A Q&A on the goal and the role of UX research

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UXR Conference speaker and UX Researcher, Dave Hora

“I wasn’t the best at being a designer, but I asked all the right questions.”

When Dave Hora got his feet wet as a designer, he knew it wasn’t for him.

The Denver native and head of Dave’s Research Company is now based in Berlin as an in-house researcher for a German bank. But before the transcontinental move, Hora was busy pioneering research teams for companies in San Francisco. Hora’s experience as a first researcher at five different companies in America’s tech hub makes him unique.

Before his keynote at the UX Research Conference in Toronto, Dave shared with us his thoughts on the research process, working at start-ups and his best work…

A Q&A with master UX Researcher Ovetta Sampson on making the impossible, possible

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UXR Conference speaker and Design Lead & Researcher at IDEO, Ovetta Sampson

As the Design Lead and Design Researcher at IDEO, Ovetta Sampson works to amplify the voice of people while inspiring design.

Following her passion for people, data and design, she focuses on the intersectionality of humanity and technology including artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and IoT products and services.

Prior to IDEO, Ovetta was UX researcher for five years and a journalist for about 20 years both for daily newspapers and international humanitarian organizations. She has her M.S. in Computer Science, specializing in human-computer interaction, from DePaul University. …

A Q&A with Behzod Sirjani of Slack on bringing everyone to the research table

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Slack Senior Researcher and UX Research Conference speaker, Behzod Sirjani

We’re only a few days away from the 2019 Strive UX Research Conference and the anticipation is building! As one last hoorah, we’re excited to share a pre-conference conversation we’ve had with all-star Researcher Behzod Sirjani.

Behzod Sirjani is a Senior Researcher at Slack, who focuses on understanding what work looks like for Slack customers. He partners with teams across the company to make customers’ work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. Prior to Slack, he spent 4 years at Facebook working on business tools, video products, and hardware, where he also co-created and led a mentorship program for junior researchers. …

A Q&A with Airbnb’s Mandy Owen on championing and scaling research both inside and outside the building

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Airbnb’s Research Team in San Francisco, California

Research has been baked into Airbnb’s design process from the company’s inception.

From the early days of 2009, when Founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia flew to New York to meet hosts face-to-face to discover pain points, to today, Airbnb has proven to be a company propelled by insights. And as the organization has grown, so too has its research practice — from one that was at first foundational, to becoming multi-disciplinary and global.

Today, the Airbnb research organization is one of the largest and fastest growing in tech — one just shy of 100 practitioners. This talented team of passionate people, acts as a bright light in the international, budding research community; the north star for research done right. …

A Q&A on building trust both inside and outside our organizations

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Ling Hu & Nicole Hill, speakers at the 2019 UX Research Conference

As the 2019 UXR Conference approaches in June, we are extremely excited to share some pre-conference conversations with our speakers. Our next speaker preview is with UX Researchers Nicole Hill & Ling Hu.

Nicole Hill is a Senior UX Researcher at Groupon and has worked on some of Groupon’s most strategic initiatives. Prior to Groupon, Nicole worked at Grainger and two UX consulting firms, GfK UserCentric and Electronic Ink. She has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from University of Pittsburgh; her graduate research focused on expertise, attention, multitasking ability, and brain imaging (fMRI).

Ling Hu is a former UX researcher at Groupon, who led the consumer experience research end-to-end, covering search & discovery, conversion and redemption. Prior to Groupon, Ling worked as a UX researcher at Nationwide Insurance, conducting research studies that informed the business strategy on self-service, claims and call reduction. She has a MFA in Design Research from The Ohio State University. [Editor’s note: at the time of publishing this article, Ling was employed by Groupon, and the interview below reflects that. She has sinced moved on from the company.]

A Q&A with Kristina Rostorotsky of Loblaw Digital who shares some sneak peeks about her talk in the Research Through Design track

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Kristina Rostorotsky, Senior Product Designer at Loblaw Digital

As we gear up for the 2019 UXR Conference in June, we are super excited to share some pre-conference conversations with our speakers! The first speaker preview is with Kristina Rostorotsky of Loblaw Digital.

Kristina is a Senior Product Designer at Loblaw, where she helps build digital products and services used by millions of Canadians every day. Her current focus is a prescription management application for Shoppers Drug Mart. Kristina’s practice covers the full arc of the product design process, from generative research to design solutions.

