Gusto

#83 - Being Black in UX Research with Dr. Lisanne Norman of Gusto

What’s it like to be black in UX right now? Are companies sticking by their plans for diversity and inclusion? How do researchers ensure their work is as inclusive as possible? This week on the podcast, Dr. Lisanne Norman joins Erin and JH to talk about all this and more. Highlights [8:13] What to do when people try to make diversity and inclusion your job.  [11:12] How including Black participants created aha! moments. [18:01] Creating an environment of openness with participants is key to understanding their experiences. [23:56] How Black UX Austin came to be. [29:52] The challenge of communicating to companies the value candidates can bring without relying on big name schools or bootcamps. [33:49] How to recognize if a company is just talking the talk or if they're walking the walk when it comes to diversity. [38:58] Lisanne talks about what’s on the horizon for DEI in tech.  About our guest Dr. Lisanne Norman is the Director of the Walter J. Crain Fellowship at the Hotchkiss School (formerly UX Research Lead at Gusto). She’s also a founder of Black UX Austin. She’s an advocate for creating more inclusive environments in tech and passionate about uncovering insights and trends that translate into creating inclusive digital products that anyone can use.

20 December 2021 43m and 11s


#82 - Games User Research — with Steve Bromley

#82 - Games User Research — with Steve Bromley

Creating a video game requires more than just development time and coding—to make sure the experience is enjoyable, you have to test it. In this episode, User Researcher Steve Bromley joins us to discuss the nuances of conducting user research in the video game industry. He describes integrating user feedback with the developer's creative vision, recruitment for games research, and the evolution of the gaming industry since he first started. Steve talks about… How to integrate user feedback with the developer’s creative vision. What playtesting is (and isn't). The surprising challenges of recruiting video game testers. Highlights [00:01:16] So what exactly is “games user research?” [00:03:15] What do you mean by “playtesting?” [00:16:51] How do you navigate something as broad as “making a game fun?” [00:27:48] Steve talks about what it’s like to be on the bleeding edge of games research. [00:38:17] How the field has changed since Steve first started out. About our guest Steve Bromley specializes in establishing new user research teams and in user research for video games. He wrote Building User Research Teams and How to Be A Game User Researcher. He works with mobile studios, indie teams, AAA teams and VR studios to help them run playtests and integrate user research into the production process. Prior to this, he was a lead user researcher for the PlayStation VR headset.

8 December 2021 45m and 48s


#81 - Establishing Sustainable Research Practices with Gregg Bernstein of Condé Nast

#81 - Establishing Sustainable Research Practices with Gregg Bernstein of Condé Nast

How do you build a long lasting research practice? Aim for a healthy one. Gregg Bernstein you how.  This week on the podcast, Gregg talked to us about how to contribute to a healthy research practice every day and what a healthy practice even means. Highlights [3:26] Can you have a healthy research function without dedicated researchers? [14:20] Sharing contextualized insights with relevant teams can help you build value as you work. [24:40] What's an unhealthy research culture? [33:13] Contributing to a healthy research culture every day. [36:41] UXR Hot Topics: Democratization and research culture. [40:03] UXR Hot Topics: Burnout and research culture. About our guest Gregg Bernstein is the Director of User Research at Hearst Magazines (formerly UX Research lead at Condé Nast, and wrote the book "Research Practice: Perspectives from UX researchers in a changing field." He spends his days advocating for and practicing user-centered product development. Previously he managed innovative research practices at Vox Media and Mailchimp.

23 November 2021 44m and 13s


#80 - UX Research and Arab Cultures – with Norah Abokhodair of Microsoft

#80 - UX Research and Arab Cultures – with Norah Abokhodair of Microsoft

Doing research with users from different cultures is (very, very) important. It can also be complicated. In this episode, we are joined by Norah Abokhodair, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, who spoke about conducting research in Arab cultures. She explained some of the nuances of Arabic and Arab cultures, how to recruit diverse participants, and how to adjust your research style depending on the context. Highlights [2:11] If you want to build products for everyone, include a more diverse audience in your research. [6:44] Diversely designed experiences are our right—overcoming a cultural hesitancy to critique “Western” products. [12:57] Context matters—adjusting your research style to different cultural expectations. [18:07] Norah's top recruiting tip for recruiting participants from Arabic cultures. [20:02] How to remain sensitive when doing research in a culture that is not your own. [31:56] Balancing confusing research logistics with recruiting a diverse population. About our guest Norah Abokhodair is a product manager and UX leader focused on global, ethical, and inclusive tech. At the time of our interview, Norah was a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft where she led UX research planning and strategy for Microsoft Learning Innovation Studio including projects focused on machine learning, personalization, and AI fairness. Prior to Microsoft, Norah received her PhD at the University of Washington, where her research focused on social media in Arabic cultures.

9 November 2021 37m and 18s


#79 - Participatory Research – with Alexis McNutt Unis of Better

#79 - Participatory Research – with Alexis McNutt Unis of Better

What is participatory research? And how do you include it in your UXR practice? Alexis McNutt Unis, Lead UX Researcher, Homeowner Experience at Better is here to explain. Alexis shared how she involves stakeholders in engaging workshops, co-creates with participants, and takes research readouts to the next level to drive a participatory research practice that works for everyone. Highlights [1:29] What is participatory research anyway? [4:58] How Alexis does participatory research. [11:54] The five Es—Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, Extend. [23:09] How do you decide when to involve which people in participatory research? [32:35] Participatory research strategies for beginners. [37:20] How Alexis sets expectations for participatory sessions.

27 October 2021 41m and 49s


#78 - Accessible UXR: Recruiting and Researching Participants with Disabilities – with Samuel Proulx of Fable

#78 - Accessible UXR: Recruiting and Researching Participants with Disabilities – with Samuel Proulx of Fable

We learned so much in this week’s episode of Awkward Silences. Samuel Proulx, Accessibility Evangelist at Fable, joined us to talk to us about accessibility and why it (really, really) matters. He taught us about the assistive technologies that many people with disabilities use to navigate the digital world, why accessibility is more important now than ever, and how designing for accessibility makes everyone’s user experience better. Highlights [2:09] What an Accessibility Evangelist does. [7:39] ​​How to start doing research with people with disabilities. [15:59] Start your accessibility journey by making sure accessibility feedback has somewhere to go.  [17:21] How to find users with disabilities without collecting HIPPA-protected information. [19:19] People who use assistive technology are a skilled pool of participants and should be compensated accordingly. [25:52] Why online research is often more accessible for people with disabilities. [34:56] A few things researchers can do to make participants with disabilities feel more comfortable during research. [44:11] Think of accessibility as a way to improve user experience, not as a checklist you have to comply with.

12 October 2021 49m and 54s


#77 - Breaking Into User Research – with Eniola Abioye

#77 - Breaking Into User Research – with Eniola Abioye

Eniola Abioye—user research career coach—joined us for a special live episode of Awkward Silences. She answered audience questions and shared some of her best tips for crafting a research portfolio that stands out, transitioning from different fields, and why not everyone needs a bootcamp. Highlights [6:16] How to learn more about user research on your own.  [17:17] Tailoring your resume to UX research roles. [22:38] Building a standout user research portfolio. [26:40] Eniola’s honest opinions on bootcamps. Resources mentioned in the episode EniolaAbioye.com  Thinking Fast and Slow Levels.FYI UXRC UX Research Salary Report Coursera LinkedIn Learning Austin Kleon Also recommended: 81cents.com More from Eniola: Getting in the Game: Driving Inclusive Innovation – UXRConf21 About our guest Eniola Abioye helps UX Researchers improve their research practice. From seasoned researchers looking to level up to new researchers looking to get their bearings, Eniola helps researchers focus their practice. She’s also a Senior UX Design Researcher at Silicon Valley Bank. With a background in biotech, healthcare, fintech, she enjoys holding space for users to have real conversations.

29 September 2021 51m and 37s


#76 - UXRs Need to Care About the Business, Too – with Zack Naylor of Aurelius

#76 - UXRs Need to Care About the Business, Too – with Zack Naylor of Aurelius

This week we’re joined by Zack Naylor, CEO and co-founder of UX research tool Aurelius. We spoke about what researchers need to know about their company, why tying research outcomes to business impact is so important, and how to navigate the waters when business goals and user research don’t align. Zack talked about… Conducting stakeholder interviews to deeply understand your business. Choosing a company that aligns with your values and personal goals. Using business knowledge to get high level stakeholder buy-in. Highlights [3:52] Get to know the business by taking the time to conduct stakeholder interviews. [7:31] Talk to people as high up the ladder as possible.  [10:01] What happens when what you learn in research doesn’t line up with business goals?  [20:14] Striving for business impact with your research projects.  [24:38] Examining your internal drivers can help you do more meaningful work. About our guest Zack Naylor is the CEO and Co-Founder of Aurelius. He’s helped organizations from startups to Fortune 500s build and establish user experience design practices to deliver valuable products and services.

21 September 2021 35m and 48s


#75 - Debunking UX Research Myths with Zach Schendel of DoorDash

#75 - Debunking UX Research Myths with Zach Schendel of DoorDash

As a seasoned researcher who has led teams at Unilever, Netflix, and DoorDash,  Zach Schendel has come up against every type of skeptical stakeholder you can imagine. He joined us to chat about the research myths he runs into most often, how he debunks them, and why he wants to banish “let’s do a qual” from everyone’s vocabulary forever. Zach talked about… The 4 UX research myths he’d like to debunk once and for all. Stories from his time at Unilever, Netflix, and DoorDash. How he gets stubborn stakeholders onboard, even if they’re hesitant about the merits of research. Highlights [4:22] Myth #1: You can’t just ask people what they want. [9:39] How to maintain trust in research when users don't do what they say they will. [17:14] Myth #2: Five people isn’t enough for a valid finding.  [29:20] Myth #3: People can reliably articulate what's good and what's bad. [38:01] Myth #4: User research is qualitative research About our guest Zach Schendel is the Head of Research at Doordash. There, he leads the product and UX research teams and partners with design, engineering, product management, strategy and operations, and data science to innovate on the consumer, driver, and merchant experiences. Before Doordash, Zach led research teams at Netflix and Unilever.

8 September 2021 47m and 42s


#74 - Building a Product Vision with Rajesh Nerlikar of Prodify

#74 - Building a Product Vision with Rajesh Nerlikar of Prodify

Rajesh Nerlikar works with companies to help them build great products. As the CEO of Prodify, he and his team advise startups on how to build impactful, vision-led products that get customers excited. In his experience, the best way to get teams on the same page is with a compelling product vision that’s easy to understand. In this episode, Rajesh joins Erin and JH to chat about why great product visions are like comic strips, the hard work of actually putting those visions into action, and how to get stakeholders on board with it all. Highlights [6:19] Why the ideal product vision is a comic strip. [11:34] Look at the gaps between your product vision and what your product looks like today to find the right strategies for improving your product. [20:09] How Rajesh and his team create product visions for startups. [25:53] How often do you need to update your product vision? [33:16] Getting buy-in as a user researcher working with product and design teams. About our guest Rajesh Nerlikar is the VP of Product at Regrow Ag and  Partner & Co-Founder at Prodify. He’s an experienced product advisor, coach, and consultant who applies best practices from 15+ years of hands-on startup and enterprise product management to help companies accelerate the creation of customer and shareholder value.

24 August 2021 40m and 25s


#73 - Getting Stakeholder Buy-In at a Large Organization with Meg Pullis Roebling of BNY Mellon

#73 - Getting Stakeholder Buy-In at a Large Organization with Meg Pullis Roebling of BNY Mellon

Meg Pullis Roebling, Head of CX Research, Data & Analytics Solutions at BNY Mellon, talks us through her approach to building relationships with stakeholders, finding people to support her research efforts, and making research visible to the whole organization. Meg discussed... How she convinces relationship managers to get clients involved in research. What metrics she uses to make the case for research. How to know when research is weaving its way into the fabric of your organization. Highlights [2:48] A few reasons your organization may not believe user research is important (yet).  [8:41] How to get through to relationship managers who don't want to give you access to their clients for research sessions. [13:52] Be the research changemaker in your organization. [17:04] Generate buy-in over time by keeping stakeholders updated on research progress. [20:04] Start with evaluative, tactical research to get some quick wins and show the impact of user research. [26:46] How to know you're having an impact on the research culture at your organization. [30:54] Ultimately, it’s your relationship building skills that will help you get buy-in for research projects. About our guest Meg Pullis Roebling is the Head of CX Research, Data & Analytics Solutions at BNY Mellon. There, she has built and democratized the CX Strategy teams’ research and insights framework across the enterprise. Before BNY Mellon, Meg worked on design and research teams at AIG, American Express, AKQA, and Digitas.

