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In one of my last articles, “Recovering from UX Research” I outlined what it feels like for many UX designers like myself to experience a bulk of sessions back to back. It’s an emotional toll on those who conduct the studies. This phenomenon seemed to resonate with many designers after I wrote the article.

But after doing some digging I found that there are two types of fatigue when it comes to user experience research: research fatigue and empathy fatigue. Research fatigue is what I consider to be the mental toll of doing back-to-back research sessions. …


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At the UX Leadership Summit a month ago, I found a phrase that resonated with me. “Tripping over the truth.” It came from Melissa Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of The Green Program. The Green Program focuses on sending students abroad to have short-term high-impact experiences for a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional study abroad program. One of the goals of the program is to let students “trip over the truth” and not just experience problem spaces, but immerse themselves in the solutions to help our planet.

These words changed the way I look at failure in…


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This article is brought to you by the letter F. (I can’t help it — my daughter loves Sesame Street.)

I wrote this list not to be cynical, but to explain to those outside of UX how language continues misperceptions about what we do, how we collect data, and how we innovate. It’s not anyone’s fault — this is caused by a lack of knowledge of how UX designers work and the fundamental shift in how designers think and work as opposed to how development, marketing, and product make decisions.

This list is to educate and empower those out there…


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“The snowball starts rolling when a leader is willing to be vulnerable with his or her subordinates.” — Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

I read this quote last night, and then changed it.

“The ideas start rolling when a designer is willing to be vulnerable with his or her users.”

It sparked an insight that has lived deeply within me about how to do good qualitative research: I must be vulnerable with the participant. …


Dear Auldyn,

You know that time of the year is coming up when you do a 360 review at work, and that means hearing one word that you hate to hear. “Overachiever.” Guilt will hit you. Embarrassment. You’ll remember the times in school when other kids called you “annoying.”

I’m here to tell you, you’re not an overachiever. You’re ambitious.

But ambition can mean you forget to listen to others. No not the users — you’re a great UX researcher. We know that. It’s about listening to other team members and stakeholders. We both remember at a previous job you…


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I’m terrible with goodbyes. And usually avoid them.

I’m pretty sure this is caused by social anxiety. In grad school, I skipped our last late night goodbye party because I was so anxious to say goodbye to everyone. When I left my last job, I wasn’t sure how to say goodbye as my coworkers included a friend who wrote my vows for me and another who married me and my husband.

But if motherhood has taught me one thing, it’s that it’s okay to be emotionally vulnerable in these moments. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be happy…


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Ellucian UX Team Meeting 2018 in Reston, Virginia

Every week the UX team at Ellucian meets to share project updates, get design critiques, and dish out woots for the week to one another. Being a scattered team across the globe, it’s great to have this weekly time to see each other.


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We’ve all been there.

There’s a project with no time for discovery research. It’s the first project tackling challenges for an audience we don’t know much about, or maybe, need more than persona-level information to make design decisions.

But I don’t have time to do contextual inquiries. Or interviews. Or even a survey.

Enter the job description. It’s a new UX Research life hack I’ve become best friends with.

I was just on a project where we needed to put some design ideas together for faculty members. …


A part of being a UX Researcher that isn’t really discussed.

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Have you ever cried after conducting research? Gotten so angry that you wanted to punch your steering wheel? Been so tired from traveling for research, you pulled over while driving home to take a quick nap?

I have. It’s a part of being a UX Researcher that isn’t really discussed. Or listed in the job description.

I’ll never forget crying after talking to cancer patients a few years ago. Or the mother of a child in the NICU. Or students struggling to pay their way through college. …


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I love conducting usability tests. Nothing is more humbling than getting my design in front of users. But from doing hundreds of usability tests and refining my script, capturing and analyzing 4 metrics per task based on what users say and do makes for quick and actionable insights. These metrics are suited both for moderated and unmoderated testing.

During the Test

When testing, I include the following 4 questions after each task prompt. When there’s both a moderator and notetaker, both will fill out the following criteria below after watching the task.

Behavior Metrics (Moderator fills these out based on observation)

1. Did…

Auldyn Matthews

UX Researcher and Designer. I nerd out about human behavior, cat-human interaction, and how to make the world a better place. auldynmatthews.com

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