#UXRConf Preview: Meet Adam Mansour
#ama with Google UX Researcher, Adam Mansour
We’ve finally arrived at our last AMA before the UXR Conference!💥 This time the spotlight is on Adam Mansour. Our Slack community had many questions for Adam about best hiring practices, privacy, recruiting and much more!
Adam is a UX Researcher at Google, currently focused on improving the hiring experience for employers and jobseekers through Google Cloud’s recruiting products, Hire and Cloud Talent Solution. Adam studied Anthropology and Design Innovation at UC Berkeley, where he interviewed Nobel Laureates across the US about their creative processes and studied the role of intimacy, surveillance, and space in the emergence of the Chinese messaging app, WeChat.
On June 6th Adam will be joining us in the Advancing your Practice track at Strive to talk about incorporating human-centred design into the hiring process.
Without further ado 🥁, here are the top highlights from our chat. 🔦
How has GDPR and a growing awareness about privacy changed your work (specifically when it comes to research)? — Fabian
Great question! To me, GDPR and conversations about privacy have highlighted how varied understandings of privacy can be (even within disciplines that focus on human subjects, UX research included).
In my experience, those perspectives have led to really valuable conversations with cross-functional colleagues about the complexities of ethics of user privacy (e.g. informed consent, information retention/deletion, etc.), and educating them on how we researchers build privacy in our practice and day-to-day work.
GDPR and privacy are smokin’ hot for innovation right now
It would probably be a bit much to suggest that a piece of European legislation can be ‘sexy’, but it would be fair to…
What are some of the best ways to avoid bias during hiring? — Carla
1. Write job descriptions critically: What skills are needed on day 1 vs day 90? What qualifications are we using as proxies? (college degrees aren’t always needed!) Is the language use loaded? (lots of academics products out there are exploring this)
2. Consider who can see your job postings. If you’re recruiting from or advertising to a limited group of people (demographically or otherwise), efforts to increase diversity are already hampered.
3. Use structured feedback! Decide on how you’ll be evaluating candidates as a team ahead of time, and write your feedback independently before discussing individually.
How do you determine what incentives you should use to recruit participants for user research? Are there any best practices to follow when recruiting participants for a SaaS marketplace? — Stef
The main best practice I’d offer for SaaS incentives is engaging your buyer/point of contact at a customer company early to understand the terms and nature of incentives they’re comfortable with (how much, how often, how will recruiting happen, any legal obligations) to avoid any misunderstandings down the line (e.g. perception that you’re paying their employees).
What’s something you know now (as an experienced UX researcher) that you wish you’d known when you were just starting out in the field? — Celina
Tough one! 🙂 Lots of things, but the front runner would be how critical it is to design your research not only to understand your users, but to help your team understand their own goals.
Also design your deliverables/communication style just as intentionally as the research itself. A big part of it is having regular coffee/lunch/walks/1x1 with PMs/designers I work with. It helps a lot with establishing trust, and understanding how they think, what they’re motivated by, etc. That’s an ongoing process, but with it as a foundation, I jot down the words people use, and use frameworks/mediums that resonate with their motivations.
For example: I was working with my team on a project to understand how users were using 3rd party tools alongside our products. In the research finding readout we did an activity together where I used a random number generator to walk through a decision tree of how users pick when to use which product, because I’d gotten feedback that static flow diagrams weren’t resonating.
What were some of your key takeaways from your research on the creative processes of Nobel Laureates? — Jane
This was one of my favorite projects! One of the most notable takeaways was the extent to which the Laureates drew inspiration from disciplines outside their own. In their academic circles, there isn’t often incentive/support to do so, but some of their most profound findings stemmed from intuition they developed when exposing themselves to other schools of thought.
How do you and your team at Google measure/define success while working on projects? What does the concept of “more human” mean to you? — Jane
Our team uses the ❤️ HEART framework (happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, task success) to think about success from a UX perspective (alongside traditional business metrics). While not every letter of HEART applies for every case (especially adoption in many enterprise use cases) it’s catchy enough to be memorable to product/eng teams and helped us ground ourselves early on in determining what the goals of a project are. More about it here:
How to choose the right UX metrics for your product
When designing for the web, you can analyze usage data for your product and compare different interfaces in A/B tests…
As for “more human,” I think of it as framing design problems around metaphors and relationships, vs. tasks/workflows. That often starts by sounding like “the way users talk about XYZ TASK, reminds me of ABC RELATIONSHIP in my life” — and unpacking from there.
Come to my talk to hear some case studies!
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges faced by UX Researchers today (or more specifically faced by you and your team at Google) and how do you see these challenges changing over the coming years? — Emily
One challenge I hear often is how to scale UXR teams in ways that embed them more directly to the product development process (vs. perception as internal consultants). It’s definitely a good sign that teams are growing, but I’d love to hear from others on how they’ve seen that happen effectively!
Thanks for participating in our AMA series! Catch up on all of our AMAs below👇