10 August 2021 33m and 39s


#72 - How to Ask Great UX Research Questions with Amy Chess of Amazon

#72 - How to Ask Great UX Research Questions with Amy Chess of Amazon

Your research question is where it all begins. It’s what drives your research forward, informs when you’re ready to wrap up your project, and it’s what gets everyone involved on the same page. But how do you know you’re asking the right research questions?  This week on the podcast, Amy Chess, UX Researcher at Amazon, chatted with Erin and JH about how she chooses which questions to ask in her user research projects. Amy talked about… The difference between research questions, research objectives, and interview questions How to ask the right research questions Why you can’t pick a methodology before you know your research question How building trust with stakeholders can push your research questions further Highlights [1:30] What's the difference between a research question and an interview question? [7:38] What comes first? The research question or the methodology?  [11:13] How to not to ask bad research questions.  [19:07] Go where the research leads you, even if it’s not where you planned to go.  [25:53] Structuring user interviews to answer your research questions. [36:09] Work with user research before you have it all figured out. About our guest Amy Chess is a UX research leader (formerly at Amazon, Walmart) and educator. She specializes in qualitative data collection techniques and the meaningful synthesis of qualitative and quantitative user data. Amy is intensely invested in developing new methodologies to evaluate integration efforts from a UX perspective, promoting the value of UX research amongst stakeholders, and pioneering approaches for UX practitioners, technical teams, and product management to collaborate and partner together.

27 July 2021 40m and


#71 - Running a Blended Research Team with Dave Chen of Flipp

#71 - Running a Blended Research Team with Dave Chen of Flipp

Insights can come from a lot of different places. Support tickets, sales calls, market research studies, and of course, dedicated user research are all a part of an organization's insights funnel. But how do you synthesize all that data into useful insights for your business?  Dave Chen, Director of Consumer Insights at Flipp, does it by blending his CX, UX, and Market Research teams into one superpowered insights group. Erin and JH chatted with Dave about how he handles all that research, who does what in a blended org, and how he gets stakeholders on board by using research from multiple teams.  Dave talked about… What each team brings to the insights table. How the team triangulates incoming research questions to find the best answers. Why some traditional market research methods—like focus groups—are so difficult to get right. Highlights [1:36] How Dave thinks about his blended CX, UXR, and market research team. [7:02] Managing research questions in a blended organization. [12:53] Why focus groups are so difficult to get right.  [17:37] How the UX, CX, and Market Research teams work in practice. [22:36] How Dave presents data from multiple teams to get stakeholder buy-in. About our guest Dave Chen is the Senior Director, UX Foundations & Enablement at 1Password. Formerly, he was Director of Consumer Insights at Flipp where he was responsible for leading Market Research, UX Research and Customer Experience (CX) teams to drive customer-based insights for both B2C and B2B verticals. Before Flipp, he worked in research and consumer insights at General Mills, Nielsen, and Staples.

13 July 2021 28m and 38s


#70 - Radical Listening and Practical Empathy with Babz J.R. Hall

#70 - Radical Listening and Practical Empathy with Babz J.R. Hall

Researchers talk a lot about the importance of empathy. But what the heck does ‘empathy’ actually mean? What does empathy really look like in practice? Babz Jewell—an ethnographic sociologist and Principal UX Researcher at Variant—is here to explain. She joined Erin and JH to share her practical approach to empathy and active listening, and how these skills have transformed her UX research practice. Babz talked about… How active listening can help UX researchers improve their entire research process. Building better relationships with stakeholders.  Using notetaking to be a better active listener.  Highlights [3:47] What is empathy anyway? [7:40] Being empathetic with your stakeholders can create more impactful research. [17:03] How radical listening can change your research practice. [24:52] How Babz uses note-taking skills she learned with Russian diplomats to improve her listening. Resources and people mentioned in the episode Hmnty Cntrd’s courses Teresa Torres’ Continuous Discovery Habits Jor-El Caraballo Vivianne Castillo About our guest Babz is a sociologist and leader in leveraging ethnographic research methods for corporate UX, CX and product design. She is currently UX Research Manager at FanDuel. At the time of our interview, she was Principal User Experience Researcher at Variant, a driver-focused long-haul trucking company. There, she leads research operations and projects for driver-facing products and support with ethnographic methods.

29 June 2021 31m and 16s


#69 - Thinking Styles and "Average" Users with Indi Young

#69 - Thinking Styles and "Average" Users with Indi Young

Indi Young has been researching people (not users), coaching, writing, and teaching about inclusive product strategy for over 25 years. Earlier this week, she joined Erin and JH for a live podcast episode to explain why researchers and designers are doing it all wrong!  Okay, not exactly. But she did explain how researching and designing for the majority or “average user” actually end up ignoring, othering, and harming the people our designs are meant to serve. Indi shared how she finds patterns in people’s behaviors, thoughts, and needs—and how she uses that data to create thinking styles that inform more inclusive design decisions. Indi talked about… Why researchers should look for patterns, not anecdotes, to understand real user needs. What are thinking styles and how to uncover and use them. Why your “average” user often doesn’t exist in the real world, and how we can do better. Episode highlights [00:04:13] How do you simplify the world without losing sight of the individuals within it?  [00:07:47] When is it important and meaningful to consider demographics—and when does using them in your research cause harm?  [00:11:23]  Speaking of harm… what does Indi mean when she talks about causing harm in the context of user research and product design?  [00:15:20] What are thinking styles, exactly?  [00:28:43] Why you should never ask: “what is the right number of thinking styles for us to have?” [00:31:33] How Indi looks for patterns. [00:33:57] How can you uncover thinking patterns through user interviews (vs. ethnographic observational research)? [00:44:41] The “average” often doesn’t really exist. So why do we design for them? Resources mentioned in the episode Practical Empathy (2015) and Mental Models (2008) by Indi Young Mixed Methods (2019) by Sam Ladner Weapons of Math Destruction (2016) by Cathy O’Neil Joy Buoalmwini’s work toward algorithmic justice Online courses and resources available through Indi’s website Articles on thinking styles and more at medium.com/inclusive-software You can follow Indi on Twitter @indiyoung 54 Templates for User Personas, Jobs to Be Done & Other Mental Models About our guest Indi is a renowned researcher with over 25 years of experience who coaches, writes, and teaches about inclusive product strategy. Her work is rooted in the problem space where the focus is on people, not users. Indi pioneered opportunity maps, mental model diagrams, and thinking styles. Indi has written two books, Practical Empathy and Mental Models. She was also one of the founders of Adaptive Path, the pioneering UX agency.

18 June 2021 48m and 23s


#68 - Actionable Generative Research with Lucy Denton of Dovetail

#68 - Actionable Generative Research with Lucy Denton of Dovetail

Shortly after Lucy Denton joined Dovetail as Product Design Lead, she was tasked with running a large-scale opportunity research project—and then making sense of all the insights. And the stakes were high; after all, she was researching user researchers! This week on the podcast, Lucy chatted with Erin and JH about how she knew it was time for a big generative research project, how she got the whole team involved, and what she did with all that research.  Lucy talked about… How she and the team knew it was time for a big generative project. What Dovetail built with all this research. What she would do differently if she had to do it all again. Highlights [4:30] How to know when you need to zoom out and look at the big picture rather than taking feature requests as they come. [11:13] Turning over 300 atomic insights into a roadmap. [17:30] What the Dovetail team has shipped from their research. [22:01] How Dovetail fast-tracks customer empathy by creating onboarding packs with key insights and interviews for new team members.  [26:42] What Lucy would do differently if she had to do it all again. About our guest Lucy Denton is the Head of Design at Dovetail. She leads the team’s design and research efforts. Before joining Dovetail, Lucy was a designer at Atlassian for over five years. At Atlassian, she led user-centered design projects, a multidisciplinary team, and contributed to strategic design decisions.

1 June 2021 30m and 42s


#67 - Growing a UX Research Startup with Basel Fakhoury of User Interviews and Benjamin Humphrey of Dovetail

#67 - Growing a UX Research Startup with Basel Fakhoury of User Interviews and Benjamin Humphrey of Dovetail

In this special episode, two UXR CEOs geek out about their work, the challenges of building tools for user researchers, and the future of UX research tools. This week we’re mixing things up a bit. Basel Fakhoury, CEO and cofounder of User Interviews, and Benjamin Humphrey, CEO and cofounder of Dovetail, braved transpacific timezone scheduling to chat about starting a company in the UX research space, what their teams are working on now, and what they think the future holds for user research tools. Their conversation is available as both a video recording and an audio episode, so go ahead and pick your poison! Basel and Benjamin talked about… How User Interviews and Dovetail began The future of the UX research software space How they think about the value of UX research Highlights [2:15] How User Interviews and Dovetail began. [9:22] User research tools take a whole lot of user research to build.  [13:32] What’s behind the rise of user research? [18:32] How do researchers measure the effectiveness of their work? [26:18] Where does user research fit into an organization? [32:07] What’s next for Basel and Benjamin? About our guests Basel Fakhoury is the CEO and co-founder of User Interviews. User Interviews’ goal is to help companies make smarter decisions by connecting them with consumers who are interested in sharing their feedback on your products and ideas. The User Interviews platform simplifies the entire process of recruiting, vetting, and scheduling qualified participants for product tests and market research interviews. Benjamin Humphrey is the CEO and co-founder of Dovetail. Dovetail helps you store, analyze, and collaborate on user research in one place, making it easy to see patterns, discover insights, and decide what to do next. Thousands of researchers, designers, and product managers use Dovetail worldwide.

18 May 2021 37m and 23s


#66 - Agile Research Ops with Joey Encarnacion of Slack

#66 - Agile Research Ops with Joey Encarnacion of Slack

How do you measure success in a still-evolving field?  Joey Encarnacion has been working in research ops since 2017. He joined Erin and JH on the pod to talk about Slack’s Rolling Research program, what success looks like for his team, and how he builds systems that scale. Joey discussed… Ensuring research ops can scale by building the smallest operable system first How he measures the success of his efforts in such a new field  Slack’s Rolling Research program Highlights [2:14] Research operations as connective tissue within an organization. [8:45] To make your operations scalable, build the smallest operable system first. [16:34] Slack's Rolling Research Program. [21:54] How Joey knows if his research ops program is working. [24:48] Trends in participant recruitment during the pandemic. [28:08] Research ops as a signal that user research as a field is growing in importance.  [36:08] How to measure success in research ops. [36:42] Checking your biases in civic research. About our guest Joey Encarnacion is a Research Operations leader (Twitch, Slack, Airbnb). He has been working in research operations since 2017. He’s a black belt cat herder and loves bringing organization to chaos.