Here’s what Kristina had to say. 👇

Tell me about your background as a Product Designer.

It’s funny you ask, because around 5 years ago I was googling to find out what product design was. I come from a visual design background and I’ve always focused on digital design (as opposed to print). Over time, I moved from designing and coding simple websites to diving deeper into information architecture for more complex sites, and then learning other skills around UX and product design. I have done consulting-type roles, and hands-in-the-mud-focusing-on-the-craft-type roles. I seem to always oscillate between the two. …

#ama with seasoned UX researcher, Noam Segal on the North Star of research

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Noam Segal, Director of User Research at Wealthfront

Before the 2019 UX Research Conference in June, UXRC will be a hosting a series of Ask Me Anything conversations (#AMA) with some of our Conference speakers. We want to give UXR’s the opportunity to pick the brains of some research greats through our Slack community!

The first AMA was today with seasoned researcher, Noam Segal.

Noam was born and raised in Israel, where he began his career in UX researching and designing missile defense systems. He studied psychology in college, and moved to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois where he completed his PhD in psychology. …

Meet our #UXRConf sponsors: Tedde van Gelderen of Akendi shares how his team is training product people using real world projects

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Thanks to our sponsor of the Strive: 2019 UXR Conference, Akendi

In 2007, Tedde van Gelderen opened Akendi — a research, design and training company that not only does user research and UX design projects in the B2B and G2C markets, but also certifies practitioners in the field wanting to gain a more holistic understanding of the entire design process.

After years of consulting work, Tedde and his team uncovered pivotal pain points in the UX space that helped shape the design of Akendi’s certification courses:

  • Schools are not teaching students certain skills necessary for real world projects.
  • UX professionals in the field are lacking knowledge.
  • There is fragmentation in the Canadian industry in terms of knowledge transfer. …

Meet our #UXRConf sponsors: Jas Shukla and Jeremy Bailey of FreshBooks share how their customer-centred team uses research to drive growth

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Thanks to our sponsor, FreshBooks cloud accounting.

In 2002, FreshBooks CEO, Michael McDerment had a vision of a world where no one had to learn accounting. He was on a mission to reshape the world for small business owners by creating a product that addressed one of their biggest pain points: taking care of their finances. He set out to make this scary, intimidating, overwhelming part of their process into something dead simple. And so, FreshBooks was born.

But the rest was not history—next came lots and lots of research.

We had a chat with Jeremy Bailey and Jas Shukla of FreshBooks who shed some insight into the history of research at the company and the ways it’s still evolving today. As the first sponsor of the 2019 UX Research Conference, we wanted to pick their brains about their process, pain points and proud moments. …

Part 2 of our meetup live-blog from Inclusive UX Research: The Inclusive Design Research Centre team talks co-design

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Danielle Juneau introducing Sepideh Shahi and Cheryl Li at the Inclusive UX Research Meet Up

Our second talk of the night is with Sepideh Shahi, Cheryl Li and Dana Ayotte of the Inclusive Design Research Centre.

Who is giving this talk?

  • Sepideh Shahi- Senior Inclusive Designer at the IDRC
  • Cheryl Li- Inclusive Designer at the IDRC
  • Dana Ayotte- Senior Inclusive Designer at the IDRC (remotely from Vancouver)
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Dana Ayotte video conferencing in from Vancouver

What did they have to say?

01. The Inclusive Design Research Centre is:

A research and development centre at OCAD University where an international team of developers, designers and researchers are working together to make emerging tech more inclusive and accessible. 🙌

Rethinking disability and inclusivity

Dana outlined that inclusive design is design that considers the full range of human diversity. Many people have a mental model of disability that focuses more on individuals as patients and in doing so, this creates a disempowering image of people with disabilities. On the opposite end of things, a social model of disability and design describes it as a mismatch between an individual’s needs and the environment that they are in. Inclusive design believes that this mismatch is solvable by design! Dana drew a parallel to the following scenario: someone using a bank machine outside on a summer day that can’t see the screen because of the sun. In this moment, there is a mismatch between their needs and the environment. She explained that this analogy is not meant to trivialize disability, it is meant to make clear that the responsibility of solving this mismatch is on the designer, rather than on the individual, to overcome any given barrier. …


Danielle Heifa

Editor @ UXR Collective

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