4 May 2021 40m and 19s


#65 - The Best of Awkward Silences (So Far)

#65 - The Best of Awkward Silences (So Far)

To celebrate our launch on Product Hunt, we're taking some time to reflect on what Awkward Silences is all about.  Guests featured in this episode, in order: Jon Macdonald, Founder of the Good Cat Noone, CEO of Stark Roy Opata Olende, Research Operations Manager at Zapier Maria Rosala, User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group Joel Klettke, Founder of Case Study Buddy Erika Hall, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy at Mule Design Harrison Wheeler, Senior Manager, Product Design at LinkedIIn

30 April 2021 7m and 57s


#64 - Civic Tech with Cyd Harrell

#64 - Civic Tech with Cyd Harrell

Whether you’re paying a parking ticket or getting a divorce, chances are high that you’ll go through some (if not all) of that process online. Chances are also good that the UX of that process will be… not great. Cyd Harrell wants to change that. Cyd—prominent Civic Design Consultant and Service Design Lead at the Judicial Council of California—has been working in civic tech since 2012. She’s passionate about helping governments create digital services that meet people where they are. In this episode, Cyd joins Erin and JH to talk about her past projects, navigating the public sector, what inspired her to get involved in civic tech, and how people can contribute to the field. Cyd talked about… The unique difficulties that come with designing for the public sector The importance of creating equitable digital experiences  How to get started in civic tech, even if you don’t code Highlights [1:23] Civic tech, explained.  [4:09] Metrics for public services have to be different from the private sector because growth really isn't the focus.  [7:54] How Cyd got started in civic design. [13:23] Cyd talks through a project she worked on for California’s court system. [22:13] How do civic tech projects get started anyway?  [32:46] How to work with stakeholders in the public sector. [36:42] Checking your biases in civic research. Resources mentioned in the episode US government agencies U.S. Digital Response Code for America and Code for [Insert your city] U.S. Digital Service 18F Consultancies that work with the US government A1M Bloom Works Nava Pluribus Digital Communities, conferences, books, etc. Cyd’s book: A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide Rosenfeld Media’s Civic Design 2021 Code for America’s Slack channels #CivicTech on Twitter About our guest Cyd Harrell is Chief Digital Services Officer for the City and County of San Francisco and on the Board of Directors for Technologists for Public Good. She has previously worked at Code for America, 18F, and Charles Schwab doing UX, research, and product work. She’s the author of A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide. Her favorite tools are empathy and duct tape.

20 April 2021 42m and 50s


#63 - Information Architecture in UX with Page Laubheimer of NN/g

#63 - Information Architecture in UX with Page Laubheimer of NN/g

Information architecture is everywhere. Page Laubheimer, Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joins our hosts to shed some light on the complicated topic of IA and how the way we organize data impacts how we interact with products. He explains how and when to do IA work on a UX project, which research methods you’ll need, and how to launch your IA career. Page talked about… How and when to do IA work on a UX project Which research methods you’ll need to use to improve your IA How to launch your IA career Highlights [1:15] What is information architecture anyway? [10:07] Why IA is the eternally relevant UX discipline. [12:40] The term "architecture" makes many people think IA has to come first, but this isn't always the case. [23:17] How Page got started in IA. [27:11] What kind of research do you need to do to create good IA? [36:00] If you're doing IA as a part of your UX work, take some time to really focus on words. About our guest Page Laubheimer is a Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group. His background in library and information science helps him create usable and organized interfaces. At NN/g he performs independent research, leads courses and seminars, and works with clients to create well organized UX.

6 April 2021 43m and 5s


#62 - The State of User Research with Katryna Balboni

#62 - The State of User Research with Katryna Balboni

Our third annual State of User Research survey gathered insights from 525 people who do research around the world. Katryna Balboni, our Content Director, joined the hosts of Awkward Silences to talk about how the 2021 report came together. They discussed the challenges of survey design, the changing landscape of user research, improving stakeholder buy-in for user research, and (nerd alert!) large-scale medieval surveys. In this episode, Katryna talks about… How we (re)designed our survey and distributed it to user researchers The relationship between stakeholder buy-in and UX researcher job fulfillment Getting philosophical about survey distribution and representative audiences The “Great Survey” and Domesday Book of 1086 ⚔️ Read the full report: The State of User Research 2021 Highlights [8:20] Thinking about ways to improve survey distribution for a more diverse audience—and the implications that has on how representative that makes the results. [11:40]  On average, researchers rated their fulfillment at work as 6.4/10. How does stakeholder buy-in and engagement with UX research affect that score?  [18:51] A staggering 90% of user researchers said they worked exclusively remotely since the pandemic began. How has that affected research?  [27:00] How to get stakeholders engaged with research by involving them early and often. [28:34] 34% of people who do research start planning their research sessions 2-4 weeks in advance. We ask: Will we see that timeline shrink in the future? [32:20] Survey nerds need to know about the Domesday Survey of 1086, and Katryna’s here to tell you about it. Resources mentioned in the episode The State of User Research 2021 Report 6 Strategies for Doing Faster User Research—Without Sacrificing Validity How to Organize, Automate, and Tidy Up your User Research Research Ops: What It Is, Why It's So Important, and How to Get Started Ep #15: Kate Towsey on Starting a Research Ops Practice History Extra podcast: Domesday Book: Medieval big data* About our guest Katryna Balboni is a marketer by day, thankless servant to cats Elaine Benes and Mr. Maxwell Sheffield by night. Loves to travel, has a terrible sense of direction. Bakes a mean chocolate tart, makes a mediocre cup of coffee. She is leads Creative Content & Special Projects at User Interviews. *Psst—Katryna here… Bonus extra fun fact that I forgot to mention: In the 11th century, many rents were paid in kind (i.e. not with money). One of the most common forms of payment was eels. Yes, as in the slippery fish. Domesday data shows that people in England paid their landlords over 500,000 eels each year. 🐟🐍

23 March 2021 35m and 43s


#61 - The Role of Research in CX Transformation with Kim Salazar of Nielsen Norman Group

#61 - The Role of Research in CX Transformation with Kim Salazar of Nielsen Norman Group

Is your company truly customer-centric? Are your systems actually helping you create better experiences for your customers? Last week, Kim Salazar, Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joined us for a live podcast episode to share valuable insights from her own work with teams trying to create truly customer-centric companies through CX transformation. She highlighted the importance of drawing from multiple sources of data and communicating the business benefits of CX work. Highlights [4:51] To achieve CX transformation, we have to break down silos to connect people and technology. [10:29] User-centered companies typically have better business outcomes, which is why so many organizations are focused on this now. [17:05] When undertaking a CX transformation project, you can refine, rebuild, or remodel. [18:57] Make yourself a casserole of data with lots of different sources and ways to measure data. This means if your NPS score goes down, you have things like click data to tell you why. [25:36] Start with passive data collection, which can give you the clues you need to know where to dig a little deeper. [33:09] Showing user frustration to build buy-in is okay, but it’s showing the business impact of poor experience that really brings stakeholders on board. [45:40] Use metrics your company is already familiar with to build stakeholder buy-in. About our guest Kim Salazar is a Senior User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. Kim combines her background as a developer and education in Computer Science and HCI with her user experience expertise, particularly around complex applications, to bring well-rounded insights to her work.

9 March 2021 48m and 21s


#60 - Discovery Research and Interview Skills with Maria Rosala of Nielsen Norman Group

#60 - Discovery Research and Interview Skills with Maria Rosala of Nielsen Norman Group

Are your research discoveries really discoveries? Or are you collecting validation for your own assumptions? That’s just one of the big questions Maria Rosala, Director of Research at Nielsen Norman Group, tackled in our second-ever live “podinar.” Maria shared her expertise on conducting thoughtful discovery research and user interviews. Listen to (or watch!) the episode to learn: Why the discovery process is a non-negotiable part doing quality user research  Maria’s favorite discovery methods How to get stakeholder buy-in Tips for conducting better, more insightful interviews & more... Highlights [00:01:33] What exactly is discovery research? [00:04:41] Are your discoveries really discoveries? Maria explains what many research teams get wrong about the discovery process. [00:12:16] The importance of evangelizing the discovery process to get the buy-in you need. [00:16:40] Does discovery research have to be a big, lofty undertaking? Maria shares how teams can adapt the process to the needs and constraints of their project. [00:24:25] How do you know when you’ve gathered enough insights? How many people do you need to talk to? [00:30:02] How to use an interview guide (not a script) for better user interviews. [00:32:04] Recommended tools and processes for analysing discovery research results. [00:34:36] Discovery research for B2B software. [00:40:04] Measuring the ROI of discovery research.

18 February 2021 47m and 1s


#59 - Ethical Hacking, Information Security, and UX with Ted Harrington of ISE

#59 - Ethical Hacking, Information Security, and UX with Ted Harrington of ISE

Building great products is hard. Building great, secure, products is even harder. This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to Ted Harrington about the intersection between security and UX. He outlined what exactly ethical hackers do, how he challenges stakeholder assumptions about security work, and what teams can do to ensure their systems are secure. Ted talked about… What UX and security work have in common How teams can ensure their work is more secure Some of the common issues and myths he encounters Highlights [2:53] In both UX and hacking, bad systems are built on bad assumptions. [8:04] How stakeholder research helps security teams understand what data they need to protect. [14:10] How security teams deal with psychological acceptability in their work. [22:58] Making security matter to the user is a huge part of ensuring more secure practices. About our guest Ted Harrington is the author of HACKABLE: How to Do Application Security Right and the Executive Partner at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), the company of ethical hackers famous for hacking cars, medical devices, and password managers. He’s helped hundreds of companies fix tens of thousands of security vulnerabilities, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and more.

1 February 2021 28m and 12s


#58 - The Lone UXR: Being a UX Research Team of One with Izzy Nichols

#58 - The Lone UXR: Being a UX Research Team of One with Izzy Nichols

Being a research team of one isn’t easy. When you’re the only researcher at a company, you have to do every type of research, recruiting, planning, and analysis by yourself—all without the resources of a large team.  But for Imani “Izzy” Nichols, being a UX research team of one is an exciting challenge. She’s been a team of one twice now and has learned a lot from her experience. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Izzy talked about how being a team of one allowed her to focus on championing research, leveling up her career in meaningful ways, and growing her skills. Izzy talked about… How she finds mentors and a sense of community. How to educate your teammates about the differences between market and UX research. How to conquer the inevitable imposter syndrome that comes with being the first and only researcher. Highlights [4:16] Doing UX research as an introvert. [9:20] Level up by finding good UXR mentors outside your organization. [13:55] The biggest challenge of being the first and only researcher is educating the company about what UX research is—and why it matters. [17:53] There are a lot of benefits to working in a team, like each member having expertise in a specific area. [23:21] Conquering imposter syndrome. Resources mentioned in the episode Hexagon UX Design for Good  Nikki Anderson Kevin Liang  About our guest Imani “Izzy” Nichols is the Founder & Principal Researcher at Yzzi Research. There, she uses her research skills to help businesses understand her customers. She also coaches aspiring UX researchers to help them break into UXR and has her own podcast. She has also worked at WeWork and Octane.

19 January 2021 27m and 41s


#57 - Research Amid Sudden Change: Working on Google Classroom During COVID with Amanda Rosenburg

#57 - Research Amid Sudden Change: Working on Google Classroom During COVID with Amanda Rosenburg

In March 2020, Google Classroom’s user base grew from 30 million to hundreds of millions almost overnight. As schools closed, teachers needed new ways to conduct lessons and manage their work. This meant that Amanda Rosenburg, a Staff UX Researcher & Team Lead working on Google Classroom, had a lot of work to do. Research requests were suddenly piling up, and her team needed to execute quickly to help the product team adapt to new and unexpected challenges. Amanda talked about… How she adjusted her research strategy to cover more ground, faster. Her biggest challenges, and the changes she’s sticking with. How students and teachers are coping with all this change. Highlights [2:23] Google Classroom went from 30 million users to hundreds of millions overnight [6:32] Amanda is grateful to have a team that values research—and each other's opinions. At the beginning of the pandemic, her biggest challenge was turnaround time. [10:26] The hardest thing for the Google Classroom team to tackle was the sudden change in primary use case.  [25:44] At the beginning of the pandemic, Amanda started getting way more requests from PMs for research—so she had to change her strategy for taking on projects. [28:17] How are the kids coping with all this change?  [33:10] Amanda is excited about the conversations people are having around equity in education as we move into the new year. About our guest Amanda Rosenburg is Team Lead & Head of Google Classroom, where she leads a team whose work impacts close to 200 million students and educators on a daily basis globally.She comes from a background in education and research.

5 January 2021 35m and 11s


#56 - 2020, UXR Year In Review

#56 - 2020, UXR Year In Review

The year is wrapping up and it’s finally time to say bye forever to 2020 👋. The hosts of Awkward Silences, Erin May and JH Forster, took this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that happened in research this year, what changes they think are here to stay, and what they see on the horizon in 2021. They also revisited some of the best conversations we’ve had on the podcast so far, like chatting with Vivianne Castillo about self-care, Cat Noone about accessibility, and Randy Duke about diversity and inclusion in UXR. Erin and JH talked about… How work and research changed this year. What changes they think are going to stick. What they expect for 2021. Highlights [2:48] Erin and JH talk about the world going remote and vulnerability at work. [16:08] Dark design patterns and how UXers are working on fixing them. [19:31] UX Collective's 2020 lessons and what we learned. [22:49] Accessibility is a growing focus for researchers and designers. [26:46] How are we going to adjust to life after COVID?

22 December 2020 35m and 44s


#55 - So You Want to Be In Research Ops? How Roy Olende of Zapier Made The Switch

#55 - So You Want to Be In Research Ops? How Roy Olende of Zapier Made The Switch

There is a growing need for research operations. As more companies embrace the importance of user research and scale their UXR efforts, a dedicated ops function is quickly becoming a necessity. Research ops—which involves things like participant recruitment, research processes, and programs to help non-researchers do better research—can be a career path for many different kinds of people. Roy has worked with ops pros who come from traditional business operations, marketing, UX, and of course, research. He says the key to succeeding in a research ops role isis to being comfortable with blazing a new trail and taking joy in creating processes that work. Roy talked about… How to decide if research ops is a good career for you What he does on a day to day basis How research ops works at Zapier 📖 Read more: Research Ops: What It Is, Why It's So Important, and How to Get Started Highlights [4:50] Roy was the first research ops hire at Zapier. He's happy to be brought on early in the process so research can scale with the company. [6:45] The first thing Roy did was research the way UXR is done at Zapier. He wanted to understand where the problems were and what he could do to fix them. [10:52] You'll enjoy research ops if you're comfortable being an explorer. Research ops is a really new space and you'll be in uncharted territory most of the time. [16:06] Does Roy use Zaps to get his work done? [27:02] Roy has been most surprised to learn who he is serving in his role. He thought he would mainly be working to create services for the UXR team, but has spent a majority of his time working on things for people who sometimes do research, like PMs and marketing folks. [34:10] A typical day for someone in research ops About our guest Roy Olende has been involved in user research and service design for nearly a decade. He is currently the Head of UX Research at Zapier, where he launched the company’s Research Operations practice to support user research across the entire company and accelerate product development.

8 December 2020 39m and 27s


#54 - End-to-End Experience Teams with Danielle Smith of Express Scripts

#54 - End-to-End Experience Teams with Danielle Smith of Express Scripts

Understanding your product from start to finish is easier said than done. The same goes for integrating research into every stage of a project. Danielle Smith found that she would often work on foundational projects for a product team, then move right along to the next thing, losing sight of the end-to-end experience. When she was tasked with building the research team at Express Scripts, she knew she wanted to have a better view of the big picture. So she brought  data scientists, analysts, pro survey designers, and user researchers together to create a superpowered experience team. Danielle talked about… How combining different disciplines has improved her recruitment process. Being able to support more cross-functional career interests. What she’d do differently if she built a team like this from the ground up again. Highlights [2:28] Combining different disciplines is the best way Danielle has found to actually get that end-to-end view of the product. [5:23] Danielle's multi-disciplinary team grew out of a need to understand complex analytics more thoroughly. [8:22] Having everyone involved in research from start to finish helped Express Scripts build more representative research panels. [10:27] Career development is easier for team members who would otherwise be siloed.  [20:08] Working in cross-functional teams means there's more buy-in from stakeholders, since they're working with researchers more often. [21:23] If Danielle did it all over, she'd focus on finding more mixed-methods people to help build connections between specialists.  About our guest Danielle Smith is a user research leader, most recently Managing Director of Digital Inclusion & Research at Express Scripts. She became passionate about building an end-to-end experience team when she saw there was a gap in her team’s understanding of core analytics. She has previously worked on the User Research teams at Dell and Paypal.

24 November 2020 26m and 48s


#53 - Everything in Context: Anthropology and User Research with Vanessa Whatley

#53 - Everything in Context: Anthropology and User Research with Vanessa Whatley

User research and anthropology have more in common that you may realize. Both involve studying the way people interact with their surroundings and make critical decisions, though anthropologists focus on the cultures and societies that shape behavior. This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Vanessa Whatley—a Senior UX Researcher at Google—about what researchers can learn from anthropology. Vanessa talked about… How anthropology can teach user researchers to look more closely at the context of participants’ decisions and behaviors The benefits of a diverse research team, And how she puts insights into perspective for stakeholders. Highlights [4:58] Anthropology is about looking at the differences we may not notice in our own familiar environments, which is also an important mindset for researchers to adopt. [7:14] It's easier to see bias with lots of practice and by starting in your analysis. It's something that you grow in as you grow in experience and exposure to other researchers. [10:28] Vanessa illustrates how race and experience may color how different researchers think about a situation. [19:13] Having a team of diverse researchers that reflects the population you're studying is incredibly important because we're all human and can miss important context or cues. [26:07] How Vanessa puts things in context with contextual inquiries and video clips. [32:15] Everything is by design, so when something bad happens, we need to look to the systems to see why. About our Guest Vanessa Whatley is the UX Director - Research & Documentation at Twilio (previously at Google). Her background in Anthropology has inspired her to think about ways in which companies can prioritize user/customer needs when building products and executing business strategy. She seeks to promote humanistic/people based solutions to the challenges that institutions and individuals face.

10 November 2020 41m and 23s


#52 - The Missing Ingredient: How Storytelling Makes User Research More Impactful with Harrison Wheeler of LinkedIn

#52 - The Missing Ingredient: How Storytelling Makes User Research More Impactful with Harrison Wheeler of LinkedIn

People are 22% more likely to remember something when it’s presented as a story, rather than a cut and dry fact. So if you’re struggling to get stakeholders to care about and utilize your research, storytelling can be the key to getting research to stick.  This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Harrison Wheeler, UX Design Manager at LinkedIn and host of Technically Speaking, about the power of storytelling. Harrison talked about how getting everyone on board with storytelling can make the facts of research stick around for longer, learning if your research presentations are engaging, and reminding everyone that it’s all about the users.  Highlights [4:13] Ideally, research is the base for everything. Your whole team starts with research and learns to use it to tell compelling stories about the product. [8:17] Understanding your audience, their expertise, and how they like to consume data is incredibly important to telling a story that sticks. [13:47] Telling your user story by using quotes is really impactful at the beginning of a project. [19:07] Practicing telling fact-based stories about research helps you reflect on how well you know the information. [23:23] Knowing what kinds of media resonates well with your key stakeholders can help you tell a better story on their terms.  About our Guest Harrison Wheeler is the Director of Product Design at LinkedIn and the host of the podcast Technically Speaking. He’s passionate about UX, design, and empowering everyone to tell great stories.

28 October 2020 31m and 31s


#51 - Uncharted Territory: AI & User Research with Hana Nagel

#51 - Uncharted Territory: AI & User Research with Hana Nagel

AI is becoming a part of everything we do. With voice-activated smart homes, ad targeting algorithms, and increasingly smart cars, AI is more and more a part of the fabric of daily life. But how do we make sure AI is built in a way that is user-friendly, unbiased, and ethically sound?  That's where user research comes in.  Erin and JH chatted with Hana Nagel, a Service Designer at Element AI, about how she researches for AI, why inputs are just as important as outputs, and the ethics around improving AI through your data.  Highlights [2:53] Establishing the ethics around AI is a collaboration between private enterprise, governmental organizations, and the civic sector. [4:53] The difficult part of researching for AI is assessing how people may feel about something they've never interacted with before. [9:25] A big challenge for theAI industry as a whole is how comfortable are we with giving up our data in exchange for optimization? [14:42] How the system as a whole is responsible for AI outputs, not just the individuals who work on the AI. [24:59] It is incredibly important to identify our own biases when building AI systems. This involves a lot of self-reflection to root out biases you may not know you have. [32:42] In Hana's dream world, the work of creating and researching AI would be more widely shared among people with different expertise to create something more reflective of many perspectives.  Mentioned in the episode Moral Crumple Zones: Cautionary Tales in Human-Robot Interaction by Madeline Claire Eilish

14 October 2020 34m and 36s


#50 - To Manage or Not to Manage? UX Research Careers with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible

#50 - To Manage or Not to Manage? UX Research Careers with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible

It's time to take the next step in your research career, but is management right for you? Erin & JH chatted with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible, about her journey as a research manager, how to evaluate what you really want from your career, and who to talk to when you're ready to level up. Highlights [5:03] Even if you think you don't have management experience to look back on, research is full of management and leadership. [8:17] Being a manager gives you many more opportunities to contribute at the strategic level.  [12:00] Straying too far from day-to-day operations can make being a manager really tough, especially when you're managing researchers. [20:12] As a manager, being a coach is more important than telling people what to do. [23:12] You have to really connect with your direct reports and learn how to show up for them. Amber takes 10 minutes before every 1:1 to ensure she's grounded and there for that meeting. [34:21] Even though it's important to build good connections with your direct reports, make sure you keep enough distance socially so you can stay professional.

30 September 2020 40m and 28s


#49 - The Magic of Diary Studies with Tony Turner

#49 - The Magic of Diary Studies with Tony Turner

Looking to add a new research method to your stack? Diary studies are a great way to get to know what your users are thinking in context, plus they can be run remotely! We chatted with Tony Turner, Lead UX Researcher at Progressive Insurance, about how his team uses diary studies to build out better customer experiences.  He offered some tips on scaling up diary studies, which tools he uses to get the job done, and how he uses the data he gathers from diary studies to build out customer journey maps.  Highlights [4:03] Diary studies are all about context. [9:08] Tony talks about how he combines self reported data from diary studies with in-app analytics. [10:27] Using a mixture of open ended questions and closed ones is incredibly important to getting the most useful feedback. [12:32] Recruiting early is key in a dairy study because it gives you time to find the best participants for your work. [14:54] It's ok if every participant doesn't answer every prompt, as long as you're getting the moments that matter. [19:37] If diary studies seem intimidating, start small with just a few participants. You can hone your skills and get lots of great insights. [21:44] After each diary study, Tony and his team make individual journey maps for each participant that help them understand how different people experience the process. [28:05] User research is all about helping people share their stories and experiences.  Resources Mentioned in the Episode Expiwell - Diary study tool Adobe XD - Customer journey mapping tool About our Guest Tony Turner is a Senior Product Designer at Paramount (formerly Meta). At the time of our interview he was Lead UX Researcher at Progressive Insurance where he led all kinds of user research, like usability testing, contextual inquiries, card sorts, tree studies, first click studies, surveys and interviews. He's interested in HCI and studied Cognitive Science during undergrad.

16 September 2020 28m and 47s


#48 - Rising to the Moment: UXR, Diversity, & Inclusion with Randy Duke

#48 - Rising to the Moment: UXR, Diversity, & Inclusion with Randy Duke

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Randy Duke, Senior Research & Design Strategist at Cantina. They covered a topic that's on many people's minds right now, systemic racism and inequality, and how UX research can have a positive (or negative) impact on these systems. Randy talked with us about UXR's role in all this, how we can work to change the systems we work in, and how we can create more inclusive research. Highlights [4:58] A good place to start thinking about how to address inequality is to reflect on the system we work in. [6:03] People in UXR help to bring truth to the organization through research, which puts them in a good position to do it in a greater context. [8:46] Now is the time to really dig into the messiness that comes with the details of user research. [10:22] You need to be actively seeking out feedback and information from all of your users and thinking about their unique situations. If you don't, you're opening yourself up for failure. [12:49] We spend a lot of time asking if we can build something, rather than should we built it. [14:57] Don't look at where you can go wrong when solving a new problem, look at what you can do to get it right. That means including people of diverse backgrounds from the start. [18:25] To make more inclusive panels when you recruit, think about the demographics that are actually important to your study. If you're recruiting for a test of a new keyboard on a mobile phone, does the person's income or location really matter? [26:35] Inclusivity is not only the right thing to do morally, it's also the law. [28:25] Randy talks about the difference between how think something will be used vs. how it is actually used and the importance of checking in. [31:35] It's also important to think about how features and products could be abused. [35:08] At the end of the day, systems work because we allow them to work. Taking the time to stand up and say things should be different is the only way to create change.  Additional Reading Randy recommended a few books for those interested in learning more about UXR, design, racial inequality, and inclusion.  Design Justice by Sasha Costanza-Chock  Cross Cultural Design by Senongo Akpem Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes

2 September 2020 41m and 47s


#47 - Up and to the Right: How Research Improves Conversion Rates with Jon MacDonald of The Good 📈

#47 - Up and to the Right: How Research Improves Conversion Rates with Jon MacDonald of The Good 📈

We've been more and more curious about how user research can be used by more than just researchers. This week, Erin and JH chatted with Jon MacDonald, founder of The Good, about how marketers can use research to improve conversion rates. He talked about what conversion rate optimization really is, how to get stakeholders to see the value of research work, and why the key to conversion success is really just giving users what they came to your site for in the first place. Highlights [1:43] Everyone expects Jon to have great stories about one quick thing that 20x'ed conversion rates, but unfortunately the truth is that his work is a lot of research and testing to make meaningful changes.  [7:05] The trick to better conversion rates is giving the customers what they came to your site for in the first place. [9:33] Why onsite surveys may be hurting your customer experience, instead of getting you valuable qualitative data. [12:21] How Jon changed a real stakeholder's mind with feedback and business impact. [13:51] Jon suggests starting with quantitative data to identify the right areas to test, then following up with qualitative to learn what's wrong. [15:37] How Jon worked with baseball bat maker Easton to improve their buying process and doubled their conversion rates. [21:14] Why recruiting is one of the most important factors of research.  [27:18] The gang talks about A/B testing, including the tools they use. [35:11] How Jon cuts through the noise created by lots of different data sources. [38:58] Following up on your work at a regular cadence is a huge part of success.

4 August 2020 40m and 23s


#46 - Creating Better Help Content with Andrew Sandler, Director of Innovation at Adobe

#46 - Creating Better Help Content with Andrew Sandler, Director of Innovation at Adobe

When Andrew joined Adobe back in November, he faced an interesting design challenge. How do you manage a vast library of help content, spanning tons of different products in different industries, so that users can easily find what they need to know to fix their problems? Andrew has learned a lot about leveraging the power of community to problem solve, experimenting with different formats to make technical explanations more accessible, and proving the value of great help content.  Erin and JH chatted with him about how he positions help content to stakeholders, tackles creating content for products that have evolved from box software to the cloud, and uses research to focus on the right things at the right time.  Highlights [1:43] Great product doesn't need as much help content, but people will always need help, and the more powerful your product is, the more help they will need. [8:53] By connecting customers with the right information through communities, they're 3x less likely to reach out to support for help. [10:59] Early engagement = better retention, so Adobe segments out its customers to focus on what gets them started. [13:35] Adobe has segments and chapters to keep everyone on the same page and communicating well. [25:20] People who get value from help content actually end up having a higher lifetime value. It's all about trust and mutual respect. [27:41] How Adobe creates help content for different languages and cultures. [32:09] How Andrew is thinking about simplifying solutions, and making help content work smarter, not harder [37:58] Help content and product can work together to create even better solutions for users. [39:32] Quantitative information can tell you what some of the issues are, while qualitative can help your team dig deeper into why they're there [43:03] Building out recommendations for other things you may be looking for helps your help content build a story for the user.

15 July 2020 44m and 36s


#45 - How Alignment Can Speed Up Your Work with Jonathon Hensley of Emerge Interactive

#45 - How Alignment Can Speed Up Your Work with Jonathon Hensley of Emerge Interactive

Jonathon Hensley spends a lot of time creating strategies for businesses. So Erin and JH chatted with him about what's changed since COVID-19 and why alignment matters more than ever right now.   The takeaway? Everyone needs to be aligned around a common goal. They also need to understand how every project supports that larger goal. In a world that's moving faster than ever, user research is a pivotal part of making sure each effort is serving that goal well. Highlights [7:06] The key to individual alignment is clarity on your goals and purpose, and providing people with the ability to fulfill those things. [10:46] Coming into research with bias or trying to validate an idea you already have can be a sign of misalignment [16:46] Right now, people want something concrete. While making a plan can feel good now, having a strategy and goals you're clearly aligned around is the key to long term, agile success. [25:13] Strategy is equating things to value and sharing values across your organization [30:47] The strategy, not the plan, will keep everyone working towards the same goals [37:52] If you can't afford to fail, research is one of the things that will ensure you don't.

2 July 2020 44m and 28s


#44 - Being Data-Driven vs. Data-Informed with Hannah Shamji, Consumer Psychologist

#44 - Being Data-Driven vs. Data-Informed with Hannah Shamji, Consumer Psychologist

There's a lot of data out there. Keeping track of Google Analytics, NPS scores, site metrics, usability test results, industry data, and everything else can be downright overwhelming. Which is why Hannah Shamji, Head of Research at Copyhackers, likes to say she's doing data-informed work, not data-driven work. For Hannah, her team, and her clients, working with tons of data can be overwhelming. Since you can usually find at least one graph to support a research point, it's important to put data in context. Hannah outlined how she gets in the zone with large amounts of data, puts things in context while doing her best to stay unbiased, and frames data around her research questions. Highlights [2:12] The difference between being data-informed and data-driven. [6:21] Why it's important to put data in context and pull from many different sources. [9:25] How Hannah approaches data through the lens of her research question. [16:40] How Hannah tries to build data narratives that tell both sides of the story. [23:21] Digging deep into data is a little bit like meditating. [27:07] Hannah, Erin, and JH chat about data and COVID-19. (This episode was recorded on April 24, 2020.) About our Guest Hannah Shamji is a Consumer Psychologist, formerly the Head of Research & Insights at Copyhackers. There, she helped clients create great, data-informed, copy and marketing strategies. She blends qualitative and quantitative research to tell client stories.

12 June 2020 31m and 36s


#43 - UX Benchmarking: Demonstrate Design ROI with Kate Moran of NN/g

#43 - UX Benchmarking: Demonstrate Design ROI with Kate Moran of NN/g

UX benchmarking may seem like a lot of work, but Kate Moran is here to show you how to do it effectively. She's VP of Research & Content at Neilsen Norman Group and leads UX teams to better benchmarking, teaches newbies how to get started, and explains this complicated subject with clarity. She joined Erin and JH on our very first live episode to explain how UX benchmarking can help teams show the ROI of their work.  She walked through how benchmarking can help get stakeholders on board, how to choose the right metrics early on, and most importantly, how to translate that to real ROI.  Our very first live podcast was a great learning experience and a ton of fun! We really enjoyed the interactive aspect, and our audience asked a lot of thoughtful questions.  Highlights [2:01] Kate explains what UX benchmarking is [3:37] How to choose benchmarking metrics [12:01] The difference between summative and formative studies, and why you need to distinguish between them. [17:21] Why context matters when evaluating benchmarking metrics [21:28] How to translate benchmarking results to ROI [29:11] Kate talks about case studies from NNg's ROI for Usability report [35:34] Q&A - How do you limit bias in unmoderated studies with non-users and users? [38:16] Q&A - How do you measure time spent on a task? Stopwatches aren't great. [39:59] Q&A - How do session replay tools fit into this? [41:10] Q&A - What happens when your stakeholders have different metrics for success? [44:57] Q&A - If a participant thinks they completed a task successfully, is that a success? [46:42] Q&A - How do you benchmark for emotional aspects, like how fun a product is? [49:07] Parting words of wisdom Kate's recommended resources  NN/g full-day seminar: Measuring UX & ROI NN/g articles about benchmarking, ROI, and quantitative research Jeff Sauro’s articles about quantitative UX research (he also has very useful confidence interval and statistical significance calculators): measuringu.com  Jeff Sauro’s book about benchmarking: Benchmarking the User Experience Two great books for getting started with statistics: Straightforward Statistics and The Cartoon Guide to Statistics

29 May 2020 50m and 20s


#42 - 2 for 1: Combining Customer Research & Sales Demos with Jane Portman of UI Breakfast

#42 - 2 for 1: Combining Customer Research & Sales Demos with Jane Portman of UI Breakfast

Sales demos are a great opportunity to get to know your customers. The person on the other end is interested in your product, looking for a solution to a problem, and likely have some pain points with their current solutions. That's why Jane Portman, co-founder of Userlist, uses demos as an opportunity to connect with potential customers, keep pain points top of mind, and learn how to make her product even better.  She chatted with Erin and JH about why she's doing customer research and sales demos at the same time, how constantly talking to customers helps her develop a better product, and how she came up with the podcast name UI Breakfast.  Highlights [2:16] During the MVP phase, all new customers had to go through sales demos to start using Userlist.  [4:24] Making early customers go through demos ensured that Userlist's customers were all well informed about the capabilities and what to expect from the product. [5:49] How do you combine meaningful research with sales demos? [8:35] Because Jane and her team are talking to people all the time, they're learning as things change. [11:57] The specific questions Jane asks in her demo calls. [14:40] If something is coming up in calls all the time, you can't forget about it. Since Jane and her co-founder are always hearing about pain points, they can focus on building solutions before logging insights. [20:43] Asking your most active customers for feedback as you go is helpful for product teams who like to stay in touch with customers.  [24:03] How do you stay objective when doing research in a demo? About our Guest Jane Portman is the CEO & co-founder of Userlist and the host of the UI Breakfast podcast. She's passionate about helping founders connect with their customers and learning more about their stories.  Recommended Reading User Onboarding: The Ultimate Guide for SaaS Founders How to Design and Conduct a Customer Interview

20 May 2020 35m and 21s


#41 - 10x: User Research for Growth with Aazar Shad of Userpilot

#41 - 10x: User Research for Growth with Aazar Shad of Userpilot

We’ve heard from a lot of designers and user researchers on the show, but we’re always looking for fresh perspectives on how research can help your business. So this week, Erin and JH chatted with Aazar Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot, about how research methods are essential to his growth strategy. Aazar started using research methods to find our who his users were, but continued using them to grow Userpilot’s business. He talked about how secondary research helped him find the best ways to connect with his target audience, continuous interviews help him identify where to go next, and how he honed his research skills over time.  Highlights [3:44] User research is essential to acquisition  [5:13] Aazar found that his usual toolkit wouldn’t sway the product managers he was targeting, so he’d need to meet them where they were: Google Search [13:03] Asking users how they would describe Userpilot to other people helped to better understand what they might search. [13:38] Setting notifications for keywords to conversations he may want to jump in on in Slack helped Aazar be in the right place at the right time. [22:39] Aazar found that asking less questions, but digging deeper during his user interviews helped him learn more about his users. [29:56] Asking other people to review the feedback you get from research helps to identify trends with less bias. Related links  How to use Slack for social media marketing & user acquisition SEO strategies for leads Conferences as a growth channel About our guest Aazar Shad is a growth marketing leader and founder of The Performers, a paid social mastermind group (at the time of our interview, he was Head of Growth at Userpilot). He is the host of the podcast Growth Marketing Stories

7 May 2020 33m and 30s


#40 - Dream Stack: ROI-Driving Research Toolsets with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith

#40 - Dream Stack: ROI-Driving Research Toolsets with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith

With so many research tools on the market, it can be hard to nail down exactly which ones are right for your team. This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith, who are the Directors of User Experience and Research, respectively, at a large insurance company. They wanted to learn more about how Daniel and Leo choose the tools with the best ROI for their team. Daniel and Leo have spent a lot of time building out their tool stack. Since they have a lot of experience working for large organizations with many people conducting research and even more consuming it, it was important to them to get it right. In this episode, they talked about how they evaluate the ROI of tools, the summit they assembled to identify the tools their team could and would use, and how important it is to leave your assumptions at the door when tool-hunting. Highlights [10:15] Leo used to spend 20-30 hours just on recruiting. [12:53] Sometimes the simplest tool is the most effective. [14:23] It's important to consider how accessible the tools you're using are to everyone on your team. Even if you choose the best tools, your team won't use them if it's not easy to do so. [16:23] How the team defined their user-centered design process, mapped tools to the right parts of it, and moved forward from there. [20:43] Why Leo and Daniel's team prefer a customized toolset over an all-in-one solution. [24:07] Applying the thinking behind design systems to a larger ecosystem is helping the team build a better toolkit. [33:56] The shiny new tools everyone is eager to try. [38:58] Usability test the tools your team will be using. [42:09] Going for an all in one tool is like going to the Cheesecake Factory, lots of choices, all pretty mediocre. Choosing a few specialized tools is like going to a farmer's market, less choice from each vendor, but better results. Tools mentioned in the episode Loom is great for recording your screen and sharing it with your team. It can also be used for usability testing.  Dovetail is a research repository tool that makes it easy to organize and analyze your insights.   Lookback is a great tool for conducting usability tests and taking notes live.  Descript is a video, audio, and text editor. We’ve recently switched to it for editing the podcast, and I am absolutely in love. It does really good automatic transcription and makes pulling clips incredibly easy.  Rev is a transcription tool that provides really accurate, done-by-a-human transcription.  Zapier is a workflow automation tool that helps us make connections between apps that don’t naturally talk to each other.  Userbit is a research repository tool that makes it easy to code your analysis into deliverables. ‍ Dedoose is a research repository tool that makes the academic process of analyzing research more collaborative.  About our guests Daniel Loewus-Deitch is the Assistant VP, User Experience at Unum. He has over 20 years of experience in UX, and has worked at companies like IBM and Microsoft. Daniel is interested in holistic wellness and technological harmony. 💻🎵. Leo Smith is the Director of UX Research at SS&C Technologies. He has over 20 years of experience in UXR, and has worked for companies of all shapes and sizes in roles ranging from research to design. Leo is also a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor 🧘.

30 April 2020 49m and 21s


#39 - Interviewing Users Every Day for A Year with Jonathan Anderson of Candu

#39 - Interviewing Users Every Day for A Year with Jonathan Anderson of Candu

After three failed MVPs, Jonathan Anderson and the team at Candu realized they needed a better strategy for understanding how users interact with their product. So they started doing some user interviews. And they kept doing them. Every day for a year before launching their product. Jonathan chatted with Erin and JH about what he learned from those interviews, how it changed the direction of his company, and how he went from a total newbie to a research pro. Highlights [5:36] Doing one interview a day every day keeps the Candu team curious about what the users have to say, rather than hearing the same things all in one day. [8:29] Jonathan and his team always ask users what they would expect the prototype to do. [11:34] How do you know when you've done enough interviews? [13:31] Creating low-fidelity designs to use, even if it's just drawing within Zoom, is incredibly helpful to Candu's design team. [15:51] After their third failed MVP, Jonathan and his team decided they need to make research a priority to build something truly great. [16:41] Candu built out a panel of trusted partners who gave great feedback and wanted to be a part of building something new. They supplemented this with new people to get great perspectives regularly. [21:55] When Jonathan started, he really didn't know how to do a user interview. Learning to step back from his excitement and be objective was important in evaluating feedback. [23:53] Jonathan shares his secret to identifying good research participants [26:12] Asking people about their process and how they currently solve thier problem can be illuminating, both for your process and finding the right people to interview. [29:02] Research shifted Candu's entire outlook as a company

17 April 2020 31m and 18s


#38 - Accessibility, User Research, and Inclusive Design with Cat Noone, CEO of Stark

#38 - Accessibility, User Research, and Inclusive Design with Cat Noone, CEO of Stark

This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, a suite of tools designed to help teams ship accessible work. They chatted about how accessibility is constantly evolving, what teams can do to get started, and inclusive design. Highlights [1:50] Accessibility is continually changing and evolving, so it's important to think of it that way. [3:01] Accessibility is a side effect of inclusive design. [12:59] Identify other people in your organization that may be able to work with you on accessibility and create a bridge between teams. [15:08] Accessibility helps everyone, and framing it that way can help teams to understand its importance. [23:09] Ethics change team culture, exposure changes executive's minds, profit and customer loss changes action.  [31:11] If you can, speak up about having the tools to do your job well.

10 April 2020 34m and 48s


#37 - Using Research to Write Next Level Copy with Joel Klettke of Case Study Buddy

#37 - Using Research to Write Next Level Copy with Joel Klettke of Case Study Buddy

This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Joel Klettke, who has 6+ years of experience writing killer conversion copy for clients like Hubspot, Scott's Cheap Flights, and WP Engine. His first piece of advice?  All the best copy [is] words you've stolen from the customers themselves. He also stressed the importance of meeting your customers where they are, involving copy from the start of any new project, and structuring your user research so it's easy to pull out the best insights. He walked us through how he used research to make changes at Hubspot that resulted in a 35% increase in demo requests and a 27% increase in inbound call volume. He also outlined how he used chatbot data to help an online divorce startup net an extra 165k in revenue by answering questions their users needed answers to. Highlights [2:09] The best copy comes straight from the mouths of customers [3:46] You can't sell to an audience you don't understand. [6:02] Structuring your research is important, so you can better identify good copy when you see it. [6:24] Joel wants to hear about people's experience. Here's the specific questions he asks to learn about them. [8:31] Taking copy straight from customers mouths is more compelling and specific. It makes you stand out from what your competitors are saying. [10:07] Joel uses text analyzer to identify recurring phrases from his research. [10:52] Companies default to their own internal language, but you have to speak to customers in a language they understand [13:00] How Joel used this process at HubSpot to make meaningful copy changes that resulted in a 35% increase in demo requests and a 27% increase in inbound call volume. [16:28] Joel works on anchoring new ideas for copy in known concepts to make it easier to digest. [18:16] Get specific, but not so specific your audience can't relate [21:44] Copy is more agile than design. It takes just a few minutes to change, so the best test is to actually deploy it to market. [26:35] Copy can help establish the order of operations for users, and work with design from the start to create something better than adding on copy later. [34:32] How Joel approaches copy for startups that don't have any data or customers yet. [35:51] How Joel uses insights from churned customers to write better copy and understand where promises weren't kept. [37:02] Ask your sales team "what question do you wish you never got asked again?" to identify gaps in your copy. [37:34] How Joel used chat bot data to help an online divorce startup net an extra 165k in revenue by answering questions their users needed answers to. [45:22] Every job Joel's had since university was something he didn't know existed until he started doing it.

25 March 2020 47m and 1s


#36 - User Research as a Growth Engine at Early Stage Startups with Loic Alix-Brown

#36 - User Research as a Growth Engine at Early Stage Startups with Loic Alix-Brown

One of the key tenets of the Lean Startup approach is ensuring you have product-market fit. To find it, you'll need to talk to potential users, and get them to confirm your product is something they really need, and are willing to pay for. Loic Alix-Brown started doing user interviews to learn if he had product-market fit for his Instagram hashtag startup Flick. But he didn't stop doing research after the MVP, it became an integral part of the way he's built his business.  This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Loic about how he built his MVP, how his research strategy has changed as his business has grown, how he used research to find the right pricing structure for his customers, and how he's maintained a regular research cadence amidst the chaos of launching a startup.  Highlights [5:27] How do you decide what's viable enough for a minimum viable product? [7:20] What happens after the MVP? [8:28] How to find users to talk to for generative research. [11:17] Interview users who are less active, or even ones who have cancelled, for a better overall picture. [12:42] Loic talks about why qualitative interviews are more helpful at very early stages than quantitive testing. [15:58] How Loic restructured his pricing to make more sense for his users. [19:46] How Loic learned about who was using his product most often.  [25:25] Adding a survey to your cancellation flow can help you learn why users leave. [27:26] Keeping a regular cadence of user research helps the Flick team stay on top of user needs. [28:36] Solve one problem at a time, and build up that way. About our Guest Loic Alix-Brown is the Co-Founder of Flick, a SaaS solution to help entrepreneurs, content creators and small businesses find the best hashtags to reach their target audience on Instagram.

19 March 2020 32m and 5s


#35 - Democratizing Research in Large Enterprise Companies with Luke Fraser of Stepwise Innovation

#35 - Democratizing Research in Large Enterprise Companies with Luke Fraser of Stepwise Innovation

This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Luke Fraser, Founder & CEO of Stepwise Innovation (formerly Paper Ventures). They work with insurance innovation and product development teams to get products to market faster. Before starting Stepwise Innovation, Luke worked at IDEO's Design Lab and Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Product Manager. All in all, he's spent a lot of time working with teams at large enterprise companies, with lots of red tape around user research. He chatted with Erin and JH about how he democratizes research in risk adverse environments, works with legal teams instead of against them, and even how he got teammates from legal to start attending daily standups. Highlights [4:16] Luke talks about working on research in 100 year old financial organizations [6:56] Bringing legal and HR teams along for the ride [8:01] How to get legal to be a part of your daily standups [15:23] Getting everyone on the team to understand research findings [16:44] Research is going to happen, how to pitch it as a less expensive and time consuming option [20:02] Why participants really participate in research [22:20] How to work with other teams to do even better research [25:02] Making the tradeoffs clear when pitching research [28:45] Luke ❤️s recruitment

12 March 2020 31m and 32s


#34 - Self Care As A UX Researcher with Vivianne Castillo

#34 - Self Care As A UX Researcher with Vivianne Castillo

Vivianne Castillo’s career has always been human-centered. She started off as a counselor, helping people navigate through complex issues, but eventually found her way to UX research, helping companies better understand their users.  Though she loves user research, she’s found it frustrating that it doesn’t adopt the same standards of care for its practitioners that counseling and other human service work does. Since researchers deal with the messy task of human emotion, all those sessions can take a toll on them. Things like compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma occur often, but without a name for what they’re feeling or the tools to do something about it, researchers are left feeling burned out and unsuccessful. Erin and JH chatted with Vivianne about how researchers can take better care of themselves and how they can empower their teams support each other psychologically. Resources Vivanne Castillo’s “Self-Care for UX” About our guest Vivianne Castillo (she/her) is the Founder and CEO of HmntyCntrd, an award-winning professional growth community supporting UX and Tech professionals in transforming the status quo of what it means to be human-centered in their professional and personal lives through courses, community, and consulting.

14 February 2020 39m and 17s


#33 - Using Session Replay Tools to Supercharge Your User Research with Elyse Bogacz

#33 - Using Session Replay Tools to Supercharge Your User Research with Elyse Bogacz

This week on the pod, we chatted with Elyse Bogacz, who has worked on product on Drift, Runkeeper, and now NDVR. She walked us through how she uses session replay tools like FullStory to supercharge her user research. She talked about how she shares replays with developers and stakeholders, how she deals with privacy issues, and how other teams can use session replay tools to add to their user research programs. Highlights [1:11] Tools like FullStory hand Hotjar have helped Elyse learn important things about users at early stage startups [4:43] You only get a limited number of time to speak with each user, use it wisely [6:20] How Elyse uses session reply to decide who to reach out to for user research [9:35] Actually seeing users struggle in session replay helps stakeholders build empathy [16:40] There's no replacement for a one on one chat with a user, but replays can be a good icebreaker [19:46] How privacy and GDPR plays into all this [25:21] Session replay is not screen recording [28:59] How Elyse keeps track of all the insights that surfaces [31:33] How to cope with backlog

31 January 2020 33m and 33s


#32 - 7 Reasons Not To Do User Research with Michele Ronsen

#32 - 7 Reasons Not To Do User Research with Michele Ronsen

Erin and JH chat with Michele Ronsen, founder of Curiosity Tank and General Assembly instructor. Michele talks to a lot of different people about user research, and she's found there are some situations where user research is (😱) not the best move forward. In fact, there are 7. Michele walked us through each one, and what teams should do instead.  About our guest Michele Ronsen is a UX and design researcher, founder of Curiosity Tank (formerly Ronsen Consulting) and an instructor at General Assembly. She loves digging deep into research, being people’s research buddy, and introducing teams to the power of research.

7 January 2020 42m and 34s


#31 - Why No One Listens to Your Research Reports with Caitria O’Neill of Google

#31 - Why No One Listens to Your Research Reports with Caitria O’Neill of Google

If you’ve ever presented research to a crowd of glazed over eyes, or sent around a detailed report only to hear back crickets, this episode is for you. After reading Caitria O’Neill’s article UX Research is Boring and No One Reads It, we knew we had to chat with her.  Caitria has made sure research is heard, absorbed, and utilized in companies like Airbnb and Facebook before moving on to her current role as a Staff UX Researcher at Google. She shared tips on how to make research reports fun, storing insights so they’re used more often, and how she makes the whole process easier for herself and her team.

6 December 2019 46m and 48s


#30 - How 3 Mailchimp Researchers Landed Their Dream Jobs with Jud Vaughan, Khalida Nicole Sebree, and Christianne Elliott

#30 - How 3 Mailchimp Researchers Landed Their Dream Jobs with Jud Vaughan, Khalida Nicole Sebree, and Christianne Elliott

There are many ways to become a UX Researcher. To learn more about the winding career paths many researchers take, Erin and JH talked to Jud Vaughan, Khalida Nicole Sebree, and Christianne Elliott, who are all UX Researchers at Mailchimp.  Though they all hold the same job at the same company, they took very different paths to get there. Jud started at a Support Technician at Mailchimp and worked his way over to the Research department. Khalida wanted to go into medicine and studied Psychology in college. Then she got into the startup scene and began doing freelance design and research and eventually found herself at Mailchimp. Christianne also studied Psychology and wanted to go into medicine, but fell in love with academic research and moved into that after school. She wanted a new challenge and found her way to UX Research at Mailchimp.

7 November 2019 49m and 16s


#29 - Researching Your Own Users with Chad Aldous of Rentable

#29 - Researching Your Own Users with Chad Aldous of Rentable

Researching with your own users means you have to make some special considerations. When was the last time they used your product? Where are they in the funnel? When was the last time they participated in a research session with you?  We chatted with Chad Aldous, Head of Design and Co-founder of Rentable (formerly Abodo), an apartment listing company, about how he and his team handle research with their own users. He chatted with Erin and JH about doing continuous and one-off research projects, how he chooses the right users to talk to, and how he creates great research invites that get results.

23 October 2019 26m and 44s


# 28 - The Three Tiers of Culturalization with Chui Chui Tan of Beyō Global

# 28 - The Three Tiers of Culturalization with Chui Chui Tan of Beyō Global

This is the third episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Chui Chui Tan, author of International User Research and Founder of Beyō Global.  Chui Chui walked us through her "three tiers of culturalization", which can help international and cross-cultural researchers focus in on what they need to be researching. She also talked about how to prioritize different elements of your research based on the culture you're researching, the product you're working on, and how those two things interact with each other.

17 October 2019 33m and 3s


# 27 - International Markets and Anthropology with Leia Atkinson of Shopify

# 27 - International Markets and Anthropology with Leia Atkinson of Shopify

This is the second episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Leia Atkinson, Staff Researcher at Shopify.  Leia chatted with Erin and JH about how her degree in Anthropology helps her learn more about international audiences through research. She shared her technique for recruiting participants through "snowballing", how she deals with culture shock, and how she maximizes her learning each time she takes a research trip abroad.

17 October 2019 24m and 24s


# 26 - Cross Cultural Research in Action with Elsa Ho

# 26 - Cross Cultural Research in Action with Elsa Ho

This is the first episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Elsa Ho, a Senior UX Researcher at Uber who works on airports and events. Elsa is no stranger to international and cross-cultural research though, she's spent most of her career helping companies and teams learn about international audiences. She walked through some of the meaningful cultural differences she's encountered over the years, how she works with translators to ensure she's getting the full message, and how she makes the most of each trip. About our guest Elsa is a mixed-methods and impact-driven research leader with 12 years of experience. She led strategic research for products, services, and businesses that serve millions of people around the globe. Currently a Staff Researcher at Doordash. Ex-Facebook, ex-Microsoft, ex-Uber (where she worked at the time of our interview).

17 October 2019 22m and 45s


# 25 - Why Participants Participate in User Research with Brittany Rutherford of User Interviews

# 25 - Why Participants Participate in User Research with Brittany Rutherford of User Interviews

We’ve talked a lot about how researchers do research, now it’s time to hear from the participants. We invited our Participant Marketing Lead, Brittany Rutherford, and had some recent participants leave voicemails about their experience.  We asked participants, "why do you participate in user research?" to help us understand how participants think about user research and how we can make their experience better.

1 October 2019 28m and 34s


#24 - What's in a Name? Building Custom Research Programs that Stick with Vicki Tollemache

#24 - What's in a Name? Building Custom Research Programs that Stick with Vicki Tollemache

How do you get everyone on board with research? Vicki Tollemache has found that building a branded research practice that's fun, engaging, and impactful is pretty effective. She started Grubhub's Parts Unknown research practice to involve everyone in researching emerging markets and exploring new ideas within their product.  Erin and JH talked to Vicki about how she set up Parts Unknown, the effect its had on Grubhub, and her tips for establishing your own standing research day.

23 September 2019 39m and 56s


#23 - How to Interview Customers Continuously with Teresa Torres of Product Talk

#23 - How to Interview Customers Continuously with Teresa Torres of Product Talk

Teresa Torres is a master of continuous interviewing. As a product discovery coach and founder of Product Talk, she works with teams of all shapes and sizes to help them build better stuff. Part of that is talking to customers all the time, and establishing a cadence that keeps customer needs top of mind. In this episode, she talks to Erin and JH about what it takes to establish a continuous interview practice, shares some tips for doing better interviews, and encourages everyone to get out there and start talking to customers. Highlights [3:31] What's continuous interviewing all about anyway? [11:52] Focus on the frequency of your interviews, not the number of interviews.  [14:56] Automate your recruiting process first [17:03] Make customer interviews a part of your weekly schedule, just like any internal meetings you might have. [22:21] Throw away the discussion guide [35:55] Map everything on an opportunity solution tree [37:07] Make your synthesis visual [42:00] It's all about the magic lightbulb moments Resources Continuous Interviewing Course Teresa Torres Why does every product have to be agile these days? Jeff Gothelf Pencil Me In Christina Wodtke

20 August 2019 42m and 26s


#22 - Stop Freaking Out About the Evils of Personas with Andy Budd of Clearleft

#22 - Stop Freaking Out About the Evils of Personas with Andy Budd of Clearleft

Personas are polarizing, some love them, but many love to hate them. This week, Erin and JH talk to Andy Budd, co-founder of Clearleft about why the social mediaverse should stop freaking out about the evils of personas. They're a tool in the toolkit, and come with contextualized nuance all their own. Read our blog post about it here: https://bit.ly/2KA7B5H About our Guest Andy Budd is the co-founder of Clearleft, an agency that helps design leader, founding member of the Adobe Design Circle, Venture Partner at Seedcamp, and executive coach. He writes down some of his thoughts about UX and design on his blog, and is a big fan of nuance.

8 August 2019 28m and 58s


#21 - Why Surveys [Almost Always] Suck with Erika Hall of Mule Design

#21 - Why Surveys [Almost Always] Suck with Erika Hall of Mule Design

Surveys are everywhere. They bombard us at every turn, and most of them aren't even helping teams learn what they need to know. We chatted with Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design and author of Just Enough Research about why most surveys suck and what we can do about it. Check out our blog post about this episode here 👉 https://bit.ly/2O5oDOg About our guest Erika Hall is the co-founder of Mule Design and the author of Just Enough Research. She loves design, getting to the bottom of things, and well-designed research.

23 July 2019 43m and 35s


#20 - Why Being Wrong is Right with Alec Levin of Learners

#20 - Why Being Wrong is Right with Alec Levin of Learners

This week on the pod, we talked to Alec Levin, founder of the The UXR Collective and Learners. He chatted with us about something he thinks UX research needs more of—failure. He put it this way in the podcast, "If you’re batting 100% on all your points of view, you’re not trying hard enough. You’re working on stuff that’s too easy."  Erin and JH spoke with with Alec about being open to new ideas, challenging yourself, and being transparent about your work.

10 July 2019 28m and 34s


#19 - What UX Researchers Can Learn From Children with Noam Segal of Wealthfront

#19 - What UX Researchers Can Learn From Children with Noam Segal of Wealthfront

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Noam Segal who recently gave a talk at the UXR Strive conference in Toronto, and after hearing all the buzz we had to chat with him about it ourselves. He shared some lessons he's learned about research from his four year old daughter, including, keep your eye on the prize, find a method in the madness, tell it like it is, be a good host, and believe in magic. About our guest Noam Segal is a UX, business, and career coach and the Senior Research Manager at Upwork (at the time of our interview, he was Director of User Research at Wealthfront). When creating magical experiences, he strives to see the same look on users’ faces as he saw on his daughter’s face the first time she saw a real live fish.

28 June 2019 45m and 25s


#18 - Juggling Hardware and Software (and Service Design) Research with Susan Rice of Toast

#18 - Juggling Hardware and Software (and Service Design) Research with Susan Rice of Toast

At the end of the day, we’re really just lucky to be in this field. You get to learn all the time every day. And you can’t ever assume you know all the things because you just don’t. That’s just a human thing. To learn from our customers and to serve them, it’s just so meaningful. This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Susan Rice of Toast. As Toast developed their Toast Go, a handheld POS system for restaurants, Susan learned a lot about researching for both hardware and software at the same time. She also talked about her passion for service design, what she loves about working in design and research, and how she juggles design for B2B, B2C, and everything in between. About our guest Susan Rice is VP, User Experience at Workiva. She previously led Product Design and Research at Toast, where she built and scaled the UX function 500% in 1.5 years to create right-sized product teams focused on solving customer needs across mobile, web, hardware, and services platforms

30 May 2019 28m and 27s


#17 - Is It Ok To Recline Your Seat On An Airplane? with Bob Saris of User Interviews

#17 - Is It Ok To Recline Your Seat On An Airplane? with Bob Saris of User Interviews

This week, we’re doing something a little bit different. We’re talking to the CTO of User Interviews, Bob Saris, and a bunch of random strangers about one of the biggest questions out there—is it ok to recline your seat on an airplane? We got our whole team involved to do some on-the-street research. Read all about it here: https://bit.ly/2w3iUfU

16 May 2019 22m and 2s


#16 - How to Facilitate User Research in Any Team with Nicola Rushton

#16 - How to Facilitate User Research in Any Team with Nicola Rushton

This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to pro UX designer and researcher Nicola Rushton. She's worked with teams large and small to facilitate fantastic research. She walked us through how she does it and how to think of researchers as facilitators of learning. Read all about it here: https://bit.ly/2VRwqSk

8 May 2019 28m and 13s


#15 - Starting a ResearchOps Practice with Kate Towsey

#15 - Starting a ResearchOps Practice with Kate Towsey

This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to Kate Towsey, a ResearchOps thought leader and advisor and founder of the Cha Cha Club—a members' club for ResearchOps professionals. Previously Research Operations Manager at Atlassian, you may know her as the person who started the ResearchOps Slack community in March of 2018. In the past year, the ResearchOps community has grown and Kate has left her consulting career to join Atlassian. Erin and JH talked to Kate about how she's started a ResearchOps practice and what she's excited to see as ResearchOps grows.

1 May 2019 44m and 24s


#14 - How to Make a Potentially Awkward User Interview Less Awkward with Adam Sigel of Hometap

#14 - How to Make a Potentially Awkward User Interview Less Awkward with Adam Sigel of Hometap

65% of homeowners have experienced anxiety related to their home. Adam Sigel wants to figure out how to get that number down. As the VP of Product at Hometap, a home equity startup, he talks to homeowners about their hopes and fears about their homes. We talked to Adam about his experience interviewing users and how he's become a more empathetic researcher. Highlights [2:21] Adam talks about his research at Hometap [4:32] Resist the urge to pitch [9:15] Let discovery conversations be open ended [12:39] The difficulties of pattern recognition in complicated discovery interviews [17:40] Can someone productize dads? About our Guest Adam Sigel is VP of Product at Hometap. He once shared an elevator with Michael Keaton.

24 April 2019 27m and 2s


#13 - Make Qualitative Research Your Competitive Marketing Advantage with Katelyn Bourgoin

#13 - Make Qualitative Research Your Competitive Marketing Advantage with Katelyn Bourgoin

Talking to customers is pretty powerful stuff. This week Erin & JH talked to Katelyn Bourgoin, 3x startup founder and growth geek, about how qualitative research can become your marketing team's competitive advantage. Learn more about the episode here https://bit.ly/2IHsbSu  Highlights [3:30] Go into qualitative research with a goal of learning [7:18] Stop running away from the angry bear [13:41] Doing a switch interview to learn about the buyer's journey [16:46] How to do churn interviews [20:03] Creating better marketing personas based on qualitative research [23:54] Don't do selfish marketing [27:57] Create a culture of consistent research About our Guest Katelyn Bourgoin is a growth strategist, marketer, and 4x founder.  She's founded 4 startups and has learned a lot about growing your business through customer feedback. Her specialty is helping growth-hungry teams figure out what triggers customers to buy so they can market smarter. Katelyn has been called an "influential entrepreneur" by Forbes and named as one of the "top 20 wonder women of SaaS marketing and growth."

18 April 2019 36m and 59s


#12 - Essential Times for Qualitative Research With Shipra Kayan

#12 - Essential Times for Qualitative Research With Shipra Kayan

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Shipra Kayan. After 10 years of working in UX design and research at Upwork, she's launched her own consultancy. On the pod, she talked about getting your research started on the right foot, no matter what kind of research you're doing or how big your team is. Highlights [5:47] How do you decide between what to do long-term and short-term? [7:49] Do research your team is ready to listen to [17:16] Always plan on learning from your research [20:05] Democratize your research planning process [24:21] Always document your research [27:48] There’s a lot of value in actually getting people together in a meeting  About our guest Shipra Kayan worked on UX design and research at Upwork for over 10 years. She is now an Evangelist at Miro and runs her own consultancy, helping teams create amazing research-driven UX.

11 April 2019 30m and 37s


#11 - Integrating Research Faster with John Cutler

#11 - Integrating Research Faster with John Cutler

John Cutler is a man of many talents. He’s a product development champion, team whisperer, and now, podcast guest on Awkward Silences! Erin and JH talked to John about just-in-time research, promoting healthy team practices, and integrating research faster. Highlights [3:22] Start together, work together, finish together [7:50] Consistently integrate your ideas [9:02] Continuous design, rather than design then build [10:16] Create a backlog of learning goals [11:30] Integrate research faster [17:32] Finding a working balance for you and your team [18:10] The dangers of defensive dogma [35:02] Critiquing your research process

27 March 2019 36m and 53s


#10 - Give Us Your Feedback and Reviews (Retro #1) - with Erin & JH

#10 - Give Us Your Feedback and Reviews (Retro #1) - with Erin & JH

In this special edition episode, we're talking about what we think about the podcast so far and where we hope to go. We want your feedback to help us decide what to do next! Let us know what you think here: https://bit.ly/2uoijV9

22 March 2019 35m and 8s


#9 - Running Amazing Remote UX Research Sessions with Sonya Badigian

#9 - Running Amazing Remote UX Research Sessions with Sonya Badigian

Erin and JH talk to Sonya Badigian. As a researcher at a fully-remote company, Sonya is a big fan of remote research. She walks us through how remote research can be affordable, flexible, and fun.  About Our Guest Sonya Badigian is Staff UX Researcher at Procore Technologies (previously UX and Content Specialist at Marketade). She has Masters in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon. After graduating and taking a remote research job, she was surprised to learn how powerful remote research can be.

13 March 2019 29m and 48s


#8 - Continuously Delivering and Discovering with James Aylward of Pluralsight

#8 - Continuously Delivering and Discovering with James Aylward of Pluralsight

Pluralsight is built on continuous discovery and continuous delivery, which means they are constantly building and shipping code, while constantly digging in to how customers feel about their product. We talked to James Aylward about the framework that keeps his team moving while creating products that are all about the customer. Episode Highlights [1:45] James talks about how Pluralsight thinks about continuously delivering and discovering [4:10] Culture and values at Pluralsight [5:57] The directed discovery process [13:05] Who you should have on your team to bring the most value to your products [17:15] How a culture of learning promotes research [19:10] Different teams will work together in different ways About our Guest James Aylward is GM and Chief Product Officer at PerkSpot (at the time of our interview, James was SVP and Head of Data Product at Pluralsight). He’s passionate about identifying customer needs and rapidly designing and developing products that offer solutions. He has 10 years of experience managing products and nearly 20 years of experience in the field.

27 February 2019 31m and 12s


#7 - Making User Testing Fast, Fun, and Accessible with Laura Powell

#7 - Making User Testing Fast, Fun, and Accessible with Laura Powell

Try to think of each user as a new friend, and you want to learn about them. Don’t get nervous — relax! It’s just nice to create the sense that you’re having a conversation with someone. You’re listening to what they’re saying and flowing with what they say, not just reading a list of questions. JH and Erin talk to Laura Powell about making user testing easy and fun for users and for companies. She’s just wrapped up her 9th User Test Fest, this time in Austin, TX, and was excited to chat with us about all things user testing. Highlights [3:18] Drunk User Testing becomes User Test Fest [8:20] Do people get meaningful insights out of this kind of testing?  [9:53] Plan and rehearse for your testing [18:25] You can always do more research  [22:50] Testing is a great way to get your team excited about the product again About our guest Laura is a self-proclaimed Specialized Generalist who helps companies get it together. She's worked on everything from user research to marketing strategy to organizational process and all of the fun in between. Clients include Appcues, MIT Media Lab, VETTA, Bow Market Somerville, Metaplane.

13 February 2019 32m and 39s


#6 - Building Products That Don't Cause Emotional Trauma with Laura Klein

#6 - Building Products That Don't Cause Emotional Trauma with Laura Klein

Algorithms don’t always handle “edge cases” well, and the people who design them can have too broad a definition of edge case—stillbirths, miscarriages, and other life tragedies are actually relatively common. So how do the people who are responsible for building things, often many many people for any given human experience, design for the possibility of unexpected outcomes?  That is to say, for real life?  This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talked to Laura Klein about building products that consider user's real life situations more thoughtfully. Sometimes, big tech does things that actually end up emotionally harming users. How do we do better? Highlights [3:50] We ask the big question. Why do bad things happen? [6:56] The hippocratic oath for researchers. [11:15] The consequences of short-term thinking. [12:41] Everyone makes mistakes, and we can learn from everyone else’s mistakes too.  [18:56] Is the designer morally responsible for the actions of the product? [24:43] How do you make a difference as an individual? [33:25] The difficulty of separating yourself from some of the big companies [36:32] We’re all gonna die, how does tech deal with that? (hint, not well)  [40:21] We wrap up. Laura’s not mad, she’s just disappointed. About Our Guest Laura Klein is the Principal at Users Know and the author of UX for Lean Startups and Build Better Products. She hosted her own popular UX podcast with Kate Rutter, What is Wrong with UX?, which goes best with cocktails.

30 January 2019 41m and 31s


#5 - Collaboration Between UXR and Stakeholders with Holly Hester-Reilly

#5 - Collaboration Between UXR and Stakeholders with Holly Hester-Reilly

If there’s anyone who can link stakeholders to the awesome power of user research, it’s Holly Hester-Reilly.  Holly is a champion of research that is connected to every member of organizations; research that reaches across teams and unites companies towards a common product goal.  Highlights [3:55] How research falls away from growing companies [7:12] Creating change even if you’re not at the top of the pyramid [9:15] Giving stakeholders options to help them make decisions [11:33] Creating snapshots of your sessions [13:30] Avoiding bias in your research presentations [17:23] Who to invite to your kickoff workshop [19:07] Are there certain roles or org structures that inspire better research environments?  [24:25] Why stakeholders may not be using your research the way you expect them to About Our Guest Holly Hester-Reilly is a die-hard New Yorker and user advocate. She worked in the NYC startup scene for ten years before starting H2R Product Science, which helps companies of all shapes and sizes embrace user insights.

16 January 2019 30m and 20s


#4 - Conversational Research with Maggie Crowley of Drift

#4 - Conversational Research with Maggie Crowley of Drift

This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Maggie Crowley, Director of Product Management at Drift, about research as a product manager at a rapidly growing startup. They talk about how to do great research in a conversational way, how Drift's research practice is growing, and how Maggie thinks about research as a PM.  Highlights [4:50] How do you establish the outcomes you’re looking for?  [8:08] Since you use your own product, do you still need to test with outside users? [9:40] Using shared Slack channels with your biggest customers [12:10] How do you balance getting feedback with moving fast? [18:31] The risks of pushing through your pet features without talking to users. [22:07] Learning how to speak your customers language [26:28] How do you balance qual and quant data? About Our Guest Maggie Crowley is VP of Product at Toast (formerly Director of Product Management at Drift). She has her own podcast, Build, about all things product. She competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics as a speed skater and can confirm wearing spandex in front of the whole world is just as uncomfortable as it sounds.

2 January 2019 30m and 40s


#3 - Quant and Qual Flow with Cat Anderson

#3 - Quant and Qual Flow with Cat Anderson

Some people think you have to choose between qual and quant research when you start your study. Not Cat Anderson. At AP Intego, she works with a fairly small and scrappy team (just like us!), but that doesn’t mean she’s not doing big things with her research. She lets qualitative and quantitative research flow into and inform each other, creating overall better research results. ‍ Episode Highlights [1:23] Cat walks us through how she found her way to a UX Writer position [6:01] The importance of stakeholder buy-in for user research [8:38] Cat talks about designing her cybersecurity research from the bottom up [9:42] The Experian effect [11:26] Going from quantitative to qualitative [13:23] Planning for free-flowing research [16:32] Deciding what kind of research to do when [22:34] Cat’s final thoughts on doing great research About our Guest Cat Anderson is the UX Content Strategist at Ladder (formerly UX Writer at AP Intego). She has a background in anthropology, research, and UX design. She’s relentlessly curious, occasionally funny, and perpetually snuggling as many dogs as she can.

12 December 2018 29m and 4s


#2 - When Research Doesn't Go As Planned with Jaclyn Perrone

#2 - When Research Doesn't Go As Planned with Jaclyn Perrone

What do you do when your user research session doesn’t go according to plan? It happens all the time, in a lot of ways, for a lot of reasons. Fortunately we have Jaclyn Perrone, Design Director at thoughtbot, on the pod today to talk us through it all. She shares stories of times things didn’t go quite right, what to do when participants get stuck on the wrong things, and how to avoid (avoidable) mishaps.  Episode Highlights [4:05] Things go wrong when you do things with other humans (like user research) [7:06] Jaclyn answers the question, “Is it more important to be prepared or ready to improvise? [10:24] Test the test [12:07] Jaclyn warns against the dangers of fake data [14:53] What to do when you’re the note-taker and the facilitator strays from the script [20:58] Jaclyn’s top tips for avoiding research mistakes [22:29] How to be more comfortable asking stupid questions About our Guest Jaclyn Perrone is a Senior Product Designer at Groups Recover Together, an opioid addiction treatment solution. Formerly, she was Design Director at thoughtbot, where she hosted a podcast at centered around digital product design.

4 December 2018 27m and 35s


#1 - Why are we here? with your co-hosts, JH and Erin

#1 - Why are we here? with your co-hosts, JH and Erin

Listen as JH and Erin wrestle with the biggest question there is: why are we here anyway? We'll dive into what we think the podcast should (and should not) be and pave the way for our first guest.

28 November 2018 18m and 25s


#0 - Trailer

#0 - Trailer

What's this Awkward Silences podcast all about anyway? As a place to start, it's about embracing the awkward beauty of talking to people to learn and build better stuff. Get a sneak peek and meet our hosts, JH Forster and Erin May of User Interviews.

26 November 2018 6m and 28s

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